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APRIL 25, 2012 6:15AM

Why are Women Dumb?

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"Why are women dumb?"  A rather intelligent little boy, who had become interested in astronomy, asked me this.  I asked why he thought that.  He said that all of the famous astronomers and scientists were men.  I made a note to talk to someone about his history books and lessons, and then tried to answer his question.  It is a natural conclusion to have drawn in the face of no evidence of female input in the field of science.  It is, beyond that, a valid question.  
Submitted for your evaluation, this was my answer.

They are not.  They were not taught to read and thusly not allowed to use the expensive equipment until the modern 21st Century.  Women were busy doing their part on the domestic side of modern civilization.  When that became less labor intensive, fertility became a controlled factor in their lives and they were thusly taught to read and be educated in larger numbers and at higher levels.  They immediately demonstrated that their lack of representation was not from a lack of capacity, but a lack of opportunity to compete.  Hence, Vera Rubin,  a first generation veteran of the modern age of feminism, discovered dark matter in the 1970's.

Don't assume that women were dumb because they are not in the history books.  Don't let your young children assume that.  Correct them without demonizing men.  The distribution of human resources over time was logical as biology dictated our relative roles in the world.  That is no longer true and the intellectual capacity of women is easily demonstrated in the work product of women since roughly 1950.  Within 20 years of women being allowed to attend universities in the fields of science, a woman discovered the solution to Einstein's mass-energy problem.  

Clear this up when you see the natural inference being made by young minds that women are dumb when they see no record of female achievement in the history of science.  It was not our intelligence that was lacking, it was the advancement of the hierarchy of needs of civilization that needed to get us past our biology in order to free us up from the servitude of domestic life.  It was a necessary step in the evolution of human consciousness and progress.

Don't confuse that with a lack of capacity to compete.  Men, who benefited from this arrangement for the whole history of civilization, are beginning to see their power erode in the face of women naturally succeeding in the world of ideas, commerce, and public life.  Some men are ok with all that, some men are threatened by that.  The ones who are threatened and who would like to preserve the status quo that gives them a natural advantage of power, are trying to destroy our biological advances in contraception.  It is a means to turn the clock back to the time when women are enslaved by nature.  Let's not have that.  Science and the advancement of civilization needs women.

Vera Rubin demonstrated the presence of dark matter while bearing 4 children, having been refused admission to Princeton because of her gender, and while guerilla fighting through the feminist movement of the 1960/70's in the US.  She never mentioned the war on women, she just fought it every day and won.

Fight the war on women.  What will you say you did when it is finally over?

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I will say that I did my part and, like you, I pointed out every instance where women contributed just as much, if not more, to the sciences and the arts. I have a daughter and I want to leave a better world for her.
What about Marie Curie? Annie Jump Cannon? Helen Sawyer Hogg? Lise Meitner? Maria Goeppert-Mayer? Check out the San Diego Supercomputer Center website for more examples of pioneering women scientists.

I like your arguments, but I’d also add that just because something is news to you, or unknown to you, doesn’t mean that it is new or false. In other words, just because your teachers, parents, community, the mainstream media, Hollywood, the government, and advertisers don’t tell you something, doesn’t mean it’s not true.

A lot of damage has been done in our country and elsewhere around the world by what is not being taught about the history of all people of all backgrounds. R.
I am sending him to a charter school in the hopes that he will get a better chance at equity in his history. I have caught this when he is 7, so I hope to be able to fix it and move forward. I am 44, so my history books were literally old school with only a rare woman included in *any* discipline. I just wanted to point out that women were not lying about idle and mute/dumb. We were busy. Every man that is listed in a history book got there by the grace of a mother that gave up her chances to make his possible. Those days are over, I hope. Now to work on the history books to add what few women got to play by whatever route their lives took. It is now up to us to jump in and go for it and to protect our rights to do so.

I am excited by the EP, thanks! I haven't been writing. This is strong encouragement to keep trying. Political writing is difficult because I do not want to alienate my readers with strong rhetoric, but some very strong rhetoric may be forthcoming in this election cycle...stay tuned!
Significant post and one I think I'll pass onto my daughter. True, we were conspicuously absent from much of the history books. When we were there, we had to compete twice as hard as the men for recognition (or were considered an anomaly). Our herstory is there lived in all the dimensions you mention and more. Thanks for this tonight.
Thank you for expanding his horizons, and all of ours. The work of us progressives is never done.
The group of women who were, almost universally, taught to read and write, nuns, made many important discoveries and actually had the forethought to keep records. These records were extremely important as they were some of the few examples of a comprehensive example of the scientific method of the time.

