The radical idea that women are people

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Oregonaut » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:36 pm UTC

Thankfully, Kelly Green is not pastel!

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby apricity » Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:19 pm UTC

Kewangji wrote:It is extremely hard to explain to some people that feminism is an apt name. It's really heartbreaking and headdesking to hear people say 'I can't get behind feminism because it says femi- instead of something else, and it's obviously misandrist because of that'.
I have a problem with the term too, honestly. I am a feminist the way it is defined nowadays, but I still avoid using the term. I have had many people argue to me that nowadays it really embodies equality for ALL people, not just based on gender but sexuality, ability, age, size, etc. But I much prefer to use a term that semantically involves all of those things as well, such as humanist or egalitarian. I am all for gender equality, but only as a section of the overarching equality for all, which is what I actually care about. To me, it's like calling myself a "Democrat"-- a term that is changeable and sometimes ignores or even works against some of the things that I believe in. I would rather use the term "liberal" when I can, because it is much more in line with who I am.

That said, I do not find the term "feminism" to be misandrist. I can understand the argument, but I don't agree with it.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:05 am UTC

To be honest, it's a better term than patriarchy or privilege.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Jplus » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:18 am UTC

So I read the first few posts and the last few posts of this thread, and both were mainly about the meaning of "feminism". Did anything else happen in the meanwhile? :P

Personally, I'm a strong proponent of the emancipation of women, as well as of any other kind of emancipation. In fact, I often have the impression that I'm more aware than my peers of inequalities that both sexes subconsciously maintain, for example subtle differences in language use.

I will never call myself a feminist, because I know people who call themselves feminists but who are really misandrists, and I don't want to be confused with such people. Also, seemingly the most fanatic feminists often seem the ones to maintain the subtle differences between the sexes most.

(By now the reader is probably eager to know about such a subtle difference. Here's one from the Dutch language: we have the suffix "-je" for diminutive words. The suffix is often applied to generic relations that you can have with someone such as classmate: "klasgenoot-klasgenootje" and housemate: "huisgenoot-huisgenootje". However, there is nearly a one-to-one relation between diminutive use and referral to a woman. When you tell somebody "Hey, I presume that housemate is a woman?" they'll usually look flabbergasted and say "Yes, how did you know?". When I tell them it's because they used the diminutive they'll usually look ashamed, because they didn't know of themselves they're making that distinction in that way.)
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby viscusanima » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:25 am UTC

Something that's been confusing me: what's all this about herstory? I've seen some feminists use it seriously, and others - Jessica Valenti comes to mind here - promise not to use it in a serious way. Does anyone actually use this as a legitimate alternative to history? If so, why? History comes from the Greek ιστορία, and has nothing to do with masculinity. It confuses me as to why anyone would see patriarchy in its use. If nobody actually uses it, and it's just a straw-feminist thing, then fair enough; however, I'd like to know if that's the case.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Jplus » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:34 am UTC

Etymologically speaking, history doesn't have anything to do with patriarchism, as you say. However, classical historic stories tend to emphasize the male historic persons and aspects of history that are supposed to be more interesting for men: wars, politics, and some economy, while there is often little mention of the things that are supposed to be more interesting for women, such as how the people lived. Of course, the latter distinction itself is heavily biased towards a certain role pattern, but nonetheless I think it might have been the reason to come up with the word "herstory". At least I know there have been written "female histories" and the like, to compensate for the bias in classical histories.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby GraphiteGirl » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:42 am UTC

I think people who use it seriously use it less in response to the etymology of the word itself, and more in order to draw attention to the idea that the majority of older historical record and discourse concerns itself with the exploits and interactions of famed male historical figures, and with the actions and beliefs of males of a given historical period, with a lesser focus on women of the same period.

Picking up a historical text about one given era in one given place published even as recently as ten or twenty years ago - even today - the odds are good that what you're going to get is chapters on different aspects of life in the era for different social and economic classes, chapters on the impacts of wars, arts, cultural shifts... and then a chapter labelled "Women in $era-place" - "Women in Classical Athens", "Women in the Tokugawa Period". There's a sense of "oh, and also stuff happened to the women" about this format of publishing; something like there's "history" and "women's history", in the same way that there's "history" and "black history" - and the women's history gets much less airtime. It's understandable to a great extent, because the majority of recorded documents were written by people who could write, and the people who could write were generally upper-class educated men, so the majority of the documents we have from a lot of past eras were written by, for and about men, and when they concern women, they're rarely (though certainly not never) written from a female point of view. However, given the extent to which historians are able to extrapolate based on non-textual artefacts about the lives of people, and the degree to which one can read between the lines of the available written texts, it's a source of much frustration to contemporary historians concerned with women that historians of the past didn't always seem nearly as interested in carefully examining the historical artifacts that pertained to women's lives.

