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Oh, look, girls really aren't good at maths!

More males than females end up at the low end of the IQ scale, and not surprisingly, relative to females, there are more male high school dropouts and more men in prison. But the opposite is also true: More males than females have extremely high IQs. And like it or not (I don't like it), this is probably why the world has more male geniuses à la Einstein, Mozart and Michelangelo. We can thank the goddess Nike for Marie Curie, but where's another woman in our pantheon?

Let's ignore the fact that the results of IQ tests are also affected by education and social standing. Let's just look at the fact that this female writer has just neglected to mention that for tens of centuries women were denied education of any kind. You know, that just might have more to do with our lack of "genii" until the 20th century than our teeny little IQs.


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2005 09:09 am (UTC)
And it's more socially acceptable for a man to dedicate himself obsessively to something (in the manner of a genius), and they often have long-suffering wives at home minding the babies and taking out the bins in order to give them the time to devote twenty hours a day to particle physics or whatever.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 09:15 am (UTC)
We can thank the goddess Nike for Marie Curie, but where's another woman in our pantheon?

Rosalind Franklin (my baby's namesake), without whom DNA would not have been discovered? Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring was the first to uncover the effect of pesticides on ecosystems in any major way? Just for a start - and, like you said, they did it against a background of shitty female education and the sort of demeaning of women scientists that this article represents.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 10:47 am (UTC)
You named the Gnomelet after Rosalind Franklin? I heart you.
(no subject) - cangetmad - Mar. 2nd, 2005 11:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anglaisepaon - Mar. 2nd, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pinguin - Mar. 2nd, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stellanova - Mar. 2nd, 2005 04:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2005 09:37 am (UTC)
Oh, what a silly bitch. Where are they all coming from, and how are they getting published? Let's also not worry about the fact that the taking and reporting of IQ tests are patchy at best -- they're not commonplace in Australia, for instance -- and that some famous geniuses have had notably average scores on IQ tests.

Mar. 2nd, 2005 09:39 am (UTC)
Oh, look, there's a little more rant left. She's also ignoring the fact that women don't just have to be brilliant to be renowned scientists, or inventors, or writers, or whatever -- they also have to have an incredible sense of purpose and strength of character to pursue their work and callings in the face of the kind of crap that, to this day, is served up to women professionals about how they are neglecting their children and their families and their "purpose" as women. Marie Curie was pilloried for it, and women today face very little less pressure that way.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 10:12 am (UTC)
This is very scary stuff, especially since the 'woman' writer seems to think she can justify colluding with this utter shite by saying that 'she doesn't like it'. Does she go on to say where the got her statistics from? I frickin HATE people who quote statistics so glibly like that, without ever *any* mention of the bias inherent in all statistical studies. Jung (and UNESCO in the 1950s, come to that) got some really classy stats that were used, no joke, for *years* on the 'innate criminality of the black psyche', by using dodgy interviewing techniques that included concentrating on African Americans who were *already* in prison, or psychiatric hospital. And that's just one example out of millions. Statistics, they have NO relation to reality, Grrrrr....
Mar. 2nd, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, and just a few years ago that infamous American book (I think it was called The Bell Curve) which claimed to "prove" that white people were naturally more intelligent than, um, pretty much everyone else (but particularly black people) was based on IQ tests. And then after it came out (and its supporters were getting all smug and blathering about how "PC" types couldn't argue with science), less bigoted people started pointing out that IQ scores have been increasing along with economic prosperity, and the average scores achieved by the African-Americans were the same as the average scores of whites in America several decades earlier, when their access to education and economic security was roughly comparable to the status of their black counterparts now. The gap was also closing over time as the African American middle class increased. The test results were intrinsically linked with privilege, not inherent intelligence, but that didn't suit the crazy eugenicist, so he just ignored that element.
(no subject) - missbassey - Mar. 2nd, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2005 10:23 am (UTC)
AAARGHH! Oddly enough, those who argue against the existence of gender differences in ability are likely to fervently believe that biology, and not one's mother, determines homosexuality; demand same-sex medical trials; and adhere to the theory that, indeed, women are more collegial than men when they make decisions.