I don't care that much about astronomy, so I can't give you any concrete examples, but it might be another thing to show the kid to support the answer you gave him (which, in addition to being extremely diplomatic, is one of the most true answers to a question like that, that I have ever seen. It's unfortunate, but in a world of physical labor, women are valued much less than men, even though they tend to do more to fuel the economy than the actual laboring men do. As with everything else, it all boils down to economics...and the fact that an artifice which obtains power will be slow to abdicate said power.)
Feminists sometimes don't do diplomacy well and I am a fine example of that. My son has tempered the rage I get when I have things like that happen in my life. He is a future man. It is my responsibility to present issues to him in a context that is not hostile or violent to what he is. I have had violence to what I am, a woman, in philosophy, media, life, and every other context I can imagine for my whole life. Turning it back on men is a mirror to pain. We don't need more of that. Women can wield weapons and poisons. We didn't have to take it all that time. We were part of the plan and the biology dictated who did what. It was ok. Having children is a joyous and dangerous task. The rest of domesticity is something you can do while infirm and with a kid (or 12) attached at the hip. It made sense at the time. But we have enough people, automation feeds us without so much labor, and contraceptives make our biology a controllable aspect of our lives rather than fate. It's up to us now. And men are not the enemy. They are the other half of humanity. If they can let go and just see us as that as well...the war is over. These few men still lost on islands fighting vapors and ghosts will need to stop or they will die off as the rest of us carry on. Their choice, but we genies are out of the bottle!
Don't forget that history books erased or ignored Women's contributions. Hypatia of Alexandria was a noted astronomer. She was killed by Christian monks in 415 as a witch and sorceress. Hildegard Von Bingen in the 1100s, although better known for her medical/herbal knowledge, studied the stars.

Not only were women less likely to be educated (and this certainly happened to women who were not busy with manual labor), but women's abilities weren't respected. This erased their achievements from history.

Ideas are easy to steal. Sophia Brahe is credited with "helping" her brother Tycho Brahe, who is famous for establishing the system for predicting planetary movements in the 1500s. Realistically, even if most of the work was hers, she'd never be credited with it and probably wouldn't have expected to be.

Watson and Crick got a Nobel prize for discovering that DNA's structure is a double helix, but they never credited Rosalind Franklin, who produced an x-ray image that showed the structure. Watson's autobiography didn't mention Franklin's work.

We know of many extraordinary woman who chose to present themselves as men to avoid this prejudice, from Joan of Arc and Hapshetsut to the Bronte sisters, who published under men's names.

And finally, until the last 50 years, universities routinely didn't accept women. Harvard admitted women students in 1942. Princeton didn't admit it's first until 1969, meaning just the first woman graduated from Princeton just 41 years ago.

Much research is done at universities and even when women managed to become educated, they were often not given important positions because that might humiliate the men who be working or studying under them.
All women ever needed, I think, was a level playing field.
Amazing how the balls roll differently on a level playing field!
It is true what you say in general, save possibly for truly extreme value quantitative achievement, in which because it is so rare, i.e. Karl Friedrich Gauss or Newton, not even Einstein approached them, as he merely applied other peoples Geometric ideas to physics, that some would interpret the IQ distributions heavier tales for men than women on quantitative measures only as part of the explanation, if clearly for the vast majority of history, the sexual division of labor of which you speak was the reason.
Emile Noether did make a very important contribution to the branch of Algebra known as Ring Theory, and time would be required to say if it was the case that the truly extreme values of a Guass or a Newton had a gender component to them, in which it has to be remembered that averages are the same, and that the heavy tails is both ways. There are more really dumb men than women as to the IQ distribution having heavy tails for men.
Your little boy should really ask why are there so many truly stupid men, i.e. IQs two standard deviations below average, 70 when normed for ongoing improvements in IQ that again would suggest caution in interpreting any statistical differences, which only matter in very, very rare instances, above four standard deviations, or over 145, significantly more common among males, if by definition rare, and if not really useful in any group setting, two standard deviations above being optimal due to group dynamics of envy and rivalry which induces coalition formation against the extreme value IQs in experimental settings, and W was perfect and 129, and group settings are where most people work.
dumb = muteness; the incapacity or unwillingness to speak

stupid = lacking in intelligence or reason

ignorant = lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something, e.g., "ignorant of astronomy".
I was cracking wise a little with the title and wondering if people would notice that he asked "why women were not smart" and I considered it as "why do we not hear women speak."
The distinctions might be worth noting for him. At seven he might understand them.

