Give Me My Smelling Salts, Ho!

I don’t make much secret of the fact that I grew up in an actual honest to goodness sexist society. And by sexist I mean one that believed that women were sort of second best when it came to human beings.

No, this wasn’t micro-aggression, but the actual, stated opinion of most people in the society, including women. Teachers thought nothing of saying in front of a class “this might be a little more difficult for you ladies, since it requires logical reasoning.” They expected, in a co-ed class, that men would be better than the women at just about anything involving academics. In craft class, women were shunted to sewing and such, and I was told that no, I couldn’t do carpentry because that was weird and unnatural.

I don’t think it’s the same now. EEC, and a determined campaign to make women “equal” – which is probably… Never mind. We’ll get to that.

Fortunately or unfortunately I have a really hard time staying told. What I mean is, the more they told me I was inferior and had to defer to the better male brains, the more I set out to prove to the guys that I could run circles around them, mentally speaking.

It always gave me great pleasure when, by the end of the year, the teachers looked to me, and not to whichever boy they’d decided was the prodigy when they asked a difficult question.

This wasn’t always easy, particularly since by culture I was expected to take a great deal of the housekeeping off mom’s hands, while most boys went home and had no other duties than to study. But I studied harder; I read more; and by gum I worked to be better.

So – is this an extended whine about discrimination?

Shrug. No. I don’t know if I would be me – pig headed and stubborn as some species of weed – if it weren’t for those “handicaps” thrown in my way. I don’t know if I’d ever have learned to work hard, either. You see, if I had been handed things on a plate, I don’t know if I’d ever have made an effort. I’m very lazy, after all.

And if I hadn’t fought to be admitted to the confraternity of “the best” in each class, I’d never have understood the strange comradery that can flourish between men and women, when the men know a woman has bested them at their game and earned her position among them, they – at least the decent ones – tend to treat her as an equal.

Now, there are downsides to this, and we’ll talk about it in a moment.

I imagine, though I have absolutely no backing for this, that I resemble, in spirit and experiences the feminists of the 40s and 50s, when the point was to prove you could be as good as a man, and when the sort of work required and (perhaps in the fifties) effective contraception made it possible for women to have equivalent professional lives.

At least what I’ve read from those time periods, women’s attitude seemed to be “We can do it. We can be better than men, work harder than men, take knocks like men. And we ain’t no wall flowers.”

There was the inherent belief that, yes, the world was biased, but it was up to us to prove we could make it despite the bias. This was my belief when I lived in Portugal too.

I realized things were different in the US – very different – when my American literature teacher, fresh off the plane, used “he” to refer to indeterminate gender in a class full of females, in my third year in college and then started apologizing and ritually abasing himself for his “sexism.” The class of 20 some budding linguists blinked at him and said “but that is the default pronoun for indeterminate gender in English!”

I’ve never seen a man so astonished. Which prepared me for what I call “the feminist war on language” through the late eighties and nineties in this country.

Though I might say nothing prepared me for the piece of strangeness that was “Herstory.” Seriously, women, learn philology and stop embarrassing people with vaginas. It was as stupid as when preachers use English to decide that there is some arcane meaning in the Bible. It’s as though they don’t realize languages evolve. Which begs the question of whether they understand societies change, or whether they live in an eternal now, but that’s a question for another time.

And then things got ever weirder. One started getting dinged for not using his/her in any correspondence of non-fiction.

It made me a little …. Uncomfortable. Both as a linguist and as a human being. Look, language is language. Language isn’t sexist because language isn’t anything. Yes, there are fossilized meanings and fossilized attitudes in language, but they don’t “intend” or “mean” anything beyond well, the explicit meaning.

This is hard to explain, but suffice it to say half of my teaching career (teaching ESL mostly, but also French and briefly German) was spent saying “there is no why in language.” I.e. don’t ask me why “bread” is “bread” in English but “pao” in Portuguese. I don’t mean there is no explanation of how those words came to be used. Of course there is. Different invading people, different pervading cultures, etc. That’s what philology does and it’s fun for a winter’s night. (Okay, so I have a weird idea of fun.) BUT it’s not a LOGICAL reason. A lot of my students would say stuff like “but bread makes no sense. It doesn’t sound like the thing.”

I think the war on “he” as the default for indeterminate is the same kind of thought. “But it could be a he or a she. So we should mention both. Even if it just makes sentences really awkward.”

That was only part of what made me uncomfortable, though. What really bothered me was this sense that the woman (and it was always women) enforcing the he/she had this need to be noticed, even in a sentence that didn’t refer to them. It was as though they were saying “AND a WOMAN too.” (There are any number of oral story telling techniques that do just this, so you’ll say something like “Five hundred men, three elephants, and the flea in the captain’s beard.” That was sort of the feeling I got.)

Still, you know, language evolves with culture, and I figure this was part of it and just wished they’d settled for something other than he/she or a “they” that broke the number concordance. (Yes, I know Shakespeare did it. He did all manner of foolish things, as well as brilliant ones.) I thought even “it” would be better.

But the disturbing trend continued to grow. Bookstores started labeling history sections “herstory” with no irony whatsoever. College educated women honest to goodness thought there had been as many female medieval fighters as male and there was a vast conspiracy to hide this. (Where women were supposed to come up with the upper body strength for those weapons I don’t know. Yeah, some managed it. Maybe one in a thousand.) A vast conspiracy involving millions of people through the ages. A conspiracy of which we had no record. A conspiracy that never once broke ranks.

Then there was the sisterhood thing. You know, where every and any woman is supposed to understand me better than a man. That was jaw-dropping. I mean, I’m supposed to have more in common with Mary who does tatting for a living in some little village in England than with, oh, Larry, say, who writes for the same house I do in America.

And there was the “men are afraid of you” thing that was brought up as to why I didn’t get along with my boss when I was a lecturer in college. (It probably had more to do with the fact I didn’t intend to make a career of it, and wasn’t going to jump through his hoops. Oh, also, I was a smart-mouthed kid with no social sense.) This is used to explain any man not liking any woman nowadays and particularly any man criticizing a woman’s performance of her job.

But when I first realized things had gone off the rails was when a professor, in a well reported snit, ran out of a lecture hall, crying and threatening to throw up because a college president mentioned statistics and the relative, statistical position of women in intellectual fields and said it was the same as the relative IQ curve. That is, that women mostly occupy the middle ranks, while men claim more geniuses and more morons. This is a statistical fact. It doesn’t mean any woman is or isn’t a genius or a moron (you have to test the woman for that) but as a statistical fact it explains some of the distribution of women we see in intellectual and STEM work. (It also tends to mean those women at the top are good, as they fought all sorts of assumptions to get there.)

THIS – this statistical fact – caused an educated woman to feel personally insulted.

I thought this was insane, and perhaps she was off her meds. But the incidents just kept coming; too many for me to remember much less mention.

The ones that come to mind, though, are the dongle thing and the shirtstorm.

The dongle thing is where a woman heard two geeks talk about dongles and assumed a sexual meaning. Now, the descriptions of the actual event are so muddled, I don’t know which was true. It is entirely possible that the guys were just talking about dongles, and she read a dirty meaning into their words. Or it’s possible that they were making veiled dirty jokes.

Here is the thing: neither of them was about her. What I mean is, men have a different sense of humor than women. Any woman who’s fought her way to the top of a male dominated field, who finds herself considered one of the guys learns this very quickly. And the wise woman – you know, one of those that JUST wants to prove she’s good enough? – turns a deaf ear to it. (Or joins in, depending on personality. But if you want to continue pretending to yourself and others that you’re a lady, you just don’t hear those things. You learn to filter them out.) Guys do the same in a female intensive grouping. Trust me, the things we think are funny and joke about are just as shockingly bizarre and offensive to normal males. Both my gay and straight male friends have on occasion, hearing me talk to a female friend, said the equivalent of “stop. You’re tearing my illusions apart.”

However, the woman who overheard the talk knew it was all about her. (Even though I haven’t found anything saying that it was directed at or even referring to her.) She overheard this talk, and it was bad talk, and it made her feel uncomfortable. And so she set out to destroy the men’s careers. Because every place should be made safe for a gentlewoman of delicate sensibilities to wander through with impunity and without some word – even one she misunderstood – sullying her virgin-like ears.

Shirtstorm was more of the same. Rose Eveleth, Vagina Vigilante, might not know much about probes or comets, or have much interest in them. One gets a feeling in her mind aerospace is that icky thing that sweaty, nerdy boys do. So, forced to cover it (or snatching it up as a prize assignment) for her paper, she paid attention to the one important thing in the world: herself. And since she’s female, she projected her prejudices onto all other females, and decided women everywhere would be put off science by a man’s shirt decorated with “space pinups.” A shirt made by a woman. A shirt worn amid a team whose leader was a woman who saw nothing wrong with it. But Vagina Vigilante was on the job! One gets the feeling she didn’t do very well at science, and now she had a REASON. It was the sexism of the field, manifest in a shirt.

Which totally justified making a rocket scientist cry on the day of his greatest triumph. After all, people like him had ruined her life, right?

But it gets worse than that – there was an entire campus filled with supposedly educated (ah!) women terrorized by the statue of a sleep walking man.

And then there’s the ever-elastic definition of “sexual assault” which – I’m not making this up – can now be ratcheted down to “Looked at me in a way that made me feel uncomfortable” or, for that matter “failed to sexually assault me.” Oh, sorry, that last was the definition of racism. Some Palestinian woman looked at rape statistics and found that Israeli women are raped by Palestinian men in much higher numbers than Palestinian women are raped by Israeli men, and immediately concluded this is because Israelis are racist. It beggars the mind.

Another thing that beggars the mind is the progressive image of women as great warriors. You know, in all the movies and half the books (often without supernatural explanation) a 90 lb chick can beat 300 lb men. And women were always great fighters throughout the ages. And, and, and…

And yet, women are peaceful – peaceful, d*mn it. This is why “peaceful planet of women” is a trope on tv tropes. Not just a trope, but a dead horse one.

Attempts to square that circle have included the explanation that women are only violent because patriarchy. There needs be nothing else said because in this context, and with apologies to the ponies, Patriarchy Is Magic. Honorable mention on trying to square the circle must go to Law and Order’s attempted episode on Gamer Gate where the game the woman designer had written was about Peaceful Amazon Warriors.

An episode in which my younger son accidentally touched a girl on the behind – in 3rd grade, when Mr. Hormone hadn’t visited yet and he had no clue behinds had anything to do with sex or being sexy – and the school tried to charge him with sexual harassment (Which stopped cold when I threatened to write about it for various mags and make them a laughing stock) gave me some insight into why women are reacting this way.

It’s not all their fault, no.

That little girl had it far worse than my son. Because you see, for having been touched by a rather innocent little boy, who was reaching into a group and trying to get her attention (to play “the space game” which was sort of a LARP in which they were in a spaceship in an alien planet. Hey, he’s mine.) this girl was put in COUNSELING sessions and was told that her life would never be the same, because she’d been – gasp – sexually assaulted.

I lost touch with the kids from that class, and don’t know if she still thinks she was victimized, but let’s say she was a little strange for months after the incident.

Of course, she was actually bureaucratically assaulted.

You see, the directive to make the sexes equal is being applied top down by a thousand little bureaucracies, none of them very sure how to accomplish this. They’re also in general trying to force the sexes to be equal, which is impossible, instead of equal before the law, which is desirable. This further muddles their attempts, particularly when you throw in the lovely academic theory most of them imbibe that “gender is a construct.” And gender might be, but whether your genes are xx or xy still affects your upper body strength (men have more), your endurance of pain (women have more) and several other things you can’t make equal by declaring it so.

The problem is bureaucracies are stupid. They can’t see finer shades such as “allow exceptional individuals to be wherever they belong” or “just let people be people.” No, they hear “make women and men equal and by gum, they’re going to do it if it requires being at war with reality. It’s kind of like performing brain surgery on your sofa, using a rusty saw and a soup spoon. Even with the best of intentions, you’re going to do more harm than good.

Now, do I think it was okay for the culture to be as it was in Portugal, where I was assumed to be an idiot because I lacked 250grams between my legs? Oh, heck no. But I also don’t want a culture where little girls are mollycoddled and little boys berated both in compensation/punishment for things that happened before their grandparents were born.

For one, it makes girls into sissies. For another it makes a lot of men give up on society.

And the girls into sissies thing is dangerous. Women who’ve been mollycoddled all their lives will think that anything is an attack or an aggression. Like, you know, being called Ladies. Or pinup shirts.

This means, more and more, as the younger generations come in, professional and academic environments with women become mine fields for men and histrionic opportunities for women.

And sooner or later, looking at our throwing up, swooning, crying, trigger-warned, peaceful amazon warriors, someone is going to say “you know, women are too fragile for the workaday world. Let’s put them in burkas and lock them up in purdah.” And then it will all be needed to do over again, the fight to let those women who can and will compete do so.

On behalf of my future great great great granddaughter whom I don’t want to have to endure that kind of things, stop this feminist charging forward to the fainting couch and the smelling salts, like some Victorian maiden that never actually existed.

Stop trusting what the bureaucracy tells you. Men are not the enemy. Most men welcome women who can work with them as equals. Yeah, they’ll still try to protect you and avenge you, because they, the same as you, have instincts. An unfortunate side effect of having physical bodies.

Accept them as they are so they can accept you as you are. Demand their best behavior, but don’t demand they stop being men. And don’t make them walk on eggshells around you. The power might feel good but in the end it betrays you, because it means you’ll never belong as a co-worker.

Oh, and fight the war for equality on the cultural level.

If we took over a Middle Eastern country tomorrow we could (and should) fix the laws, so women are the same as men before the law. But we couldn’t fix the culture the same way. If we made laws giving women job preferences, or telling men what they could or couldn’t do around women, what we’d do in the end is what’s happening here: women who are used to being protected/infantilized/subjugated by men transfer that relationship of power by putting all their trust to government.

And since government is force, it’s more abusive than any husband. And the end result will be subjugation.

Fight the culture war now. So your descendants don’t have to fight worse ones. Humans are not widgets and bureaucracy is stupid.

Make your own judgements, and tell bureaucrats and their fainting maidens coterie to go smell some salts.



550 responses to “Give Me My Smelling Salts, Ho!

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Sadly, you’re “preaching to the choir” here Sarah.

  2. The Other Sean

    I’m sorry, but there are other things I’d rather tell bureaucrats and their fainting maidens coterie than “Go smell some salts.” Alas, I don’t believe it would be polite to post them here. 🙂

    • I’m trying to keep this a family blog. You’re welcome to think of some poisonous salts.

    • Are your responses too salty? *big grin*

      • overgrownhobbit

        Yes, but every so often the choir gets demoralized, and they need a right and proper reality-thumping sermon to get them to sing in full voice. Anything to offset the constant choral line: Evil Pale Penis People! Noble Brown Vaginatudes!

        Which, without continuing to beat the metaphor to death (“Help! Help! I’m a victim of the violence inherent in the pedantry!”) means: Thank you very much for this post, Ms. Hoyt! Brava! Brava!

      • The Other Sean

        That is one way to put it.

        • overgrownhobbit

          Here’s another one: what if Mrs. Hoyt put out a crowd- sourced “Best of ATM” by S. Hoyt and the Huns? Any Hun could send in a recommendation of a favorite Hoyt post to be included. No limit, but each one needed to arrive with a spell and grammer checked copy of the post in the .doc format of Ms Hoyt’s choice. Suggestions are strongly encourage to include a “my favorite comment thread” which they also send in properly formatted to an author-preferred standard.

          The prize is that they get credited with making the suggestion (and yes, I am volunteering to do the indexing. Yay, cataloging!) and the opportunity to pay Hoyt with cashy money for a neat book.

  3. Volume IV, Issue 2 of _Medieval Warfare_ was about women war leaders. The introductory essay had a great point that I think holds true – women were more common in the front lines when it was/is tribe, clan, or war band against tribe/clan/war-band. Once you get to a level of organization where loyalty is not to an individual, but to “the throne” or a nation (or nation-state), women generally disappeared as war leaders. And even in Late Antiquity and the early Medieval, women gave orders but rarely fought, with those few notable exceptions, including horse nomads (where training from birth and the use of distance artillery negated the differences in upper body strength).

    Um, what were we talking about again? Oh yeah. Looking back, I think I was lucky, in a warped way, that I just got left to brush myself off and survive after I got attacked in school, rather than counciled into insanity. I’ve got enough bats in my belfry as it is, thank you.

    • In the old early medieval Irish law texts, there’s an explanation of why, among other legal protections, women were legally exempt from the duties of warfare, and why there was a serious wergild type fine for killing women. (It’s called the Cain Adomnain, Adomnain’s Law, or the Lex Innocentium, the Law of Innocents. There are lots of provisions giving special legal status to clerics, women, and children.) It was put through at the Synod of Birr in 697.

      When I was younger, a lot of scholars thought this was obviously bogus, because there was no way any clan would send a bunch of women out on the front line to die; and the text paints a hyperbolic picture of women doing all the fighting instead of men. (Specific highly trained people like the legendary Scathach would be different.) But the thought now is that yeah, since they were sending out men who were unfree (slaves/serfs) to fight, they were probably sending out unfree women too.

