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When I saw that Melissa Click of the U. of Missouri Department of Communication Department had chaired the 2014 “Console-ing Passions” academic conference, I was reminded that the first time I ever noticed that postmodern academics think it clever to use ham-handed punctuation to make lame puns was in the title of a 1992 book edited by Toni Morrison:

Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality

You might think that would be a pretty humiliating thing to put your name on, but a year later Morrison was given the Nobel Prize in Literature.

So what do I know?

• Tags: Books, Feminism, Post-Modernism 
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From Rolling Stone:

A Note to Our Readers

BY ROLLING STONE | December 5, 2014

To Our Readers:

Last month, Rolling Stone published a story titled “A Rape on Campus” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, which described a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity house; the university’s failure to respond to this alleged assault – and the school’s troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school responds to sexual assault allegations.

Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely, or Rolling Stone’s editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie’s credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie’s account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums. We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn’t confirm or deny her story but had concerns about the evidence.

In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

Will Dana
Managing Editor

My Taki’s Magazine article from earlier this week, “A Rape Hoax for Book Lovers,” details the timeline by which this blog brought Richard Bradley’s skepticism to media attention:

A timeline of how Richard Bradley’s critique finally made its way to the general public may be of interest.

A reader kindly alerted me to Bradley’s post on November 24th. I made four scattershot comments on it on November 25th, beginning with my question:

Wouldn’t the rapists get cut by the broken glass all over the floor, too? I guess they were such sex-crazed animals that they didn’t notice the glass cutting their hands and knees for the first three hours.

I continued to mull over the issues that had been raised. (I hate being publicly wrong, so I’m cautious.) On the 27th I returned to Bradley’s blog to find I was still the only commenter, and added a fifth:

Sorry to keep coming back to this, but I’ve done some more thinking and here’s where the story falls apart: pitch darkness _and_ broken glass on the floor. The glass table is smashed, but nobody turns on the light to see what happened or where the broken glass is? Instead, each man, having heard the glass table get smashed, still gets down on the floor covered with shards of broken glass, risking not only his hands and knees, but also pulling out an even more personal part of his anatomy, one that he only has one of.


By the 29th I was still the only commenter, but I finally felt confident enough that there were major problems with the Rolling Stone account to link to Bradley’s critique from my iSteve blog at the Unz Review.

That opened the floodgates. Comments finally poured in to Bradley’s blog [initially overwhelmingly from my readers]. And on the first two days of December, numerous well-known publications weighed in with skeptical assessments based on Bradley’s analysis: Robby Soave at Reason, Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, Megan McArdle at Bloomberg, Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner, Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal, Judith Shulevitz at The New Republic, Jonah Goldberg at the Los Angeles Times, and Erik Wemple at the Washington Post.

Read the whole thing there.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has just published within the last hour a new article full of new reporting.

Key elements of Rolling Stone’s U-Va. gang rape allegations in doubt

By T. Rees Shapiro December 5 at 2:25 PM

Several key aspects of the account of a gang rape offered by a University of Virginia student in Rolling Stone magazine have been cast into doubt, including the date of the alleged attack and details about the alleged attacker, according to interviews and a statement from the magazine backing away from the article.

The U-Va. fraternity chapter where the alleged attack took place in September 2012 released a statement Friday afternoon denying that such an assault took place in its house. Phi Kappa Psi said that it has been working with police to determine whether the account of a brutal rape at a party there was true. The fraternity members say that several important elements of the allegations were false.

A group of Jackie’s close friends, who are sex assault awareness advocates at U-Va., said they believe something traumatic happened to Jackie but also have come to doubt her account. They said details have changed over time, and they have not been able to verify key points of the story in recent days. A name of an alleged attacker that Jackie provided to them for the first time this week, for example, turned out to be similar to the name of a student who belongs to a different fraternity, and no one by that name has been a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

Reached by phone, that man, a U-Va. graduate, said Friday that he did work at the Aquatic Fitness Center and was familiar with Jackie’s name. He said, however, that he had never met Jackie in person and had never taken her on a date. He also said that he was not a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

The fraternity — which has been vilified, had its house vandalized

Another night of broken glass

and ultimately suspended all of its activities on campus after the Rolling Stone article — said in its statement Friday that it had immediate concerns about the story and has been working [to] figure out what happened.

“Our initial doubts as to the accuracy of the article have only been strengthened as alumni and undergraduate members have delved deeper,” according to the statement.

It sees like a general pattern that when you lawyer up and have a strong case, your lawyer advises reticence in public statements so that you can put together the whole story and drop it as a big bomb later.

Phi Kappa Psi said it did not host “a date function or social event” during the weekend of Sept. 28, 2012, the night that a university student named Jackie alleges she was invited to a date party, lured into an upstairs room and was then ambushed and gang-raped by seven men who were rushing the fraternity.

The fraternity also said that it has reviewed the roster of employees at the university’s Aquatic and Fitness Center for 2012 and found that it does not list a member of the fraternity — a detail Jackie provided in her account to Rolling Stone and in interviews with The Washington Post — and that no member of the house matches the description detailed in the Rolling Stone account. The statement also said that the house does not have pledges during the fall semester.

“Moreover, no ritualized sexual assault is part of our pledging or initiating process,” the fraternity said. “This notion is vile, and we vehemently refute this claim.”

An attorney for the fraternity, Ben Warthen, declined to comment further.

U-Va. had no immediate comment.

… Rolling Stone’s editors apologized to readers for discrepancies in the story, issuing a statement and posting it on their Web site. Will Dana, Rolling Stone’s managing editor, said there is fresh doubt about the account.

“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” he said in the statement.

The Washington Post has interviewed Jackie several times during the past week and has worked to corroborate her version of events, contacting dozens of current and former members of the fraternity, the fraternity’s faculty adviser, Jackie’s friends and former roommates, and others on campus. Fraternity members said anonymously that the description of the assailant doesn’t match anyone they know and have been telling others on campus that they did not have a party the night of the alleged attack.

Speaking for the first time since the details of her alleged sexual assault were published in Rolling Stone, the 20 year-old U-Va. junior told the Post that she stands by her version of the events. In lengthy in-person interviews, Jackie recounted an attack very similar to the one she presented in the magazine: She had gone on a date with a member of the house, went to a party there and ended up in a room where she was brutally attacked – seven men raping her in succession with two others watching — leaving her bloody, permanently injured and emotionally devastated.

“I never asked for this” attention, she said in an interview. “What bothers me is that so many people act like it didn’t happen. It’s my life. I have had to live with the fact that it happened every day for the last two years.” …

Alex Pinkleton, a close friend of Jackie’s who survived a rape and an attempted rape during her first two years on campus, said in an interview that she has had numerous conversations with Jackie in recent days and now feels misled.

“One of my biggest fears with these inconsistencies emerging is that people will be unwilling to believe survivors in the future,” Pinkleton said. “However, we need to remember that the majority of survivors who come forward are telling the truth.”

Pinkleton said that she is concerned that sexual assault awareness advocacy groups will suffer as a result of the conflicting details of the Rolling Stone allegations.