It's never yet been a problem when I've studied history in the present day, and discussions of women's participation in major historical events and in examinations of past eras' "daily life" are becoming more ubiquitous, though the tendency to "do a week on women" and spend the rest of the course discussing "mainstream" history remains. It's kind of hard not to fall into that for the logical reason that, because in many past times and places women's activities were so heavily segregated away from men, there really was often a separate world inhabited by women, and history courses tend to design themselves to accommodate that - "They had a separate little world? Best give them a separate hour or two in which we discuss explicitly that."

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:53 pm UTC

Have I ever mentioned Joan Wallach Scott? She's my favourite historian whom I've sent several letters offering to have her babies, although none of them seem to reach her. In any event, from her Gender and the Politics of History:

One approach...to the problem of constituting women as historical subjects was to gather information about them and write (what some feminists dubbed) "her-story." As the play on the word "history" implied, the point was to give value to an experience that had been ignored (hence devalued) and to insist on female agency in the making of history. Men were but one group of actors; whether their experiences were similar of different, women had to be taken explicitly into account by historians.

"Her-story" has had many different uses. Some historians gather evidence about women to demonstrate their essential likeness as historical subjects to men. Whether they uncover women participating in major political events or write about women's political action on their own behalf, these historians attempt to fit a new subject---women---into received historical categories, interpreting their actions in terms recognizable to political and social historians. . . .

Another strategy associated with "her-story" takes evidence about women and uses it to challenge received interpretations of progress and regress. In this regard an impressive mass of evidence has been compiled to show that [And here Scott references each claim] the Renaissance was not a renaissance for women, that technology did not lead to women's liberation either in the workplace or at home, that the "Age of Democratic Revolutions" excluded women from political participation, that the "affective nuclear family" constrained women's emotional and personal development, and that the rise of medical science deprived women of autonomy and a sense of feminine community. . . .

The "her-story" approach has had important effects on historical scholarship. By piling up the evidence about women in the past it refutes the claims of those who insist that women had no history, no significant place in the stories of the past. It goes further, by altering some of the standards of historical significance, asserting that "personal, subjective experience" matters as much as "public and political activities," indeed that the former influence the latter. And it demonstrates that sex and gender need to be conceptualized in historical terms, at least if some of the motives for women's actions are to be understood.


So, is herstory a wank? Well, Scott insists on putting it in quotation marks when she uses the term, implying that it's not one she values. But the historical publications that have fallen under its banner have had a profound influence on historical scholarship and in that respect it's not at all about being an alternative to history but a school of thought that highlights the inherent limitations of traditional history, to the same extent Marxism and post-structuralism did the same. If you're confused about why anyone would see the patriarchy in history, read a Whiggish account of the progress of Western civilization and contrast it with the statements made in the "progress and regress" paragraph.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:39 pm UTC

Hmm, this has been enlightening. Up till now I'd put "her-story" into the same mental category as the words "Amerikkka" or "Micro$oft".
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Foremorrow » Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:25 pm UTC

I've not read through the vast amounts of posts in this thread. I believe, however, that it is quite likely that the following is an original notion in this thread. To leave no debate, the following is meant to be a satirical play on the follies of following religious and cultural "morals" without critical thought.

There is no moral judgement on the behalf of us to discuss sexism and whether men or women are right. We who follow in the words and sing the lays of the Wise One know this:

84. In a woman's words no one should trust, nor in what a woman says; for on a turning wheel have their minds been formed, and slyness in their breasts been laid.

120. I saw deathly wound a man a bad woman's words; a false tongue made his death, and most wrongly.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby EmptySet » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:34 am UTC

So, Stephen Fry has allegedly claimed that women do not enjoy sex. He knows this because women don't spend their days rutting with total strangers under a bush in a public park, which is apparently what everyone who enjoys sex wants to do. Also, he pities straight men, because of course all men everywhere want to get in on the ruttin' action, but the only women willing to do such things are prostitutes. However, Fry claims in a tweet that he was joking, has been misquoted, the misquote has been further misquoted, and that the resulting declarations that he is the Antichrist are totally unfair.