      Anyway, the Cain Adomnain‘s picture of the average woman’s place in pre-Christian Irish society is not a happy one:

      “On one side of her she would carry her bag of provisions, on the other her babe; her wooden pole upon her back. Thirty feet long it was, and had on one end an iron hook, which she would thrust into the tress of some woman in the opposite battalion. Her husband behind her, carrying a fence-stake in his hand, and flogging her on to battle. For at that time it was the head of a woman, or her two breasts, which were taken as trophies.”

      Obviously this isn’t a documentary history text! (You’ll see that there are at several just-so stories, and then at the end, you actually get to the law text.) But there are bits and pieces that concur with other texts, like a cumal (slave woman) not having a sleeping place in the house of a chief, but having to live in a separate hut for caste/pagan religious reasons. The law fines people pretty heavily for every woman used in a war host, so obviously somebody was doing it.

      But anyway, it’s an interesting law because there are heavy fines for striking a woman or committing sexual assault, which isn’t usual in medieval law. The fact that they explain that women suffer the same penalty for striking or killing other women says something about Irish tempers!

  4. May you never encounter a bureaucrat in full operation mode. They literally get off on wrecking people. That one sexual harassment meeting when I worked for the government. Brrrr. That guy was everything you would imagine a typecast bureaucrat to be, but he was real.

    • Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)

      I was on the receiving end of one of those meetings. A coworker was told by someone that I’d said something derogatory about the people, all men mind you, in her work area, so she filed a 3rd party sexual harassment claim. I got 6 months probation for saying those men were acting like a bunch of… several expletives deleted. I didn’t even know she was in charge of that area at the time or that 3rd party sexual harassment was even possible. Live and learn..

      • In corporate America, I was informed informally to knock off joke telling for awhile. A woman tried to file a sexual harassment complaint against me. Because the women I had cleared to tell jokes to (by the obvious question- do off-color jokes offend you?) would laugh uproariously, then say to others (who I generally didn’t talk to, much less tell jokes to), “You should hear the one Smith just told me-“, then tell them. She was informed that she would have to file the complaint against the people actually telling her the joke. Haven’t myself worked in a company with 2nd or 3rd hand harassment. I’d be in a world of hurt.

        • That isn’t all that’s going on in corporate America. I was on a project this summer with a female consultant. She was rolled off the project about a month later, and about 2 months after that, I got a call from HR. Apparently she had filed a “hostile environment” complaint against the PM. I answered with my experience (great guy to work with, never saw a problem). Found out about a month later that she had been caught padding her expense reports for over 2 months to the tune of $500 a week. When the PM started asking questions, she filed the complaint. His manager told him they were dropping the complaint because even if they proved it, any action taken could be used for a “retaliation” allegation. If it had been a guy he’d have been fired and probably prosecuted.

          • At a guess, the company anticipated that even if they won such a suit (never guaranteed) their reputation would be damaged and their eligibility for government contracts (under the current regime) would be impaired.

    • There are those types, sure. More common is the person who is not really suited for anything but paper pushing (usually because they went to public schools) and are just trying to get through the flipping day. Those people are usually in a mood because nobody is ever, Ever, EVER happy to see them. They are so accustomed to being yelled at, whined at, postured at (“do you know who I am!?!”) that they go for the stiletto first.

      The answer, at least half the time and maybe more, is to be nice. I have had great success by saying “I’m sorry to be a bother, but I’m in way over my head, and don’t understand any of this. Can you help me?”. It has the benefit of being true, most of the time, and you become the first halfway pleasant person they’ve see in weeks. And if they don’t react to that, you keep up the Mr. Meek act until they are in a vulnerable position, and then you gut them. It has SOOOOOOOO much more impact.

      I bring this up because thinking that the multitudes of GS workers we are going to be dealing with as we slowly march the Progressive back to their starting point are not the enemy. They are fellow victims, most of them, and we will need to provide for them to earn a living or keep on doing something harmless, or something. If we make them the enemy, we are going to lose; there are simply too many of them.

      • And quite often, the person who truly needs yelling at is the rule/policy maker who doesn’t have to deal with the public, rather than the guy who can lose his job for deviating from those rules even if it makes sense to do so.

        As with store clerks and call centre types, the person who needs a good shouting at is almost never the one you’re speaking with.

        • overgrownhobbit

          Ayup. Those of us on the front line of a large bureaucracy get extremely creative about obeying the letter of the asinine rule, while obviating it’s effects on our customers. Unless, of course, you have the bad luck to walk in the door with a special snowflake princess attitude and cuss us out for your own fool mistake. Because then we might just blandly follow the rules, and bad cess to you.

          People who are unpleasant because they’re stressed out and getting jerked around by one of our bureaucratic stupidities of the day, on the other hand, I can sympathize with. I don’t mind apologizing sincerely until they calm down and we can figure out a way to get to “yes.”

  5. I paste in full one of my early milblog rants on this very subject, for your amusement and delight:
    From: Sgt. Mom
    To: All In Group
    Re: Effective Response to Ungentlemanly Attentions
    1. It has been brought to my attention, yet once more, that alleged gentlemen in public life have been behaving in an abusive and ungentlemanly manner, most particularly in their attentions to assorted female co-workers, subordinates, and passing strangers. Sgt. Mom spent 20 years in the military, a milieu almost overwhelmingly male, and has considerable experience in coping with those males of our species who fancy themselves as wolves, or give the impression they were raised by same. The thought has occurred that response of women who have been subjected to the headline producing disgraceful behavior have not been the most effective in preventing reoccurrence.
    2. Standards of gentlemanly gallantry have shifted somewhat in recent decades, admittedly. A male acquaintance who was a mad fan of the early James Bond films watched them on video some thirty years later and confessed himself appalled at the misogyny, and demeaning behavior demonstrated toward women by his hero. What was saucy and flirtatious in 1960 appeared terribly boorish by 1990. Standards of polite behavior were not assisted during this same period by any number of people, male and female, which had them all confused with political and economic justice, and were trying to work out a new way of getting along in a mature and professional manner.
    3. Most of the gentlemen of Sgt. Mom’s acquaintance have made accommodation by internalizing the standard that if they wouldn’t say it to their mother, sister, daughter, girlfriend or wife in public, then they certainly won’t say it to any other woman in a professional or social setting. This is a satisfactory and generally workable standard. There are however, those men who persist in ungallant, unwelcome and offensive behavior, and without “blaming the victims” in any way, I am afraid we have been remiss in our customary response to abuse in the workplace.
    4. Ladies, those of us who have spent any time in a traditionally male-dominated field are aware of certain home truths. Among these truths is that some guys are just clueless jerks who will never come to an understating of how offensive they have been, when the response is the usual girly-girl passive-aggression. Smiling weakly, and then running to the ladies room for a good cry will not do any good. Moaning to your girlfriends, or simmering over it for three or four years before complaining to the Social Actions Office, or Human Relations, the crusading columnist for the LA Times, or your touchy-feely Womyn’s Support Network will not do any good. Even getting a lawyer, and bringing charges years after the fact will really not do much good, although it may make you and the lawyer feel a little better. Is some guy saying something crude, offensive and demeaning to you? Nine out of ten, the offensive jerk has no clue, and if he does, he is a bully, and the way to stand up to either version is to stand up straight, step up toe to toe, take off the genteel white gloves, squash down all your instinctive ladylike inhibitions…. And be just as crude, offensive and nasty in response. Don’t cry, don’t whine, just go straight for the jugular, or other vulnerable area, and think of it as raising his consciousness, or establishing a good working understanding; that is, he will not grievously offend again, and if he does, you guarantee to serve up his balls on a silver plate, tastefully ornamented with a spring of parsley and perhaps a small tomato carved into the shape of a rose. The offender will be enlightened as to the error of his ways, and apologize abjectly, and you will shake hands and never mention it again.
    In conclusion, I will remind you again; strong women do not take crap or look to others to fight for them; instead they dish it back with interest.
    Sgt. Mom

    • Eamon J. Cole

      Um — can I steal a variation on the silver plate/sprig of parsley/tomato rose line for a character?

      I’ll dutifully rub on those serial numbers, but the spirit of the line is yours. I might even have my character reference your Sgt. Mom moniker.

    • And remember to tuck your thumb UNDER the flenched fingers not IN them. Get your shoulder behind it; the fight should start out thumb up by your hip and twist 180 degrees. Strike with the first two index and middle finger knuckles, and try not to hit bone.

      If you aren’t comfortable hitting him with your fist, use an implement.

      Also STRONG women don’t WHINE.

      • thephantom182

        Elbows, knees and boot heels. And remember ladies, if you haven’t got a bat handy or at least a roll of dimes in your purse you’re just not trying hard enough.

  6. I once wrote a (rather snarky) Amazon review of a book in which the author mixed “her” and “his” pretty much randomly. I said that this affectation was mildly annoying at first but that the reader would soon grow used to it, not unlike listening to a speaker who sniffs every so often. The rest of the review was studded with inserts of “(snif)”. For this jape, I got a scolding in the comments from a young lady, who advised me to give up my “misogynism.”

    I’m not even sure that’s a word.

    • Link?

      Because, I’m sorry, mixing up “her” and “his” isn’t a woman thing, and being annoyed by it isn’t misogyny. It’s pathetic writing skills, and being annoyed by it means you studied the English language at some point.

      Unlike the author, apparently.

      • Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)

        I know I was having that problem when I was reading Sam Schall’s Duty from Ashes. In a couple or 3 places the he and she were interchanged. On the same page. I think it was just a mistake from losing his place story wise and a failure in editing and not a statement though.

        • Birthday girl

          I think you meant losing her place …


          • Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)

            Ok. Her place.

            • But she cannot lose her place unless she knows her place, so the helpful must seek ways to put her in her place and keep her in her place.

          • Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)

            Really didn’t mean for that to look that snotty. Sorry.

            • Birthday girl

              Oh please don’t apologize, that wasn’t what I meant at all! I was totally just poking at you for fun (hence the wink) … the whole thing of mixing up gender/pronoun/etc. and then the author is a female writing under a masculine pen name, but a name that _could_ be a woman’s nickname … so many layers to that funny … I couldn’t resist .

              • Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)

                I was apologizing for the “Ok. Her place.” comment. Because that looked like I was trying to be really snotty. I’m a sarcastic old soul and I have to pay attention to what I say or type at all times when dealing with people I don’t know well.

        • Knowing the author, I seriously doubt it was a case of trying to make a statement in any way.

          • Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)

            Good. Like I wrote, it didn’t seem to be a statement, just losing, as I now know, her place. It was a good story and that was just a momentary distraction.

      • It could be worse. There are people agitating for some really strange pronouns (xe/xi) for neutral and snowflake genders. (Many of the snowflake genders are more based on orientation than some slushy spectrum of male to female, and many of those orientations are because straight, gay, or bi aren’t “edgy” enough.)

        Some days, I think that someone’s delaying the Gods of the Copybook Headings out of sheer malice.

        • And then you have colleges where profs are “advised” to ask students which pronoun he/she/zie/xi/they prefer and use that – but to also be careful because the student may change genders during the semester and what was OK in September is an offense in November. (And people wonder why I prefer to live in the mental world of the Victorians adn Edwardians . . .)

          • I don’t really are what pronoun one uses, so long as they remember to recognize that I identify as an M1A2 Abrams tank and address me accordingly.

              • See? Sarah gets it! I mean, how hard is it?

                • Careful there. That could be interpreted as meaning, “If even Sarah gets it, how hard could it be?”

                  Don’t mind me. I’m collecting for the fish fry.

                  • Luckily, the carp trebuchet doesn’t fire AP carp.

                    • I don’t know about that. You can do wonderful things with liquid nitrogen, a basic guidance package, and a JATO motor. Speaking theoretically, of course.

                    • base bleed carp, commenter running in the open…shot, out.

                    • the carp trebuchet doesn’t fire AP carp.

                      Sure it does. What do you think the “fin stabilized” in APFSDS refers to?

                    • Sure it does. What do you think the “fin stabilized” in APFSDS refers to?

                      OK, I’ll buy that. Carp have fins. And, they’re for stabilization.

                      Now, explain the little wooden shoes that come off, because I’ve never seen a carp with shoes, let alone sabots.

                    • I’ve never seen a carp with shoes, let alone sabots.

                      That’s why they’re being discarded.

            • RealityObserver

              Well, now, some do care…

              A properly designed pronoun is short and succinct. So we need to shorten your preferred designation somewhat. Everybody – please refer to Thomas in the future as Mone Knighton (pronounced the same as “moan,” please note).

              Now, for those of you who identify as a certain rifle – I’m afraid that you will just have to make do with the pronoun “Ga.” Mone Knighton was there first.

              • Nah, I’m still partial to Your Tankness.

              • Twaddle — don’t let Thomas pull such wool over your eyes. Thomas is no tank; we all know that Thomas is just a tank engine.

                • I’m so tired of being confused with that insufferable lamebrain.

                  Tank. Big damn guns. Tank engines don’t freaking have that!

                  • Real tanks don’t feel a need to brag about their “Big damn guns.

                    BTW: from the trailer, it looks as if Thomas the Tank Engine gets his caboose kicked in the upcoming Ant-Man movie.

                    • You’re not allowed to question what I self-indentify as, and doing so is a microaggression and sends me to my safe space.

                      Luckily, as a tank, my safe space is pretty much anywhere lacking close air support.

                    • Freedom farts, a grunt’s best friend.

                    • Methinks you’ve left out a key characteristic for your “safe space”. The lack of enemy close air support is a Good Thing (TM), I’ll grant you.

                      However, that lack usually also implies a certain density of cover and concealment, as in deep forest and/or urban terrain, something that should rightly terrify a tank-identifying entity such as yourself. After all, when you’re operating on constricted terrain, that’s the ideal time for missile or high-explosives identifying types to sneak up on you and leave a 40-lb gift on your rear engine deck…

                    • Yes, I know there’s more to it than that, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue as well when you add all that other stuff in.

                  • Should we BOLO you?

            • Not sure if the link will work properly, but you’re not alone.

          • Which is yet another reason I wouldn’t survive in academia; any student who changed their preferred gender referent on me would thereafter be addresses “Hey! Idiot!”

        • I think Tom Kratman was the one who I saw who did s/h/it for a pronoun.

          I almost wet myself over that one. 😀

          • The man does love to offend, and he is a true master at it.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            He and I both studied a little Latin. One of the ways you do this is writing out little tables of translations for different forms of a word.

            Third singular boxes tend to have he/she/it or she/he/it, because that form of the word alone may be indeterminate, and you need to be aware of the possibilities.

            So I think it a fairly obvious insight. That is also where I picked up the ‘If you do not want me to use just he or just she, than I will use it’ attitude.

        • I hate, hate, hate those non-standard pronouns. They’ve cropped up in some things I read in certain dark corners of the internet and they always totally take me out of whatever it is I’m reading. Shi, sei, hir, hirm, they’re often used in ways that defeat the point of a character.

      • It’s not always pathetic writing skills, but the only counterexample I can offer is Ranma 1/2 fanfiction, because the title character switches between male and female with the application of hot or cold water.

        • Yeah, but that’s for story reasons. It’s not because the pronouns are interchangeable, but because the character switches back and forth in a more literal sense.

          • Well, yeah. That was the point. It was the *only* valid reason I can think of for switching pronouns on the fly.

            I suppose writing that way as a deliberate bad example works, too.

        • RealityObserver

          I loved that. Fantastic characterization twist.

    • The Other Sean

      In at least one English course I took in college, the professor or the text basically recommended randomly mixing “his” and “her” in any sentences not dealing with a specific person, in order to avoid “gender bias.” For example, with technical documentation referring to the user, or an essay referring to the citizen, the pronouns were to be mixed.

      • I’ve seen the technique used in a humorous way, as a sort of alternation of funny indefinite example figures. But it’s not something one should do seriously, I think.

        • The Other Sean

          As a humorous device it might work fine, but I’m not generally a fan of the technique. I do like it better than misusing the collective pronouns, which also seems to be recommended by some.

          The masculine form is the neuter (and hence generic) form in the English language. One interesting technique I’ve seen with pronoun gender in fiction is what David Weber often does in Honor Harrington. His male characters tend to use the masculine for the generic pronoun, and his female characters tend to use the feminine.

          • Nowadays there seems to be a trend to reversing the standard and using feminine pronouns for indeterminate gender. Having grown up with things the other way around causes most such texts to be highly irritating.

          • Weber’s approach is sensible and comprehensible and especially WRONG in a proglodyte’s eyes because it gives you information about the person communicating with you.