“While the details of this one case may have been misreported, this does not erase the somber truth this article brought to light: Rape is far more prevalent than we realize and it is often misunderstood and mishandled by peers, institutions, and society at large,” Pinkleton said. “We in the advocacy community at U-Va. will continue the work of making this issue accessible to our peers, guiding the conversation and our community into a place where sexual assaults are rare, where reporting processes are clear and adjudication is fair and compassionate.”

The fraternity’s statement will come two weeks after Rolling Stone ran a lengthy article about what it characterized as a culture of sex assault at the flagship state university, using Jackie’s story to illustrate how brazen such attacks can be and how indifferent the university is to them. …

The article published in the December issue of the pop culture magazine drew headlines around the world and rekindled discussion on college campuses about sexual assault, putting U-Va. at the epicenter and sending its administration scrambling to respond. The article spawned protests and vandalism, and the university quickly suspended all Greek system activities until the beginning of next semester and put out a call for zero tolerance of sex assault.

The Rolling Stone allegations shook the campus at a tumultuous moment, as the university was still mourning the death of U-Va. sophomore Hannah Graham, whose body was found five weeks after she went missing in Charlottesville.

Here are photos of the dead coed and the accused.

Jackie’s story empowered many women to speak publicly about their own attacks, but it also immediately raised questions about the decisions Jackie made that evening – not going to a hospital or reporting the alleged crime to police or the school – while some expressed doubt about her story altogether.

Jackie told the Post that she had not intended to share her story widely until the Rolling Stone writer contacted her.

“If she had not come to me I probably would not have gone public about my rape,” said Jackie, who added that she had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and that she is now on a regimen of anti-depressants.

Earlier this week, Jackie revealed to friends for the first time the full name of her alleged attacker, a name she had never disclosed to anyone. But after looking into that person’s background, the group that had been among her closest supporters quickly began to raise suspicions about her account. The friends determined that the student that Jackie had named was not a member of Phi Kappa Psi and that other details about his background did not match up with information Jackie had disclosed earlier about her perpetrator.
The Post determined that the student Jackie named is not a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

Emily Renda was a U-Va. senior when she first met Jackie in the fall of 2013. In an interview, Renda said that she immediately connected with Jackie as they discussed the bond they shared as rape survivors. Renda said that she was raped her freshman year after attending a fraternity party.

Jackie told the Post that she bawled as she spoke about her own sexual assault to Renda.

Renda said on Thursday that Jackie initially told her that she was attacked by five students at Phi Kappa Psi on Sept. 28, 2012. Renda said that she learned months later that Jackie had changed the number of attackers from five to seven.

“An advocate is not supposed to be an investigator, a judge or an adjudicator,” said Renda, a 2014 graduate who works for the university as a sexual violence awareness specialist. But as details emerge that cast doubt on Jackie’s account, Renda said, “I don’t even know what I believe at this point.”

“This feels like a betrayal of good advocacy if this is not true,” Renda said. “We teach people to believe the victims. We know there are false reports but those are extraordinarily low.”

Renda said that research shows between 2 to 8 percent of all rape allegations are fabricated or unfounded.

“The doubt cast on Jackie’s story has been feeding the myth that we have been combating for 40 years that women lie about rape and I feel that will put women at a disadvantage in coming forward,” Renda said. …

In July, Renda introduced Jackie to Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the Rolling Stone writer who was on assignment to write about sexual violence on college campuses. Overwhelmed from sitting through interviews with the writer, Jackie said she asked Erdely to be taken out of the article. She said Erdely refused and Jackie was told that the article would go forward regardless.

Nice. Like I said in my Taki’s Magazine article, “Morally, Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Rolling Stone should not have exploited an unsettled young woman.”

Jackie said she finally relented and agreed to participate on the condition that she be able to fact-check her parts in the story, which she said Erdely accepted. Erdely said in an e-mail message that she was not immediately available to comment Friday morning.

“I didn’t want the world to read about the worst three hours of my life, the thing I have nightmares about every night,” Jackie said.

Jackie told The Post that she felt validated that the article encouraged other female students to come forward saying that they, too, had been sexually assaulted in fraternity houses.

“Haven’t enough people come forward at this point?” she said. “How many people do you need to come forward saying they’ve been raped at a fraternity to make it real to you? They need to acknowledge it’s a problem they need to address instead of pointing fingers to take the blame off themselves.”

As classes resumed this week after Thanksgiving break, Jackie, whose family lives in northern Virginia, went back to the campus where her story is still a daily topic of conversation. Although anonymous for now, she said she remains afraid that fellow students and fraternity members will somehow recognize her as the victim from the Rolling Stone article.

Jackie said that she never wanted to go to U-Va. Graduating near the top of her high school senior class of 700, she had planned to attend Brown University. She dreamed of pursuing a career in medicine like her childhood hero, Patch Adams.

“I wanted to help people,” Jackie said.

She said she was disappointed when her family told her that they could not afford the Ivy League tuition. She enrolled at U-Va. without ever visiting the school.

She said that she performed well in course work that included rigorous pre-med classes in psychology, chemistry and religious anthropology. She said soon found a job as a lifeguard at a campus pool, where she said she met a charming junior who had dimples, blue eyes and dark curly hair.

Jackie told the Post that the same student later took her out for an extravagant dinner at the Boar’s Head Inn before they attended a date function on Sept. 28, 2012 at his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi. Jackie said that her date appeared to have orchestrated the sexual assault by attempting to ply her with alcohol before escorting her into a darkened room on the second floor of the fraternity house. Jackie said she did not actually drink alcohol that night because she said she was on a migraine medication and said that she remembered the events that night clearly.

According to her account in Rolling Stone and in interviews, Jackie said she was thrown to a rug, breaking a low glass table in the process. She said that she did receive cuts to the back of her arm as a result but noted that her attack happened on a thick rug.
Jackie told the Post that the men pinned her down and then raped her, the trauma leaving her bleeding from between her legs.

“One of them said ‘Grab its [expletive] leg,’” she said, ler lip quivering and tears streaming down her face. “Its. I’ll never forget that. I felt like nothing, like I wasn’t even human.”

Jackie’s former roommate, Rachel Soltis, said that she noticed emotional and physical changes to her friend during the fall semester of 2012, when the two shared a suite on campus.

“She was withdrawn, depressed and couldn’t wake up in the mornings,” said Soltis, who told the Post that she was convinced that Jackie was sexually assaulted. Soltis said that Jackie did not tell her about the alleged sexual assault until January 2013. Soltis said that she did not notice any apparent wounds on Jackie’s body at the time that might have indicated a brutal attack.

The Post asked Jackie on multiple occasions for her to reveal the full name of the two attackers she said she recognized. She declined, saying that she didn’t want the perpetrator “to come back in my life.”

Jackie said numerous times that she didn’t expect that an investigation the Charlottesville Police department opened after the article’s publication to result in any charges. She said she knew there was little if any forensic evidence that could prove the allegations two years after they occurred.

“I didn’t want a trial,” Jackie said. “I can’t imagine getting up on a defense stand having them tear me apart.”

