Biology and Equal Rights

Posted: 9 January 2005 - 12:12pm

"Biology is not destiny." This was what we so-called "second wave" feminists said. Could we have been so right? Were we so wrong? Were men born to be doctors and women nurses? Could a woman be an engineer? A lawyer? A Supreme Court Justice?

Saying biology is not destiny is not the same as saying biology does not exist. Social constructs are a way societies deal with biological difference. For example, children are treated differently than adults. Society has social conventions to deal with all manner of inequity.

The question is: have feminists by and large up until now ignored real biological differences because so many artificial ones have been thrown in the path of women? Is there almost a siege mentality about biological difference because to admit any is to start on the slippery slope of "who runs the wolves" comparisons?

Do our political institutions really serve or fully represent women? Elsewhere I suggested that the ERA was opposed by some women because (possibly rightly) they feared men would gut the Amendment for the rights they could get and leave women holding the bag.

There is a Sturm und Drang between a law stating what IS and what SHOULD BE. I can pass a law that abolishes unequal treatment of blacks. These laws were enacted as blacks rose through their own struggles toward equality in education and the integration of the Armed Forces.

To take the absurd case, I could pass a law that said children are equal, and while there would be a big impact from such legislation if it were upheld, my sense is it would be unworkable.

The ERA presumes women have political clout and influence to enforce their rights. So long as we are underrepresented in the halls of government, corporations, religious bodies, and seats of power, even though we have equality in law, we will not be able to enforce that law/laws.

I think when we have the state legislators in place, we'll have the votes for ERA, for then it will be a done deal.

The question is, who is ready to take this task on. Once we prove that biology is NOT destiny, maybe we can get an after-the-fact Amendment to say it's so.

Knee Jerk Feminism & Biology

  • 10 January 2005 - 8:52am

There is a very interesting article by [url=http://feministing.com/archives/000782.html] Jessica [/url] on Feministing.com that says "the higher a woman's IQ the less likely she is to get married." The opposite was true of men.

What is even more interesting is the fallout that called the study disheartening, inconclusive, or even flawed.

The response is exactly what I spoke to above. Apology, confusion, and attacking the information. If I were a young woman with a high IQ, my experience might be very much the same. I do not need to hear how the study is no good. I don't need Matsu (or another feminist) to tell me that the article makes women feel bad.

I might want to seriously discuss it. It might resonate with me. I might be helpful to know:

1. I am not alone.

2. The reasons that such a pattern might be true.

3. The trade-offs I must make in light of whatever the pattern actually is.

4. That I should consider, at least for a moment, marriage to a man is not the sole goal.

If today I were a bright, young, college woman, I might well experience something like this - and this is a true story:

I have a young graduate student friend - think of an attractive young Geena Davis type - who is nursing a glass of wine at a trendy bar while journaling. A rather good looking man strikes up a conversation with her and starts to make the moves. She is single. He seems to be. He is attractive. She puts down her journal as he chats her up.

It gets to "what's your major" point in the conversation and it comes out; she is a PhD candidate in Applied Mathematics. Ever hear the term "gone in sixty seconds."

Feminists owe "Geena" more than lip service about a "flawed study" and how it makes feminists feel bad. If that's all I got from feminists, I'd have to join in and say, "I'm not a feminist, but . . ."

Geena should buck up and thin

  • NancyP's picture
  • NancyP (not verified)
  • 10 January 2005 - 6:51pm

Geena should buck up and think "one less asshat to deal with - good riddance to bad trash!"

A League of Her Own.

  • 11 January 2005 - 12:54am

Geena is in a league of her own. People in this culture tend to follow the pattern of man marrying up, women marrying down. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. Everything about us challenges the attitudes that have been ingrained in men from birth. Most of them simply aren't strong enough to deal with a woman who bests him in any way, and I don't see that changing any time soon. A woman like Geena needs a very rare - if not non-existent- type of man.

No one should be less than they are for the sake of a relationship. There's a very real number at work here. There are more women than men. There simply aren't going to be enough potential mates for every woman. Now that so many men are dying in war, this will only get worse.

There could be several reasons why more intelligent women don't marry. In addition to that quantity problem, there's motivation. Maybe a smarter woman doesn't need a man for survival or for validation or even companionship. Maybe the more intelligent woman has decided that marriage is a bad deal for women - too much work, no pay, no benefits, compromise, sacrifice, etc. It shortens a woman's life and extends a man's.

Biology IS Destiny - so why is that a problem? No man will ever die in childbirth, so it's none of their business. We're generally stronger, have more stamina, live longer, there are more of us and we do most of the work. Where's our sense of entitlement, ladies? Alone of all the creatures on Earth, the human female is the only being that has an organ that does nothing except provide sexual pleasure, and we don't need a man to make the most of it. When we learn that, we need them a little less. When science admits that mammals have parthenogenic tendencies*, we won't need them to reproduce. THAT is the point at which they have to deal with us on our terms. I adore men, but I adore me more, so I'm not going to dumb myself down for anyone.

*In 1979 I heard a news report that said they had determined that it was possible to combine two ova, either from one woman or two different women, and have it develop into a female child. They specifiacally stated that this is not possible with male cells. Sorry, I've never found the study itself, so if you run across it, please pass it my way. Anyway, that combined with the idea that nearly every species has members that can reproduce asexually; that organs tend to become more specialized as they evolve (compare male and female genitalia) and the lingering obsession our culture has with Virgin Birth; leads some of us to the conclusion that women are the older, and more independent gender.

It won't be long before someone produces a baby for a lesbian couple this way. I'm surprised they aren't already doing it.