            Notice how so many proglodyte tropes are about denying you information that would be perfectly obvious to you if you were talking to someone face to face. They don’t want you to have the information to form a gender context for a conversation, or a racial context, or any sort of ethnic context. They will tell you you must not judge people by their sex or ethnicity or

            Unless, of course, it benefits them. THEN you better be TOTALLY ware of their race and gender. For example, you cannot hire or fire based on gender or race, but they are taken into consideration for college enrollments, for example, or social benefits (If you don’t believe the latter, just visit any Los Angeles or Detroit social services office. In Los Angeles, the Hispanic “civil servants” not only don’t deny over-serving Hispanic applicants, they’ve openly organized and announced they shoe-horn them into every benefits package they can, per the LA Weekly). In the NYFD, white applicants have to score 98 or better on the entrance exam, black applicants 85. Try to fire the black worker who just ran the forklift off the loading dock for the second time and you WILL have a race grievance filed and you better NOT contest his unemployment. Ethnic groups and women have a large promotional and employment edge in federal government offices, (“White” is not an ethnic group for civil service purposes, except excusionary ones.)

            Now the proglodytes are moving beyond that, telling you that not only must you not notice what is plainly there, but you must accept the words they use that are blatantly at odds with what is actually there.

            Pre-op trannies are women because they feel like it, so let Sister Schwing into your daughter’s locker room and showers.

            Looters and arsonists are activists.

            Terrorists in someone else’s country are insurgents, even if they don’t come from that country.

            Scientists with no training outside their own narrow field are touted as experts

            People totally and obviously of one gender but demanding to recognized as another will even invent non-words to describe their nonexistent status,

            Perhaps the most revolutionary and constructive act you can perform these days is to speak as plainly as possible and call the bullshit bullshit whenever it’s flung.

          • When I read this, I confused “misusing the collective pronouns” with misusing collective nouns. I’m going to have to think some more about how that might work.

      • Sara the Red

        I’ve seen it crop up in game (as in tabletop RPG) books from time to time, inserting “she” when discussing an example of a class or an action or something. It’s pretty evenly intermixed, and I’ve found it neither bothers me nor raises my “awareness” beyond a vague “Hmmm, that might be a fun class to play…”

        I suppose it depends on how they do it. If it’s painfully and painstakingly obvious they were doing it to Make A Statement, then it is irritating. If it’s treated as just a “changin’ stuff up” casual approach I find it doesn’t bug me.

        (Of course, using ‘he’ as the gender neutral pronoun doesn’t bother me either, so YMMV.)

        • Didn’t D&D at one point have defined “iconic” characters for each class, and the pronouns used for each class related back to the sex of the character? I thought that was an interesting way to deal with being PC.

        • Professor Badness

          They did use the default “she” in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG manuals. It was explained at the beginning of the book because the main protagonist for the series was a woman.
          Reading through the books, I had no problems. I fact, it kind of added the right flavor based on the series.

      • Baby stuff tends to do this– alternate “him” and “her.”

        The good ones keep it consistent in a sentence or paragraph, though.

        (For once, it’s justifiable– we got a LOT of boy clothes because everyone just assumed we were lying when we said we didn’t check the sex of the baby, we were saying “him” because “it” was pretty dang dehumanizing for a kid. Princess, thankfully, likes blue.)

        • Back when I was married, and my wife was expecting, we took to calling the prospective child, “Wardle.” That’s because during a discussion of baby names, I jokingly expressed a preference for a nice, old-fashioned English name like Boadicea or Ethelred. She couldn’t remember those, and we ended up with Wardle, which we still used for a while after the real name was put on the birth certificate.

          • My mother wanted to name me Guinevere! That one got shut down real quick.

            • Ah! Mom wanted to name me Eurydice Naiad. Since I was born at home, dad forgot this on the way to the registry and named me after my aunt. I think “forgot” this.

              • I was going to be Tabitha Catherine. Which was OK until Dad realized it was so Mom could have a tabby cat.

              • I friend of mine in Dublin told me about her uncle who was supposed to be named George Augustus. For whatever reason grandma couldn’t go to the christening and had her sister, an ardent nationalist, take the kid to church.

                He came home Padraig Pearse.

                Needless to say his mother didn’t speak to his aunt for several years.

                • With those initials he must’ve been teased a lot.

                • My niece has been gifted with an Irish name, which will guarantee that she doesn’t have the same name as any of her classmates, and that no teacher will get it right on the first try.

                  • My younger sister (the one I get on with) was born over there, and is named Eilís.
                    When she graduated from high school we went up to the guy giving out the diplomas before hand and told him how to pronounce it. He got it wrong. Though not as wrong as the time we heard her announced as “Elijah”. ?!?
                    And although it should be pronounced “Aylish”, I have learned to say “Call ‘Eye-liss'” when using the hands-free bluetooth in my car.
                    And after all that, we named our child Angharad.

                  • I always used to think that the name Angharad would be terrible to have. That is until I found out it is pronounced ahn-ar-ad.

              • My folks had a thing for “J” names. All good, until the “accident” comes along 12 years after the rest. All out of ideas, I got named after my older sister’s boyfriend at the time.

              • Mom wanted to name me Barnabas Beverley. After a radio soap opera character. Dad and everyone else in the family vetoed. Eurydice Naiad. Lovely, though profoundly weird. Uh, are YOU going to use that as a character’s name?

        • Eh. Younger son had everything including cloth diapers in pink. You see, his heart rate was high and THREE ultrasounds had them tell us it was a girl. Until three days before birth. Making things worse, he’d be the ONLY girl in his generation outside Venezuela. If he’d been a girl, that is. SO every relative was sending cute girl stuff.
          Just sent a BIG box of adorable nightgowns and jumpers and such to the charity store, now that we definitely can’t have a girl. (Sigh.)

          • Sarah, if they’re size 9 months or bigger I’d happily pay shipping.

            I wish I’d known seven months ago you had girl clothes going begging. I’d’ve taken them all. Especially if they’re proper girl clothes. There’s no way Baby isn’t going to dress girly like Sissy. I’m behind on my sewing and Sissy begs every day for more bloomers. (She wants to wear dresses and skirts. She wants to climb trees. Bloomers and leggings. Says who girls can’t have it all? At least at three.)

          • All the uncles that like Elf were enthused by the idea of a little sword loving barbarian, and he’s something like the second-to-last of his family name that can still have kids.

            Not that being a girl has slowed Princess’ love of swords, although her sister prefers toy battle axes or maces…..

        • I had such an argument with my mother-in-law when I made the mistake of referring to what turned out to be The Daughter as ‘it.’ I told her we didn’t what the child would be; she said never refer to a person as an it. After a while I believe I learned better and switched to ‘baby.’

          • Good heavens. It was not that long ago that it was perfectly fine to refer to born babies and toddlers as “it”.

          • It’s one of those sore spots because the doctors that think their job is to avoid liability, not to get your baby here alive and in one piece, tend to say “it.”

  7. I miss the “I am woman, hear me roar” feminism in a lot of ways. Sure, misandry could still be there, but women believed themselves to be strong and capable and were bound and determined to prove it. They might think men suck and all that, but they wanted to just show us up. I’m fine with that. If you think you can beat me at something, beat me at it. If you succeed, I’ll congratulate you. If not, that’s fine too.

    Instead, today’s brand of feminism doesn’t want to rise above me, but to push me down until they’re on top. One requires the woman to earn hear place, the other is based on laziness of “I shouldn’t have to do anything, waaaaaaaa!” Earn it, and you get my respect as an equal. Demand it while offering nothing in return, and you will never have it and you will make things more difficult for the women who follow. After all, people begin to judge groups based on their experiences with said group. “I hate people from Michigan because the last four people I met from there were complete jerks!” Not right, but it’s human, unfortunately.

    If you want to change perceptions of women, start with yourself. Demand it of other women. Demand a fair opportunity, which is every human being’s right. Then show that people underestimate your group at their own peril. Enough of any group does that, and stereotypes die. Horribly.

    After all, Arthur Chu has managed to kill the stereotype of Asian automatically means intelligent rather handily. 😀

    • The annoying thing now is that “I am woman hear me roar” turns on a time to “poor little shinking-easily-offended-violet” without even missing a beat. Look, ladies – be one or the other.

      • There’s a gaggle of “neo-reactionaries” on the internet who (among other horrible ideas) want to go back to the “women are fragile little flowers who need to be sheltered from the world, and thus shouldn’t have any power” days of yore.

        Some days I wonder if some of the biggest “Social Justice Warriors” are really just reactionary “black knights”. The idea that “women are fragile little flowers who need to be sheltered from the world, and thus should have equal outcomes and equal power everywhere” starts with the same stupid premise, but is also so self-evidently insane that I don’t see how anyone could seriously try to promote it as a stable cultural idea, rather than as a stalking horse for the reactionary version.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          You can use appropriation and authenticity to justify denying legal protections to whatever ethnic population you don’t like.

          The left has for a very long time, perhaps from the beginning, lacked self awareness about some of the bug nuts insanity of certain goals and ideas.

          Take random terrorism for example. The commie theory was that hurting random innocents would make people want a change in government, rather than ticking everyone off. It never really worked that way, they kept on trying, they failed often. Because of soviet funding of international terrorism this false idea has a rather wide distribution.

          The combination of unfounded intellectual arrogance, lying for tactical gain, and relying on emotional arguments results in sliding into all sorts of odd positions.

          Combine that with some of them being genuinely mentally ill, possibly a danger to themselves and others, and the most effective advocates for oppressing a group are often enough the most extreme leftist activists for that group.

      • Agreed.

        Seriously, it’s enough to get a guy whiplash form the back and forth.

      • “I am Woman, hear me roar! But don’t applaud, I’m easily startled by loud noises.”

        I’m so glad to be married to a capable, competent, confident woman. I worry about my son – he’s had a ‘bad example’ in his mother, and the SJW types at school just don’t hold much appeal.

      • can’t a girl change her mind?


      • Patrick Chester

        From “hear me roar” to “hear me whinge” is the usual sarcastic remark, IIRC.

    • Sometimes, I don’t mind being pushed down until she’s on top. But only sometimes. 😀

    • Feminism has gone from tv’s Maude to needing hug rooms and safe spaces …. real advancement there

    • Sara the Red

      Yeah, the attitude of “But I shouldn’t HAVE to prove myself just because I’m a woman!” annoys me, too. Granted, I am not and never have been male, but I don’t think I’d be incorrect in guessing that, most of the time, men have to prove themselves to other men, too. They aren’t usually awarded preference of place “because male.” (Despite the ever-noisier narrative.)

      I hadn’t viewed today’s “feminism” in the light of infantilization/shoving women back into stupid archetypes…but holy crap, Sarah’s right: It’s the Angel in the House all over again… o.O

      • I think the only place I haven’t had to prove myself to other men is the restroom. Mostly though, that’s because it’s assumed that a woman wouldn’t normally enter the men’s restroom.

        • So, I guess that means you’ve never been in a restroom with one of those communal “trough” urinals?

          • Sara the Red

            And I know–because of brothers/father–that men have urinating contests when it’s feasible. 😉

            • My two boys when they were little had rooms that shared a bathroom. One day I came in in the middle of a peeing contest and younger son was winning it on style — upside down and backwards. No, you really don’t want to know — and still hitting the toilet. I shut up and went away.

              • As long as he gets in in or mops it up, who cares?

              • I think that boy deserves an award or something…

              • Sara the Red

                Oh…my. That is SUPER impressive.

                Yeah, it was a standing rule with my brothers that they were not allowed to stand up to pee. Because none of them could hit the toilet, and some health conditions/mental conditions amongst two thirds of them meant that making them clean the bathroom wasn’t really an option at that point, lol.

                Now, outside on family trips? Totally fair game. I believe my mother caught my father and next-younger brother attempting to write their names in the snow…

                • This reminds me of trying to potty train younger son. I had read something that suggested dropping Cheerios or Froot Loops in the toilet and having them play, “sink the boats”.

                  Younger son refused to try to sink the cereal. And I think I remember he tried to get me to save them.

                  • Sara the Red

                    Yeah…most toddlers I’ve ever met like to eat the cereal. I imagine trying to get them to pee on them (and then convince them NOT to eat them afterwards) is…problematic.

                    I haven’t got kids of my own yet, but when I do I think I’ll use my mother’s approach: rank bribery.

                  • I just fed younger son caramels when he did it in the potty. He associates caramels with bathrooms and is not fond of them.

                    • I have been reliably advised that the urinals at COSI (Center of Science and Industry) Columbus (Ohio) have concentric ring targets.

                      It is, by my direct (albeit decade old) experience, a wonderful place to spend at least a day.

                    • Res, you must have a bladder the size of an elephant if you spent all day there…

                    • Just a bad combination of undiagnosed Type II Diabetes and a preference for coca-cola (here’s a hint: the amount of liquid used to flush excess sugars from the bloodstream can exceed the water content of some beverages.) It ain’t how much you go, it’s how often.

                      You never want to stray too far from a facility. At one point my commute home from work was forty minutes and my bladder capacity about forty-five. Anyone admiring the pretty green colour of a traffic light was a mortal enemy of mine.

                • At one place of employment the office had unisex bathrooms; given the gender ratio of 20+ women to 3 men it was practical. Or at least it was before the lighting in one of them failed and went unrepaired for several days … until some wag noted that piddling in the dark wasn’t much of a problem for the ladies but presented a critical challenge to the men.

            • I once saw a woman writer cautiously inquire of her fans whether those were real, or just a metaphor. She was amply assured that yes, indeed, there are such things.

          • It has been a while…but isn’t that a case of proving to yourself that you’re man enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with other men while draining the bladder? 🙂

      • “You shouldn’t be exempt from proving yourself, just because you’re a woman.”

      • Granted, I am not and never have been male, but I don’t think I’d be incorrect in guessing that, most of the time, men have to prove themselves to other men, too. They aren’t usually awarded preference of place “because male.”

        If that was all it took, then why hasn’t my novel made it to the top of the New York Times bestseller list because dude?

      • Eamon J. Cole

        Heh. Looked at in the proper light, huge chunks of interpersonal behavior between men consists of proving, challenging, measuring. Much of it relatively benign.

        Much like re-checking the edge of a blade. “Are you still sharp?” Men just naturally check the mettle of their mates on the regular.

        If you’re paying attention this can be seen as readily in two mathematicians working in the outer bounds of theoretical equations as in two NFL lineman.

        • RealityObserver

          Three sisters. Very different criteria – but women do the same. Although I’m not sure about characterizing *that* as “relatively benign.”

          • Eamon J. Cole

            Oh, women certainly practice such a mechanism — geared in a different way.

            I just won’t try to speak intelligently on it.


        • That’s why I’m so amused when people think bronies are effeminate or childlike or something. The guy fans are soooo male! Bronies are probably the most competitive fans I’ve ever run across, which is why they are always having so many big solo and collaborative projects in the fandom. As I posted the other day, even the filkers are doing orchestral soundtracks, and the balloon guy is making giant life-sized balloon animals.

    • A while back I saw an article that now I can’t find, by someone off in Larry Elder’s corner, anyway it was about the founding of NOW — and its founder is reported as having said flat out to the writer’s face: “It’s not about equality, it’s about power.”

      Quite an eye-opener.

  8. interesting.

  9. I would be okay with going back to wermen & wyfmen so that we can have man/men be gender neutral again.

  10. Okay, I know this is a digression, but… How does the word “pao” sound like the thing? I know “bread” isn’t exactly onomatopoeia, but I don’t see how any alternative word *could* be; in my experience bread/pao/pan/etc is generally quite silent.

    • The same way people say that “glimmer” sounds like glimmering light.

      A lot of languages tend to have certain concepts and certain sounds associated with each other, although it’s never in a systematic way. Sometimes there is some deep etymological connection, like “sl-” words in English tend to be things like “slippery”, “slither,” “slash,” “slow,” “slump,” or “sleep.” There’s some kind of connection there, even when it’s not etymological, that makes those slippery phonemes sound “right” to English speakers.

      But that kind of thing is so tenuous and so far back in the waybacks that there’s not really anything you can prove or do with it, except make up new words for advertising (or proto-Indo-European root dictionaries).

  11. “THIS – this statistical fact – caused an educated woman to feel personally insulted.”

    To be insanely nitpicky, it wasn’t the statistical fact in itself that was the insult. It wasn’t even the (male) speaker’s speculation (not even an assertion!) that this statistical variation might be due in part to innate biological differences between male and female brains.

    It was her inference from that speculation that what the speaker really meant to convey was, “And therefore there is no point trying to increase the number of women who reach this level, because they’re biologically fated to never do any better than what’s currently occurring and the rest of you should shut up, take your shoes off, get in the kitchen and bring me a sammich afore yer labour pains start.”

    In other words, she felt insulted because she believed the insult was already there and was willing to read it into the barest excuse for that belief. Which is a mindset you really can’t argue with.

    • Sara the Red

      Well, and even in the (unlikely) event that the speaker really *was* insinuating that, fleeing the room crying and threatening to vomit and then throwing a huge fit is hardly going to do anything to help that attitude. I mean, how in the world is bursting into hysterics supposed to help any idea (real or imagined) that women are hysterical, weak creatures…?

      • That was what I wondered when it happened, Sara. her behavior was not exactly a persuasive counter-argument to the insult that wasn’t there (or to the data that were).