Jackie said early in the week that she felt manipulated by Erdely, the Rolling Stone reporter, saying that she “felt completely out of control over my own story.” In an in-person interview Thursday, Jackie said that Rolling Stone account of her attack was truthful but also acknowledged that some details in the article might not be accurate.

There’s accuracy and then there’s truth.

Jackie contradicted an earlier interview, saying on Thursday that she did not know if her main attacker actually was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

“He never said he was in Phi Psi,” she said, while noting that she was positive that the date function and attack occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house on Sept. 28, 2012. “I know it was Phi Psi because a year afterward my friend pointed out the building to me and said that’s where it happened.”

Huh? Wow …

One of my November 25th comments on Richard Bradley’s blog suggested that Jackie’s story would be more plausible if we assumed she was lying about being completely sober.

Tommy Reid, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, said that all Greek organizations must register parties with the IFC. He said that the council’s records did not date back to the fall of 2012.

Jennifer Jenkins and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Like the old saying says, a lie goes halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on.

In a lot of these similar cases, like Trayvon and Ferguson, you’ll note that the victims don’t get their stories out until after the press has run wild with disinformation.

From CNN:

The University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter did not have a party the night of September 28, 2012, the date when the reported attack occurred, the fraternity chapter’s lawyer, Ben Warthen, told CNN. He said email records and Inter-fraternity Council records prove there was no party.

Warthen said there were other discrepancies in the account from the woman, whom Rolling Stone identified as Jackie, who then had just started her freshman year. For example, the orchestrator of the alleged rape did not belong to the fraternity, the fraternity house has no side staircase and there were no pledges at that time of year.

“It’s not part of our culture,” Warthen said. “It’s just not true.”

It’s time for the recriminations to begin!

• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Feminism 
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The New York Times reports:

Petition Calls For ‘Shulamith Firestone Memorial Apartment’ For Low-Income Feminists 


Acquaintances of Shulamith Firestone want the rent-stabilized apartment where the author and activist died this summer to be preserved as a residence for a low-income feminist, according to a petition obtained by The Local.

The petition, which can be read below, outlines a plan to earmark her fifth-floor walk-up at 213 East 10th Street for tenants doing “important” feminist work, who cannot afford current market rates in the rapidly gentrifying East Village. The rent would be no more than $1,000 a month. 

Women’s liberation stalwarts like Kate Millett along with East Village literary agent Frances Goldin and Annette Averette, co-director of Sixth Street Community Center, are among those who have signed the petition directed at landlord Robert Perl, owner of Tower Brokerage. 

Written by Fran Luck, executive director of the WBAI radio program “Joy of Resistance: Multi-Cultural Feminist Radio,” it notes that owners and developers of housing in formerly working-class neighborhoods have for decades “set aside” affordable rentals. Ms. Firestone paid about $400 a month, according to Mr. Perl, who said he had been planning to increase the rent of the next tenant in order to offset rising taxes imposed by the Bloomberg administration. A one-bedroom in the building, between First and Second Avenues, was recently leased for $2,095, according to StreetEasy.

Ms. Firestone, who in the 1960s helped organize women’s liberation groups such as Redstockings, New York Radical Women and New York Radical Feminists, was found dead in her apartment in late August. She was 67 and had long been afflicted with mental illness in the years following the 1970 publication of her influential feminist treatise, “The Dialectic of Sex.” Her book embraced technology as a way of freeing women from “the tyranny of their biology.”

“I think she was a difficult tenant,” said Ms. Goldin. “She was a disturbed person and would leave the water on and flood other apartments. She didn’t mean to do this, but if we could persuade the landlord that we could guarantee him a reasonable tenant, maybe he could become a hero. It’s worth a shot.” 

For some reason, I’m reminded of Nick Lowe’s 1978 song Marie Prevost


September 30, 2012 

Because…The Feminist world, the Art world and the Lower East Side/East Village Community have just lost one of our great visionaries–Shulamith Firestone–a woman who was able to remain, work and survive in her/our neighborhood for many years because she paid a relatively low rent…. 

Because…the average rent being charged new renters in our neighborhood is about $2,100., and had Shulamith tried to rent here today, it would have been impossible for her to find, live and work in an apartment she could afford…
Because… the Lower East Side/East Village environment is all the poorer for the loss, due to skyrocketing rents, of the kind of creative spirits that formerly gave the neighborhood its unique character–but who are now being priced out… 

Because… Shulamith’s sister feminists, friends and admirers would like to memorialize her by making it possible for a feminist(s) coming after her to be able to live in this neighborhood and do feminist work here–such work usually being either unpaid or poorly paid, and therefore requiring an affordable rent… 

Because.. it is well within “fair housing practices” developed over decades for developers/owners of housing in formerly working class neighborhoods to create “set-asides” of affordable rental units for those who cannot pay market rates… 

Therefore…We, the undersigned, do hereby Petition Robert Perl, owner of 213 East 10th Street, and do strongly urge him to work with us to create a “Shulamith Firestone Memorial Apartment” that would, in perpetuity, remain well below market rates and which rent would, at this time, not exceed $1,000. per month; this apartment would be reserved for a woman who is making an important contribution to the feminist movement that is not well remunerated. 

Candidates for residence in such an apartment would be vetted by a committee of feminists drawn from the list below and would meet the same standards as any other tenant–with the exception of paying a lower-than-market-rate rent. 

Signatures (so far)
Kate Millett, Feminist, Author: Sexual Politics
Frances Goldin, Co-Founder Cooper Square Committee, Literary Agent for Mumia Abu Jamal
Carol Giardina, Professor of Hisory, Queens College, CUNY, Author: Freedom for Women
Kathie Sarachild, Director, Redstockings Archives for Action
Ti-Grace Atkinson, radical feminist
Nellie Hester Bailey, Director, West Harlem Tenants Council
Annette Averette, Co-Director, Sixth Street Community Center
Howard Brandstein, Co-Director, Sixth Street Community Center
Rosalyn Baxandall, Distinguished Professor, SUNY-Old Westbury
Fran Luck, Executive Producer, Joy of Resistance Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI
Erin Mahoney, National Women’s Liberation(NWL)
Allison Guttu, Organizer, NWL, Women of Color Caucus of NWL, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Amy Kesselman, Professor Emerita, SUNY-New Paltz
Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Professor Emeriti, California State University
Ann Snitow, Network of East-West Women
Marisa Figuereido, Redstockings
Jennifer Sunderland, Redstockings
Pete Dolack, Former Editor, New York State Green Party Newspaper
Bill Koehnlein, Brecht Forum
Marie-Claire Picher, Co-Founder,Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory
Nancy Kogel, MNN TV Producer, Reaching Out for Animal Rights (ROAR)

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Feminism, Real Estate 
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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

I turned on the TV and saw a new reality show with an intriguing premise: How big of a head start does a white woman need to outrun a black man? While skinny women frantically raced toward the finish line, a muscular black youth sportingly spotted them a 30-meter lead, then accelerated effortlessly and overtook all but the most desperately striding Russian woman. 

But this turned out to be the Olympic 800-meter race for women, even though the silver medalist, South Africa’s Caster Semenya, is built like an LSU cornerback. 

