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
>>> [log in to unmask] 02/25/05 11:53 AM >>>
Of course, it is the difference in interests that account for these test
In a message dated 2/25/2005 10:24:15 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
As there are very obvious physical "differences" between women and men,
I've no doubt there may also be inner ones as well. The issue is
whether "difference" means superiority--at anything. Put Hypatia or
Marie Curie or Ada Lovelace or Barbara McClintock next to any typical
man, and the superiority in science and math is all one way. So it
simply means nothing even if broad tendencies exist. We know
historically that women can be good to brilliant on anything men do.
Even war--as in Boadicea or the women spies of WWI or all those
ambulance drivers and front line nurses. That there are few is due to
the prevention of their participation until very recently. Not that I
see war as a great test. It's just that there is no evidence at all
that men are better at anything than women except perhaps lifting large
objects--unless, as I noted, it's a little, frail man and a tall strong
woman--and any gorilla can outlift any typical man.