If we assume the quote is accurate and serious - which it's obviously difficult to verify at the moment - those are some pretty ridiculous claims. Thoughts?

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Zohar » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:47 am UTC

The man appeared, in character, before a congress committee. I think we can safely assume it was a joke.

Edit: Damn me and my sometimes-lacking cultural knowledge. Ignore this post.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Hawknc » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:05 am UTC

You might be thinking of Stephen Colbert, rather than Stephen Fry. I do think it wasn't a serious comment, but I haven't seen or heard the actual comment in context though.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Jplus » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:38 am UTC

Suppose it wasn't a joke, would it be worth thinking about? I think you can safely ignore people who say such things...
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby GraphiteGirl » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:50 am UTC

I don't want to ignore Stephen Fry though; I adore his writing and want to think highly of him. This isn't really helping with that.
Anyway, every person who says that women don't like sex, especially a prominent person seen as reasonable and worth listening to, contributes to more people believing it to be true.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby dubsola » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:56 am UTC

To truly believe that, one would have to forget the fact that straight people have bars and therefore no need to wander parks looking for sex (Hampstead Heath is a notorious pick-up spot for gays, strangely, it's also a lovely place for a wholesome walk). I find it unlikely that someone as smart as Stephen Fry has forgotten that. I believe he was misquoted, or at worst, made a joke without thinking it through.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Thesh » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:07 am UTC

Are there really people out there that think women don't enjoy sex?

I mean, I haven't seen it first hand, but everything I see leads me to believe they enjoy sex with other people.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby GraphiteGirl » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:16 am UTC

dubsola wrote:I believe he was misquoted, or at worst, made a joke without thinking it through.
I hope so, and am quite willing to believe his statement that he was misquoted, given his general history of being amazing.
Thesh wrote:Are there really people out there that think women don't enjoy sex?

There are, and there are also a lot of people out there who think women enjoy sex far, far less than men, and generally only like it because it gives them warm cuddles and kisses and emotional bonding. I do not envy those people if they're attempting sexual relationships that involve women.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Zohar » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:49 am UTC

GraphiteGirl wrote:generally only like it because it gives them warm cuddles and kisses and emotional bonding.


And babies, too!

I'm pretty sure it's mentioned in the bible (at least in the old testament) that the husband must pleasure the woman during sex.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby GraphiteGirl » Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:02 am UTC

Yeah, and the Greeks and Romans thought women were the ones who felt more sexual desire. The Puritans (and it's not like they were alone in this) thought women suffered from "hysteria", a disease of the womb due to a lack of occupation by an embryo, which made them crave sex and pregnancy. Mohammad, founder of Islam, had a son in law and cousin who was quoted as saying that there are ten parts of sexual desire extant in the world, and nine of those parts were given to women.
The idea that women are a less sexual gender is surprisingly new.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby cephalopod9 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:18 am UTC

Whether or not people state it outright, "women don't like sex" is a pretty pervasive implication. (think of all the media representations of sex as something men trick women into doing) Which connects to more worrying ideas, like "sex is something where men win and women lose". Even referencing those ideas sarcastically is kind of lousy (I'm guessing it was sarcastic, based on what I know of his humor, even though he doesn't seem to have put out there what he actually meant or how he was misquoted). Looks like an error in considering how things would come across in print, also an odd decision on the part of the paper that printed it. Sexist comments don't make him a bad person, and being a cool or good person doesn't keep him from saying things he shouldn't.
I also know that comedians can seriously attract the haters. In particular, I've seen a lot of bile spewed over women comedians for no particular reason, I don't know how that relates to gay comedians talking about women, but the whole thing is probably a bad intersection of a number of issues.

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So, Has the traditionally feminine art of making cloth and clothes had an impact on the currently considered masculine, field of mathematics? Do the two fields interact in other ways? Or are we just missing out on mathematically ideal pants because we keep them separate for no good reason?

This is one of those times where I am having trouble saying what I'm thinking in a way that makes sense. Sorry if it's difficult to follow, I've started over a bunch of times.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby dubsola » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:01 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote: Sexist comments don't make him a bad person, and being a cool or good person doesn't keep him from saying things he shouldn't.

