Femmostroppo Reader – July 12, 2009

Items of interest found recently in my RSS feed. Please share what you've been reading (and writing!) in the comments.

  • Court puts women in danger
  • – “”A woman doesn’t stay in a refuge for the fun of it,” she said. “And I’m outraged that the family law system these days facilitates contact [with children] over safety.””

  • Simply rude to ignore Uluru feelings
  • – “As Tory Maguire wrote on The Punch website this week, if it is good enough for people to jump through hoops at other religious venues, such as mosques or cathedrals, by removing their shoes or covering their heads, then it’s probably fair enough that we adjust our behaviour and afford a similar respect to the first Australians.

    The idea of climbing the rock as some form of personal odyssey or white man’s conquest also strikes me as a bit of a clapped-out 1970s concept,”

  • Maths is full of unknown Xs and Ys
  • – “By now, you’d have thought the whole Mars/Venus thing would have gone the way of the Planet Formerly Known as Pluto – i.e., downgraded to dwarf status. But no. We still cling to falsified concepts of “innateness” with the tenacity of tree-borne koalas – and their mental alertness too, alas. When notions of gender are involved, the hardening of the categories can be especially severe.”

  • 40 years since Apollo 11 – first manned mission to the moon
  • – Radio National with transcript and podcast

  • Coding Horror: How Not to Advertise on the Internet
  • – What a shocker (via thecurvature on twitter)



Categories: linkfest

Tags: ,

22 replies

  1. Why is it always about maths?

    Why is there never any handwringing over which people, where, are better at historical research?

    My poor discipline is so neglected.

  2. Probably because – according to the standard innateness models – women would be better at historical research. Thus, it gets less publicity.

  3. Tcha. But we waste all our time on things that aren’t dead kings or wars. Us silly wimmins, wasting our times.
    (Not that I’m not BITTER, Mr Jack “Who Killed Canadian History” Grananstein. No no. You just keep calling women’s history the study of “milkmaid’s knee in Sault Saint Marie” and then whining about how no one cares about our Vast Military History. NOT BITTER AT ALL.)

  4. I was really enjoying that article, both the conclusions and the writing, and then I noticed it was Susan Maushart, so that’s no surprise at all. All her work is brilliant and cuts right to the heart of how society runs.

  5. I also stumbled across A Mathematician’s Lament (PDF, almost entirely English text, aimed at non-mathematicians) yesterday. He’s not addressing the question of gender in it, but he argues that mathematics as taught is tragically tamed. Not that I mean to argue “at least your subject hasn’t been sliced and diced to fit the machine” because being sliced and diced is a sign of importance but…most angles of the story of educational testing and ranking are a tragedy.
    He makes an interesting argument. I’ve known some very talented young mathematics students, up to the level of prodigy, and part of the talent is seeing through the teaching at K-12 level to the patterns behind (or entirely skipping K-12 in the usual form, many revealed prodigies have a mathematician or maths teacher parent who personally tutors them).
    Otherwise, I was horrified by the story about the woman who may be be compelled to reveal the address of the refuge her family lives in, losing her place in it in the process and exposing two other families to a known risk of murder.

  6. You just keep calling women’s history the study of “milkmaid’s knee in Sault Saint Marie” and then whining about how no one cares about our Vast Military History.

    Am I the only weirdo who would really like that, if there’s a story in it? Tales of medical history fascinate me, and throw in the fact that it’s about women’s occupational disability, and I’m there.

  7. Hush, Lauredhel. It’s almost like you think there might be interest in something other than Sir John A.
    Not.Bitter.At.All.

  8. Otherwise, I was horrified by the story about the woman who may be be compelled to reveal the address of the refuge her family lives in, losing her place in it in the process and exposing two other families to a known risk of murder.
    It’s so obviously a decision that will endanger these families that it’s hard to not to see that as a purpose of it.

  9. “Probably because – according to the standard innateness models – women would be better at historical research. Thus, it gets less publicity.”
    Do you reckon? I haven’t done an exhaustive survey or anything, but I’m fairly sure of the books/articles I read for my history Masters last semester, about 80% of them were by men.

  10. This may not have hit anyone’s radars yet. My favourite line from the article?
    “will they continue to be mere barbies in the chair?”

  11. Anna – That Jack Grananstein sounds a lot like David ‘Won’t some-one think of King Henry?’ Starkey who has said that Tudor History has been ruined by female historians writing about Tudor women.
    But of course it’s fine for him to write a whole book on Henry VIII’s wives, because, well, um…
    And I’m not bitter either, no. Why would I be bitter about a very successful male historian trashing the work of his female colleagues as a publicity stunt?

  12. Starkey. 😡

  13. Do you reckon? I haven’t done an exhaustive survey or anything, but I’m fairly sure of the books/articles I read for my history Masters last semester, about 80% of them were by men.
    Do I reckon what? That those who rhapsodise about innate gender talents tend to attribute superiority to women in the things that would make for good historical research? Yes. Or that women are innately better at historical reseach? Not really, because I don’t think much of innate gender talents.

  14. “Do I reckon what? That those who rhapsodise about innate gender talents tend to attribute superiority to women in the things that would make for good historical research? Yes. ”
    Yes, the first one – I wouldn’t have thought you thought the idea of inate gendered abilities was a good one!
    I was wondering why, when history is still very much a male-dominated field, you would think that people would put those skills in the “female” bucket – I would have thought that those who rhapsodise about innate gender talents would have said history, which is an intellectually rigorous discipline, was a male talent. But if you can point me to any evidence the other way, I’m always happy to change my mind.

  15. I think it’s only considered innately male when it’s about war or dead kings.
    Anything about the rest of us is women’s work.

  16. Starkey. 😡

    Is that an emoticon or a portrait, Anna? I can’t decide.
    Oh, Starkey. This is a bloke who can get through his TV series’s episode on Oliver Cromwell without once, IIRC, mentioning the word “Ireland”. Blind-eye-turning skills like that are to be respected, not condemned out of hand.

    the study of “milkmaid’s knee in Sault Saint Marie”

    Heh. Sounds to me a lot like the crypto-Marxist class historians of the common people who did their thing in the fifties and sixties, a very male-dominated lot.

  17. “I think it’s only considered innately male when it’s about war or dead kings”.
    Or ecomomics. Or politics.
    Really the only thing I can think of that might be considered “female” would be social history. Or maybe history of costume, because we ladees, we’re all about teh clothes.

  18. I think I’m allowed to get away with Disability History because everyone knows that men with disabilities aren’t real men, unless they’re wounded soldiers.

  19. Yes us history ladeez can have that one, as long as they’re not Brave Wounded Soldiers. There are probably some other minor areas we’re allowed in, like history of cooking and history of ballet. As long as they’re lady topics.

  20. I was wondering why, when history is still very much a male-dominated field, you would think that people would put those skills in the “female” bucket – I would have thought that those who rhapsodise about innate gender talents would have said history, which is an intellectually rigorous discipline, was a male talent.
    Oh, right, I see. I was thinking more of X-research rather than historical-X; and I’m used to hearing about how data processing and multitasking are female talents. But I take your point about intellectual rigour as gendered male, and it’s importance in history.
    Though I also propose your argument as evidence against intellectual rigour being innately male. 🙂

  21. As long as they’re lady topics.
    But everyone knows lady topics aren’t real history! Which is why social history was only respected once men started writing it. Grr.

  22. “Though I also propose your argument as evidence against intellectual rigour being innately male. :)”
    Thanks 🙂
    And Kirstente, *of course* lady topics are not real history – they’re only allowed to be studied at all to keep us ladies away from the *proper* history.

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