        • I, for one, stand up proudly for the vaporous belle’s innalienable right to demonstrate she’s really down in the lower end tail of the male bell curve.

        • Denouncing stereotyping through stereotypical behaviour is a form of performance art only comprehensible to those who think with their vajayjays.

      • Used to be if a man *actually* insulted a woman, he’d get slapped… and would thereby learn better.

        Which gives me the thought that today’s wussy attitudes may partially come out of the same place as the notion that one must never punish a child… and therefore one can never punish any other miscreant, either. And if you can’t punish them, you may end up fearing them — just like people who become afraid of the nipping puppy they never corrected that has grown up to be a biting dog.

        • Way back in the 5th grade (1967) had a well endowed girl in the class, and a boy who was alreay shaving. The female teacher was talking to the class as the girl passed in front of the boy on returning from the sex segrated bathrooms and he said something crude to her. She raised her hand- then turned around to look at the tacher. Who turned around and started writing on the blackboard without pausing. After the echo was done resounding, the teacher turned back towards the class and never missed a beat.

          Probably couldn’t happen today, but there were absolutely no repercussions from that days events back then.

    • And what her reaction tells me, and (I suspect) anybody with the sense the Gods gave a concussed bee, is that everything that woman has ever gotten is purely because she was female, AND SHE KNOWS IT. She KNOWS that she’s been coaxing on her lady parts all her life, and that if she ever had to compete for something she would lose. Now maybe she is panicked because she is afraid for her livelihood, and maybe she’s panicked because she knows that if she ever explicitly faces what a hollow thing she has become it will break her. But on some level she knows that they very last thing she can afford, if she wants her comfortable life to go on, is an honest evaluation of people on their merits.

      I think this explains a good deal. And I think that her problem is not unique to her. What concerns me is what happens when the American Blacks realize that their Ofay LIRP “friends” have put them in the same position?

  12. Sarah, you’re making me flog my addled memory before I’ve been sufficiently caffeinated, so blather may be the result:

    Reading this, I decided to chase the chocolate bunnies down the rabbit hole of swiss cheese that is my memory, all the way back to my earliest school years, where my first couple of teachers, who were undoubtedly far younger than I am now, were perceived by me as being hopelessly old and ossified.

    As near as I can remember (though this has to be considered in light of the fact that I didn’t pick up on such signals very well), when I was going to school (elementary and middle), they didn’t necessarily seem to think that boys or girls were more or less intelligent, but there did seem to be an expectation that the girls would be the ones to study their assignments and do their homework, and that boys would tend to be more erratic.

  13. And women were always great fighters throughout the ages. And, and, and…

    The White Queen would be so proud.

    • There were women who were great fighters. One of my favorites is the Sikh “Warrior-saint” Mai Bhago ( ). However, they were rare.

      I just had a talk last night with Athena on that point in fact. Women, by and large, tend to be weaker than men. Yes, some women are stronger than some men. Some women are stronger than the average, or even some “pretty strong” men. But by and large, men are stronger than women–given the same training and opportunities. Societies and cultural norms aren’t, as a rule, built on the several sigma outliers. They’re built on the norms, the averages.

      The great thing about industrial and technological society is that it takes away a lot of the advantage of physical strength and stamina. It allows a level of “equality” that pre-industrial civilizations simply cannot afford.

      • Well, that and firearms. Sam Colt made all women equal too.

        • Occasionally you would get a woman who did brute strength, but that was usually in areas where most guys were tiny. Women fighters generally have to be very fast and very good, or have good aim and projectile weapons; and it definitely helped to be leading troops instead of being in the troop.

          • I was recently reading a fantasy in which the (female) author made the burly-shouldered smith a woman. I just rolled my eyes. She also had polyamorous marriages for everybody, with almost no mention of the difficulties that would entail. And she had all of her characters randomly switch from being attracted to a man to being attracted to a woman. It felt like they were some kind of strange aliens, because that is just not the way it works in humans.

            Sigh. It kept throwing me out of the story. I did manage to finish it though.

            • I did manage to finish it though.


              • A streak of masochism? Actually, there were some parts of the story that were okay. But I probably don’t give up finishing novels nearly quick enough.

            • I’ve known farm girls who’d be completely believable as blacksmiths. Then again they were big strapping lasses to start with, and grew up bucking 80 pound bales every day.

              • Back in the early 30s, Marie Dressler was the #1 female star in Hollywood.

                In Min & Bill she went toe-to-toe with Wallace Beery, and matched him again as the titular character in Tugboat Annie.

                In MGM’s star-filled gala, Dinner at Eight she not only got top billing over Jean Harlow, two Barrymores and Wallace Beery, she got the film’s last (and best) line:

                [Harlow]: I was reading a book the other day.
                [Dressler]: Reading a book?
                [Harlow]: Yes. It’s all about civilization or something. A nutty kind of a book. Do you know that the guy says that machinery is going to take the place of every profession?
                [Dressler]: Oh, my dear, that’s something you need never worry about.

                There could be no doubt about Dressler’s ability to spank a blacksmith.

                • Ha! very good! Not being an old movie buff I’d never heard of her, but she’s got pizazz!

                • Dang — here’s the picture that failed to come through:

                  That is one rooster not long for this world.

                  According to Wiki,She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1930–31 for Min and Bill and was named the top film star for 1932 and 1933.while IMDB reports she “won the coveted exhibitor’s poll as the most popular actress for three consecutive years.” and “Was named the top box-office star of 1933 by the Motion Picture Herald, based on an annual poll of exhibitors as to the drawing power of movie stars at the box-office conducted by Quigley Publications.

              • I had a teensy tiny roommate in college who also did stone sculpture.

                She could pick up anyone. Nobody arm wrestled her.

            • Jim Butcher did a pretty believable description of his friend Michael’s wife Charity as a blacksmith. She is a tall, sturdy, well-built woman when modestly dressed, as she usually is, but when she changed into armor to go into a fight, uncovering a lot of her body, she looked almost like a female bodybuilder.

              This was explained as being not only because she makes her husband’s armor, but because she also fences with him, to keep him in practice.

        • Not all equal, just potentially so. Not all women have wrists as strong as men’s (although I wouldn’t bet against any milkmaid) and some of them need smaller hand-grips, too.

          • Hey! Shoo, shoo, get out of my computer. My blog piece tomorrow is “bad firearms advice.” (Like “try a mouse gun (.22) for self-defense because you have small hands.”)

            • That proposal ALWAYS cracks me up! As an object lesson for your post, may I suggest a young competitive shooter by the name of Molly Smith to you? She graduated high school last year and is nearly as petite today as she was the first time she showed up at the Bianchi Cup at the age of 13. A 13 year old Lady with an 8-shot .38 Special S&W revolver with custom grips for her tiny hands that handled her firearm more competently and safely than a number of older, more experienced shooters on my range. She started shooting at 11, and I recently found out that Smith is the very pistol that she won at her first pistol competition.

              This is her, here:

            • What do you recommend? Got some tiny meathooks myself. Ruger Single Six fits like a glove. Anything bigger is a struggle. Even a small frame Glock is too big for me to reach the mag release.

            • Ooh. Must come read that.

        • Depending on the firearms being used, having a woman around is a huge advantage– I know that my mom is much faster at loading than my dad is, and historically a rough division of “guys kneeling and shooting from one position, women reloading, pulling the wounded back and taking shots of opportunity” were extremely effective.

          • For a perfect example of that, I give you the siege of the Bragg house, during the Comanche raid on Elm Creek, Texas, towards the end of the Civil War. A young soldier on convalescent leave defended a house full of women and children for most of a day against a concerted attack, with the women loading and reloading for him.
            Full story here –

      • There have been surprising anomalies in any group.

        I just find it amusing that all the various self-contradictions that are being used to define the generic all-woman, rather than admitting that individual women, like individual men, vary.

      • A bit over 30 years ago, I sat in on a survivalist discussion group being run by the sensei with whom I was studying at the time. This particular discussion was on the likely shape of society that would develop after “things fall apart.”

        I joined the group arguing that, presuming modern industrial society was gone, so was equality between the sexes – rule of the strong, pseudo-feudal enclaves, bandits and raiders, women valued and protected for their reproductive capabilities, and so on. The opposing group argued that nothing much would change, and that what we expected would never happen, because “that would be wrong.”

        I did not find their argument compelling.

        • It’s not. They’re at war with reality.

        • I sat in on a survivalist discussion group … on the likely shape of society that would develop after “things fall apart.” … nothing much would change, and that what we expected would never happen, because “that would be wrong.”

          Sounds like those folks had as much purpose in a “survivalist discussion group” as in a “what if the Avengers(TM) really assembled?” group.

        • There are biological reasons traditional gender roles exist, and if things fall apart, there’s a very real reason to go back to them.

          First, if you’re trying to rebuild society, at some point you’re going to have to start having lots of kids. Not two or three, but more like eight or nine. If not more. During pregnancy, women get to a point where physical labor becomes difficult, which puts them in the home where they can perform more of the necessary duties in such a condition. Then, when the babies are born, they will need to be on hand to breast feed. No more formula, after all. This means no running off and hunting or fighting wars, but a very real need to stay at home to care for the young. Men are capable of doing a lot of that, sure…but I’ve never seen a man lactate.

          I’m really all about the sexes being “equal” in as many was as possible, but I’m also a realist. Biology does play a factor in these things. It wasn’t just because some of our ancient ancestors said, “Dude, we should totally keep women at home and not let them do anything ‘important’, you know. We can call it The Patriarchy. We can bring cookies!”

  14. sabrinachase

    Just one comment on the fraught issue of women and math, since I was very much connected to the subject when the incident in question occurred:
    Mr. Summers was an idiot. The fainting couch professor was an idiot. Just because they argue with each other doesn’t mean one of them has to be right–they can BOTH be wrong, just for different reasons.

    Summers, as a senior administrator of a very prestigious technical university, HAD to know about the pipeline problem. It has been discussed in STEM circles for many, many years. This means you can’t hire women professors if there weren’t enough women graduate students to filter up to be professors, and there weren’t enough women starting graduate school, etc. The actual bottleneck occurs in junior high, so it is not something *he* needed to apologize or find excuses for. Especially not an excuse that, given the data he cited, could *also* be used to justify racial disparities in addition to gender disparities. IF you believe that data is the last word on human ability (which for the record I don’t) you have to accept ability in math is a function of race as well as gender. If that makes you feel uncomfortable, consider that the study may not be measuring what it thinks it is measuring. Much like the graph that correlates global warming with the number of pirates 😀

    Summers also conflated mathematical genius with mathematical ability. For a physicist (as I recall, the department under discussion at the time) even the cutting-edge theorists don’t need to be cutting edge *mathematicians*. Math, for us, is a TOOL. So even if you accept his argument that women aren’t going to be making earth-shattering mathematical discoveries, it doesn’t matter for the hiring of physicists. The hiring pool would still be rummaging around in the thick section of the gaussian distribution of math skills for both men and women.

    For the Avoidance of Doubt: I do not support, condone, or agree with double standards, physical or mental.

    • “The actual bottleneck occurs in junior high, so it is not something *he* needed to apologize or find excuses for.”

      Out of curiosity, what do you think causes the bottleneck?

      • Feather Blade

        Something about boys being less interested in the hard sciences until they realize that such sciences can be used to make things explode, which is cool and fun.

        And girls realizing that after you make things explode, someone has to clean up the mess, which is no fun at all.

        My best guess at any rate.

        • someone has to clean up the mess, which is no fun at all.

          Yes, cleanup can be a lot of fun, when using an appropriate amount of explosives…….

          • Exactly, if there’s a mess to clean up, you obviously didn’t use enough to start with! Kind of the corollary to, “If you’re leaving scorch marks, you need a bigger gun.”

      • Birthday girl

        I’m wondering why the bottleneck is pegged at Jr. High? I saw it in High School, as soon as the required-for-graduation math classes were out of the way, the number of girls in more advanced math classes plummeted. I saw in college that there were more women in the college of Science than in the college of Engineering, and those all were dwarfed by the number in the college of Education. That was many years ago, before any of the movements to encourage girls in STEM, so I look upon it as a more self-selected distribution absent initiatives to push girls into STEM.

        • In my high school, there was a trend – the girls hated the math classes, EXCEPT for Trigonometry, while the boys hated Trig. I talked to one girl who liked them all. Wish I had had the gonads to ask her out.

          • *Raises hand* I loved trig in college. Dropped math after geometry in High School. The difference was in trig we were doing real-world applications (will this bridge stand up?) versus pages and pages of exercises and/or proofs. My mental wiring really needs a solid, real-world tether to build on, and I build by association rather than vertical stacking (which is how I think of advanced math, chemistry and physics). Not certain how typical I am, but I tend to pull science in through language, as opposed to most guys I know, who tend to drag language into science and math.

            • The difficulty with my personal sampling is that it may be contaminated by the fact that there was only one Trig teacher (male, so not, “I’m going to make boys’ lives horrible because they are male”), and it may have been personality bias.

          • Interesting. I did well in most math and I loved trig. I had boys. They hate trig. NO IDEA WHY. Dan loves trig.

            • This thread requires a Trig Warning.

            • Birthday girl

              I did well in all math, but never loved any of it. Well, maybe Geometry, for the proofs. I loved proofs, so stinkin’ easy and no pesky calculations.

              • I hated proofs. All they are is “showing your work” and I prided myself on not doing any “work” and still coming up with the right answer. 🙂

            • RealityObserver

              Seems everybody has a different story…

              Two daughters, one boy. Daughter #1 is NOT mathematical in any way. Daughter #2 is a whiz – but has very little interest; she’s a budding writer / visual artist. Son is also a whiz – but no interest in STEM especially (much prefers to work with his hands).

              Going through school, I helped every one of them with their math homework. *Except* anything to do with geometric constructions; I sailed through four years of college calculus, but do *not* ask me to construct the tangent to a circle, or drop a perpendicular line. *Those* problems got dumped on my spouse, who has no problem whatsoever with such mysteries – and who I really, deep down, don’t trust to do the grocery shopping and stay anywhere in shouting distance of the budget.

            • Trig was fun! It annoys the pants off people when you can interpolate the trig tables faster in your head than they can on paper. (Oops, gray hair showing)

          • Trig wasn’t that. Now, Geometry, that was horrible. (Got an A, still, but horrible.)

          • In my high school, there was a trend – the girls hated the math classes, EXCEPT for Trigonometry, while the boys hated Trig.

            Weird. I don’t remember having any strong feelings towards trig. I hated Geometry and like algebra/calculus. I always heard you tended to like one and hate the other.

            • Huh. I loved algebra, trig, and geometry, found them all quite easy, but hated calculus. I’m good with theorems and equations and proofs, and that’s what my high school’s teaching of the first three concentrated on. Got to college calculus and it was all application without any theory, and that’s where I floundered. I needed the theory to understand math; I didn’t learn math from examples or applications.

              • Aah, yes — that would do it — my calc teacher was good about explaining both the mathematical foundation and the applications it had been developed to address. But then he was fantastic all around.

          • I rather liked algebra but geometry was the bane of my existence. I still hate proofs to this day.

            • In my sons’ high school, they didn’t do proofs in Geometry, they only did computational Geometry. I believe they did get a few basics of Euclid’s theorems in order to determine how to calculate sides and angles which were not explicitly stated, but nothing complex.

      • Sara the Red

        Honestly? I think the bottleneck has everything to do with the massive suck-fest that is the vast majority of public schools (at least, public schools in America). Out of the many, many teachers I had in grade school–particularly in the sciences and math–only one was ever not only actually passionate about the subject, but was also an honest-to-goodness scientist. (He needed the job.) And while he had his flaws (a theoretical physicist attempting to teach ninth-grade level physics is not necessarily going to work as well as you might think) he did care. But when the school board decided not to renew his contract after the first year (because he made science “too hard” if I recall right) he had no ducks left to give. My teacher the following year set the classroom on fire because she had zero common sense (potassium + high humidity + poor storage practices = Bad Things). All of my math teachers were sports coaches–the math thing was just because. (In fairness, one of them was quite a decent math teacher, and he did care about the subject. But his priority–the priority of the school–was the sports. It was never anything to do with gender (I never once heard “you can’t do math as well because you’re a girl”), it was because most of the teachers either weren’t skilled enough to teach the subject well, didn’t give a damn, or both. (Or weren’t paid enough to care at all.) Add to that the whole “standardized testing” nonsense that has supplanted actual education, and…well, I’m hardly surprised that STEM is desperate for people (regardless of gender).

        *ahem* ::looks faintly embarrassed:: Okay, so public schooling is a bit of a hot-button subject for me. TL;DR version: because the state of public education sucks is why, not “gender bias.” At least in my opinion.

        • a theoretical physicist attempting to teach ninth-grade level physics is not necessarily going to work as well as you might think

          Oh, HELL. It was bad enough when we had that situation in my first-year COLLEGE Physics class. I can only imagine the difficulties in your class. Our high school Physics teacher was a very bright, but very poor communicating, person. I tended to play translator for him when I was in his class.

