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Re: new member presentation

On 2008-11-04, Helen Faulkner penned:
> Ooh, can I play devil's advocate here? <grin>

I'd like to play, too!  And I hope I do not sound confrontational ...
just trying to express some thoughts / starting points for discussion.

I've snipped throughout ... if I've oversnipped, I apologize.  It was
all good stuff, but I didn't want to quote your entire post.

> As far as I know, studies have tended to back this up, even studies that were 
> designed not to pick up on stereotyped differences but to look at the different 
> ways our brains might solve different types of problems.  There are also 
> countless anecdotes of kids who were brought up intentionally without gender 
> stereotypes (for example that boys play with guns, girls with dolls), who ended 
> up wanting those gender-specific toys anyway.  (me, I'm a woman and I liked 
> dinosaurs - I am not in any way suggesting that any of this goes for all or any 
> particular individual).

Why would skills not have an innate gender bias?*  Good question.  But
I don't put much faith in these studies and anecdotes, because it's
hard to control for known bias in our culture, let alone be able to
recognize it in all of its possible forms.  From inside our cultures,
we may be able to see certain patterns, but others will elude us
because they're as invisible as air.

I am sure that there are cases of parents having the intention of
raising children without gender bias, but that's not the same as
bringing up children without gender bias.  Guns and dolls are only the
extreme tip of the iceberg.  It's the subconscious things that will
get you every time, and even if somehow parents managed to be
miraculously completely free of any societal bias, they certainly
can't ensure that everyone the child interacts with is free of these
biases.  There are grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors,
teachers, random people on the street.  Kids are good at picking up
subtle signals; it's how they survive and learn to function in

> I believe that many more women have the potential to be excellent at technology 
> stuff than currently are.  And that there are also areas where more men have the 
> potential to be excellent than currently are.  I believe that societal rules, 
> customs, programming and expectations are a problem for all of this.  But I 
> don't for a moment think that in an "ideal" society where all those customs and 
> expectations were not acting, that you'd end up with a 50:50 split between men 
> and women in any field.

I suspect you're right, but I don't think we can possibly verify that
opinion with the data we currently have available (ie, people who
exist within the current societal structures).

* I changed the subject to my pet topic of innate differences


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