You are absolutely right. It looks like at this point he has given up on trying to 'clear it up'.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:49 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:Even referencing those ideas sarcastically is kind of lousy
Not necessarily. As with almost any kind of humor that's related to this sort of thing, it all depends on what is actually being made fun of. If you mention those ideas to make fun of how silly those ideas and the people who believe them are, then I think that's a very *good* thing. Even people unswayed by all the logical argument in the world can still be pushed a bit by the social pressures of ridicule, after all.
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Postby koipen » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:14 pm UTC

pkuky wrote:The other problem with feminism is that I've never heard a feminist battle against laws that favour women over men, such as the one that requires a minimum of X woman on the ministry.


For me, solution would be that X amount of ministers must be men.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:06 pm UTC

What would that be a solution to? And how would it solve that thing?
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:10 pm UTC

Too many female ministers, not enough trolls
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:18 pm UTC

Well, to salvage an interesting idea from trolling, I guess that you could have a code requiring X amount of straight white men within a ministry, leaving the rest for people of different colour/gender/orientation &c.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Foremorrow » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:26 am UTC

I'm sure there are cultures were women are considered to be equal or even sometimes superior to men, but why is it that the seemingly overwhelming cultural background of peoples consider women to be lesser of mind and body?

For example:
* Norse: "Trust not in a woman's words nor in what she says for her heart has been crafted on a spinning wheel and slyness in her breasts has been laid." (Lays of the High One, Elder Eddas by Sæmund Sigfusson);
* Burmese "The dawn rises only when the rooster crows" (a burmese proverb which was quoted by Aung Sun Suu Kyi)
* Greco-Roman: Women were not allowed into the forums and could not be elected members of the senate. [There's much more though this is the first example which comes to my mind.]
There's also lots of sexism in the Abrahamic religions.

Why there is so much hostility towards women? What does science say about the equality of the sexes; is the equality of the sexes really backed by scientific study or is it just another cultural idea?

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Jplus » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:15 am UTC

Science neither supports nor opposes equality of the sexes. There are scientific studies that suggest that men and women are not exactly the same, but I think that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone and those studies don't suggest any particular way to treat women relatively to men.

I think equality of the sexes is just another cultural idea, but a very good one (as long as we interpret "equality" as "equivalence"). There's nothing wrong with cultural ideas!

As for the hostility towards women, I would like to know that too. Partly, it could be caused by the fact that men (on average) are more attracted to power while also being physically stronger than women. Another cause could be that there have been several wackos in the past who liked to make up stories in which women are the cause of everything bad. The last thing I could think of is the kind of evolutionary explanation where choosing either matriarchism or patriarchism would lead to higher average fitness (of the members of the group) than just equality of the sexes. If anyone wants to know about the latter I'll look it up, although I seem to recall that I didn't really like the theory myself.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby GraphiteGirl » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:46 am UTC

From a pure ideology point of view, as opposed to a practicality point of view, it's worth noting that a few religious cultures have placed more hardship on women, or given them less freedom/power, because of a belief that women are the stronger sex and men are the weaker. Orthodox Judaism tends to hold that women don't need as many commandments to fulfill because they are on a naturally higher spiritual plane, which means less participation in the wider spiritual communal activities and less leadership roles, and that they have to conduct themselves modestly because of how weak men are, whereas women, the more spiritual and controlled sex, can cope fine with a shirtless man or a man singing in a sexy baritone without assaulting him or even having improperly adulterous thoughts about him (many Orthodox Jews think religious women shouldn't sing in front of men because it's arousing). It's certainly odd that societies tend to end up restricting women around the world more than men, but it's not always because they think women are inferior; sometimes misandry can lead to the restriction of women just as much as misogyny.

A theory on why women get restricted more, based on pure speculation:
Women, on average, would have been far more physically vulnerable in a time before medicine (effective painkillers, birthing aids and sterilisation procedures, etc). It might simply be a case of the strong exploiting the literally weak, which grew to be institutionalised.
And, across cultures, (cissexual) women are equipped with breasts which tend to fill with milk for the feeding of children, which men are not except in exceptional cases, and the ability to get pregnant and bear children. That could easily lead to people presuming that women must be made for childrearing in all ways (in the same way that people presume religion - "Wow, we happen to suit this world well in many ways, like how we have a ground on which we stand well and can eat things that grow from the ground - the earth was clearly made just for us!"), and therefore lead to people saying women SHOULD always be doing the childrearing, because nature says! And if they don't want to, well that's just plain unnatural and could lead to less care for babies, so we ought to stop it...
Last edited by GraphiteGirl on Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:49 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby GraphiteGirl » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:53 am UTC