          • Sara the Red

            Yeah–I do agree that good communication skills will trump expertise any time. With that particular science teacher…I actually think he could have been quite good, given the chance. His problem was inexperience-as-a-teacher; overall, I got the impression that he was quite a good communicator, he just needed some practice in ‘dumbing’ things down for a bunch of fourteen year olds. But he never got the chance, sadly, and those who followed sucked at both science AND communication.

            • My cello prof had that problem. We–his studio–tag teamed and ran interference in theory class with him. ‘Doc, I didn’t get that,’ until he finally managed to get down to sophomore-college-student level. He mentioned after the fact that he’d never had a theory class do so well. Yep, Doc, your three cellists and two bassists–a quarter of the class–ganged up on you and never let on we did. And you explained every topic five times.

          • I had the professor who wrote the textbook for my statics class. I actually learned statics the night before the final in a review of all the homework problems with people who had a different professor.

            Ability to communicate is important.

        • No, you’re wrong: it is gender bias.

          Because it is easier (and more lucrative) to pretend to be doing something about gender bias than about public education. It also steps on the right toes, whereas attempting to address the flaws in public education steps on the wrong toes.

        • “a theoretical physicist attempting to teach ninth-grade level physics is not necessarily going to work as well as you might think”

          Heard THAT. In 1974-75 my Father took a year’s sabbatical at the Princeton Institute For Advanced Study. That out me in the John Witherspoon Middle School in the Princeton Public Schools, and they were a disaster. Open classrooms, drone teachers. I did damn all that year aside from reading the complete Herge’s Adventures of Tintin, ROUGHING IT, and THE BLACK ARROW. I did ONE homework assignment the whole year; a page of algebra problems that flat baffled me. Not only did I not understand why the answers were, I didn’t understand what the QUESTIONS were. And I hadn’t been given a text to read, or told word one about “solve for X”. I took there hours getting my Father (accustomed to dealing mostly with Grad Students) to explain something he considered elementary in words an eighth grader could understand.

          Then I finished that page of questions in about 30 minutes. When I went to hand it in the “Teacher” told be “oh, you don’t hand that in.”. My answers weren’t going to be checked. Nobody would even know if I had done any work.

          So I stopped doing any work.

          I believe that there is a special circle of Hell for “Teachers” like that fat, smelly, nanny goat. I hope she understands why she is in it, but I suspect she is too stupid to understand.

          People accustomed to dealing with those who already HAVE the basics are frequently awful at explaining them. They consider some steps so obvious that they go without saying, and so they unconsciously leave them out. It’s a little bit of experience that I have used on both sides of the Teacher/Student equation. When a student doesn’t understand, I tell them “I’m going to go over this in as simple a way as I can. I’m not doing this because I think you are stupid. I’m doing it because I strongly suspect that there’s some dead simple thing that I’m forgetting to tell you. Watch me, and interrupt if I do anything – ANYTHING – that I don’t explain.”. When a teacher is failing to make me understand, I say “I’m going to go through what I understand you to have told me, slowly. When I get to a step that you know, and I don’t do it, stop me. Because I’m sure you are leaving something so simple that you consider it obvious out, and for some reason it isn’t obvious to me.”

        • Where I went to school (Montana, class of 1972) sports were always second fiddle to academics. Our schools were consistently in the top 1% nationwide. We also had good sports teams (my high school was state football champ for years on end) but our school heroes were the eggheads.

          Peer pressure was a big factor. If you were used to getting A’s, it was embarrassing to be seen with a B.

          And we had excellent teachers. In fact I can only think of one who wasn’t good in my whole k-12 experience, and just one more in college.

          And we were disciplined. Fannies in seats, eyes on the blackboard, no backtalk. No computers, no fancy gear, just you, the teacher, and the subject.

          Then I lived in SoCal for 28 years and saw the walking-talking results of an educational system that was falling apart. For some years my tenant there was a 10th grade teacher, and her big complaint was lack of discipline among her students, and that she wasn’t allowed to do anything about outlaws disrupting class.

        • Math and history: two classes you can “teach” by reading directly from the book, at least well enough for people to pass a test.

      • sabrinachase

        From what I have been able to gather (personal pile of anecdata…) it’s a combination of factors.

        – as mentioned below, bad math teachers. I had some execrable ones, and then I got REALLY lucky and hit a very good one, and it was off to the races from that point onward. (Same thing with science teachers. The bad are really bad, the good really good.)

        – Junior high is about where the optional or “track” level math starts to show up. Many of my female colleagues in grad school were from Europe or China. There, if you want to go to college (academic track) you took math, no option. Funny how well they did when they had to 😉

        – math is the most abstract subject we learn. It is extremely difficult to get caught up, especially past high school. (In college you are drinking from the firehose in *all* your classes, especially in STEM, so trying to pick up the slack in math is nearly impossible). To have a chance of physics, a student needs to have a working knowledge of calculus *before* starting college. Major Anecdata Case #1: Chemistry grad students were close to 50% women at the college I went to. I asked them why not physics (we were working on the same research!) and they all pretty much said the math prerequisites. They were not dumb–doing it the chemistry way, to me, is *harder*. But they hadn’t been able to catch up on the math in time. One year of “I don’t feel like it” in high school can scuttle the physics option.

        I was very fortunate in my friends in junior high. Male friends. Because of the craptastic math teachers I had experienced, math class for me == boring and tedious. The idea of deliberately taking a harder math class than I absolutely had to was nuts. But my friends were taking Honors math and wanted me to be in the same class with them, and I allowed them to persuade me 😀 WOW. It was geometry, with proofs, instead of rote memorization. It was like codes and puzzles, and I LOVED it. The teacher was superb (and a woman….). That’s all it took for me. Ended up with a math minor in college, even.

        • To have a chance of physics, a student needs to have a working knowledge of calculus *before* starting college.

          I had students in my high school calculus class who were also taking physics (I didn’t, science was the only ‘real’ subject I skipped senior year!). My calculus teacher would stop periodically to teach them something they needed for physics.

          • sabrinachase

            Yeah, that happens 😉 You have to be *fluent* in calculus to do well at physics. It is the language everything happens in.

            True story: Taking Calculus III in college. They introduced the concept of vectors in class. Unit vectors. (this is like talking about tricycles to Formula I racers. Physics starts with vectors and then gets cruel with them.) My friend and I joked as we studied for the final how nice it would be if one of the full-response show your work problems would be the “scary” unit vector stuff. Guess what was on the final…which my friend and I saw at the same time…and laughed out loud in the classroom. The poor professor (a nice guy, from Poland) said “I didn’t know it was funny when I wrote it!” 😀

            • This is where I got into trouble in college: C in Calculus I, A in Physics I. This is not supposed to happen, and I struggled for that C while I coasted for the A. Advisers were baffled too.

              So, since it was obvious NASA wasn’t going to send settlers to Mars on time for me to be one, I dropped the Physics major and focused on music. I wasn’t sure I could pass any more Calculus.

              So now I have kids who are pretty decent at math and I’m going to be helping with Calculus soon (or sending them to college very early). Which I never understood at all and don’t remember any of.

            • Speaking of funny things in Calc III, our professor was completely blind. Nice a fellow as you’d ever want to meet. Of course, vector diagrams were a challenge for him. He tried to keep a finger wherever he needed to start drawing again. About halfway through, the guys in the front row who were cruising through the class found out they could get him to drop his finger by asking a question in the middle of a drawing, as he tended to talk with his hands. After that, the drawings got interesting.

        • Idiot schools, too, Sabrina, instead of helping the girls are handicapping the boys. Both boys barely got through middle school because the schools were “helping” girls with group work and more ribbons and coloring. Thereby making everyone dumber, no exceptions.
          I agree with you, math SHOULD be mandatory up to a point. Was for me through 9th grade. (Pre-calc)

    • Now, I haven’t read that speech for a few years, but I didn’t get the same things from it.

      What I got from it was that, based on his observations of the preferences of his children, even though he and his wife took some pains to attempt to make their opportunities (to choose what games they would play and what what toys they would play with) as equal as possible, that at least PART of the distribution of women in STEM majors was inherent in the biological differences between males and females. And that the woman who got so offended immediately upscaled that (as I have seen in several of these kinds of reports) into him having declared that all women were inferior to men.

  15. The problem is bureaucracies are stupid. They can’t see finer shades such as “allow exceptional individuals to be wherever they belong” or “just let people be people.” No, they hear “make women and men equal and by gum, they’re going to do it if it requires being at war with reality.

    They apparently took the wrong lesson from the Procrustes’ myth of the bed that fits perfectly.

  16. . It was as stupid as when preachers use English to decide that there is some arcane meaning in the Bible.

    Worse, they use modern implications… yes, it’s bad to not grasp that English has amazing shades of meaning, even if things like other languages saying “holy one” where we say “saint” keep startling me, but how can one try to interpret something and ignore all the allusions around when it was written?
    I can remember reading some long, angsty thing on what “my God, my God, why have you abandoned me” meant because Jesus was clearly despairing….
    Except it was normal to do a partial quote to convey a lot of information, even if you weren’t near death. And that’s psalm 22.
    Which turns the “obvious” meaning on its head.

    • Then there is that classic example where a word was translated as witch instead of poisoner which seems to have resulted in more than one crazy spinster cat lady being put to death.
      Not to mention the terrible mistake when celebrate was misread as celibate.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Sorry, but the Hebrew word translated as “witch” does not mean poisoner.

        Oh, the celibate/celebrate “mix-up” doesn’t sound like a real mix-up.

        I heard the “celibate/celebrate mix-up” as a joke not a “real thing”.

      • Oddly enough, that’s one of the cases where the explanation is wrong– most everyone puts “witches” to death, and most of the witch-hunts were simply a return to the traditions of the area. Go figure, humans attack and kill scapegoats.

        Christians were kind of unpopular in part because they stopped people from killing “witches.” (here if you’re interested)

        Also, there are several different words used that are translated as “witch,” some of which are poisoner (Greek, IIRC), some of which are (from my limited research) specific types of malicious magic users. (ancient Hebrew)

        • Sara the Red

          Heh, yeah. Despite what many folks nowadays will claim, Christians did not (and do not) hold the corner market on “doing horrible things to your neighbors.” That’s pretty much an unfortunate given of human nature. (The worse bits of tribalism, even–destroy the outsider!)

          • OTOH, thinking that “doing horrible things to your neighbors” is bad seems uniquely Judeo-Christian.

          • For instance, Christians weren’t feeding themselves (or anyone else) to the lions.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              But but… Those Christians deserved that because they didn’t worship the God-Emperor!!! [Sarcasm]

              Now I think Christians are hated because we don’t “worship” the God-State. [Frown]

              • Roman civil religion was a contract – the residents of the Empire made at least a small sacrifice and mouthed praises, and the gods took care of everything else. So when a group of residents refused to make even the smallest token bit of an offering to the gods, and bad things happened to the Empire, well . . .

                • It’s more complicated than that. People of Jewish religion was exempted (even after the rebellions), because Jews had an ancient, respectable religion. Christianity was new, and therefore iffy.

                  The Japanese apparently feel likewise, which is why they have a special government classification for all “new religions.”

        • specific types of malicious magic users. (ancient Hebrew)

          That’s the version I heard.

          • Basically, don’t try to force prophesy or do nasty things with dead bodies, and you’re pretty much certain to be on the right side of the law.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I think it goes beyond scapegoating.

          Yes, scapegoating can inform one’s speculation when one does not have a theory about what kinds of magic are and are not possible.

          The types of magic in folklore are often enough on the level of lethal force in those sorts of societies. Which means that someone thought capable of it would have considerable power of extortion, and that someone who has been led to believe another is capable of it would have grounds for self defense.

          Our society has a much larger fraction of Christians and Materialists than most societies with witch hunts. Christians more or less believe that human magic does not have power over them. (That famous period of witch hunts? I think you or Mary pointed out that there had been a widespread crisis of faith.) Materialists at least nominally do not believe in magic. We often enough disbelieve those of us who think they have magic powers. Social pressures may have altered whether these ‘magic users’ of our society think they can have powers with actionable effects.

          • Patrick Chester

            Meanwhile I’m annoyed that “magic” like what’s in the Grimnoir series or even things like below don’t really exist:

            “Wait, what?”

          • Depends on how you define materialists; the biggest outbreak (in Christian areas, which are where we’ve got decent records….) of folks claiming to be able to do magic was proto-scientific.

            There were probably folks who claimed to have “powers,” but all too often the evidence was that they were doing better than their neighbors. (Again, in those cases where we actually have records.)

          • One of the overlooked drivers of the witch craze, particularly in the Germanies, was “civil asset forfeiture” — witch hunters got to keep the goods. In England, which had the concept of property rights, there wasn’t nearly as much.

            • Ooohhhhh! Good thing we’ve never adopted that civil asset forfeiture nonsense here in America.

            • More likely it’s that in England, the law did not recognize witchcraft as an “excepted crime” — that is, all the usual standards of evidence applied. You have to have some evidence that the alleged injury was indeed witchcraft, that it came from a certain person, etc.

              The reason I think it more likely is that in Italy and Spain, their respective Inquisitions held witchcraft to the same standard and also had very few trials. Furthermore, the decline of witch crazes stemmed from enforcement of the standard rules of evidence.

              • An “excepted crime” — you mean the way the current Administration is pushing colleges and universities to treat rape accusations?

                • Must be the season of the witch, once again.

                • Or like the “improvement” our government has added to get around that irksome “innocent until proven guilty” standard by bringing the criminal charge against the property rather than the person? The first step in challenging the process is to have to file a court motion to “intervene” in the case against the property.

      • You write as if there were a big difference. Putting a secret powder into someone’s food and causing them to die — why, that’s magic. That is, it’s unknown causality — like willow-bark tea for pain.

      • In the “classic example”, the confusion seems to have an intermediate step. The Hebrew מכשפה mechashefa definitely translates as “witch” (as in “practitioner[ess] of supernatural arts”).

        It’s in the Greek Septuagint translation that confusion arises. The translation for Exodus 22:18 (22:17 in Hebrew editions) uses the term φαρμακοὺς pharmakous—which also means “witch”, but sounds like it could mean “poisoner”.

    • My favorite example of this type of nonsense is the argument that Moses led the Israelites across the reed sea, which is shallow and thus easily divided (which, now I think on it, hardly explains the subsequent drowning of Pharaoh’s armies) — which fails to account for the possibility that the Hebrew names for the two seas hardly account for such a confusion.

      As the Sage of Saturday Night was wont to say, “Never mind.”

      • I never understood what the point of the “argument” was. Yes, the Hebrew ים־סוף yam-suf translates as “Reed Sea”, but that’s almost certainly referring to one of the gulfs of what our maps call the Red Sea.

      • Sara the Red

        Heh. You know, there was a similar (if less important and hugely amusing problem) with the Romanian version of the Bible. See, “Mare” means both ‘sea’ and ‘big’ in Romanian, and ‘rosii’ means both ‘red’ and ‘tomato’ in Romanian. So someone who was determined to be stupid could read that as Moses parting the Big Tomato…

        You’d think people would have the sense to realize that, in any given translation from one language to another (and then another, and so on), you’re gonna get mistranslations, discrepancies, and outright screwups…

        • And the miracle was, he cut that tomato with his staff rather than a sharp knife…

          • Sara the Red


            (Another good one was a passage about Christ healing the withered–which in English means crippled limbs, etc. In Romanian it got translated to “wrinkled” which led to a few of us Romanian-as-a-second-language speakers blinking and going…”Wait, so it says he cured old age…?” In that case, I think the problem lay with the fact that the person doing the translation a.) had Romanian as a second language and b.) also didn’t actually realize what ‘withered’ really meant in English…)

          • After first using it to saw through one of the bricks that they made without straw – and it still cut the Big Tomato!.

            • Seems there was a whole lot of detail I seem to have missed when retelling the story at my Passover seder. ☺

              • sabrinachase

                “if his only gifted kitchen implement had been a really sharp tomato knife, we would be content.” 😀

                • Sara the Red

                  Why does no one ever bring up the sheer stupidity of Pharoah’s military leaders, either? I mean, who looks at two towering walls of seawater on either side that the guy you’re chasing has apparently just caused to happen, and thinks “It’s totally a great idea to follow him in there”?

                  • While God was hardening Pharaoh’s mind, He apparently hardened the brains of the generals, too. Although it’s hardening the horses’ brains that is really impressive.

                  • Play with the idea that the parting of the Red Sea was actually something that happened, and not the miraculous paired walls o’ water. The most likely phenomenon responsible for that sort of thing happening is that there was a tsunami event deeper into the Red Sea, or perhaps, even in the Indian Ocean. I’ve seen speculation that the timing of Exodus can be matched to several different geologically verified historical events, among them a tsunami event that deposited a huge swathe of material on the African coastline.

                    Were that the case, Pharoah’s army might well have been trailing Moses, and found the path leading across what would appear to be a wide swathe of muddy plain. Halfway out, the tsunami comes in, and goodbye Pharoah’s army of chariots, hello biblical account of Moses parting the Red Sea.

