Monday, 24 November 2014

Feminism's dishonesty - pt 2: the pay-gap, and jobs in science and politics

The pay gap debate - lies, or just sins of ommission?

My previous post concerned #shirtstorm, which touched on the fact that there are fewer women working in science. Now I think the argument about women being or feeling excluded in scientific disciplines resembles that of the gender pay-gap. Men measured by a certain average, earn more money than women - just as there are currently more men in senior positions in science departments and, for that matter, political parties all over the world.

I think it's fair to say that feminists hate these facts, but they can't seem to argue a case consistently or at all honestly. With the pay gap, they will repeat the basic statistic, but not the more detailed work showing WHY the gap is there. There is a wealth of research showing that women work fewer hours than men, they choose different types of jobs, and make career choices for different reasons. They choose safer work, nearer to where they live, that doesn't interfere with their social lives, and they take a great deal of time off to have and raise children.

Thus there is no reason to suppose that discrimination lies behind the pay-gap. We have an excellent idea what lies behind it. So feminists can't say it's discrimination so easily. The problem is that they love to imply as much, or to carefully phrase things so that you might mistakenly conclude that discrimination was at work. 

The fact that anyone paying men and women different rates for the same work risks being prosecuted under the law is also swept under the carpet.

So many a time I've read or heard feminists mentioning that there is a pay-gap, and that this is a blatant injustice. But as said, the reasons for the pay-gap don't seem to be discrimination, but the results of women's own choices, so where is the injustice?

Feminists don't answer this, of course, but, like any politician, quickly move on to state that getting the numbers equal would be a desirable outcome. But it's pretty clear that if men are working more hours, doing more dangerous jobs, and taking less time off for children, then you've basically have to pay women more, or enforce quotas, or some such measure that would entail discrimination against men.

Not that feminists mind this part all that much

Jobs in science - same old same old...

Very similar considerations apply with the argument about fewer women working in scientific posts. There is less data, but there could be a number of reasons for this disparity. It may simply be that fewer women may be interested in these jobs in the first place - a heretical suggestion, but quite possible in reality. Then there is the small matter of the chunk taken out of one's life by having children.

...and there may be an issue with the atmosphere in the workplace. It's hard to say, and even if there were such an issue, why should we blame men? Science departments are very competitive places, socially and professionally - making a stressful work environment. It's quite likely that a female scientist might negotiate in a different way from a male, and be more likely to complain about an atmosphere.

And there will be considerable pressures to join a feminist organisation working for women in this field - after all they are a ready-made social network (or guild perhaps?), and you wouldn't want to make enemies of these people.

Lies, damned lies, statistics, and political debate

But my point is about dishonest political debate. Despite the difficulty in finding evidence for discrimination or a sexist atmosphere driving women away, Feminists

a) repeat the numerical discrepancy in scientists by gender - as though it were an obvious evil.
b) they forget to mention that fewer women apply for such posts
c) if this fact is mentioned, they imply dark forces of discrimination against schoolchildren, with no solid foundation in evidence,
d) they then claim - again with little evidence - that the reason for any women not succeeding brilliantly in science is not that there are fewer in the first place (again they often forget to mention this), but because of malign forces of sexism in the office.

So that's one set of evasions and baseless claims. But as with the pay-gap, feminists then seem to want to influence what is done about the gap. They claim that nothing short of 50/50 parity between the sexes is acceptable. But how on earth are we to achieve this if women make different choices? Well, feminists say either

a) that women should be encouraged to make different choices (possibly by incentives for women only to do science) or
b) that there must exist subtle underlying discrimination, and that the only way to battle this is by positive discrimination in recruitment.

So, based on no evidence, and starting from the premise that gender discrimination is evil,  they end up lobbying for discrimination in favour of women - which of course means AGAINST MEN. It's political genius, but also disgustingly dishonest and runs against any sort of fairness. It's one of the main reasons why I strongly oppose modern feminism.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Feminism's dishonesty - pt 1: Shirtstorm, or the day the earth went mad

The day and age we live in..

So, for those mysterious loons who don't get embroiled in internet furores, we'll start with the story of #shirtgate.

A team of scientists managed to land a space probe on a comet which was both hundreds of millions of miles away, and moving at 80,000 mph. That is quite a feat by any standards. I'd say even the moon-landings look tame by comparison. Something to make us feel good about ourselves, you might think.

Naturally there are press conferences surrounding this magnificent scientific achievement, and in one of these a prominent scientist from the project, Matt Taylor, was wearing a t-shirt with drawings of almost-but-not-quite-naked women.

...and this is where 21st century lunacy took over. These days we don't in reality have many facists, hardline communists (well a few, but not many Stalinists) or fundamentalist Christians (in the UK at least). We do have some rather fanatical Muslims, though. And we have feminism. Lot's and lot's of feminism.

That's so ostracizing!

The response to Taylor's shirt began in earnest, including angry tweets from Rose Eveleth of The Atlantic, and a piece in the Verge website entitled "I don't care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing".

"Ostracising" is, I suppose, a gerundive, if I've remembered the term correctly, so it just about works grammatically, though it seems not to have flowed from the pen of a master wordsmith, if you ask me. This sort of language is also one of the tell-tale signs that you're reading one of the outraged victimhood-politics mob.

It's hard, isn't it, to see how a shirt can ostracise anyone. I'm not being funny here. This deliberate imprecision is sort of the topic for the day. For of course we are supposed to understand that they mean that the shirt is in some way related to behaviours that allegedly exclude women from working in science.

Let me quote from the Verge:

This is the sort of casual misogyny that stops women from entering certain scientific fields. They see a guy like that on TV and they don't feel welcome. They see a poster of greased up women in a colleague's office and they know they aren't respected. They hear comments about "bitches" while out at a bar with fellow science students, and they decide to change majors

It goes on a bit like this. Now firstly calling the shirt "casual misogyny" is not just exaggeration, it represents the ravings of someone in need of urgent help. Some modern feminists will call depiction of the naked female form on a shirt "misogyny" if a man wears it, and beautiful self-expression if a woman wears such a thing. In truth, they imagine misogyny everywhere they look. All this seething hatred must trouble them (if they are really stupid enough to believe in it - which they might be)

Secondly, we are once again being asked to believe in mysterious forces at play that are stopping women from pursuing science. Now I've worked in a university Science department and seen no such forces - though they may exist elsewhere, I guess.

What I did see was many men in senior positions, but many more of the up-and-coming students and academics were women in this particular field. The point is, far from men conspiring to impede women's progress, they actually very often want to see more female colleagues.

The slightly more serious politics of it

But the debate about women in science has many similarities with the very dishonest debate about the gender pay-gap, and I propose to discuss this in my next post. Suffice it to say that many women, including some prominent feminists, have said the shirt doesn't bother them, and does not seem like sexism to them. Even Julie Bindel is concerned at what feminism "might become".

I'll end by requoting the Verge:

I don't care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing

And ask - do these people care about anything other than their very dubious beliefs - that they hold with such religious zeal? The scientific and engineering achievement will go down in history. But some feminists didn't give this a second thought, because they were obsessing about an unspecified "sexism" that might not even exist.

They couldn't see the brilliance right in front of them, all they could see was something that wasn't there..