In doing so, he may more fully appreciate your answer and what led to the oppression of some groups in our society. By breaking the connection between "lack of contribution" and "stupidity" he may sooner become a man who is aware that involvement isn't nearly so often connected with an equality of intelligence as it is connected with an equality of opportunity.
I wish we could all just get along. But let's face it, some women are perfectly comfortable with their biological "role". I see them a lot in the coffee shops, wheeling in their strollers, gabbing it up with other stay at home moms, while their men go out and earn the bread. It took a whole lot of apathy amongst the status quo of women to suppress the minority ambitious few who wanted to push the envelope. I'm all for the women who want equality. The pretty little lambs with their strollers, slim bodies, and vacant minds, make me roll my eyes. I like the women with the intelligent piercing eyes.
There are just as many vacant eyed dudes out there, without strollers or any other indication that they contribute to society's progress. Equality means a complete distribution of quality of individual. There will be a bell curve of "contribution" by men and women. If the playing field is equal, we will all fall somewhere on it. Part of what this is about is that being slim young women with their kids in strollers is a fine way to spend your time. But it should not be the only way you have available. Many of those slim young women with vacant eyes you see are probably nannies taking care of other people's children. Most women engage when it it their own kid and are no longer slim after bearing them.

But even when it is your own kid, it only uses part of your brain to take care of all the things a child needs. The rest of it needs to engage in life, too. Being a good mother may be how you choose to spend your whole lifetime. How sweet a deal that looks like is probably determined by what side of bars on the cage you are looking through.
The atomic bomb was conceived, developed, and used by men as the most horrific mass weapon of all time. This was the end result of many centuries of invention of implements of destruction. This should be enough reason to question the supposed superior intelligence of men.

I have a better example from my own experience. I was home on leave in 1968 from my manly Army school, projector repair (http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7882/640/1600/PRDiploma750.jpg), and as I was getting ready to catch my flight back to Ft. Monmouth I noticed my mother was looking unhappy. I asked her what was the matter, and she told me she didn't want her sons going off to war. My brother was in the Infantry, likely to be sent to "Vietnam" at some point.

I gave her the dumb male response: "Do you think it's O.K. that other mothers' sons go to war?" Compounding the dumbness of this response was that I was opposed to the "Vietnam" war. She said "I don't care! I just don't want my sons going off to war!"

It took me years before the wisdom of this response sunk in. War is gratuitous, indulgent, irresponsible, done for silly reasons. Mothers know this. My older siblings and I were born during World War II, like millions of others in my generation. The men were gone to war, sometimes getting home often enough to propagate the species, then leaving the women to wait and wonder if they will ever be back.

It has been a few decades now, but I remember buying an I Ching book, or finding a free one somewhere. I forget the question I asked on one occasion, but the answer was that we are ending an era of too much yang (male) energy, and it is transforming to yin (female). This is planetary, unstoppable, and well under way. It's fine with me. Along the way we shouldn't get confused by women trying to be men. This is a long haul, and not a moment too soon. We have a planet to save.
On the other hand, a major news outlet publishes an article titled 'Are men stupid?'


Not hearing much feminist objection to this. So much for equality.
Elizabeth,a deeρ thinking work here.Rated!!
I read the CNN article. There is no feminist argument to protect men from their own personal foibles. The article is about how otherwise strong and powerful men are often derailed by their own hubris. I cannot defend them, as that is a recurring problem that I am not responsible for. All of the men in the article are responsible for their own actions. The question, "Are men stupid," is rhetorical in that case and has no bearing here.

Although it is a valid point the author is making, that the world is changing and men who assume that they can simply do as they please in the world of the internet age with no consequences...that ship has sailed. And people who do not approve of their behavior vote. So they will either change or fall out of power. Fair enough. Regarding the equality of it, when women behave in a manner as irresponsible and deplorable as the men cited in the article, I hope they also will fall out of power and fail. I do not expect to see as much of that particular kind of stupidity, but when it does occur among women, it should meet the same fate.
Einstein said: ..."if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is stupid."

Brilliant women have been washing diapers forever. Necessary work and honorable, but not intellectually challenging or stimulating.

Consider this: If women were dumb, and half of their genetic material is essential for each next generation, we would be a species of morons getting dumber as time passed, no matter how bright men were.

Since we are getting "smarter" over time, what does that mean regarding the intelligence of women? Our intelligence is not new, it is the opportunity to use it that has changed.
This is your answer to a kid? How old is this kid, 35?
Kid is 7! I expressed it slightly differently for him to understand. I speak "Kid" as well as "adult"...he understood very well and had some interesting follow-ups about the girls in his class and how his teachers are all female. It was a very interesting conversation! One of many I imagine we will have over the years.
He's a little boy. He has a lot to learn and let's hope there is someone there to teach him. The Republican politicians, on the other hand, are adults. So what is their excuse? And even before Hypatia religion has played it's part in suppressing women. I suspect in the case of certain men and many religions it's a case of not only misogyny but Gynophobia.

What some men fail to realise is that the liberation of women has also liberated them. Today's women embrace challenge and succeed. I guess there are men who find that scary. After all, women don't have to have us but they can chose to put up with us.