                    In other words, it may not have been sheer stupidity or hubris, it may simply have been an unfamiliarity with certain oceanic phenomenon and local geography. I mean, if you didn’t know there was supposed to be sea there, why not follow the tracks of the Israelites?

                    Where this may fall down is in the timing, however: The theory presupposes either a really narrow branch of the sea to cross, and really tight timing, or a lot of delay between sea going out and then coming back in. How that delay factor came in, I haven’t seen a good explanation for, as of yet.

                    Of course, poor military judgment is sort of a tradition for people operating in Egypt. Look at Cambyses and his lost army that he sent off into the uncharted desert to raze the temple of Amun at the Siwa oasis. 50,000 men, and we still don’t know where they wound up, supposedly buried by a sandstorm.

              • admit it, if you introduced a giant tomato suddenly, it would bring your listeners to sudden and total alertness. Of course they might also pelt you with matzos and I understand people can die of that.

                • Only Israeli Matzot are weaponized. As for the heavy matzoh balls they are mini cannon balls in disguise.

                  • True story. Friend made matzo ball soup and didn’t know about letting the balls absorb liquid before putting them into the soup. He called his mother and asked if she’d gotten the directions wrong, since all he had were funny looking knodels and no soup left. 😀 I’ll let you imagine the sounds we (very amused bystanders) heard coming from the phone.

                • They did make a movie about that- “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”. Apparently not as bad as “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, but that’s not saying much.

    • I found a free Kindle book that looked kooky-but-interesting. But even the game of collecting errors became boring when the author tried to teach a deep lesson: he connected the Biblical names Cain (קין, QYN) and Canaan (כנען, KN‘N)—based on their English transliterations and completely ignorant of the fact that the two words share only a single letter in Hebrew (the final nun = N).

      My one-star Amazon review to this effect got this response: “This book is an eye opener, and not suited for those who wish to remain in their bubbles of religious delusions.” (No, the book was not E——s T——a, nor was the author N——n B——n.)

      • *headdesk*
        “Get into MY bubble of religious delusions and stop hassling me with facts!

        • Once upon a time, in an online discussion, a New Ager declared that the Bible teaches “Be your own guru,” and cited, “your body is a temple of the holy Spirit.”

          I quoted the context: “Avoid fornication. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the fornicator sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”

          He insisted it still meant that.

          Another person, an atheist IIRC, tried to argue the point with him — no, it means avoid fornication — but he was adamanet.

      • If it wasn’t Norm, then that means there’s two of them. *shudder*

    • Heard a good one from a neighbor. You see (quoth the neighbor), the Lost Tribes of Israel wandered north. The name of the Tribe of Dan means “snake-like” or “winding,” and they kept wandering west and north, along the DANube, DNieper, DNiester, and other rivers until they reached what is modern DAN(e)mark. And a few kept wandering farther, to Wales, which is why the name Morgan (“born of water”) is so common.

      I made lots of fascinated noises and a “That’s really interesting. I had not heard that before” in an appreciative tone. (He’s in his late 80s or early 90s. Good people, just a little off in some of his histories.)

      • Professor Badness

        Yeah, heard similar things from my Great Grandmother.
        Something about how Mary, Mother of Jesus, inexplicably moved to Wales after the cruxifiction and how it is part of our family history.
        Strange, but we just nodded our heads and smiled.

        • Professor Badness

          “crucifixion”…man am I dumb sometimes.

          • Actually, the Danube stuff is pretty much all your Celtic river goddess thing, as I recall. Don, Donets, Dnieper, Dniestr… so basically, the connection wasn’t wrong, but the connection they made with it was wrong.

            So it’s just barely possible that the Danu- river goddesses did have a Indo-European name related to “winding.” But not from the Tribe of Dan.

            • Yeah, it seems to be pretty much accepted that *danu is the Indo-European root for river. The Rhone River’s original name seems to have one of two Indo-European roots, meaning either “river” or “to roll” (like Rhine).

      • Is it inappropriate to point out that the name Morgan didn’t actually exist prior to about the 11th century? Oh and that it is likely it comes from Norman attempts to pronounce actual Welsh names that superficially sound similar?

        • In general, no. In that particular moment, yeah, it would have been. Like I said, he’s a very nice gentleman (in the best sense of the word) and it wasn’t the time or place to poke holes in his theory.

      • There is a legend to the effect that during one of the civil wars wars between the tribes in the Book of Judges, some Ephraimites (the folks who pronounced shibboleth as sibboleth) fled the land and didn’t stop running until they got to Europe. But it’s not coincidence of names behind this legend, but the fact that Lithuanian Jews’ accent also did not distinguish between sh and s.

        • Joel… Portuguese, particularly Northern Portuguese has a real trouble with that distinction. 😉 (All ending s is sh, but people from behind the mountains tend to say sh all the time.) Dan’s comment first time he heard Portuguese en masse “rrrr shhh rrrr sh, you sound like the tide coming in.” 😀

    • I’m a little embarrassed that I never made that connection. I mean, from a Christian perspective it’s clearly one of the Messianic psalms, and I’d read it before, but never connected that opening line. *shakes head* You learn something every day. Thanks, Fox.

      • I only found out because Jimmy Akin is a total geek and dropped it as a side-note when he was chattering about something totally different and wanted an illustration that people would be familiar with– one of those things where you go “…wait a minute, how did folks not get that?” (Probably on Catholic answers, but I wouldn’t swear to it. Call in radio podcasts, for the win.)

        I mean, it’s not like the Psalms are obscure, and that’s kind of a famous Jesus quote…..

        I’m just glad someone else found it as interesting as I did. 😀

  17. A critical element of bureaucratic operation is the metric. Ways must be found to measure whatever the bureaucracy is charged with achieving, no matter how unachievable the goal or irrelevant the measurement of it. These efforts to epheme the ephemeral and luct the ineluctable produce such absurd results as the counselling sessions you describe.

    • Exactly. How do you measure equality of opportunity? You can count the barriers removed, but once the formal barriers are all gone, how do you demonstrate that differences in outcome are the result of differences in the voluntary choices made by members of different groups rather than some subtle, insidious barrier you’ve missed?

      Hence the shift to an emphasis on equality of outcome, because it’s so countable.

  18. I have three daughters. One point that my wife and I made raising them was to ignore their self-esteem. Instead, we built their self-confidence by allowing (encouraging) them to try hard things and, if need be, failing.

    Fast-forward a decade and a half, middle daughter is in her junior year of an electrical engineering program at the University of Idaho (which is stunningly unfriendly to families) and battling some her own female classmates who say that she’ll never complete the program because she’s raising a family simultaneously. Stubborn like she is, this adds to her determination.

    Interestingly, she gets far more support from the males in her classes than she does from the females or the progressive administration. Her male friends are basically in awe that she can pass classes and raise kids.

    • Her male friends are basically in awe that she can pass classes and raise kids.

      Her female classmates are basically threatened by her demonstration that they could pass classes and raise kids … if only they were willing to make the effort.

      One argument “for” helicopter parenting is that it precludes such pernicious myths. It is the psychological equivalent of binding their little feet, but it excuses the parent from so very very much else.

      • They are not alone. I’ve heard of a black student being assured that a certain professor was racist and never gave any black more than a C-. But he needed the course, so he went and studied hard, and pulled off a B+.

        The blacks on campus noticeably cooled toward him.

        • There’s a teacher at one of the local middle schools that teaches CAD, robotics, math that was told to just pass one of his students. The kid came in every day and just put his head down and didn’t interact with anyone. This teacher wouldn’t leave the kid alone, finally halfway through the first semester, the kid finally started opening up to him and started working because the teacher wouldn’t back off of pushing and challenging the kid. By the end of the year, the kid had completely designed – in AutoCAD – and produced on the school’s 3D printer a programmable robot that took first place in a State engineering competition. They kept coming to the teacher to explain how it worked and he had to keep telling them, “I don’t know – he did it all himself, he made AutoCAD do things I didn’t even know were possible!” The kid was abused – physically beaten – at home and everyone had given up on him. Everybody said that he was nothing and wouldn’t put any effort into him and just passed him along – accepting that he was a waste of time and would never be anything. So he never put out any effort. Heard a couple months ago that the kid had been accepted to MIT with enough academic scholarships to cover the costs.

          • That’s an awesome story. Wish we had more teachers like that. Middle daughter had the opposite teachers, one that publicly ridiculed her as a future grease monkey. I’ve given my daughter permission to be rude and to return to the English teacher, BS in EE in hand, and agree – she’s a modern grease monkey, bossing electrons where they need to go, and entering a thriving industry with 21st century skills.

            Sadly, while she’s competitive, she’s not mean. I might have to do it instead.

        • That’s a shame for him but given his effort to pass the class, I suspect that he will be successful – and eventually vilified – in spite of the efforts to shame him.

        • “Acting white” is a real accusation, and has been since at least the 80s.

          • And the SJWs are ready to support it. Of course, by keeping blacks down, they keep a ready source of mascots for their campaigns.

      • There are a lot of girls and women who would rather peer-pressure other people than feel any peer pressure themselves to step up their own game. So they tend to be mean to people who don’t accept peer pressure and might be perceived as making them look bad.

        • There was an interesting study that looked at social groups that naturally form among school-age children. IIRC it found that while boys tended to form gangs of more-or-less equals, girls formed a dominant pair plus a gaggle of zero-status hangers-on.

    • Feather Blade

      University of Idaho (which is stunningly unfriendly to families)

      In what way? I’m pretty sure they have childcare available (if you are inclined to let the Child Development majors practice their skills on your little guinea pigs children).

      • The full-time childcare is more expensive than rent, the three mornings a week is just that. Though it’s been a few years, may have changed.

    • Paul, that’s mine and Husband’s school. May I suggest that if they live on campus they videotape all the state of the apartment before leaving, and preferably before moving in? We’re still, four years on, fighting with the university about whether or not we should have to pay for windows and carpet damaged before we moved in.

      I don’t know the electrical engineering folks, but let me check . . . no, most of the administration folks who were wonderful have retired, and the most amazing secretary in the world transferred to the music department. If she needs elective prof recommendations I may have some–a lot of my teachers are still teaching.

  19. Both my gay and straight male friends have on occasion, hearing me talk to a female friend, said the equivalent of “stop. You’re tearing my illusions apart.”

    BA-HAHAHAHA! After being the invisible man in groups of women for a few decades, I have no more illusions. The last of my illusions to go was when my mother was asking me about a medical term her doctor had told her, and when I asked about when it was occurring, she told me it was when they were having sex. Mom was 72 at the time. She seemed upset that I got wigged out about it.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Barbara Hambly had a “big tough male mercenary” shocked at the jokes he overheard the women he was training tell. His comment was “I wouldn’t tell *those* jokes”. [Evil Grin]

      • Before I bought a newspaper, I handled inventory control in a DoD warehouse. I was one of six guys working there. We joked and cut up every chance we got because, well, guys.

        The dirty jokes never started until they brought a woman in to work with us, and she started cracking them left and right. Hell, a couple things she said made ME blush, and I was in the Navy for crying out loud.

        • The danger in that scenario is that sometimes the woman can make those kinds of jokes herself, but will report a man doing the same. Fortunately, I haven’t run into any of that type who I had to interact with on a frequent basis.

          • We played it careful around her for a while.

            Up until the “that’s what she said” fest we had one day.

            She had gummy worms and commented that she preferred the long ones. I couldn’t restrain myself anymore.

    • Thanks to today’s cubical farms a quiet guy can learn for more than is good for him about the care and maintenance of “womanly bits.” If he were to complain it created a hostile work environment it is likely he would be accused of lacking sufficiently robust “manly bits.”

      In contemporary American society, the default is that it is the male’s fault.

    • Some times, there just is not enough brain bleach in the world to wash away. Or grain alcohol, for that matter. 🙂

      My ex-SiL had such a strong reaction to it, that my dad would always suggest that it was time for him and mom to head home so they could go have wild, passionate sex. At one point it would cause her to run screaming from the room…much to everyone’s amusement.

      Then there was the case of my eldest nephew (mid to upper teens at the time) walking in on his parents one time. A couple of months later he was having a disagreement with his mom when my brother came home. After getting filled in on all the details, my brother was so ticked at his boy that he told him to go do what his mother had told him to do, right now, or he was going to make the boy run the cameras the next time my brother and SiL decided to have an evening of fun. That threat still works on him today, and he’s in his 20’s!

  20. Women who’ve been mollycoddled all their lives will think that anything is an attack or an aggression.

    And women are more deadly than men– because we’re smaller, we’re more likely to be nasty.
    So entire generations are taught that opposition is an attack, and thus they’re going to use overwhelming force, and that’s the right way….

    Well, flip. This explains a lot.

    • Women fight dirty because they can’t win in a fair fight, mostly. (I remember going to some sort of native american month celebration at work and the guy told a story about a lady who pulled up her dress in front of the attacking man, which surprised him and then she used the time to hack at him with an ax. Apparently this worked several times before she was cut down 🙂

      That’s fine with me as long as its necessary (meaning you’ve been attacked by a stranger maybe). It’s a problem if you are bringing that unfair fight to minor annoyances and handicapping the males at the same time.

  21. Speaking of sissies, my wife and I went to the airport to pick up our niece who was traveling unaccompanied. The original arrival gate got changed to another one on the other side of the area. After getting to the new gate we saw that the flight was listed as ‘arrived’, but there was no one disembarking. After about 10 minutes of no change in situation I went to the desk to see if we actually were at the right gate. The attendant was doing something on a computer screen, so being a polite individual I waited for her to finish. She looked up at me, said “I’m busy”, and when I replied “I’ll wait” she hurriedly backed away from the counter saying “I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel safe” and ran to an alcove. Everyone in the area was looking at each other like ‘WTF?’ Finally another employee came over to see what’s going on and when I asked if we had the right gate he looked it up and told us that ‘there had been another delay, but yes the plane would be offloading here’.

    • I’d fire the twit for failing to even attempt to provide service to a customer.

      And the feminists would go nuts about how I’m not working to keep my employees safe. Despite the fact that an airport gate in the middle of the open (as they tend to be) is about as safe a place as you’re going to find.

    • What the female attendant did was an attempt to deny you full participation in society, making you dependent on your wife to interface in your behalf and rendering you a second class citizen.


  22. Then there was the sisterhood thing. …

    But when I first realized things had gone off the rails was when a professor, in a well reported snit, ran out of a lecture hall, crying and threatening to throw up because a college president mentioned statistics and the relative, statistical position of women in intellectual fields and said it was the same as the relative IQ curve.

    Explainable because of the sisterhood thing. The professor felt threatened, because she identifies herself as a member of a class, rather than think of herself as an individual.

    If we could only evaluate ourselves and each other as individuals. This requires time and actually paying attention. Because people can be inconsistent and messy, that would be unsettling for those who want easy answers to problems that have no easy answers.

  23. I mean, I’m supposed to have more in common with Mary who does tatting for a living in some little village in England than with, oh, Larry, say, who writes for the same house I do in America.

    I believe you have displayed an analytical shortsightedness here. Didn’t you know that since both you and Larry share the same ‘minority’ ethnic status you have connection there. 😉

  24. Sarah, you said “snatching” which is proof, proof I say, that you really are a middle aged white male. And probably Mormon as well.

    • I thought it meant that she was a member of a denomination that believes in the Rapture.

      (Not Raptor, Rapture. Although when a dove got caught in mid-air by a hawk in front of my folks’ house, my father announced, ‘That dove has experienced the Raptor.” Now you know where I get it from.)

  25. ‘Teachers thought nothing of saying in front of a class “this might be a little more difficult for you ladies, since it requires logical reasoning.”’

    Henceforth we shall say, “this might be a little more difficult for you SJWs, since it requires logical reasoning.”

  26. It’s kind of like performing brain surgery on your sofa, using a rusty saw and a soup spoon. Even with the best of intentions, you’re going to do more harm than good.
    And in the best of intentions, we shall mandate all surgeons use said rusty saw and soup spoon.
    It ain’t just female equality works doing this, but almost everything equality related now defaults to lowest common denominator. It sacrifices success in the name of equality.

    • I’ve never known a sofa to require brain surgery at all.

      • Just you wait until the “Internet of Things” really takes off. Then your sofa will have a brain…of sorts.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          The nanny-state potential is horrifying.

          “I detect you’ve put on weight. I’ve just locked the food cupboards in the kitchen and sent a call out to the National Health Camp to send Fitness Facilitators to give you mandatory exercise training . . . “

          • You haven’t thought this through completely.

            Wouldn’t you like some toast?

          • The paparazzi potential is even more horrifying, since security appears to be optional. “Internet of Things”…. shudder.

      • I saw a man sitting on a sofa and the sofa was biting his leg.

  27. Ugh. When I think of all the ‘sexual harassment’ training I was forced to attend because I was a guy during the 80’s and even early 90’s! As one guy said in one of these classes once (to the woman trainer) ‘So, if I hit on a subordinate, and she says yes to further her career, that’s NOT sexual harassment, but if I hit on a co-worker, and she says no, it is?’
    Without even blinking or any clue as to the hypocrisy of what she was teaching us, she said ‘yes, that’s right’.
    Sexual harassment in the workplace has never been about actual sexual harassment, it’s been about empowering women at the expense of men. Otherwise ANY man hitting on ANY woman at work would be harassment, not just when the woman wasn’t interested.