Read the whole thing there.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Here’s a 2010 study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine making the same point about a wide array of Olympic events that I made about track in my 1997 National Review article:


Valérie Thibault, Marion Guillaume, Geoffroy Berthelot, Nour El Helou, Karine Schaal, Laurent Quinquis, Hala Nassif, Muriel Tafflet, Sylvie Escolano, Olivier Hermine and Jean-François. Toussaint 

© Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2010) 9, 214 – 223 


Sex is a major factor influencing best performances and world records. Here the evolution of the difference between men and women’s best performances is characterized through the analysis of 82 quantifiable events since the beginning of the Olympic era. For each event in swimming, athletics, track cycling, weightlifting and speed skating the gender gap is fitted to compare male and female records. It is also studied through the best performance of the top 10 performers in each gender for swimming and athletics. A stabilization of the gender gap in world records is observed after 1983, at a mean difference of 10.0% ± 2.94 between men and women for all events. The gender gap ranges from 5.5% (800-m freestyle, swimming) to 18.8% (long jump). The mean gap is 10.7% for running performances, 17.5% for jumps, 8.9% for swimming races, 7.0% for speed skating and 8.7% in cycling. The top ten performers’ analysis reveals a similar gender gap trend with a stabilization in 1982 at 11.7%, despite the large growth in participation of women from eastern and western countries, that coincided with later- published evidence of state-institutionalized or individual doping. These results suggest that women will not run, jump, swim or ride as fast as men.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Feminism, Olympics, Sports 
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Back in the 1990s, I frequently read that women athletes were Closing the Gap with men; if trends continued, in the 21st Century Olympics, women would be just as fast as men. So, I did a big quantitative study on the size of the gender gap in track in all Olympics for a 1997 article in National Review entitled Track and Battlefield:

Everybody knows that the “gender gap” in physical performance between male and female athletes is rapidly narrowing. Moreover, in an opinion poll just before the 1996 Olympics, 66% claimed “the day is coming when top female athletes will beat top males at the highest competitive levels.” The most publicized scientific study supporting this belief appeared in Nature in 1992: “Will Women Soon Outrun Men?” Physiologists Susan Ward and Brian Whipp pointed out that since the Twenties women’s world records in running had been falling faster than men’s. Assuming these trends continued, men’s and women’s marathon records would equalize by 1998, and during the early 21st Century for the shorter races. 

This is not sports trivia. Whether the gender gap in athletic performance stems from biological differences between men and women, or is simply a social construct imposed by the Male Power Structure, is highly relevant both to fundamental debates about the malleability of human nature, as well as to current political controversies such as the role of women in the military. 

When everybody is so sure of something, it’s time to update the numbers. 

I discovered, however, that the narrowing was only up through 1988. The fall of the Berlin Wall and better testing for artificial male hormones had caused the Olympic track gender gap to grow from the 1988 Olympics to the 1996 Olympics. 

Slowly, my argument has carried the field over the last 15 years. Thus, when a Chinese woman swam the last 50m of her race on Saturday night faster than Ryan Lochte, the men’s gold medalist, swam his last 50m of the men’s version of the race, the New York Times reporter did not celebrate it as a Breakthrough for Female Equality, but instead treated it as presumptive evidence of something fishy going on:

China Pool Prodigy Churns Wave of Speculation

At 16, the Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen is one of the youngest competitors in the Olympics and so far the most remarkable. What she has done in the pool is the water-based equivalent of what Usain Bolt did on the track four years ago in Beijing. 

On Saturday night, Ye not only shattered the world record in the 400 individual medley, winning gold in 4 minutes 28.43 seconds, she also swam the final 50 meters faster than Ryan Lochte did in winning the men’s race.

It was really a little less amazing than it sounds — Lochte was apparently taking it easy on the last length after blowing away the field earlier. But still …

On Monday, Ye returned to the pool and set an Olympic record of 2:08.39 in the semifinals of the 200 individual medley, her best event. 

There is nothing to indicate that she is anything more than a great swimmer from a country that holds about a fifth of the world’s population, a teenager who relies on the latest scientific training and the kind of adolescent certainty that makes her unaware of any limitations. The Chinese have pledged to obey the rules. And Ye dismissed any concerns about doping. 

Yet women’s swimming does not permit itself naïve and untempered adulation. Not after the systematic East German doping of the 1970s and ’80s. Not after Chinese scandals in the 1990s. Not after Michelle Smith of Ireland won four medals at the Atlanta Games in 1996 under disputed circumstances and was later barred from competition for tampering with a urine sample. 

The response to unsurpassed achievement now falls somewhere uncomfortably between amazement and incredulity, that gray area between celebration and suspicion. 

“That’s pretty unbelievable,” David Sharpe, a Canadian swimmer, said of Ye’s finishing kick on Saturday, in which she covered her final 50 meters in 28.93, faster than Lochte’s 29.10. “No one really understands how that happened.” 

Ye swam her final 100 meters of the 400 I.M. in 58.68 seconds. Lochte was only three-hundredths of a second faster. No one could immediately remember a woman closing faster than 61 seconds. 

“Interesting,” said Natalie Coughlin, an American with 12 Olympic medals.
“Insane,” said Stephanie Rice of Australia, the 2008 Olympic champion and former world-record holder in the 400 I.M. “Fifty-eight is out of control.” 

Lochte made a cordial joke about being outkicked. On Monday, Michael Phelps, who finished fourth in the men’s 400 I.M., smiled at a question about Ye’s closing speed and said: “She almost outswam me, too. We were all pretty shocked. It’s pretty impressive that she went that fast.” 

No swimmers accused Ye, who is 5 feet 8 inches and weighs 141 pounds, of using illicit substances to fuel her kick. Medalists and, at random, other athletes are tested at the Games. 

But John Leonard, an American who is executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association and has long voiced suspicions of doping in China, told The Guardian on Monday that he found Ye’s performance “disturbing.” 

Caitlin Leverenz, an American who finished third in Ye’s heat in the 200 on Monday, said: “The Chinese have had a history in the past of doping, so I don’t think people are crazy to point fingers, but I don’t think that’s my job to do right now. I’m just trying to do my best.” 

Frank Busch, national team director for USA Swimming, was more gracious, calling Ye’s final 100 meters on Saturday “more than remarkable, phenomenal.” 

Was he concerned that what Ye had done was not legitimate? 

“I would never go there,” Busch said.

Fifteen years ago, this healthy skepticism would have been rare.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Feminism, Olympics, Sports 
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From NPR:

How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science 


It isn’t just that fewer women choose to go into these fields. Even when they go into these fields and are successful, women are more likely than men to quit. 

“They tend to drop out at higher rates than their male peers,” said Toni Schmader, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia. “As women enter into careers, the levels of advancement aren’t as steep for women as for men. … 

When male scientists talked to other scientists about their research, it energized them. But it was a different story for women. 

“For women, the pattern was just the opposite, specifically in their conversations with male colleagues,” Schmader said. “So the more women in their conversations with male colleagues were talking about research, the more disengaged they reported being in their work.” 

