Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Setting The Bar Low

Anyone who knows me well knows the absolute lack of respect I have for the world of academia. While it retains pockets of sanity, generally outside of math and the sciences the lunatics are running the asylum. If you need proof, look no further.

A study by professors from the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Kentucky has found that 90% of girls between the ages of 12-18 have experienced sexual harassment and that sexism is "pervasive" among adolescent girls. Wait! Before you go running to lock your daughters in their rooms, here is some important information. Some of the forms of sexual harassment experienced were "unwanted romantic attention", "teas(ing) due to appearance", and "demeaning gender-related comments". That's right, when that scrubby-looking guy sits down next to you at the bar and offers to buy you a drink ladies, you have a case for sexual harassment. If someone tells you "girls have cooties" or calls you "bug-eyed", you also have a case.

Now I will be the first to admit that buried among all the nonsense there is almost certainly some real sexual harassment going on. But, only on a college campus can someone define sexual harassment so loosely while keeping a straight face and receiving taxpayer funding. (Uh, oh. Since we're talking about college, lets hope no "queer studies" faculty are reading this post. Using the phrase "straight face" might be too heteronormative.)

Moreover, the young women being influenced by blithering idiots like these are being taught that they are victims. No society in which 90% of the female population believes itself to be victimized can remain healthy. And they ARE being taught this. The study itself notes that, "Girls who had been exposed to feminist ideas, either through the media or an adult such as a mother or teacher, were more likely to identify and report sexist behavior than were girls who had no information about feminism." Worst of all, this does a real disservice to society's attempt to fight real sexual harassment. How can we separate the wheat from the chaff if everyone is being taught that any behavior they don't like constitutes harassment?

My favorite part of this whole exercise in thickheadedness was this, though. According to the author, sexism comes in three types: "sexual harassment, sexist comments about their academic abilities, and sexist comments about their athletic abilities". So, according to this author, when I tell my wife she "hits like a girl", or acknowledge any gender differences, I'm displaying sexism. I hate to display my staggering knowledge of the biological sciences and human physiology so audaciously, but apparently I have no choice.

Most mammals display sexual dimorphism. That's merely a fancy way of saying that the genders aren't physically indistinguishable. One of the key differences among mammals is that in most cases, the male of the species is larger. This generally makes them more effective at performing a wide variety of arduous physical tasks. Noting this does not give the female of the species a fit of the vapors...unless the species in question is human. Though we display obvious sexual dimorphism (in capacity for muscular hypertrophy, lung capacity, skeletal structure, hand and foot size, and the relative size of various regions of the brain), the idea that this might have any practical consequences in terms of physical or cognitive performance is enough to send feminists running for their hangin' ropes.

Only on a college campus can you have a biologist tell you that men have a larger frontomedial cortex, amygdala, and hypothalamus, while women have larger frontal and medial paralimbic cortices, and a larger Broca's area, then turn around and be told by a women's studies professor that there is NO CONCEIVABLE WAY that this measurable, established fact has any practical consequences. Even when these comparisons are potentially complimentary, (the Broca's area for example, controls language processing and speech) they have to avoid them out of fear of losing ground elsewhere. I wouldn't be foolish enough to assert that I know with certainty that these differences have any material consequences. The human brain is the least understood organ in the body. Only the mindless orthodoxy of college campus feminism claims that sort of certainty.

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