Alson: A sign of the continuing problem--the human genome project as
originally conceived took as its subject of study the European male genome.
A sign of how far we've come is that as soon as this was noted the plan was
But in a wealth of agreement let me again stress that the primary reason
for the preservation, with very little protest, of gender roles for the
past several millenia is that they were for the most part and for most
people too functional to be seen as oppressive. Let's remember that almost
no males were educated and citizenship was in most places and times not
even a concept. Even in its limited form it's fairly recent for most males.
When was universal male suffrage attained in the UK, for instance?
At 07:52 AM 1/10/2003 +1000, you wrote:
>I realise I've been posting a lot in the past few days. I hope I'm
>not being too dull: I promise I'll be shutting up soon, work is
>piling alarmingly. With this apology -
>At 6:56 AM +1000 1/10/03, Alison Croggon wrote:
>>At 9:25 AM +0000 1/9/03, Chris Emery wrote:
>>>This was a very emotive word, perhaps its better to observe just how
>>>ineffective women have been in the past two millennia in obtaining equality.
>>It begs the question as to whether this is because of complicity.
>At 9:25 AM +0000 1/9/03, Chris Emery wrote:
>> it does sometimes seem odd that one gender has been
>>so unsuccessful in obtaining equality when it has the same resources, skills
>>and intelligence as the other gender.
>This is a bit misleading, and sort of reminds me of that question:
>why did Jews let themselves be put in concentration camps? The
>campaign to gain equality has really only gained momentum in the past
>100 years; for most of the past two thousand years most women have
>not had the same resources nor the same skills as (some) men; for
>example, education and citizenship. Even in my mother's generation,
>it was not considered important to educate girls, since they just had
>to get married. So you could equally say that it's amazing that
>women in the Western world have managed to undo two millennia of
>ingrained prejudice and intense social conditioning, gaining legal
>rights, citizenship, the right to retain property after marriage and
>at least the right to social autonomy. It's frowned on to beat one's
>wife these days: it used to be the done thing. But these rights are
>a very recent thing and it's very easy to forget that.
>The other issue that has been lurking underneath this whole
>discussion (and why I prefer the term "gender" to feminism) is
>masculinity. I think that the major reason why feminism has been so
>much a case of two steps forward, one and a half steps back, is that
>men have been extremely reluctant to scrutinise their own gender in
>the same ways that women have been forced to. This is partly because
>to do so is to eschew the privilege of being male, to question
>entitlements that go with the sex. But there are other reasons. I
>do believe masculinity is in crisis in the Western world, and causing
>many of the extreme reactions we are currently witnessing; and I'm
>aware of things like, for instance, the insanely high rate of male
>suicide in this country. As Mark points out, these gendered
>pathologies are mutually dependent; and I don't think one can begin
>to be solved without the other. It's as much a case of needing
>co-operation that is not given, as of complicity.
>One problem with raising this real issue is, alas, the male
>propensity to seize on that as more "important", and consequently to
>marginalise specifically female issues once again and once again get
>nowhere. One thing that also makes me say this is that no issue when
>raised in discussion is so immediately questioned as feminism is:
>racism can be discussed on its own, for example, with the assumption
>that race is but one issue among many that for the moment is singled
>out for attention: but as soon as feminism is placed in this sort of
>focus there are all sorts of objections that this attention
>privileges women in a way that's perceived as negative, an
>implication that feminism is a "minority" concern, despite women
>being half the population. But every now and then it seems to me
>important to state the basic conundrum.