Nice article...and I have to say...I seriously glad that it wasn't a little girl that asked you that question. That sort of says something too...
I've got a 7 year old and it shocks me when sexist things come out of his little mouth, and I do try to immediately correct it. But it's a hard row to hoe: I do believe in equality for all; but people are different. Everyone is unique. And some are more capable of certain things than others, and they ought to be rewarded for their works. However, I don't think that science has yet proved that any of the qualities that make a person excel are directly gender, race, (dis)ability, religiously, nationally, or otherwise group affiliation linked. It's hard to explain to a 7 year old, so we do need to try to model it. Thanks for this. I enjoyed you getting political, and will keep an eye out for more.
This post reminds me of Virginia Woolf's thoughts on "Shakespeare's Sister" who, deprived of the opportunity to develop her Shakespearian talents, might well have gone mad.
The "Madness" of brilliant women who were not allowed to use their minds is something of a particularly horrifying subject. Incarceration and being sent away to asylums was one way of silencing women who did not tow the line. History shows that women who protested the status quo have always been seen as "Uppity" or masculine or dykes or insane or cruel spinsters. The demonization of women who did not play the game is where a lot of feminist rage comes from and I understand it. But I am trying a new play in my game-book, trying to understand how things occurred, acknowledge them as obviously a necessary step in the course of civilization, and move on, taking any lessons we can with us and avoiding those outcomes in the future. People who ignore history are doomed to repeat it and some of this is simply not acceptable for repeat performances. We are beyond that and need to stay beyond it, regardless of how fear and ignorance compels some people to try and drag us back.

No one is comfortable with feminist rage. I think that is a biological reaction. Fear of our mothers is how we learn not to die in nature. When "Mom" says no, even with a simple look, we know instinctively to do as she indicates. When we are adults and any woman in authority expresses anger of any kind, it makes human beings uncomfortable. And when that rage is truly a factor of something you did or need to perpetuate in order to keep "yours", it leaves people is deep emotional conflict, especially men. I still get the rage, but I have learned to suppress it just enough to make the information it breeds palatable. Or at least that is what I am trying to do.
I just said why were they not in the history books

-logan priddy was here
Excellent essay and answer
Women need to start writing the history books
so they can tell the real story
not the one that men wrote in the history books
we all had at school
rated with love
Besides, considering the fact that most of the ppl going to US to study are boys, the HDFC standard life ad should have had a guy to show the true picture.
Just because we haven’t seen males being harassed, it does not mean that male harassment in ads is fine – this tolerance will lead to it in the future. Besides, if you haven’t seen males being harassed by females, then it does not mean that it does not happen. Most of the high profile rape cases are false meant only to harass males(including the Abhishek Kasliwal one) and so are most of the cases of dowry harassment filed. And there are tons of cases of women publicly harassing men during ragging that happens in colleges. And it is a fact that women are not expected to work as much as men in office – the slightest excuse is enough for a woman to leave the work and go home while in the case of men, no excuse is acceptable. If women are not to depend upon men, then they should set the example by not demanding alimony in the case of a divorce and if they have the guts, to marry a guy who earns less than them. And todays women are so liberated that they are not only out to claim their rights, but also out to suppress the rights of others(namely men)by demanding that a case filed by a woman should be accepted without any proof, and any offence against women should be non bailable while denying men the same facility.

Today women want so much rights that they dont want to face the consequences of their actions and want the right to abort a kid which they have out of an indiscreet act, or keep the kid if they want and get the money out of the father. Women like Girija Vyas are so unprincipled that they want legal protection for live in relationships also exclusively for women.

The reason why women dont make the crime stats is because crime by women is deliberately ignored. I have seen many schoolgirls travel without ticket on trains and nothing happens to them because the TTE’s are males and dont want to touch them – but I have seen guys get dragged out and beaten. That attitude of going soft on women which results in women not making the crime stats whether it is drugs or drunken driving. Looking for cheapest auto insurance in Florida?
Clear this up when you see the natural inference being made by young minds that women are dumb when they see no record of female achievement in the history of science. It was not our intelligence that was lacking, it was the advancement of the hierarchy of needs of civilization that needed to get us past our biology in order to free us up from the servitude of domestic life. It was a necessary step in the evolution of human consciousness and progress.Arab
Don't assume that women were dumb because they are not in the history books. Don't let your young children assume that. Correct them without demonizing men. The distribution of human resources over time was logical as biology dictated our relative roles in the world. That is no longer true and the intellectual capacity of women is easily demonstrated in the work product of women since roughly 1950. Within 20 years of women being allowed to attend universities in the fields of science, a woman discovered the solution to Einstein's mass-energy problem. Arab