Tuesday, May 17, 2005
...but I never claimed to understand Feminists.
I mean, I do understand what they say, but I come up short on what they mean.
Professor Nancy Hopkins, for example, was clear as a bell when she said she would become physically ill if she stayed in a room with a man who suggested... well, basically, that there are physiological differences between men and women that should not be ignored if one's objective is to get more women into, say physics professorships at Harvard or MIT.
I've written previously about this here and here and here.
This possibility that men and women think differently has been common conversation among the unhysteric, even on college campuses, for quite some time. Lately, Scientific American has made the point yet again.
That it is a point that even has to be made is amazing, but it's true that some scions of academia, like Nancy Hopkins, don't get it.
Neither does Larry Summers get it, nor even have the courage of his convictions. He was excoriated for suggesting that male and female thinking may differ in such a way as to favor males if they want to be professional physicists.
So, Summers has offered obeisance to all the Feminists offended by his remarks regarding the factors possibly affecting penetration of females into the ivory towers of hard science.
As Harvard President he has decided to spend $50 million "over the next decade to increase diversity at the school". This will be accomplished by creating a new job - Senior Vice Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development, and by funding programs ranging from "mentoring to child care to late-night transport."
I would like to say I'm surprised and disappointed, but I am neither. Harvard is about to spend 50 million dollars to help women reach the higher levels of scientific achievement by providing tutoring, babysitting and extending the hours that buses run.
Is this assistance to be available to males, too? I mean, at least they'll be allowed to ride on the later running buses, right?
This is fair demonstration, since the Feminists aren't puking on the lawn, that they are unserious. How can they accept such a demeaning proposal?
The answer is that the Feminists upset about it are primarily in departments ranging from soft science (sociology, etc.) to vaporous speculation (women's studies). In any case, delivering an extreme embarrassment to the patriarchal oppressor Larry Summers is more important than actually having more women in physics and math. And he's the, umm... man for the job.
If you doubt this, ask yourself this question: "Could I use $50 million more effectively to get females interested in science?"
A frivolous, yet still superior suggestion - fund the "Issaca Newton Chair of the Herstory of Fysics."