A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘women

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at some stunning imagery of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter.
  • Inkfish notes that some jumping spiders do not just look like ants, they walk like them, too.
  • Language Log has gentle fun with the trend to develop heat maps for American English dialects.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the idea of disgust as it is made to relate to the homeless.
  • Siva Vijenthira at Spacing considers the particular importance of biking for the independence of women.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers whether or not terraforming Mars is worth it. (Yes, but it will be costly.)
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that China is displacing Russia, despite the latter’s efforts, as the main trade partner of smaller post-Soviet countries.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares an amusing photo of the Wonder Bears of Provincetown.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO notes that Toronto has placed ninth on a list of the best cities in the world to be a student.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a report examining the recent Russian naval deployment towards Australia.
  • Far Outliers notes the role of women in North Korea’s informal markets.
  • Language Hat comments on a haunting Hungarian-Polish phrasebook from 1940.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money continues an interesting debate on the American immigration amnesty.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests South Korea’s clean-up of its environment occurring within the past decade is indicative of China’s developments.
  • Justin Petrone notes one example of racial stereotyping of northern Italians versus southern Italians.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares some recent Hubble images of Mars.
  • Savage Minds shares the reactions of some anthropologists to Ferguson.
  • Spacing considers if Uber is part of the sharing economy.
  • Strange Maps shares cartographic domestic propaganda from the First World War.
  • Torontoist suggests that, with Nijinsky, Toronto is playing an important role as the host of narrative ballet.
  • Transit Toronto reports on the #grumpyrider hashtag.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on Ukrainian military cooperation with Poland and Lithuania and suggests on Ukrainian alienation from Russia.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Big Picture shares pictures of Muslims around the world celebrating the beginning of Ramadan.
  • BlogTO notes that RuPaul recently visited Toronto.
  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait explores the star SBW1, a star about to go supernova.
  • D-Brief and io9 both report on the recent successful womb transplants in Sweden.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that, on re-analysis, the very old star HIP13044 does not have a hot Jupiter.
  • Geocurrents’ Asya Pereltsvaig notes the prominence of Ukrainian ultranationalists–the Svoboda party–in the ongoing protests in Ukraine.
  • Joe. My. God., Towleroad, and the Volokh Conspiracy all note the recent passage of very strongly anti-gay laws in Nigeria, laws which prohibit even social gatherings. David Mixner’s analysis at Towleroad should be read.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is skeptical about the excessive hyping of masculinity by authors claiming to be very masculine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer takes a look at how Syrian refugees are doing. (Surprising fact: apparently one-third of people living in Lebanon are Syrian refugees.>
  • Towleroad notes that Luxembourg is likely to get marriage equality by the end of the year and links to a Vice documentary on hidden gay life in Russia.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the recent conviction of a Mauritanian on charges of apostasy. He now faces the death penalty.
  • Window on Eurasia links to a Russian magazine article summarizing the many failed opportunities of Russia to be an enthusiastic colonial power, from Tobago to Thailand to Tabriz and even off-world.

[LINK] “Why the Gender Pay Gap Doesn’t Matter”

This post at Crasstalk makes the provocative argument that the continuing gap in pay between men and women in the United States (and almost developed countries, I’m willing to bet) doesn’t necessarily speak solely, or primarily, about the continuing issues of women in moving towards full equality. Things may be very bad for the majority of men, too.

Hanna Rosin’s controversial article for The Atlantic, “The End of Men,” struck a nerve in 2010. After all, if men are losing out to women, why are our corporate boardrooms and government institutions still dominated by men? Rosin’s answer is that the period of male dominance in management and leadership may be coming to an end. We’re on the cusp of changes that will topple the old Man Men paradigm.

Rosin’s argument centered around the fact that male-centric jobs (manufacturing, construction) are seriously threatening the role men have long held in the home and in communities, but she also combines an analysis of our economic recession with a sort of evolutionary argument about how males evolution hasn’t kept up with society at large.

Dr. Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor from Florida State University and author of “Is There Anything Good About Men?” has explored how male behaviors affect socities. In a speech to the American Psychological Assocation in 2007 he argued that the dominance of a few powerful men at the top of the food chain says nothing about the overall socio-economic wellness of men in our culture.