Disengagement predicts that someone is at risk of dropping out. 

There was another sign of trouble. 

When female scientists talked to other female scientists, they sounded perfectly competent. But when they talked to male colleagues, Mehl and Schmader found that they sounded less competent. 

One obvious explanation was that the men were being nasty to their female colleagues and throwing them off their game. Mehl and Schmader checked the tapes.
“We don’t have any evidence that there is anything that men are saying to make this happen,” Schmader said. 

But the audiotapes did provide a clue about what was going on. When the male and female scientists weren’t talking about work, the women reported feeling more engaged. 

For Mehl and Schmader, this was the smoking gun that an insidious psychological phenomenon called “stereotype threat” was at work. It could potentially explain the disparity between men and women pursuing science and math careers.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From Technology Review:

The Worrying Consequences of the Wikipedia Gender Gap

Male editors dramatically outnumber female ones on Wikipedia and that could be dramatically influencing the online encyclopedia’s content, according to a new study

There was a time when the internet was dominated by men but in recent years that gap has dissolved. … So what’s wrong with Wikipedia? Last year, the New York Times pointed out that women make up just 13 per cent of those who contribute to Wikipedia, despite making up almost half the readers. And a few months ago, a study of these gender differences said they hinted at a culture at Wikipedia that is resistant to female participation. 

Today, Pablo Aragon and buddies at the Barcelona Media Foundation in Spain suggest that the problem is seriously influencing Wikipedia’s content. These guys have studied the biographies of the best connected individuals on 15 different Wikipedia language sites. They chose the best connected individuals by downloading all the biographies and then constructing a network in which individuals with Wikipedia biographies are nodes. They then drew links between nodes if that person’s Wikipedia biography contained a link to another individual.
Finally, they drew up a list of the best connected people.The table above shows the top five for each of the 15 language sites.  

… That’s a puzzling disparity and one for which Aragon and co point to an obvious possibility–that the gender gap among editors directly leads to the gender gap among best connected individuals. 

Of course, that’s only speculation but Aragaon and co call it “an intriguing subject for future investigation.” We’ll be watching to see how that pans out. 

In the meantime, the Wikimedia Foundation has  set itself the goal of increasing the proportion of female contributors to 25 per cent by 2015, a step in the right direction but still an embarrassing blot on the landscape of collaborative endeavour.

In other words, to rectify this disparity, women should do more work for no pay. And, perhaps, invade Poland.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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An early contender for that title has got to be that the 2012 London Olympics will witness the debut of Women’s Boxing as an Olympic sport. 
Boxing (men’s) used to be a big sport at the Olympics, and the short bouts were more exciting than long professional title fights. But it was always rife with ridiculous decisions, corruption, brawls between cornermen, and other bad craziness. 
Plus, guys pounding each other in the head is just too brutal. I went to some preliminary rounds at the 1984 L.A. Olympics. First, they had flyweight bouts (something like 107 pound max). Those were a lot of fun because these guys couldn’t seem to do much serious damage to each other. Then they had heavyweight bouts. One heavyweight caught another one under the chin with an upper cut that lifted the poor bastard clear off the floor. He laid on the canvas for 20 minutes until they strapped him to a cart and wheeled him away. That was the last time I went to a boxing match.

For a host of reasons, you haven’t heard much about boxing in recent Olympics. It’s a fading sport. But at least it has tradition.

But adding women’s boxing to the Olympics at this point in the history of boxing is a little like adding Women’s Plunge for Distance to the 2012 Games.

As I wrote in my review of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning 2004 women’s boxing movie Million Dollar Baby:

In reality, women’s boxing is a pseudo-feminist trashsport that briefly flourished in the 1990s when impresario Don King noticed that Mike Tyson fans got some kind of weird kick out of preliminary catfights between battling babes. 

Traditionally, society objected to women brawling because (to paraphrase the answer the shady doctor in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” gives to the question of whether his memory erasure technique can cause brain damage), “Technically speaking, boxing is brain damage.” 

If a man gets his head caved in during some pointless scrap, well, some other man will just have to step in and do double duty carrying on the species. But, women are the limiting scarce resource in making babies, so each woman lost lowers the overall reproductive capacity.

That kind of proto-sociobiological reasoning is unthinkable today, yet that hasn’t brought about a feminist utopia. Instead, men employ gender equality slogans to badger women into doing things guys enjoy.

Still, female fisticuffs have faded recently due to the supply side problem of finding enough low-cost opponents for the handful of women stars. While the number of male palookas who will fight for next to nothing in the hope of becoming Rocky Balboa is ample, managers needing fresh meat for their female champs to bash frequently have to hire hookers and strippers to take dives — and working girls don’t work for free. 

“Million Dollar Baby” simply ignores all this and asks you to believe that women’s boxing today is a thriving duplicate of the men’s fight game of a half century ago, which allows Eastwood to make a 1955-style boxing movie.

And that was 7 years ago that women’s boxing was already fading and practically dead in the water. I can’t recall reading anything about it in the last several years until hearing that it was going to be in the Olympics this year. Putting women’s boxing in the Olympics in 2012 is just Zombie Feminism, following out the logic of gender equality to a reductio ad absurdum.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Kevin Drum is upset by an LA Times article:

The financial industry, long known for its boys-club environment, has only a small fraction of women as top executives. And that small cadre has been thinning out in recent years, with the most recent example Krawcheck’s departure as BofA’s president of global wealth management. Her departure is part of a broader trend in the financial industry in recent years: Female employees are losing their jobs at a faster clip than men. … 

….The finance industry has not historically been known as a welcoming place for women. The cigar and strip-club reputation was confirmed by a lawsuit against Smith Barney in the 1990s, which accused it of turning a blind eye to raunchy, sexist behavior. The lawsuit later became the subject of a book called “Tales From the Boom-Boom Room.” 

The attention brought by the suit spurred wide-scale changes that helped stamp out overt discrimination and open up hiring. A decade ago, the number of women in finance was rising.

Similarly, on Forbes:

Public-relations executive Richard Edelman writes in his blog this week that he wants women to occupy half of the senior roles in his company by 2016. 

“Our goal is simple—50% of those on Strategy Committee, Operating Committee, GCRM and practice leadership will be women by 2016,” he writes. “They will have earned the positions; there will not be a quota.” 

Edelman, who is president and CEO of Edelman, the world’s largest independent public-relations firm, acknowledges that his industry has no problem attracting women. Some two-thirds of his workforce is female, he writes. But the ranks of women start to thin in leadership roles.

