Let’s sum up, shall we?

“As long as there are entrenched social and political distinctions between sexes, races or classes, there will be forms of science whose main function is to rationalize and legitimize these distinctions.”– Elizabeth Fee

How about: nobody knows what the fuck they’re talking about. They can’t even agree.

The study shows women having more white matter and men more gray matter related to intellectual skill, revealing that no single neuroanatomical structure determines general intelligence and that different types of brain designs are capable of producing equivalent intellectual performance.

And, from somebody else entirely:

Research has long shown that men’s brains are larger, on average, than women’s — by about 100 grams. This may partly be due to the fact that men are larger than women, on average. Plus, what men have in volume, women make up in connections between brain cells.

Further research into other disciplines will show you that men, on average, are encouraged to eat more and be more physically active than women. Girls as young as 10 in this country are encouraged to go on diets and be smaller (and anybody who’s researched gender relations in other countries and cultures, women have consistently been encouraged to eat less, and have actually been given less food at the dinner table than their brothers).

When I found myself struggling with learning pre-algebra (key, key to everything else after this) in the sixth grade, I was learning from a butt-fuck misogynist of a teacher who saw that I’d gotten all but three problems on my assignment wrong and instead of saying, “Gee, maybe I should work with you after class” or “Gee, maybe I should figure out a way to explain this concept that connects with you,” he said something to the immortal effect of, “Well, you know, they say girls just aren’t good at math.”

Him and Newt would have gotten along great.

And here’s something else for you to chew on when you read these “studies”:

In a wonderful book titled The Bonds of Love, the pschoanalyst Jessica Benjamin wrote of an epiphany two pschologists had whole strolling past a hospital nursery… The newborns were clustered together, each in his or her own plastic bassinet… Benjamin described the two pschologists, one of them the mother of a newborn boy, staring anxiously into the nursery… to enliven the drab sterility of the hospital enviroment, the nurses had attached to each bassinet a blue or pink card… on each blue one was written in big letter’s I’M A BOY!, while on each pink one was inscribed IT’S A GIRL! The boys were “I”, but the girls were “it.” The boys were endowed with an instant sense of self, while the girls were treated as objects from the beginning.

– Mark Epstein, MD. “I Want, Therefore I Am.”

There’s a huge biological difference between men and women: most women can bear children. Men can’t. Everything else, all of the social and power bullshit, the fear, the rigid categories, all of that comes from this one big, huge, basic difference.

But the rest… the rest… until I enter the world on an equal playing field, I’m going to question every damn thing that comes out of these people’s mouths, because they’ve been brought into the world with “it” and “I” assumptions, and everything they work through will be coming from that one basic assumption.

I fight against that assumption every damn day. I have no idea how hard it must be for the “I”s to try it. Fact is, most of them don’t have to. They can just say, “Girls are dumb,” and push you to the back of the class.

And every day you have to get up, and sit in the front again.

EDIT: You know what really bugs me? That the first thing they say isn’t, “Gosh, the way we teach math must not be working for over half the population! There must be something seriously wrong with our education system and the way we teach math! We need to have more flexible programs that connect with everybody, including women who’ve been taught that they’re dumb by sure virtue of their birth! Maybe we should address that!”

No, no, it’s much easier to wave a hand and say, “Girls aren’t good at it.”

UPDATE: Maureen has some thoughts.

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