    I remember once asking if I could sit with a couple of female coworkers at lunch (these were members of the team I was on) and they said ‘Sorry, this table is for women only’. If I had said ‘Sorry this table is for men only’ to any one of them, I would have been fired within the hour.

    There are other things that happened as well, women are notorious for sexually harassing men in the workplace, but complaining about it will get you in trouble, if not fired.

    As for the initial comments you made about growing up in Portugal, and how women were treated, I actually understand that quite well. My mother, is a genius. In the 40’s she was offered a full scholarship to college, all expenses paid. But her mother told her that ‘an education is wasted on a woman’ and would not let her go. I know she was disappointed, (because she told me about it when I was a young man) but it was the culture she lived in, and she never once went against what she was told by her mother, and instead when and got a job, and got married.
    And my sister is also a genius, first in my family to ever go to college (as well as the first woman in my family to ever go to college).
    So I never once walked into a job and thought ‘oh, a woman could never do this’ because she might not be ‘smart enough’. And as far as I could tell, most of the men I knew felt the same way.

    It was just the whole ‘men must be neutered’ thing guys didn’t like.

  28. Oh, funny aside: Ever notice that most word processors (if you have grammar turned on) want to turn ‘guys’ into ‘people’? Even our word processors have been made politically correct!

    • My newest blog is here on wordpress, and I was exploring the different options yesterday, and found that there is actually a function where you can enable proofreading for “Bias Language”. I suppose to make sure you don’t cause any micro-aggressions

    • Sara the Red

      One of my previous word processors used to chide me whenever I used “he” or “she” because it thought I should use “he/she” to be “correct.” I finally turned off the grammar checker for that very reason…

      • Have I told you about when I gave up on grammar check? This was the early nineties (I only had one kid so before 94) and I was writing a story in which the line “I cannot kill you” was needed. The Word of the time was geared for business. A note came up saying “This is too negative. Try using a more positive words like “I might be able to kill you” or “I’ll try to kill you.” 😛

        • Sara the Red

          LOL. Wow. You know, I can totally imagine that thrice-damned animated paperclip popping up and saying something like that!

          • I’ve long wondered who the frick green-lighted that stupid thing. I mean, they must have focus-grouped it, put it through an extensive product-testing slash consumer research process and that’s what made it through? (I shudder to imagine what got blocked aloong the way.)

            They must have used the same consumer-research company that green-lighted New Coke.

        • Your grammar checker hates you and wants to make you look like an idiot. Always remember that.

          • Sara the Red

            And spellcheck really, really hates fantasy/sci fi writers too. All those not-a-proper-word names!

            • It’s not fond of historians either. Especially when you write non-Germanic language terms. I can’t find some of the characters used in Slavic and Hungarian.

            • Had to delete and reload a dictionary once. The previous user, everytime he mispelled a word- added it to the dictionary. It was very annoying watching it skip past the “tehs”.

  29. And we can tell them that, since, you know, as people with intellect, we actually get the reference. I think the SJW types are too anti-intellectual to even understand it.

  30. I am being microaggravated: Sarah called me a ho!

  31. I graduated from college in 1975, and I was pretty proud of the fact that I was as tough as the guys I worked with. I was the first woman hired at several places back then – I had to talk them into letting me try to do the job.
    Because of the Carter economy, there were few well-paying jobs around, especially in retail, so I convinced a hiring manager at QuikTrip that a woman could handle working at a convenience store by herself, that I could unload trucks and deal with shoplifters and spooky guys who would expose themselves(Which happened way more often than you could imagine) I made more money working there than any other job I could find. I worked long hours, 10 hour shifts, six days a week, but 20 hours overtime made up for that.
    I am still quite proud that I had that job and could work as hard and as fast as the men I worked with.

    Nowadays, the stupid young women turn their noses up at working hard, I’m afraid. Well, to be honest, a lot of young men also turn their noses up at working hard.

    Anyway, yes, I agree with you. I’m sick of current day feminists and their oh so sensitive little souls, oh, wait, they don’t have souls because they are almost all atheists.

  32. “Most men welcome women who can work with them as equals. Yeah, they’ll still try to protect you and avenge you, because they, the same as you, have instincts.”

    Beautifully said. Now, if I could just meet one of them. -sigh- Know any you could send my way? Preferably housebroken and not clinging to Mom’s apron strings.

    • There are still a few of us running around in the wild.

    • Don’t know where you live – you may need to move to a less “Liberal” part of the country.

      • Greater DC region. -double sigh with eye-roll for effect.-

        All the housebroken Rednecks around here are taken and poaching is against my beliefs.

        • GAH! Not only are they taken, but that place is bad juju for their rednekkidness. Seriously, that place is like poison turning real men into…I was going to say girlie men, but let’s just go with not-real-men. Plus the gun laws are written by hoplophobics.

          • It was worse in Ohihell. Them boys were near petrified being around a female that liked cars, guns and football. -laugh-

            • Oddly enough, that’s enough to elicit automatic marriage proposals down here.

              Even from married guys, but they don’t mean it. It’s just a reflex. Their wives understand…unless you accept. Then, things get a bit interesting.

            • I snagged my hubby during our first conversation when I not only knew what a turbo charger was, but could converse intelligently about one.

              He’d thought his sisters were the only girls that knew stuff like that. His dad was a mechanic so there was a lot of car talk at his house.

              My dad was a mechanic too.

              A couple of decades later, our daughter was able to teach the guys in her engineering class how to run a drill press because she was raised right. They would ask her on the down-low to show them how it worked. Finally she asked one of the guys why he was asking HER how to run it. and he said “Because I don’t want the other guys to know I don’t know how, they will make fun of me.” To which she said, “And you think I won’t make fun of you for not knowing and asking a girl to teach you?”

              • I snagged husband when he realized that I too had worked out Pascal’s tetrahedron by myself at twelve.
                Stop laughing. As grandma said “every little pot got a lid.”

                • Same with me and hubby(although ours was a fix up. We met at WorldCon 2K in Chicago. He was the first to laugh at my jokes. My rapid changes of subject in conversation didn’t faze him.

              • Three pieces from My Cousin Vinny I wanted to post the video, as Marisa Tomei’s delivery as Mona Lisa Vito (as well as those of the other performers) adds so much, but the site wanted me to sign in a prove I was of age…

                D.A. Jim Trotter: Now, uh, Ms. Vito, being an expert on general automotive knowledge, can you tell me… what would the correct ignition timing be on a 1955 Bel Air Chevrolet, with a 327 cubic-inch engine and a four-barrel carburetor?
                Mona Lisa Vito: It’s a bullshit question.
                D.A. Jim Trotter: Does that mean that you can’t answer it?
                Mona Lisa Vito: It’s a bullshit question, it’s impossible to answer.
                D.A. Jim Trotter: Impossible because you don’t know the answer!
                Mona Lisa Vito: Nobody could answer that question!
                D.A. Jim Trotter: Your Honor, I move to disqualify Ms. Vito as a “expert witness”!
                Judge Chamberlain Haller: Can you answer the question?
                Mona Lisa Vito: No, it is a trick question!
                Judge Chamberlain Haller: Why is it a trick question?
                Vinny Gambini: [to Bill] Watch this.
                Mona Lisa Vito: ‘Cause Chevy didn’t make a 327 in ’55, the 327 didn’t come out till ’62. And it wasn’t offered in the Bel Air with a four-barrel carb till ’64. However, in 1964, the correct ignition timing would be four degrees before top-dead-center.
                D.A. Jim Trotter: Well… um… she’s acceptable, Your Honor.

                Vinny Gambini: Ms. Vito, it has been argued by me, the defense, that two sets of guys met up at the Sac-O-Suds, at the same time, driving identical metallic mint green 1964 Buick Skylark convertibles. Now, can you tell us by what you see in this picture, if the defense’s case holds water?
                Mona Lisa Vito: [Lisa examines the picture]
                Vinny Gambini: Ms. Vito, please answer the question: does the defense’s case hold water?
                Mona Lisa Vito: No! The defense is wrong!
                Vinny Gambini: Are you sure?
                Mona Lisa Vito: I’m positive.
                Vinny Gambini: How could you be so sure?
                Mona Lisa Vito: Because there is no way that these tire marks were made by a 1964 Buick Skylark convertible. These marks were made by a 1963 Pontiac Tempest.
                D.A. Jim Trotter: Objection, Your Honor! Can we clarify to the court whether the witness is stating opinion or fact?
                Judge Chamberlain Haller: [to Lisa] This is your opinion, or is it a fact?
                Mona Lisa Vito: It’s a fact!
                Vinny Gambini: I find it hard to believe that this kind of information could be ascertained simply by looking at a picture!
                Mona Lisa Vito: Would you like me to explain?
                Vinny Gambini: I would *love* to hear this!
                Judge Chamberlain Haller: So would I!

                Mona Lisa Vito: The car that made these two, equal-length tire marks had positraction. You can’t make those marks without positraction, which was not available on the ’64 Buick Skylark!
                Vinny Gambini: And why not? What is positraction?
                Mona Lisa Vito: It’s a limited slip differential which distributes power equally to both the right and left tires. The ’64 Skylark had a regular differential, which, anyone who’s been stuck in the mud in Alabama knows, you step on the gas, one tire spins, the other tire does nothing.
                [the jury members nod, with murmurs of “yes,” “that’s right,” etc]
                Vinny Gambini: Is that it?
                Mona Lisa Vito: No, there’s more! You see? When the left tire mark goes up on the curb and the right tire mark stays flat and even? Well, the ’64 Skylark had a solid rear axle, so when the left tire would go up on the curb, the right tire would tilt out and ride along its edge. But that didn’t happen here. The tire mark stayed flat and even. This car had an independent rear suspension. Now, in the ’60’s, there were only two other cars made in America that had positraction, and independent rear suspension, and enough power to make these marks. One was the Corvette, which could never be confused with the Buick Skylark. The other had the same body length, height, width, weight, wheel base, and wheel track as the ’64 Skylark, and that was the 1963 Pontiac Tempest.
                Vinny Gambini: And because both cars were made by GM, were both cars available in metallic mint green paint?
                Mona Lisa Vito: They were!
                Vinny Gambini: Thank you, Ms. Vito. No more questions. Thank you very, very much.
                [kissing her hands]
                Vinny Gambini: You’ve been a lovely, lovely witness.

                • Point of order your honor. The 64 Pontiac Bonneville ALSO had positraction.

                  It was not a Buick Skylark but neither was it a Tempest. It was also the car my hubby had when we were first married.

                  • The issue in question is whether it had positraction, and independent rear suspension, and enough power to make these marks.

                    According to this — — the 64 Pontiac Bonneville did not have independent rear suspension.

                    • All very true. According to the transcript the witness clearly said both were required to create those marks.

                      Good catch!

                      I did know we had a positraction in our car since hubby tore out two of them on it. Once while drag racing his brother on the way to church on a Sunday morning.

                      Maybe also having independent suspension would have helped. But knowing him I doubt it.

                  • RealityObserver

                    Did it also have independent suspension? I don’t recall. The only consumer vehicles I can remember almost everything about are the International Harvesters. Which, yes, puts me at somewhat of a disadvantage in car geek sessions…

            • The Other Sean

              Ohihell? Is that anything like Ohio? And if so, which portion? After living in Ohio for about 17 years and travelling around it a fair bit, I’ve discovered there’s a major difference of opinions and attitudes depending upon where one is.

        • That is fairly sparse territory there. *sympathetic long-distance back-pat*

        • Go west, sister. Texas, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, parts of Colorado… I know they’re out here. There’s even one eligible member of the Oyster clan floating around unattached still. *grin*

    • Sara the Red

      Oooh, sign me up for one too. I live in definitely-not-liberal country…but the population is ridiculously tiny. (And, of course, I have the added challenge of “and preferably my religion too”) :p

      • Sheesh, you’re picky! Next you’re going to say you want one with more than two teeth, that knows how to bathe properly, and has a job!

    • Add me to the list, if we’re starting a dating service around here. Of course, the religious requirement might be too much.

    • Find social situations where you’ll have three generations of folks around, figure out what grandmother age lady is the most terrifying and dignified, then find out if she has any single grandsons.

      It doesn’t work if she wasn’t around them enough, but it’s a chance….

      (My husband was a military brat, so he spent the first several years of his life living with his mom and grandparents while dad was deployed. And yes, she is scary. He even tells jokes about being properly trained. Biggest problem is, classic manners were “read” as effeminate in the DC area…by males and females.)

      • Not just in DC, and not just recently. A friend observed to me that in her experience (circa 1970s) any man with “good manners” was either gay or had received military training. She was very happy to discover her fiance (to be) had ROTC.

      • -chuckle- I’m afraid that at my age finding living grandmothers is a bit difficult. 25 years ago this would have been great advice. 😉

        • *wry* Point, and I totally lucked out on mine, anyways.

        • I had one living grandparent when I was born. He died when I was 4, at the age of 84.

          • I had, I think, three living grandparents when I was born. The last to die was my maternal grandmother, who made it to 95 (when I was 42). She emigrated from England to Australia when she was 75, and returned to England every five years “to die.”

            • I had all four living grandparents until I was eleven – that’s when the maternal grandparent, Grandpa Jim dropped off the perch. I thought myself quite lucky, though, in comparison to some of my peers. (There was one, whom I wrote about a couple of years ago, who was the child of then-teenage Holocaust survivors, who had no living grandparents — or indeed, any living older gen-kin at all.)
              The other three grands held on, until I hit the mid and upper twenties. I so wish that I had been able to interview them properly. The last to go was a great-aunt who had been an early WWII WAAC recruit. I did interview her once, but didn’t take notes. Sigh.

              • Four living grandparents till fifteen. Three living grandparents till twenty two. Two living grandparents till 29 (my beloved paternal grandmother died then) Mom’s mom died when I was 33, but since she had early onset Alzheimers I feel like I never knew her.

  33. Having grown up during “I am woman, hear me roar,” hearing women demand to be so fragile is mind-boggling. All of this is so poisonous to the human spirit. What a burden to go around waiting to be offended. And how in the world will these women cope with the least set-back in life?

    Herstory. Ugh. Our local library opened a new branch last year and were so proud to include a cafe named “Herstory.” I like the idea of a cafe, but there is simply no way I will give that place any business.

  34. There have been great women warriors, but they were either leaders or they fought with the same light weapons pages and retainers and draftees fought with. Or they fought with firearms or operated machines, artillery or airplanes. There were units of samurai women who fought with the naginata, a light halberd like the English bill, which is what lords handed their serfs if there was a dire need for more fighters. You keep running into that in military history, for each great achievement of women warriors, there’s a case of boys or disabled men doing the same. Samurai women armed with the naginata held a bridge against swordsmen, but during the American Revolution a force of boys, mostly twelve year olds, armed with muskets, held a bridge against the British. The Soviets had female aces, the Japanese had a great ace, Sabuto Sakai, with one eye, the British had a fighter pilot with no legs.

    • Sara the Red

      There was a female Mongol warleader who I thought was particularly badass. She worked with her father, and they co-led their armies. (And, of course, Mongols were in general all about the ‘light, fast’ weapon/armor thing, too.) But as you said: she was a leader, not rank and file.

      • There were more than a few female Mongols who were warriors. The reason we don’t know much about them is that they stuck around the home territories and rarely took part in the invasions that we draw most of our knowledge from. An example of this is the so-called “Wrestling Princess”:

        A worthwhile book on this issue is titled “The Secret History of the Mongol Queens”, by Jack Weatherford.

        The entirety of Mongolian culture is fascinating. They weren’t what we were taught in school, or generally remember afterwards. Most of that is caricature, and entirely wrong-headed.

    • Yes, Charles. In fact, I should have mentioned the women fighting in America during the revolutionary war (not just boys) in a recent interview.
      But you know at least one woman who thought that women fought in the MIDDLE AGES.

      • A few. Not many. Usually women trained to command and also fight, like Matilda of Tuscany, or that chick Nicolaa de la Haye, who was a castellan for William Marshal.

        The nuns who got in trouble for breaking weapons laws by defending their convent from the walls were kinda amusing.

  35. Didn’t you get the note? The patriarchal conspiracy(TM) has infiltrated feminism and is now using it to cripple women.

    • They have to have male help to do even that much, poor dears.

    • I think it was Robert Frezza’a books where I first ran into the proposition that any social movement will contain elements that, without being a conspiracy against it, will act as if they were dedicated to the movement’s destruction.

      BTW, anybody know what’s become of the man? I emailed him some years back and got the answer that he was working on a Historical novel, and since then that way of contacting him seems to have evaporated.