Wall Street, as seen in the works of Tom Wolfe, Michael Lewis, and Oliver Stone, is a notoriously competitive, macho, insensitive environment. 
Other industries are less so, but, still, as you climb the corporate ladder, the environments often get more macho. 
For example, I worked for a successful start-up in market research, which was, at the MBA entry level, very yuppie and pretty gender neutral (we went out to restaurants in mixed sex groups and then talked about other restaurants, since food was one topic that appealed to both sexes). The market research industry as a whole is pretty genteel and sedate. One marketing research tycoon I knew, an old B-17 bomber pilot, liked to point out, with a little contempt, that most of his competitors had been started by college professors or housewives. (I suspect PR is even more feminine and much more gay at the MBA entry level than is Marketing Research. But, the top dogs even in big PR firms tend do be masculine guys.)
But the founders of my company, which revolutionized the market research industry in the 1980s, were high testosterone guys who were into importing Porsches that had to be customized for six months just to be street legal in the U.S. One morning in 1983, after about six months on the job, I was standing on a street corner in Lincoln Park waiting for the bus to work, when the CEO pulls up in his TurboPorshe and offers me a ride. “Sure!” But, the stoplights on La Salle Street heading toward the Loop are not optimized for a CEO who floors it at every green light and thus gets caught by every single red light. So, every block consisted of us going 0-60 in five seconds, with my head being shoved back into the headrest, followed by 60-0 in five seconds (with my forehead just about bouncing off the dashboard). When we got to work, the CEO offered to pick me up every morning on that corner, but, feeling pummeled by G-forces and whiplash from the ride, I went back to taking the bus.
Then, luckily for me, when the founders started pushing 40, their recreations downshifted from the Need for Speed to becoming fanatical golfers. This worked out well for me socially at the office, because, being a lower testosterone guy about a decade younger, I’d transitioned earlier from playing contact sports to being a golf fanatic at about age 25. So, by the time the bigshots’ hormone levels had dropped enough to move on from racing sports to golf, I was already an expert on all the best public golf courses in the Chicago area. So I played a lot of golf with the top dogs while they were getting started in the game. (One boss got so into my hobby of golf course architecture that he went on to build his own fine golf course in Wisconsin, and then singlehandedly revamped, without a professional golf course architect’s assitance, it to make it more interesting.)
Very few women feel the urge to, say, drive around the Chicago suburbs visiting golf courses to rate them for quality. It’s a good thing to know for career networking purposes, but it really only appeals to individuals with a nerdy turn of mind and a fairly average level (for a man) of male hormones. It’s not utterly unknown among women — one very friendly, slightly tomboyish woman golfer in Accounting was a popular choice for golf foursomes, but she wasn’t really into finding new, good golf courses to play (but she liked to arrange golf resort trips, with more emphasis on quality of accommodations than on the course itself — a more feminine version of this urge). But caring a lot about golf courses is fairly rare among men and extremely rare among women.
Returning to these complaints about disparate impact on women in the executive suites, let me point out that one mechanism that thins the ranks of women in the executive suites is that as young women climb the corporate ladder, they come into less and less contact with the dweebier guys down the ladder and more and more contact with the most powerful and ambitious men at the top. Women don’t generally love working in the macho atmospheres found higher up, but a lot of them do fall in love with individual macho executives, whom they often marry. And then they tend to downsize their own careers (since their husbands make so much money) to concentrate on helicopter mothering their children. 
I recall one young woman at my old company who was shooting up the corporate ladder until she became a direct report to the single most brilliant youngish executive. After awhile, he left his wife and kids to marry her, and then she started concentrating less on her own career and instead on the promoting the career of her very high income, very high potential new husband.
So, here’s a different model of what might have happened on Wall Street: Affirmative action pressure to hire women at Wall Street banks to avoid disparate impact lawsuits led to a lot of women getting hired, who then found that they don’t really like trading, with its macho atmosphere, but they do like macho traders. In fact, they like them so much they want to have their babies. So, they tended to marry a rich male colleague, then downshift careerwise to being a Tiger Mother for their offspring.
I can’t say that
I’m terribly outraged by any of this.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Disparate Impact, Feminism 
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Here’s the first page of a 1967 article in Cosmopolitan called The Computer Girls that points out the advantages of a career in programming for young women. Photos show a lovely young IBM systems engineer surrounded by appreciative white-shirt-and-tie-wearing IBM bachelors.
The accompanying blog post claims that:

“In 1987, 42% of the software developers in America were women … [Is that true?] From 1984 to 2006, the number of women majoring in computer science dropped from 37% to 20% — just as the percentages of women were increasing steadily in all other fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, with the possible exception of physics. The reasons women left computer science are as complex and numerous as why they had entered in the first place. But the most common explanation is that the rise of personal computers led computing culture to be associated with the stereotype of the eccentric, antisocial, male “hacker.” Women found computer science less receptive professionally than it had been at its inception.”

Maybe, although there were other things going on as well. For example, the dominant language in mainframe business software in 1987 was Admiral Grace Hopper’s verbose COBOL, a language that was particularly popular with female coders (my wife was one for awhile). Since then, the software languages that are popular have evolved toward higher levels of elegance and abstraction. 
It’s a little bit like classical music composers. If you pick up a book on composers, such as R.J. Stove’s concise and delightful A Student’s Guide to Music History, they often start with the medieval German nun Hildegard von Bingen, composer of lovely monophonic songs. But, as composing art music became more complex, the number of top female composers became vanishingly small. 
But, here’s another factor that helped drive American women away from programming careers: H-1B. Bill Gates and other zillionaires have added even more billions to their fortunes by getting the government to let in lots of foreign programmers to do for less money the lower level programming that American women tended to be doing. Logically, feminists should therefore have been anti-Bill Gates and anti H-1B, but logic doesn’t play a big role in modern America in determining which Diversity Card trumps which. As a general Hi-Lo v. Middle rule, rich guys playing the race card against average whites are likely to win.

Exactly why was it important for the government to pitch in at the task of ruining computer programming as a fairly ordinary career for fairly ordinary Americans? Didn’t Bill Gates have enough money already? Maybe it would have happened sooner or later anyway, but why did the government have to speed it up?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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With the press in a tizzy over the epochal importance of gay marriage in New York state, the Chicago Tribune has an unwittingly timely article on a past whoop-tee-doo that has quietly fizzled:

Female firefighters blazed a trail that few followed 

After 25 years, they are still rare in Chicago and suburbs 

Twenty-five years ago, Daniels was among the first group of 20 female firefighters hired in Chicago, a move that gave women entree to a macho profession that had been reserved primarily for white men. The women braved hostility, harassment and low expectations to prove they were capable of doing the job. Yet today, women remain barely visible in the firefighting ranks in the Chicago area and the nation. 

In Chicago, there are 116 women, representing just over 2 percent of the department of more than 5,000. Nationally, fewer than 11,000 women are career firefighters, making up 3.6 percent of the firefighter population, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. … 

For most women, it was impossible to pass the physical test, which included timed exercises of hanging from a pole, climbing stairs carrying a 60-pound coiled hose and pulling a 150-pound dummy across a room without its feet touching the floor. …

In the 1980s, the U.S. Justice Department urged the city, then led by Mayor Harold Washington, to hire more women and minorities as part of a 1974 consent decree governing minority hiring at the Fire Department. A new test was developed in 1985 that eased some of the demanding physical tasks and placed more emphasis on the written exam. The physical exam remains a barrier for some women in Chicago and the suburbs. 

The women in the 1986 class were given additional physical training before entering the fire academy. In an affirmative-action move, those who passed the test were placed ahead of men who scored higher, making some men even more resentful. The women were assigned in pairs to 10 stations. … 

Most of the old fire stations in Chicago have been replaced or retrofitted to accommodate women. 