Eep - to clarify my older post by using my newer post, taking the example of Jewish orthodoxy, which believed women were the less sexually aggressive sex (and believed this even when living in the midst of Greek societies, if current interpretation of contemporaneous religious discourse is any guide), there were some cultures that saw men as more sexual at the same time as the Greeks seeing them as less sexual. In light of that,I don't think the biological food availability theory holds water.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Jplus » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:46 pm UTC

GraphiteGirl wrote:From a pure ideology point of view, as opposed to a practicality point of view, it's worth noting that a few religious cultures have placed more hardship on women, or given them less freedom/power, because of a belief that women are the stronger sex and men are the weaker. (...) but it's not always because they think women are inferior; (...).

For clarity, the suggestions in my previous post did not rely on theories about people thinking that one sex would be inferior to the other.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby doogly » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:16 pm UTC

GraphiteGirl wrote:From a pure ideology point of view, as opposed to a practicality point of view, it's worth noting that a few religious cultures have placed more hardship on women, or given them less freedom/power, because of a belief that women are the stronger sex and men are the weaker.

I think that is just a cute narrative you tell the people you are oppressing. Helps encourage them to pass on acceptance of it to the children.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby GraphiteGirl » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:31 pm UTC

It was taught to some of the Jewish men I know - and they were oppressed by it too in some ways, for the alleged purpose of keeping them on a high spiritual level and giving them tangible reminders to stay spiritual (if one considers circumcision before the age of consent an oppression, which is certainly debatable). But yeah, women probably do get sold that angle a lot more.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Incompetent » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:21 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:So, Has the traditionally feminine art of making cloth and clothes had an impact on the currently considered masculine, field of mathematics? Do the two fields interact in other ways? Or are we just missing out on mathematically ideal pants because we keep them separate for no good reason?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braid_group

Generally speaking though, it's difficult to trace pure mathematical ideas back to some practical experience that inspired them. Most ideas in pure maths are actually inspired by other pure maths, and a big chunk of it can be traced back to simple questions about number and shape that have been documented since at least the bronze age. The world of the modern intellectual is much further removed from the world of practical crafts than the divide between traditional 'men's crafts' and 'women's crafts'. It seems strange to me to think of pure maths as masculine given that mathematical thinking is alien to the vast majority of men as well as women.

Also, I don't know what you mean by 'keeping them separate for no good reason'. Are you suggesting knitters are an untapped source of wisdom for pure mathematicians?

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Thank God I'm an Atheist » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:39 pm UTC

I have nothing against feminism at all (apart from its name, which should suggest equality, however that is beside my point).

What I often have a lot against are the majority of the people that call themselves feminists. In short I find they are pushy, unreasonable and sometimes irrational and even unfriendly people. I don't like the way that when I oppose their point of view in any way, e.g.:

he's right, it can get ridiculous. I mean, woman couldn't manage to get into the firefighters because the physical requirements were too harsh and woman couldn't manage to pass the tests. so they were forced to make easier tests for woman so that they could manage to become firefighters. that's stupid. firefighting isn't about giving people a treat, it's about putting out fires.


They instantly rush to try and take the moral high ground; often times with passionate outbursts that make little sense. I usually get the general idea that they're calling me evil and that "I must be sexist!"

All in all I understand completely that the human race still has ground to cover in terms of equality of the genders, in regards to salaries etc.
However I will often see examples of women 'teasing' "What are men like?!" and joking about the ineptitude of men relating to certain tasks (this is prejudiced and stereotypical). To avoid heated situations men often just take this in their stride, despite some men wanting to speak out. On the other hand I hardly ever see examples of men joking about women in the same way, it is just not socially accepted. If we were to 'tease' in the same way it would be awkward socially and viewed as sexism.

You may post your disagreements with me if you wish, however please don't bother as it will save you time. I'm pretty sure of the kind of critical comments people can/will make of this post, particularly in the poor structuring of it and the generalisations made within.

Additionally posting back with a passionate and illogical argument may just prove my own points >.< idk lol, say what you like.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:15 pm UTC

Thank God I'm an Atheist wrote:What I often have a lot against are the majority of the people that call themselves feminists. In short I find they are pushy, unreasonable and sometimes irrational and even unfriendly people.
How many actual self-identifying feminists do you really know? Also, of course you'd find them pushy: they're telling you your attitudes (as posted right here) are problematic, and you don't want to hear that.