Yes, of course. Didn't try asking ME or any other intelligent feminists of my acquaintance, though, did you?

Oh, the fury. On a slightly tangential note: my father used to subscribe to the theory that women were innately bad at maths, because look how few he got studying physics at degree level! And then throughout the nineties the numbers went up and up, and he began realising some things about the power of discrimination and disadvantage in Irish schools, and is now an avid feminist and does schools outreach to get more women into science. So there, you fule, Dusky. Misogyny isn't innate, either, so you might try reconsidering it yourself, sometime.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC)
... and we have a tendency to fervently dislike people who fervently split infinitives whilst spouting their ridiculous conservative crap...
(no subject) - stringy - Mar. 3rd, 2005 08:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2005 10:31 am (UTC)
Fuck them and the tired old horse they rode in on.

We do not need anyone's fucking permission to be good at anything.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
What you said, on both counts.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 10:50 am (UTC)
plus, IQ tests are utter bollocks. Every time I did them as a kid (part of my dyslexia stuff..blah blah) I managed to increase my score by 20 points or more, purely by learning how to answer the questions in a way that scored more points and not by how I thought they should be answered.*

I hate misleading use of statistics. It makes me quote the statistics about bread that were done to show how statistics can be used to mislead.

*cavet lector: I am/was a medical textbook case in regards to dyslexia as a child.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 12:17 pm (UTC)
I like to dismiss IQ tests as rubbish too, principally because I inevitably get a score of between 98 and 102 on them, and I cannot BEAR the idea that I am so mediocre. If I must be shit at IQ tests, at least make me an utter cretin!
(no subject) - missbassey - Mar. 2nd, 2005 04:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - birdsflying - Mar. 2nd, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - missbassey - Mar. 3rd, 2005 09:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2005 11:13 am (UTC)
but where's another woman in our pantheon?

Arg! Back in 1405 Christine de Pizan filled an entire book with exemplary women in answer to almost exactly the same kind of idiocy (except that the argument at the time was that women couldn't be equally virtuous).
Mar. 2nd, 2005 12:33 pm (UTC)
I'd parse your logic n'all, but I'm a girl.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
Mar. 2nd, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
Oh God, who CARES if there's an inherent difference in abilities between the genders? It's like the gay gene: whether you find it nor not, there's still no excuse for not giving everyone the opportunity to fulfil their own potential.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
Unh... frustration aimed at the writer not at you :)
Mar. 2nd, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
I just don't even want to respond to this shit any more. Gah! and Gah!

And you know, maybe another reason we don't have as many female geniuses is because the social withdrawal required for most people to acheive genius-level work is totally unacceptable in a woman (maybe unacceptable to a woman, too). Curie, Franklin, geneticist Barbara McClintock, and practically anyone else you can think of were all reviled for being bitchy, while (to take just one example) Andrew Wiles, who proved Fermat's Last Theorem, was basically allowed to lock himself away from all society for literally YEARS.

Also, as a friend of mine whose ex-husband is a fairly famous physicist has pointed out, it's easier to be a genius when you've got a wife to take care of everything except your work.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I honestly don't have a problem with the idea that men and women could have different abilities. I don't even have a problem with the idea that men could be more intelligent than women. But there's just no real evidence. I hope people are looking for evidence.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC)
Tis true about IQ tests. According to the MENSA one I did at age 19, I should be in a special hospital. And why? Because, in a bid to be more inclusive, MENSA changed their old test (which was a kinda 'up the British Empire' one where you had to name the Queen, etc -- but in its favour, it did include basic verbal reasoning exercises, only they required fluency in English to complete) to what they call a 'culture free' test, which is basically maths. So anyone like me, who is genuinely utter shite at maths, and also a girl, comes out looking like they have serious learning difficulties.
Mar. 2nd, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC)
Or the fact that girls tend to be pushed toward the arts and humanities, while boys are pushed toward "manly" things like math and science? Did this twit totally miss all the studies that have been done, or the major movement toward encouraging teen and pre-teen girls in the sciences, hhhhmmmmm?
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )


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