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TSE  February 2005

TSE February 2005

Subject:

Re: OT: Summers's comments

From:

Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Fri, 25 Feb 2005 23:47:46 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (129 lines)

I don't disagree with any of this except the conclusion that you can
label it "interests."  By your own account, you were "interested" in
science and were discouraged from following it.  That is, in fact, my
point.  Had you been male, I doubt that would have happened.  

Being equally uninterested in boxing and soaps, I cannot comment on
that, but no one doubts there are differing "interests" organized by
gender in this culture.  But no one has shown they are innate.  It seems
quite possible for women and men to have many, many of the same
interests, both popular and aesthetic.  That is why we are all on an
Eliot list and why women go to baseball games and men to romantic
movies.  And men, one presumes from their behavior,  also want wives and
kids and houses.  
Cheers,
Nancy

>>> [log in to unmask] 02/25/05 10:07 PM >>>
 

 
 
Actually, it's not wearisome at all.  I think, between the two of us, 
we 
have the explanation. My explanation of "interests" is true, but it does
not  
delve deeply enough into the very core.  If I could go back again to 20
or  
thereabouts, I would have become a scientist.  I would have become a  
meteorologist.  This always interested me, but unfortunately, I dint 
realize how much 
until I was already immersed in another profession and was at  an age
where the 
thought of more years of education was not terribly  motivating  I had
orig
inally planned to go into "Academia."  My mother  was successful as
persuading me 
that I would make a marvelous professor of  English literature at B.U.
or other 
Boston university.  Since I loved  literature and had not other
inspiration 
on the career front, I went along with  this plan for awhile.  Then,
seeking 
more life adventures, I left college  to find inspiration in life. I
actually 
landed a few roles in commercials  and theatre and modeling.  I found
some 
adventure, but needed a more  stable career also, of course, and fell
into the 
legal field, where for the past  15 or so years, I've been a Della
Street 
paralegal, which is okay.  It's  been interesting at times and pays
well.  Still, when 
I was in high school  and college, no one ever suggested the sciences to
me.  
In the  non-professional fields, most people working at boutiques
selling 
clothes and  cosmetics and handbags are women. Most truck drivers and
handymen 
are men.   It's both a matter of interest and feeling comfortable in an 
environment.
 
 
As a 20 year old and thereabouts, I didn't know exactly what I wanted,
but  I 
did enjoy clothes, music, poetry, politics, looking for or dating that  
special man.  It never occurred me to me that I could become a 
Hurricane hunter 
and still do the clothes, music, and then a  house and a husband.  The 
percentage of men versus women who watch  boxing on tv is obvious.  I,
and many other 
women, consider boxing to  be vulgar, which it is.  The percentage of
women 
versus men who  soap operas on tv is obvious.  Many men consider a soap
opera to 
be silly,  which it is. The point is that a few of those men watching
the 
boxing are or  would make brilliant scientists.  The point is that a few
of those  
young women watching that soap opera would make brilliant scientists,
but  
not many of them realize this, in part because they have been told that 
their 
interests are trivial and feminine, and more significantly, that she
can't  be 
both a scientist and a captivating woman with a husband, house and kids,
 
which most women want, also. In summary, Nancy, it does involve
interests,  but I 
say that there are many brilliant women who would be tenure scientists
at  
universities and Nobel prize wining scientists at laboratory if more
women in  
their teens and early 20's would realize that they can become 
scientists even 
they do spend too much money on clothes or  thinking about the future
husbands 
they hope to meet. These  same women also dream of finding a cure for
cancer. 
One  doesn't cancel out the other.  She needs to realize that in kind,
many of 
 the interests of men, although different, are also quite  trivial.  
 
 
 
 
 
In a message dated 2/25/2005 8:42:02 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

No, it  is nothing so simple as "interests."  "Interests" are 
culturally
defined and created also.  I am not suggesting exclusively  cultural
construction, but it is not true that individuals just all decide  what
"interests" them.  It was quite impossible for women to decide  they
were
"interested" in, say, philosophy, when they were not taught to  read. 
[Read the Shakespeare's Sister section of Woolf's _A Room of  One's
Own_--read the whole book.] It was quite impossible for women to  decide
they were "interested" in painting portraits when they were not  allowed
to do life drawings or take lessons.  A very, very few  priviliged women
always were allowed access if they had liberal, wealthy  fathers or
husbands, but they were the exceptions that showed it was NOT  innate to
be incapable.  And it is not "interests" that decide today  that there
are very few tenured women scientists at Harvard or anywhere.  

There is a very large body of literature on this, and it is  so
unbelievably wearisome to have anyone expect to start these  silly
discussions again.
Nancy

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