A Woman Can do Anything a Man Can Do (Well, Almost)
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2006 12:29:23 +0000
Carey Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org
iFeminists 16 August 2006
A Woman Can do Anything a Man Can Do (Well, Almost) By Carey Roberts
Fact and feminism keep tripping over each other.
For decades, radical feminists have prostrated themselves upon the
altar of androgeny, flatly declaring that all differences between the
sexes are socially constructed. So when men earn more money than
women, they say that s proof of sex discrimination.
But men have the Y chromosome, while women don't. And it turns out
that one chromosome contains 78 very important genes. Those genes
contain programming instructions that control a man s brain structure,
sex hormones, and a host of other functions.
These critical genetic differences play out in thousands of ways that
influence risk-taking, sex relationships, and social roles. Steven
Rhoads book, Taking Sex Differences Seriously, is an
information-packed, must-read on this topic.
Women conceive babies, men can't. Women are better at decoding facial
expressions, hearing a baby's whimper in the night, and simultaneously
talking and listening. Fine.
But what happens when we insist that men and women are social
equivalents, twisting like neutered cogs in a giant gender nirvana?
Last year I was talking with a woman who insisted female athletes are
just as skilled as the men. A few months later, the US female Olympic
hockey team played a boys high school team from Warroad, Minnesota.
The small town boys prevailed 2-1 over the elite Olympians and that was a non-checking game.
Then there are the women-in-combat zealots. They parade girls like PFC
Jessica Lynch as living proof that women can handle the fierce demands
of front line combat. You may recall that war heroine Lynch later
admitted about her Iraqi mishap, I did not shoot, not a round,
nothing. I went down praying to my knees. And that's the last I remember.
What about women in the media? Remember, they were going to bring us a
more balanced and empathic perspective on the world.
Well, that was before Oprah Winfrey predicted one in five heterosexual
Americans would die from AIDS by 1990 and Meryl Streep duped the EPA
to ban alar.
Let's not forget Connie Chung s scientific discovery that breast
implants make women sick. Even though researchers could never prove
the link between implants and connective tissue disease, the ensuing
hysteria-driven lawsuits eventually forced Dow Corning into bankruptcy.
Of course there s the ever-apoplectic Maureen Dowd, left to wonder why
the New York Times circulation numbers tumble ever-downward. And rumor
has it that once Katie Couric debuts at CBS News, she's planning to
sign up Cindy Sheehan as a political analyst for the upcoming November elections.
And women, it is said, will make the political arena more ethical and fair:
Research shows the presence of women raises the standards of ethical
behavior and lowers corruption. That quote comes to us by way of
senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, which practically makes the claim self-refuting.
We were promised that women in academia would bring important new insights.
But soon the ladies came to the sobering realization that Beethoven
composed Ode to Joy to induce men into a sexual frenzy, and Newton's
Principia Mathematica is actually a rape manual.
We should all feel especially sorry for MIT professor Nancy Hopkins.
As a biologist, she no doubt learned how primates engage in
sex-specific courtship rituals and hunting patterns. But then
ex-Harvard president Larry Summers suggested that innate differences
in the human species also might exist, causing the ever-delicate Dr. Hopkins to lapse into a swoon.
Smelling salts, anyone?
Those examples are mostly amusing. But there's one variation on the
woman-can-do-anything-a-man-can-do theme that's downright dangerous.
It's the mothers and fathers are interchangeable mantra.
The reason is simple: little boys don't identify with their moms the
same way they bond with their dads. And girls learn different lessons
from dads than from moms.
Look at inner city ghettos ravaged by Great Society programs that
required dad to vacate the home before mom was entitled to collect her
welfare check. Bereft of their loving fathers, boys looked to the
media and gangs for their male role models.
Is anyone surprised when all manner of social pathologies take root
It's one of the conundrums of our time that while demanding fealty to
the dogma of androgeny, feminists condemn the expression of masculine
qualities by men and then turn around and demand that liberated women
exemplify exactly those same attributes.
As my mother used to say, Who said women had to be logical?