Bashing in Academe
Veronica Dahl is a professor of computing science at the Simon Fraser
University in British Columbia, Canada. While the estimable Prof.
doubtless has considerable expertise in her field, computers were
not the topic on which she was asked to expound by the local Knowledge
Network. In a taped interview some time back, Prof. Dahl offered
that the reason boys were falling behind girls in the school system
was that boys were lazy. They know they are the "ruling class,"
she said in a soothing dulcet voice, and they know that no matter
how badly they perform, their position in society is secure.
followed up with a column in a local newspaper in which I identified
Dahl's faux pas with second wave feminism whereby women are seen
as a besieged political class fighting to unseat the ruling class
whose members refuse to let go of patriarchal privilege and power.
Dahl and colleague, John Dewey Jones, director of the school of
engineering science, protested to the editor that I had failed to
divine the laudable context of Dahl's message. Here is the gist
of Prof. Jones' rebuttal: Dahl didn't say what Mercer alleged she
said, but even though she didn't say what she is alleged to have
said, what Dahl didn't say is accurate (see satire "Yes, Prime Minister").
Plainly, both Dewey and Dahl deny the quote, but go on to reinforce
its message, namely that girls work hard because of society's expectations;
boys often don't because they dominate society. Voila, second-wave
are so many disturbing things about this pronouncement not least
its blanket condemnation of half the population. Here is a woman
who should know something of the scientific method, yet is advancing
opinion based not on data, but on radical feminist ideology. To
anyone who has any doubts, feminism and second wave feminism in
particular is a theory, no more, no less, and a conspiracy theory
at that, since it claims that throughout history men have conspired
to dominate women.
position of men right now contradicts this dogma. It is quite striking
that an educator like Dahl can shrug off the facts: Women continue
to live longer than men. Five times as many young men as women commit
suicide, men are twice as likely to be unemployed and find it twice
as hard to get another job, and men are infinitely more likely to
suffer industrial accidents and diseases which may destroy their
lives. Boys, moreover, are far more likely to be slapped with the
diagnosis of learning disabled than girls, and subjected to the
Ritalin assault, as are they less likely to graduate from high school
and go on to college.
from the letters I received from students at SFU, our devoted faculty
are blithely unaware of the experience many men have on campus.
Wrote one student: "...I cannot seem to escape the biases of feminism
no matter where I turn. Every female teacher somehow manages to
bring the argument around to point out that males overrun everything.
If I produce any artwork with any sort of tall thin form in it,
I immediately am criticized for producing artwork that involves
phallic symbolism. Thus meaning that I obviously am promoting male
dominance in society". The young man described this as "wearing
of his spirits". The academe, once dedicated to freedom of expression
and learning, now let's philistines hound males for producing personalized
wild fire of radical feminism has pretty much engulfed universities,
evidently not sparing the computing science departments. Women's
studies courses and English departments are littered with its lumpen
jargon, which takes the tack of reducing works of literature and
art to the bare bones of power relationships in society. When treated
with this academic acid, great artists like Shakespeare, Tolstoy,
or T. S. Eliot are dissolved into pale, patriarchal ruling class
oppressors. Text is routinely deconstructed and shred using sophistic
constructs, my point being that radical feminism is nothing but
a subjective world-view based on a narrow insular and partial view
of history. Why then is it touted as an immutable truth fit to guide
until the last stages of the industrial revolution, writes columnist
Barbara Amiel in her book Confessions, societies were preoccupied
with the propagation of its members. The division of labour was
the culmination of necessity and biology; it was necessary to make
the most of man's superior physical strength and woman's ability
to bear children. For a few children to have survived, explains
Amiel, a woman had to give birth to ten or twelve. Were women not
pregnant or in labour for most of their arduous lives, the tribe
would not have lingered. There are other biological differences
that separate the sexes. These have become taboo to study or discuss.
Men do have an advantage in the perception of spatial-geometrical
relationships. This advantage was vital in earlier societies that
relied on brute force and hunting for survival.
is staple doctrine in the secondary schools as well, and it animates
the child-centered education system and the 1960s vision its teachers
hold. My daughter's schooling has for the most transmitted sentimentality
over reason, attitude and mush over canon and curriculum. She has
been forced-fed a pedagogic diet of pop psychology. Her female teachers
have been feminists who promote every mythical, politically correct
orthodoxy that pervades the Zeitgeist. The dyed-in-the-wool feminist
teachers will invariably greet a show of individualism or a sharp
retort from the child with sly assertion not reasoned argument.
No doubt, the child-centered progressive public schooling is bad
for girls and boys alike, but it is probably particularly bad for
research has indicated that boys thrive in a disciplined structured
learning environment. The child-centered schooling shuns discipline
and moral instruction, and promotes co-operative working habits
and groupthink over individual achievement. Boys like competition
and are hard wired for it. But when they invariably bubble over
with unbridled testosterone, rather than challenge, discipline,
and harness their energies, they are all too often subdued with
Ritalin. While the child-centered schooling system, with its lax
standards, and shopping mall assortment of flimsy courses is girl
friendly it is hostile to boys. Boy biology is demonized, and
boys are made over in the emotional image of woman, or at least
in the image of the caricature-of-woman feminists promote.
Prof. Doreen Kimura, on the other hand, is not wont to theorize
into the ether. She has demonstrated empirically that there is "no
evidence for systemic discrimination against women...and that when
women do apply for science jobs they get preferential treatment".
Her findings, reported in the National Post, confirm that women
"self select out of certain science careers." She confirms that
men and women differ cognitively in how they solve problems. As
I've indicated, men, on average, are better at spatial tasks, mathematical
reasoning and co-ordination of visual and motor activities. Given
these findings, women would not be equally represented in professions
such as physics and engineering.
years of producing bad science on the wage gap, Statistics Canada
has finally admitted the pay gap is not due to discrimination, something
the quasi-free market Fraser Institute demonstrated almost 2 decades
back. The faulty premise held by public school educators like Dahl
and Jones is equally hard to relinquish because it is politically
expedient: The fight is on for power not truth
aside: What do you think would have befallen Prof. Dahl had she
ventured that the only reason women are underrepresented in the
engineering sciences is because they are lazy and know a man will
eventually take care of them? I wager the Prof.'s fitness to teach
women would have been called into question.
Mercer [send her mail]
is a freelance writer based in Seattle.