  36. When I had an ardent feminist of the more radical sort tell me in public conversation that the differences in male and female plumbing were insignificant, in a conversation that was explicitly dealing with biological reproduction, it boggled (not beggared) my mind. When said person then went on to tell me that I had no business expressing an opinion on the consequences of public policy affecting human reproduction because I didn’t have a uterus, I decided that there was no point in trying to reason with a master in doublethink. She belongs to a whole sisterhood trained in the art.

    • oh, it isn’t exclusively a sisterhood. The same kind of (un)reasoning has Poverty Pimps like Sharpton asserting that nobody is entitled to an opinion on race who isn’t Authentically Black™, and sad leftover Commies maintaining that a century of misery and mass murder are not grounds for throwing Marx on the ash heap.

      Look back on the Victorian and Edwardian eras and you can find similarly irrational rationalizations for Aristocrats still holding political power.

  37. Femling – woman who supports disarming other women. Perhaps the definition should be broadened to “woman who supports turning other women into special snowflakes.”

  38. Patriarchy, therefore your argument is invalid. And how dare you suggest that an Islamic culture is in any way less than perfect?

    Okay, taking my tongue out of my cheek for a moment, let me also point out that if guys don’t have a supply of potential mates that can interest them intellectually, the only thing we reasonably-intelligent men have left to seek are the girls who focus on looking good.

    Cleopatra wasn’t ultra-desirable because she was hot, after all. (IIRC)

  39. shirtstorm

    Hel’s Misty Halls, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If a “Hawaiian” shirt covered with pictures of pinup babes is going to create a “hostile environment” and keep you out of STEM, then how in the world are you going to handle a thesis defense?

    • Sara the Red

      I gather the attitude from that type is that they shouldn’t *have* to do a thesis defense, because patriarchy. ::facepalm::

      Which is why, in the last few years, I’ve stopped identifying myself as a feminist. I believe that men and women should be equal before the law. But apparently, that’s not what “feminism” means these days, and so I’ve had to drop the term to avoid being painted with the crazy-brush…

      • Myself likewise. Here I thought being a small “f” feminism meant having equal access to school and employment opportunities, the same pay for performing the same duties, and the freedom to sort out your living arrangements with a partner of your choice. I didn’t realize that it meant being a nickel-plated b*tch to everyone around you.

        • see, I’d be okay with your version of feminism. But I gave up on that in the nineties, because it’s simply not what it means.

        • … being a nickel-plated b*tch to everyone around you.

          (Sigh) Now, you should know that’s not what it is. That is being a strong woman. And if any man calls you a bitch, then he is afraid of strong women. It’s never because the woman is actually being a bitch. Or so I’ve heard, anyway.


          • I would never call a woman a bitch. When the term is called for, using it would be an insult to female canines everywhere.

          • Sara the Red

            Oh, I will cheerfully be a bitch (an incredibly polite, verbose one) if the situation calls for it. Like when I worked retail and some guy came through my line and started calling me “sweetie” and implying that I was in this job because I wasn’t smart enough to do anything else (I was working while going to university). I trotted out the polysyllabic vocabulary for that twit. Granted, he was too dim to realize he was being insulted politely and condescended right back at, but it made me feel better.

        • The same pay for the same duties has never been part of feminism. If there ever had been that sort of discrimination, someone would have cleaned all the other buisnesses clocks by hiring only women. It always turns out to be the same pay for far less, or more plesant work that is being demanded.

          • I have been told that the first woman to obtain a medical degree in my family was the first women to receive one from the school which she attended. The professors often refused to recognize her presence in class. When she got her medical degree the assumption was that she would be pursuing one of three paths — pediatrics, charity or foreign missions — for what man or woman would, by choice, be treated by her.

            After WWII there was a propaganda campaign for the Rosie the riveters to gracefully bow out of the factories and become homemakers so that our returning men could find jobs in the workplace.

            Times have changed…

            • The Other Sean

              Good points. There was even more pressure to quit after WWI on the smaller number of women who had filled in for men during that war.

              Also, just saw in the news, the model for Rosie just passed away.

              • Yes, she passed away. That is the model for Rockwell’s painting that became a cover for the Saturday Evening Post, the red head with rivet gun in lap, her foot on a copy of Mein Kampf a eating a sandwich with a look of aplomb on her face. Not the brunette one with the red bandana with her arm up in the air showing her muscle on the popular poster.

      • My mother said back in the 70’s that she would be never be for equality between men and women because then she would have to get down off her pedestal and she rather liked the view from up there.

    • The entire tradition of a “thesis defense” is a relic of the testosterone-addled, hyper-competitive patriarchy and should not be employed to oppress fem candidates. For such as they, the proper approach is a cooperative adjustment of the thesis until is complies with group designated norms.

      Fem applicants are expected to get their minds straight before applying.

  40. And there was the “men are afraid of you” thing

    Well, yes, but not because you’re a woman. Carp trebuchets are scary.

  41. Ever since I’ve turned my attention to putting words on paper for the purpose of storytelling, i’ve been annoyed by the vandalism perpetrated by feminazi linguists. All MEN are created equal, and if you lack the language skills to suss out that this includes you, you deserve 2nd class citizenship. Good show, Sarah. Good show.

  42. Just a point I don’t think anyone else has brought up so far:

    In your title, did you mean “Ho!” as an imperative ejaculation indicating urgency or as a microaggressive descriptor of your listener?

  43. Now, do I think it was okay for the culture to be as it was in Portugal, where I was assumed to be an idiot because I lacked 250grams between my legs? Oh, heck no.

    Took me a while to remember what this reminded me of… the specific line is at 2:15

    • Why is Carter wearing a skirt? Why isn’t she wearing pants? Is it customary for women not to wear a uniform with a skirt?

      • When I was in the Army, either was acceptable for women wearing their Class As.

        • If I was Carter I would’ve worn pants. Helps blend in . A skirt calls attention to the fact you are a woman. However, I might just be overanalyzing.

          • I figure the writers wanted to point out she was a woman, and the skirt helps emphasize that.

            Of course, when I watch the clip I also think “damn officers need to learn how to salute.”

  44. BobtheRegisterredFool

    The feminists would have you believe that electing a victim blamer to the office of president in 2016 is a good thing. They would have you think that they are not being Rape apologists.

  45. “And gender might be, but whether your genes are xx or xy still affects your upper body strength (men have more), your endurance of pain (women have more) and several other things you can’t make equal by declaring it so.”

    I’m going to have to quibble with you on this one, Sarah. I’ll grant you that most women do better at coping with chronic pain and things like childbirth and kidney stones than the typical male. However, and it is a huge difference, most men do better at dealing with a sudden traumatic pain, like taking a punch to the face or putting an axe into their leg. I’ve seen it often enough that I’m pretty sure its down to sexual dimorphism in this area, because while I’ve seen guys take hits and keep right on whatever they were doing, I’ve rarely observed a woman do the equivalent. Training and experience will temper this sort of response, but on the average, I’d have to say that the typical woman does not handle trauma at all well, when compared to men of similar background.

    Let a male take a fall fully loaded on a road march, break his leg, and like as not, the idiot will bounce right to his feet and try to complete the march. Every woman I’ve ever been around that did something similar had the sense to go “Oh, hell no… That thing’s broken… Get me a damn medic!”. Call the medic in to check both patients, and the male is going to argue with him, right up until the x-ray technician is showing him the prints. The woman is going to tell you and the medic “See? I told you that shit was broken…”.

    Flip side of that is, if a woman is dealing with a chronic injury, she’s going to ignore it as being inconsequential. The male generally won’t. I can’t prove it, but I think that pain response is gendered, in that low-level, chronic pain tolerance is much higher in women than it is in men. At least, in some regards. I usually didn’t have to worry about male subordinates overdoing things and making it worse during recovery after an injury. Women, I learned through sad experience, need to be monitored and carefully managed, in order to prevent them from turning a minor issue into a major one. It’s interesting to observe during a training cycle, too–Both male and female soldiers will happily walk through their feet (i.e., develop blisters and keep right on going until blood/serum is coming out the drain holes on their boots), but once they’ve done that, getting a male back on his feet afterwards for another road march a few days later is damn near impossible. He’ll insist on letting his feet heal, if there isn’t an overwhelming need to make the march, like being in Air Assault school. A fair chunk of women will just sigh heavily, and do as you ask them to, right up until you notice that you can follow the path they took by the bloody footprints…

    • I am thinking that you are on to something there – about pain thresholds and all. I did natural childbirth – yay me! No drugs at all until after the sprout was delivered. And then, some decades later, I broke a bone in my foot, in a bizarre ‘storing-stuff-in-the-garage-accident’ involving some concrete bricks, a box of heavy magazines … but never mind about that — it hurt, but I thought since I could walk on it, well, nothing was seriously wrong! (I got a lecture from a then-client who was an orthopedic surgeon, whom I had shared the intelligence that I had injured my foot and five days later, couldn’t fit into my shoes.) Turned out, I had broken one of the long bones in my foot the LONG way … and I was walking around on it for a week before it was x-rayed and a cast applied.
      Sigh. It aches still … change in the weather, I suppose.

      • My mother fell once and hurt her wrist. Now, mind you, she was NOT one of these people who take serous injury and think they’ll keep on going, but she didn’t go to the doctor until three weeks later and it still hurt. Turns out, she had broken a bone in what the doctor referred to as the “snuff box” behind her thumb. He told her that, fortunately for her, going bowling once a week had actually helped keep the bone in place, rather than make it worse.

    • A friend of mine in college was training to be a chiropractor–one of the ones who just realigns your spine.
      His theory was that guys deal with externally applied better, while women dealt better with internal pain.

  46. “You know, in all the movies and half the books (often without supernatural explanation) a 90 lb chick can beat 300 lb men.”
    (Waggles hand) It can be done. It just requires much superior training in one of the “hard” martial arts–kung fu, karate, etc., or some training in what might be called the “soft” martial arts–aikido, judo, etc.
    I’ve heard stories.
    But yes, these things often happen without explanation.

    • Now, I’m not a 90lb girl and haven’t been for nearly 25 years, but I’d much rather fight someone who’s nearly a foot taller and out masses me by 100lbs or so than someone more nearly my size all other factors being equal. Someone THAT much bigger than I am gives me wiggle room especially in a grapple. There’s less wiggle room with the more even size match and since said even size match is likely to be stronger than I am (even though I’m strong for a female), without the wiggle room (and leverage it gives) I’m in much deeper trouble. Yes, I’ve actually been in the spars to prove the disparity. It’s odd, but it seemed to work that way for the other female in that hand to hand class as well.

      • I’ll just point out that every martial art that allows actual contact has size and weight divisions for a reason. Yes, a sufficiently skilled individual can defeat a sufficiently less skilled individual who is bigger and stronger. But once the less skilled individual gets out of “virtually no skill at all” territory the required differential gets really big, really fast.

        My martial art is Judo. (Contrary to popular belief Judo did not “take out the dangerous parts” of ju-jutsu. Instead it took the parts that could safely be practiced “full contact” against a resisting opponent and added just that–full contact against a resisting opponent, what we call “randori”. The other parts still exist and are trained in kata, just as they were in the original ju-jutsu styles.) In Judo competition in addition to the various weight divisions there are “open” divisions where any weight can enter. While in principle this is where you can see the under 48 kg people show their “juu yoku go wo sais” (“softness defeats hardness well”) the reality is that it’s turned into a super-heavyweight division.

        Now, in the early UFC’s, Pride, and other “limited ruleset” venues some pretty small people were able to defeat some pretty big people but that was a case of the people winning were able to put the fight on terms where the other guy had “virtually no skill at all” (grapplers–specifically the Brazilian Ju-Jutsu specialists–closing and grappling with strikers with no grappling training). Once the strikers started studying grappling even a little bit, size and strength started mattering again. (OTOH, lawsuit fear started leading to more restrictive rules so the idea of “testing how things would work in a ‘real fight'” aspect has been watered down a bunch anyway.)

        The race may not go to the swift nor the fight to the strong, but that is the way to bet.

        • My training was straight up military. I gave my observations. I’d still rather fight someone appreciably bigger than I am than closer to my size all other factors being equal. I wasn’t trained for tournaments. I also do not claim to be a baddass never have been. I’m rusty for one, hand to hand does not come naturally to me for another, and for a third the mindset is entirely different than tournament forms: Finish the fight as fast and efficiently as possible and get the hell on with the mission. (Who wins a fist fight? The guy whose buddy shows up first with a gun.) I have been in the fights I described and with an equal skillset (for pretty much all of us) from the guys involved, yes spars, but I still did better against the big guys. Why? They had trouble getting a good grip on me and I didn’t give them a chance to punch me. The difference? We were actually TAUGHT how to deal with bigger and smaller opponents. That was part of why they had the big guys fighting the little girls on a semi-regular basis. Mr. 6’4″ is more likely to run into people who are smaller than he is than bigger. 5’6″ is more likely to run into bigger, though there will be some smaller if I fight women. The school was ‘we’ll start with grappling but hey, if it works do it.’

  47. No “social justice warriors” here–I’ve just spent time reading a lot of very interesting comments,several of which of past experiences (One of them about 78 years in the past).

    But first–when one of my daughters was a junior in high school, and our small *redneck* school had just gotten computers (1980-81) she was fascinated by them. One day at work, a co-worker came up to me –let me back up a bit here; this woman had frequently told me how intelligent her son was; and that the other kids called him “genius” and “professor.” Anyway, she said, “Did you know that YOUR daughter and MY son . . . (long pause) . . . are playing against each other in the quarterfinals of [some computer game] at school?

    She said not a word about it when my daughter placed in the quarter; semi; and came out #1 in the finals. And never again did she mention how intelligent her son was. He WAS intelligent. And neither my daughter nor I gloated about her win.

    Later that same daughter, having tested out of some of the basics and was in her first full term of college, took three high-level math classes (one I had never heard of) and an English class. She wasn’t at all concerned about passing the math classes — but worried herself sick for fear that she would flunk English, of all things! (She aced all of her classes.)

    Totally off the subject (this one, at least); well, come to think of it, I suppose in this instance I might have been classed a “social justice warrior.” It goes back to the peeing contests (I can still embarrass my 80-something year old brother by mentioning this). Back on the farm (west coast of Oregon) all our plumbing was the “outdoor” kind. Drinking water hauled in 10-gallon milk cans from a hillside spring across the river; laundry and bath water from the river at low tide when the salt water had drained back to the ocean: Anybody out there remember the old washboards, and a bath every Saturday night — whether we needed it or not–in a galvanized tub?

    And another very important aspect of what is now sometimes referred to as “living off the grid” was a rather small wooden building containing a seat with two holes in it. Ours (we all know better now!) and those of farmers all up and down the river were positioned so that at high tide the back side would be over the water (efficient waste disposal).

    Back to the subject at hand. (My mother told me a few years ago that I was 18 months old when this happened.) My two older brothers were standing by the fence near the outhouse having a peeing contest. I thought, “I can do that too!” But, alas, I couldn’t. At least not very far. And it just about broke my heart. But I can still make my brother’s face turn red!

    • I cannot recall which it might have been, but for some reason I have a vivid memory of a Heinlein novel with a brief scene about a boy and a girl having had such a contest, with him accusing her of having cheated by “saving it up.”

      Which, I suppose, goes to show the importance of training for events.

  48. Daniel Greenfield mentioned sad puppies in his column.

  49. “There was the inherent belief that, yes, the world was biased, but it was up to us to prove we could make it despite the bias.”

    I ran into that, too. since I needed to make as much money as a man while raising three sons on my own. If I worked two jobs in the “pink collar ghetto” my kids would never see me, and I wanted to parent the kids, yanno? I did what my father taught me: look for a job no one wants. I even found such a career in a field I loved.

    Of course, there were damned few female heavy construction safety managers.

    And it was really odd to see some of the other women in the field. I remember one temp who ran off in tears because the guys were “mean” to her (they were testing her the same way they tested all the new people, male or female. And she flunked.) I remember a woman business owner who “would not tolerate being treated that way because she was a woman” when very reasonable and normal questions were asked at a meeting. (A female structural engineer and I pulled this business owner aside and respectfully asked her to stop embarrassing herself by assuming gender bias).

    I assumed that the guys in the construction field would assume that since gals in my job were rare, that I knew nothing, but most of them really helped me get up to speed. It was very satisfying to become a sought-after person with respected expertise. I saw women in construction hide behind the skirts of lawyers about all sorts of gender things – always when the client was a government entity. In my opinion, it made them look weak.

  50. “Some Palestinian woman looked at rape statistics and found that Israeli women are raped by Palestinian men in much higher numbers than Palestinian women are raped by Israeli men, and immediately concluded this is because Israelis are racist. It beggars the mind.”

    Only peripherally related: There was a Palestinian movie in which a Palestinian Palestinian mans raping a female Israeli soldier. This was depicted as being a Good Thing, not only because she was a Jew but because the rape made a woman of her. (A female who wears a military uniform and speaks to men as an equal cannot be a real woman. And of course Jews are never real human beings anyway.) The film was screened in “art” theaters across America and was well received by Thoughtful Progressive Bien-Pensants.

  51. (Sigh) Three days, and I’m STILL hearing the title of this post in Lion-O’s voice.

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