I will often see examples of women 'teasing' "What are men like?!" and joking about the ineptitude of men relating to certain tasks (this is prejudiced and stereotypical).
Yep. It's also not something feminists encourage, so I'm not at all sure how you think this is related to the point you were trying to make above.

I'm pretty sure of the kind of critical comments people can/will make of this post, particularly in the poor structuring of it and the generalisations made within.
If you know it's structured poorly and full of generalizations, you might have wanted to consider making a better post in the first place. At least, if you were expecting anyone here to take you seriously...
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby doogly » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:06 am UTC

On knitting:
Another time, Dirac was watching Anya Kapitza knitting while he was talking physics with Peter Kapitza. A couple of hours after he left, Dirac rushed back, very excited. "You know, Anya," he said, "watching the way you were making this sweater I got interested in the topological aspect of the problem. I found that there is another way of doing it and that there are only two possible ways. One is the one you were using; another is like that. . . . " And he demonstrated the other way, using his long fingers. His newly discovered "other way," Anya informed him, is well known to women and is none other than "purling."
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Midnight » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:20 am UTC

To follow-up on that
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosey_Grier
Rosey Grier, stupendously badass football player--member of "the most dominant line in football history" on the L.A. Rams.

Bibliography includes:
Winning
Rosey, an Autobiography
Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men

The guy was awesome, as is needlepoint.
uhhhh fuck.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby cephalopod9 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:40 am UTC

Awesome.
One of the neat things about needle point is that it's pixel art (crochet and knitting can be to, but much lower resolution and it's harder to change colors), 8 and 16 bit sprites can be good patterns. Which is one of the reasons I'm surprised it, and related hobbies, aren't a bigger draw for people who are into programming. I've only done a little python (and general failing and Flash Action Scripting) but it definitely seems like similar logic, and methodologies are present in both computer programing and things like knitting patterns. (I'm mainly just putting ideas out there, I don't have a of specific point to make or anything.) With both I'm really bad at the part where you have to Follow the Instructions.
I remember that now! (I found that before, but I forget how) I meant to learn it, but I forgot to.
Incompetent wrote:Generally speaking though, it's difficult to trace pure mathematical ideas back to some practical experience that inspired them. Most ideas in pure maths are actually inspired by other pure maths, and a big chunk of it can be traced back to simple questions about number and shape that have been documented since at least the bronze age. The world of the modern intellectual is much further removed from the world of practical crafts than the divide between traditional 'men's crafts' and 'women's crafts'. It seems strange to me to think of pure maths as masculine given that mathematical thinking is alien to the vast majority of men as well as women.
We still relate math to real world/physical applications, especially as far as learning it and teaching it go. Can you think of times textiles and such came up in examples or word problems in math classes? Quilting for example, could be an interesting way to practice geometry, crochet would be interesting to look at through calculus. I mainly remember problems relating to architecture, fences and money; unless I go back to elementary school multiplication and probability: if you have x shirts and y pants, you can make x * y outfits. There's a lot I've forgotten, and this might be completely specific to this part of the U.S., I honestly don't know.
Math itself of course isn't gendered, but at this time and place, the field is male dominated. So are many science fields, and computer programming. Similarly, there's nothing inherently feminine about making clothes, but that's been women's work (in a number of cultures, if I remember correctly).
Also, I don't know what you mean by 'keeping them separate for no good reason'. Are you suggesting knitters are an untapped source of wisdom for pure mathematicians?
I know there's a lot of mathematics in knitting that could be distilled into pure math (It happens in the physical world, ergo it can be described with maths). I don't know if it has been or not.
"Keeping them separate" would be the lack of apparent overlap, and the separation could be intentional or passive. Failing to connect related ideas would mean missing out on helpful perspectives, and opportunities to synthesize new ideas. Like
doogly wrote:On knitting:...
I'm a little sad if the conversation ended there, because there was obviously potential for mutual learning. He didn't even get to increases and decreases.
I also remember reading a Scientific American article about the need for a woman's perspective in archeology, to point out things like "that Venus figurine is totally wearing a knitted cap" and "there is no way you could sew leather with that tiny needle"... you can miss out on a lot by favoring, intentionally or otherwise, one set of experiences over another.
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