The same is true in the suburbs. In Schaumburg, for example, all of the firehouses have been built or remodeled with unisex washrooms and bunkrooms. Hoffman Estates has separate female locker rooms and other facilities for women, though the village has not hired a woman. 

One to 2 percent of applicants are women, but none has scored high enough on the entrance exam to make the hiring list, said Hoffman Estates fire Chief Robert Gorvett. 

“We openly acknowledge the fact that we’re all white men,” Gorvett said. “It’s certainly not something we’re proud of.”

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Four decades into the feminist era, the number one movie at the box office is Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables, in which Eighties action heroes blow stuff up. Right behind is Julia Roberts’ Eat, Pray, Love, in which a divorcée expensively feels sorry for herself in Italy, India, and Indonesia. (Iowa, Indiana, and Idaho presumably being all booked up.)

I don’t think it’s too scandalous in 2010 to point out that these films are aimed at disparate audiences. Today, in fact, it’s hard to remember how nervous such observations made the bien-pensant as recently as the early 1990s, in the wake of the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas brouhaha. Back then, it was almost mandatory to add after any subversive notice of sex differences, “But, of course, that’s all due to dressing baby boys in blue and baby girls in pink; if it weren’t for society, everybody would like the same things.”

When depressed about the intellectual flaccidity of the 21st Century, I cheer myself up by noting that nobody wholly subscribes to feminist orthodoxy anymore. Most people can now admit that social conditioning isn’t what differentiates the sexes; instead, it’s the only hope of their ever getting along civilly. When allowed to indulge their inner fantasies, however, as incarnated in movies such as The Expendables and Eat, Pray, Love, the sexes barely seem to inhabit the same planet.

Eat, Pray, Love is faithfully adapted from magazine writer Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir/self-help book, which sold nine million copies. …  It embodies Oprahlosophy so cunningly that I might suspect it of being another hoax, like Oprah’s earlier autobiographical fave, A Million Little Pieces. Yet, trying to discern which events Gilbert might have concocted is pointless, because there are practically no events in the movie.

Read the whole thin g at Taki’s and comment upon it below.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Nicholas Wade in the NYT reports:

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded this year to three American scientists who solved a problem of cell biology with deep relevance to cancer and aging. The three will receive equal shares of a prize worth around $1.4 million.

The recipients solved a longstanding puzzle involving the ends of chromosomes, the giant molecules of DNA that embody the genetic information. These ends, called telomeres, get shorter each time a cell divides and so serve as a kind of clock that counts off the cell’s allotted span of life.

The three winners are Elizabeth H. Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, Carol W. Greider of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Jack W. Szostak of Massachusetts General Hospital.

The two other 2009 hard science Nobels are not out yet, but this announcement reflects an on-going trend in which the top female scientific talent is concentrating in the life sciences and leaving the lifeless sciences, physics and chemistry, to the boys.

Here’s a list of all female winners (keep in mind that there have been more multiple winners in recent years — in other words, it’s gotten easier to be a Nobel Laureate in recent years because prizes are more often fractured):

So, before 1965, women won five Nobels in physics or chemistry vs. only one in medicine. Since then, women have won zero in physics or chemistry (warning: this could change this week) versus nine in medicine.

This strikes me as healthy: women specializing in what they (and I, as a beneficiary of medical science) find most important. Of course, in the wake of the 2005 Larry Summers brouhaha, vast amounts of money are being spent to lure women scientists away from the life sciences and into the inanimate sciences in the name of diversity. Will all that money spent make humanity better off?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Science • Tags: Diversity, Feminism 
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A cover story on today (#4):

Hair Raising:
Can a shocking YouTube video of a girl getting her curls brushed change attitudes about black hair?
By Teresa Wiltz

This is another example of Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism: The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

Technically, it might seem highly possible that somebody named “Teresa Wiltz” has naturally straight hair and is just writing out of a disinterested interest in the topic. But, decades of reading female journalism at its most passionate suggested to me that Ms. Wiltz’s own looks would turn out to highly germane.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From AOL News:

A Swedish couple’s decision to keep their toddler’s gender a secret is stirring debate, especially now that the parents are expecting a second child.

“Pop” is 2 ½ years old, but so far only those who change the child’s diapers know whether the youngster is a boy or a girl,, an English-language site for Swedish news, said last week.

Back in March, the parents gave an interview to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, saying they decided not to reveal their child’s sex because they believe gender is a social construction. “We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mold from the outset,” said the child’s mother, “Nora.” (The paper used fake names for the entire family to protect their privacy.)

“It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead,” the mother said.

The parents, both 24 years old, said they never use personal pronouns when referring to the child. They just say “Pop.”

The tot wears everything from dresses to pants, and Pop is usually the one who decides what to wear on any given morning. Pop’s hairstyle is also changed on a regular basis, so it doesn’t provide any clues.

Swedish gender equality expert Kristina Henkel told The Local that the experiment could make Pop a stronger person, since he or she won’t be subject to gender stereotypes.

By The Who:

I’m A Boy
(Pete Townshend)

One girl was called Jean Marie
Another little girl was called Felicity
Another little girl was Sally Joy
The other was me, and I’m a boy

My name is Bill and I’m a headcase
They practice making up on my face
Yeah, I feel lucky if I get trousers to wear
Spend ages taking hairpins from my hair

Chorus 1
I’m a boy, I’m a boy
But my ma won’t admit it
I’m a boy, I’m a boy
But if I say I am I get it

Put your frock on Jean Marie
Plait your hair Felicity
Paint your nails, little Sally Joy
Put this wig on, little boy

Chorus 1

I wanna play cricket on the green
Ride my bike across the street
Cut myself and see my blood
I wanna come home all covered in mud

Chorus 2
I’m a boy, I’m a boy
But my ma won’t admit it
I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m a boy
I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m a boy
I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m__ a__ boy__

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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The older I get, the more it seems like nothing in American social mores has really changed since the 1964-1973 turning point. Thus, the late Daniel Seligman’s Keeping Up columns in Fortune from two decades ago seem like they could have been written yesterday:

March 2, 1987
The Dream Girls

A reader has sent in a clipping from Broadcasting magazine and suggested we comment on same. We are delighted to do so as the subject affords a long-awaited opportunity to mention what we consider the single most fascinating social-science finding of the latter 20th century. Pretty big buildup, you say? Just wait and see.

The article in Broadcasting says the Canadian government has developed “voluntary guidelines” about the portrayal of women on television. The article leaves you thinking the governing classes in the U.S.’s friendly neighbor to the north have nothing better to do than brood over the pernicious effects of sex-role stereotyping, and now they are taking action against this evil.

The Broadcasting article naturally reminded the present keyboarder of a study of TV sex roles in his own country. The study, which appeared in Public Opinion last fall, contrasted “TV’s Dream Girls” in three different decades (those beginning in 1955, 1965, and 1975). It concluded that women in all three decades are depicted in ways suggesting they are not truly equal to men. The femmes come across as less important than men in TV dramas; they “are less likely to be
mature adults, are less well educated, and hold lower status jobs.” Furthermore, women in the dramas tended to derive their identities from their marital status. “A majority of women are identified as either married or single, compared to about one in four men.”

