I guess the main thing that tells me is that generally I was in my own little world when I was a kid and didn't pick up on a lot of pop culture or societal stuff that most other people just absorbed.
― kinder, Thursday, 23 February 2012 03:50 (1 year ago) Permalink
This is really deeply part of the problem, that yeah, trying to get the ideas in books like Delusions of Gender into discourse is like pulling teeth - while I bet that if you tried to get a copy of, say, Women Are From Pluto, Men Are From Outer Space, you would find half a dozen copies in circulation. People are really deeply attached to these stereotypes.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Thursday, 23 February 2012 08:38 (1 year ago) Permalink
holding on to stereotypes of your own gender/sexuality seems almost like a comfort blanket for some people. it probably smooths certain situations. that, more than anything else, might be the biggest barrier to breaking down those stereotypes.
i had good friends in school who were female and physics/maths-leaning - including the girl widely acknowledged to be top of the year in all those subjects - i don't recall her feeling that being a girl was a barrier in any way. (but then we had a good proportion of female maths/science teachers, including the head of maths who was one of the most brilliant teachers i encountered, and did a lot to coax me through my own maths fear) (and also i genuinely don't recall any sort of pink-princess-girly-girly culture when i was growing up?!). i mean, there are so many environmental factors to consider as well - type of school, location blah blah blah.
also the type of student you are? if you're a straight-As pupil, male or female, you're going to develop an innate assumption that you should be good at every subject even if you don't have a feel for it (like, i stayed in the maths top set throughout school without ever really understanding any of it). if you're a middling student you might feel that your lack of feel for a subject might be down to gender?
hmmm i also just remembered that while many of the maths/science-leaning boys in our school went on to jobs in engineering, that girl i mentioned never did go into academia like she wanted, and is a school teacher now, and i'm not sure she's entirely happy with the way things turned out :/
― lex pretend, Thursday, 23 February 2012 08:58 (1 year ago) Permalink
btw i am enjoying zora's posts but haven't yet been able to take them in *and* formulate a worthwhile response
― lex pretend, Thursday, 23 February 2012 09:00 (1 year ago) Permalink
There honestly wasn't as much pink-princess-girly-girly culture when I was growing up. I know I'm about 10 years older than you, Lex, but I was very much a product of a 70s childhood when my mother's generation were coming from their consciousness raising groups and NOW meetings and actively trying to dismantle gender stereotypes in their own lives, as well as the lives of their kids. I think, on the whole, this was a good thing.
But also, on another level, childhood just hadn't been commercialised in the same way it has now. That there was one set of toys, everyone wore each others' handmedowns and that was that. And now toy companies realise that they can make twice as much money by selling a blue version and a slightly shitter pink version of the same toy, and so this stuff gets actively promoted.
It was one of the things that I noted in those books, that round about the age that kids start to notice that they Has A Gender, they become interested (usually, not always) in figuring out what it is, what it means, and how to (for lack of a better word) perform it. You can nudge kids into accepting gender roles, you can nudge them into wider ideas about gender. Apparently, one of the influential factors in developing ideas about gender is actually whether one has a closely aged sibling of a different gender. (That girls with a brother and boys with a sister tended to be more relaxed about gender roles.)
But yes, individual circumstances certainly play a role - and we're talking about averages, not absolutes here. "An average of 15% drop" can mean that some girls won't drop at all, and some girls will drop by as much as 30%. These things aren't that useful on an individual level because individuals in populations vary, that's what they do.
That yes, I had a protective influence because I had parents that said "your one grandmother was a mathematician, your other was a scientist, one of your great aunts was a code breaker at Bletchley Park, it would be very surprising (and you would bring shame on our family) if you turned out not to be good at maths" and lo and behold, I, too, do if for a living. But that does not mean that the stereotypes don't exist and aren't powerful to people who did not have situational factors like that.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Thursday, 23 February 2012 09:12 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yeah, I for one always wanted Merzbow's Music for Bondage Performance type stuff unpacked; and never trusted Whitehouse (hated the little I heard of their music anyway)...thing is no one seemed to bother to question, it just had this polarising effect (and w/music like that y'know..)see, I think EV's defense of Whitehouse is OTM. There's a sense of humor/irony behind their aesthetic that seems pretty blatant to me compared to some newer noise musicians who flirt with the same imagery & are a lot more serious about it.― Big Mr. Guess U.S.A. Champion (crüt), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
see, I think EV's defense of Whitehouse is OTM. There's a sense of humor/irony behind their aesthetic that seems pretty blatant to me compared to some newer noise musicians who flirt with the same imagery & are a lot more serious about it.
― Big Mr. Guess U.S.A. Champion (crüt), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
Can you give me an example of this, btw? At the time I just thought it was a blatant apolitical free for all. Granted, all a very fine line which could get misinterpreted by idiots down the line but if you give 'em rope..
