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Man drinks pint, makes stupid statement. October 11, 2006

Posted by Winter in misogyny.

I’ve been sitting on this tasty little anacdote for about two weeks now as I didn’t really know what I wanted to draw from it. While it’s always fun just to give accounts of infuriating little anacdotes, I thought there was probably some issues worth talking about steming form this one.

Two weeks ago, our department had it’s graduate student cheese and wine night, which was followed by a trip to the pub. It turned out to be one of those occasions where people who seemed perfectly nice opened their mouths and came out with the most outragous statements. A friend and I ended up getting into it with two young male academics about the perception that it was difficult for women to get into academic psychology. Frankly, I have never seen such an emotional reaction from two seemingly intelligent youn men. One sat there and said that quite clearly men were “genetically superior” to women and that was why they had all the best jobs, and the other came out with several versions of the “women don’t put themselves forwards” or “women who do put themselves forwards for the jobs arn’t good enough” arguments. What struck me most was the almost agressive denial that there could be any prejudice against women, or that there in fact even was a perception that it was difficult for women. That we both had the opinion, of course, was discounted as being, statistically insignificant and therefore worthless.

What do I want to draw from this?

  • These were youngish academics, the so called future of psychology, refusing to acknowledge the possibility of any prejudice. It worries me that while women have come a long way in law, little seems to have happened in terms of attitudes when you actually get people talking about it. What will the future be like for my generation of female academics and professionals?
  • People in the west have not been ‘evolving’ for quite a long time now since servival of the fittest means that people who are genetically insuperior would have to die before being able to reproduce. In this day and age, most people get to reproduce, often if they want to or not. Therefore we are no longer ‘evolving’ from a purely genetic sense. our culture has eveolved from a point where being physically strong was a survival advantage and in general men are morphologically stronger, and thus have had the advantage and I suspect this is why they took the prime roles in society. But these days, being physically stronger has little to do with it, and society is hanging on to maladaptive behaviours.
  • If women are not putting themselves forwards for the plum jobs (which I have no idea whether that is true or not) why not?

Moral of the story, don’t go drinking with people and start challenging their world views, it only leads to nasty emotional arguments that end up confirming exactly what you thought in the first place.



1. John Remy - October 11, 2006

What I encounter is less overt. Many of of my male grad student friends pay lip service to feminist critiques of society (especially in class and in theoretical discussions), but then turn around and reinforce the male hierarchy in their personal lives, from the media they subscribe to, the organizations they support and what they look for in the women they date/marry. And not one of them invests in studying feminist theory/studies any more than they have to.

Its anecdotal, to be sure, but depressing nonetheless.

2. Anonymous - October 14, 2006

I went out drinking with lots of young psychology academics and postgrads last night, I did occasionally wonder who the mysterious men were!

It’s a fairly common phenomenon I think amongst people from a priveliged position (white, male, straight, depending on the issue)who see themselves as liberal that they fully accept that discrimination happens in society at large, and often campaign against it; but whenever there is a specific example (particularly if it’s not a convenient target like the police) they are reluctant to believe it.

This is obviously exacerbated when it’s their own sector of society, primarily because it’s an implied attack on their position, that either they owe their own position to discrimination (by others) against potential rivals, or that they aren’t doing enough to combat discrimination within their workplace.

– Josh

3. I am not Star Jones - October 23, 2006

do you think it will take these male grad students to have daughters for them to get a clue?

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