We are edging up on the interesting part. Even though women in dramas are stuck in fairly traditional roles, the story line always takes the feminist side of any argument. (“Characters who deride women’s abilities are invariably put down by the script.”) This was not always true: Before 1965, say authors S. Robert Lichter, Linda S. Lichter, and Stanley Rothman, “22% of the episodes . .. rejected the feminist positions.” But not today — and here comes our fascinating fact. Of the thousands of dramas studied since 1965, “not a single episode derided notions of sexual equality.” Not one. Not even to break the monotony. Can Canada top that?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Natalie Angier of the New York Times writes, “In ‘Geek Chic’ and Obama, New Hope for Lifting Women in Science,” which is the usual, but with one difference. Over the last four years, in practically all of these articles demanding more women get hired as professors of physics, former Harvard president Larry Summers would come in for some ritual denunciating.

But, now, there’s no mention of Larry. Why not?

Because The One has chosen him. So, Larry’s 2005 heresy has disappeared down the Memory Hole. Obama addicts can’t handle cognitive dissonance, so Larry’s cognitive dissidence shall never be spoken of again.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Gina Kolata writes in the NYT:

Men, Women and Speed. 2 Words: Got Testosterone

BEIJING — No matter what happens in the men’s marathon here Sunday, one thing is all but certain. The winner will run the 26.2-mile course faster than the winner of the women’s marathon last Sunday.

The woman who won, Constantina Tomescu of Romania, was fast, of course, finishing the race in 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds — more than a minute ahead of the second-place finisher. But for a variety of intrinsic biological reasons, the best women can never run as fast as the best men, exercise researchers say.

Women are slower than men in running, in swimming, in cycling. Whether it is a 100-meter race on the track or a marathon, a 200-meter butterfly swim or a 10-kilometer marathon swim, the pattern holds.

And even though some scientists once predicted that women would eventually close the gender gap in elite performances — it was proposed that all they needed was more experience, better training and stronger coaching — that idea is now largely discredited, at least for Olympic events. Researchers say there is no one physiological reason for the gap, although there is a common biological thread.

“To a large extent, it’s a matter of testosterone,” said Dr. Benjamin Levine, director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Presbyterian Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “That’s why systematic doping of women is even more effective than systematic doping of men. That’s why the East German women were so much more successful than the East German men.”

This line of analysis was put forward by sports physiologist Stephen Seiler and myself in the 12/31/97 issue of National Review in our article Track & Battlefield:

Everybody knows that the “gender gap” in physical performance between male and female athletes is rapidly narrowing. Moreover, in an opinion poll just before the 1996 Olympics, 66% claimed “the day is coming when top female athletes will beat top males at the highest competitive levels.” The most publicized scientific study supporting this belief appeared in Nature in 1992: “Will Women Soon Outrun Men?” Physiologists Susan Ward and Brian Whipp pointed out that since the Twenties women’s world records in running had been falling faster than men’s. Assuming these trends continued, men’s and women’s marathon records would equalize by 1998, and during the early 21st Century for the shorter races.

This is not sports trivia. Whether the gender gap in athletic performance stems from biological differences between men and women, or is simply a social construct imposed by the Male Power Structure, is highly relevant both to fundamental debates about the malleability of human nature, as well as to current political controversies such as the role of women in the military.

… Despite all the hype about 1996 being the “Women’s Olympics,” in the Atlanta Games’ central events — the footraces — female medalists performed worse relative to male medalists than in any Olympics since 1972. In the 1988 Games the gender gap for medalists was 10.9%, but it grew to 12.2% in 1996. Even stranger is the trend in absolute times. Track fans expect slow but steady progress; thus, nobody is surprised that male medalists became 0.5% faster from the 1988 to the 1996 Olympics. Remarkably, though, women medalists became 0.6% slower over the same period. …

From 1970-1989, white women from communist countries accounted for 71 of the 84 records set at 100m-1500m. In contrast, white men from communist countries accounted for exactly zero of the 23 male records. Those memorable East German frauleins alone set records 49 times in just the sprints and relays (100m-400m). This was especially bizarre because men of West African descent have utterly dominated white men in sprinting. Another oddity of that era is that communist women set only seven (and East Germans none) of the 48 female records in the 5k, 10k, and the marathon.

The crash of women’s running was brought about by two seemingly irrelevant events in the late Eighties: Ben Johnson got caught, and the Berlin Wall fell. …

The communists were almost completely stumped at producing male champions because the benefits of a given amount of steroids are much greater for women than men. Since men average 10 times more natural testosterone than women, they need dangerously large, Ben Johnson-sized doses to make huge improvements, while women can bulk-up significantly on smaller, less-easily detected amounts.

The primitive testing at the 1988 Olympics did succeed in catching Benoid; yet the female star of those Games, America’s Florence Griffith-Joyner, passed every urinalysis she ever faced. The naturally lissome Flo-Jo may have been the world’s fastest clean 200 meter woman from 1984-1987, but she kept finishing second in big races to suspiciously brawny women. She then asked Ben Johnson for training advice, and emerged from a winter in the weight room looking like a Saturday morning cartoon superheroine. She made a magnificent joke out of women’s track in 1988, setting records in the 100m and 200m that few had expected to see before the middle of the 21st Century. Then, she retired before random drug testing began in 1989, having passed every drug test she ever took.

Kolata has to remind NY Times readers that there is this thing called an “average” and you can’t disprove that averages differ by citing exceptions:

“It is not that every man is inherently better than every woman”

Do you think we’ll ever reach the level of intellectual sophistication where New York Times’ subscribers understand words like “average” and “tendency” without being reminded?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Feminism, Olympics, Sports 
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One contributor to the unwieldy giganticism of the Olympics is the perceived need to hold a women’s event for every men’s event, no matter how unpopular the sport is with women, or, in many cases, with both sexes. For example, modern pentathalon (in which you pretend to be a courier during the Napoleonic Wars and swim, horseback ride, run, shoot, and fence your way to delivering your secret message — okay, in theory, it sounds pretty cool, but in practice, nobody cares) hasn’t been all that big since George S. Patton finished fifth in it back in 1912, but, nonetheless, the Olympics added women’s modern pentathalon in 2000.

Likewise, walking is the all-time dorkiest-looking sport, but sure enough, we’ve had a women’s walking race in all the Olympics of this decade.

Weightlifting is a fun sport to attend, with a professional wrestling vibe as the big galoots try to psyche each other out, but it’s hopelessly snarled up by steroids. Nonetheless, the Olympics added women’s weightlifting in 2000. Women’s wrestling was introduced in 2004.

Of course, gender equality in sports almost always means “separate but equal.”

Shooting at the Olympics became sexually integrated in 1968. Women won a number of medals over the next few decades, although men won the great majority. By 1996 it had split into segregated men’s and women’s events.

The only Olympic sports where men and women compete against each other is in equestrian (where the horse is doing most of the work) and some of the sailing events.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Feminism, Olympics, Sports 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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