― xyzzzz__, Thursday, 23 February 2012 12:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
I don't want to derail anybody's discussions, but this seemed like the appropriate thread for this - a great post at Jezebel about gendered marketing of LEGO products, and what happens when you switch the audio on the commercials.
― A Full Torgo Apparition (Phil D.), Thursday, 23 February 2012 15:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
my own personal experience with gender/sci: both parents are highly educated with tons of graduate degrees, working in sci or health. my older sis ended up collecting master's degrees in the sciences. i was expected to excel in sci/math and i did, although i still had enormous anxiety about it. i tested better in sci/math than humanities when i did any sort of standardized testing. but my biggest class problems were always in sci and math. my honors chem teacher in HS used to say that i was really smart but i got in my own way.
i was never consciously aware of any discouragement or implication that i might not be great at sci/math--but it freaked me the fuck out. and i believe that it was partially due to gender bs that i absorbed, although i tried to reject it. (wearing men's clothes, etc)
― JuliaA, Thursday, 23 February 2012 16:18 (1 year ago) Permalink
I had a young cousin once that posted on facebook that she did well on a math test once and it scared her.
― Jeff, Thursday, 23 February 2012 16:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
been thinking abt gender and expectations of academic performance...
it seems to me that we've seen, over the last few decades, the emergence of new stereotypes regarding gender and things like general intelligence and ability in math/science. in characters like hermione granger and lisa simpson, we see a girl who easily excels her male peers in these areas, but who is comparatively straightlaced and "uptight". the "nerdy girl" is smart and academically accomplished but socially unskilled and often unhappy/dissatisfied. she is a stickler for rules and order, and is often seen as "annoying" by those around her, adults and children alike. she's basically a modern version of "bossy" and/or "goody-goody" midcentury female comic strip characters like lucy (peanuts) and margaret (dennis the menace), but much more sympathetic and clearly "bright".
the emergence of the nerdy girl runs parallel to a much remarked-on shift in american sitcom family dynamics, where adult male husband/father characters over the same few decades have become increasingly childlike, foolish and irresponsible, exaggerating in their television wives the same "straightlaced" and "uptight" rule-enforcing and behavior monitoring characteristics we see in characters like hermione and lisa. the sitcom wife is not typically (ever?) pictured as truly brilliant, especially not when it comes to things like math and science, but she is often, clearly, a good deal more sensibly intelligent than her husband.
in certain respects, the stereotype of the "less smart woman" is perhaps beginning to be traded out for "smarter, but less fun".
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Friday, 24 February 2012 15:51 (1 year ago) Permalink
i think we've also seen the emergence of an adult version of the nerdy girl character in stereotypical portrayals of the "corporate woman", a character who is typically portrayed as occupying a management position. she is extremely capable, but also rather ruthless and even cruel, a sort of evil twin to the "good" sitcom wife.
a lot of this stuff seems to reflect changing power dynamics in american society, and anxieties about the same.
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Friday, 24 February 2012 16:17 (1 year ago) Permalink
This trope is at least as old as Jane Austen. It exists, but it's hardly a new development.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Friday, 24 February 2012 17:35 (1 year ago) Permalink
yeah, what i was going to say. thinking young maggie tulliver in mill on the floss
― horseshoe, Friday, 24 February 2012 17:36 (1 year ago) Permalink
yeah, i'm not saying that any of this is newly invented (it's not, obviously), but these sorts of images do seem to have gained a fair amount of cultural prominence in the last few decades. in the states, anyway.
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Friday, 24 February 2012 17:39 (1 year ago) Permalink
Well actually it was one of the principle objections to female education down through the ages! That educating women to use their minds will make them un-womanly and possibly sterile! This was a classic Georgian to Victorian complaint (I bet you could probably find it as far back as the Classical period.)
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Friday, 24 February 2012 17:41 (1 year ago) Permalink
yeah, but hermione, for instance, isn't exactly "unwomanly", and lisa clearly vaccilates on that point (probably depending on who's writing the jokes). in these characters and the contemporary sitcom mom/wife, intelligence is, to some extent, positively associated with femininity.
again, not entirely new ("sensible" sitcom wives and "smart, prissy" young girls go back quite a ways), but i see a greater and more positive emphasis on such characters than in the recent past. more thinking aloud than making an argument...
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Friday, 24 February 2012 17:49 (1 year ago) Permalink
and then there's everyone's favorite manic pixie dreamgirl!
― sarahell, Friday, 24 February 2012 17:55 (1 year ago) Permalink
I need to get back on track with my chapter précis, and then come back and demolish this fucker.
― Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Thursday, 15 March 2012 17:44 (1 year ago) Permalink
It is very interesting and stuffed with proper citations.
― k3vin k., Tuesday, 7 August 2012 01:07 (10 months ago) Permalink
― undermikey: bidness (Autumn Almanac), Tuesday, 7 August 2012 01:13 (10 months ago) Permalink