Written by Randy McDonald

May 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm

[LINK] “Life With and Without Animated Ducks: The Future Is Gender Distributed”

In the most recent of a series of gust posts at Charlie Stross’ blog, Cat Valente argues–inspired by her experience living in a Japan that combined highly-advanced technology in the public sphere with little and expensive technology in the private sphere of the home–that there’s a bias developing or even closely identifying with the future technologies associated with the private, female sphere.

[I]t began to occur to me that the tech I was using was incredibly gendered. In the “male” sphere, of professional operations, offices, corporations, pop culture, businesses, the available technology was extremely high-level, better than anywhere I’d yet lived. In the “female” sphere, the home, domestic duties, daily chores, cleaning, heating, anything inside the walls of a house, it was on a level my grandmother would find familiar.

Given that during the time I was there the Japanese parliament was suggesting removing the social safety net (social security benefits, in American parlance) for women who chose not to have children, and the issue of young men who expected a stay at home wife and young women who wanted to have careers was quite a hot one, I could not then and still do not believe that divide was an accident. The simple fact is that domestic chores take a huge amount of time and energy, and if a woman is occupied doing them, and especially doing them without the machines that speed up the process considerably, means that she rarely has the time to pursue interests and a career. Though for cultural and financial reasons, Japanese houses often house more than one generation, the lack of technology creates so much unnecessary work that most of my neighborhood required both the young mother and grandmother in a household to devote their days to it.

I don’t think there’s some dastardly man in a high office making Mr. Burns fingers and saying: EXCELLENT. I have oppressed women for another day! Let us celebrate! (Except the PMs who wanted to take away benefits for childless women–but not childless men.) This kind of thing is always more subtle than that. People who have imbibed from their culture that men and business are important and women and the home are slightly distasteful and irrelevant spending their time on inventions applicable to one and not the other. Corporate managers approving projects along the same lines. Everyone performs their upbringing in their work in one way or another. Obviously, I don’t consider business a male bailiwick and the home the kingdom of woman, but a whole lot of people do, and a goodly number of them have a massive influence on the allocation of R & D funds and the political narrative than I do. Right this very second, here in the US, we are having an actual, serious, if incredibly stupid, conversation about whether or not women should have easy access to birth control. We are having this conversation because significant humans in our government believe women should not have access to it at all. I’m super excited about that, because it means it’s 1965 and we’re gonna go to the moon soon.

And Japan is HARDLY alone. C.f. that entire viciously moronic conversation about the care and feeding of my uterus. I merely noticed it for the first time over there. The article I linked to is fascinating because it is a very high tech response to a domestic issue, which is something I don’t come across very often. Most of us are cooking in kitchens quite recognizable from 40 years ago. The Roomba in the corner of my living room is about the only chore-class object in my house that that same grandmother would not have used in cleaning up after my parents.

One of the things that has frustrated me about science fiction is that technology pertaining to the smaller aspects of our lives is often neglected in favor of big giant rockets and exotic weaponry. Birth control seems non-existent and childbirth is still rocking the stirrups. And the home is at best not mentioned much. One of the things that “the future,” when we use that word as a metonymy for an idealized world in which machines solve all our problems, is supposed to do for us is give us time. Relieve us from work that is repetitive or unpleasant and allow us the sheer, simple hours in the day to do more. And yet, by far the biggest time sink going is the need to clean our habitats, prepare food and clothing, and maintain our environments. For those who have always had the, dare I say, privilege of ignoring that work, you simply cannot imagine how much time it takes to do all that and then turn around and do it again, often multiple times a day if there are offspring at play. Despite the fact that we here in the first world are supposed to have leveled up our gender equality stat, women still perform the majority of this labor, often in addition to a full shift outside the home. Fully automating this activity would free humanity on a scale that even the most awesome BFG can’t even begin to contemplate.

I like her conclusion.

The future is not evenly distributed. Not along cultural lines, along language lines, along political, economic, class, or generational lines. And most certainly not along gender lines. A significant portion of the digital world proceeds on the quiet, probably subconscious meme that the future belongs to men and women are just along for the ride. Oh, sure, some women can play with the big boys. If they act right. But not the girly ones. They’re feminine, therefore: weak and frivolous and shallow and shrill.

They can do the laundry.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 23, 2012 at 4:08 am