Back to the Harem

It’s ring day, even though that’s not what the guys who named the day had in mind, but for we moderns Saturn is less about being a deity and mostly about being The ringed planet.

That change of outlook is part of what I want to mumble about this morning. I ran across an article [Link] about why there are so few women in STEM disciplines. Back when I was a student this wasn’t a big thing. We still had the vestiges of the old ideas about male-female occupation differentiation and feminism was viewed as being a particularly egregious offshoot of hippieism. I recall as a graduate student at the campus of the Boneyard I ran into several feminism buzz saws with my Southron attitudes. Not from the feminists themselves, but from the faculty who were already poisoned with social and political correctness.

None of that had been present at the campus of the Black Warrior. Part was because I was only taking nerd courses after sometime in sophomore year. While I heard a few moans of female discrimination about entry level courses, especially in maths, for some reason, I never saw much in my own courses. The attitude was perform or depart and I thought this a good philosophy.

This article evidently doesn’t. It’s based on a thesis and quotes

“the STEM dropouts were students who had legitimate interest in the fields, and who may have pursued the majors to completion had they not perceived an unwelcoming and dissatisfying culture. The STEM majors, on the other hand, were intensely dedicated and goal driven; most of them planned to become researchers or professors from a very young age and were not willing to let obstacles get in their way. That is, often times the STEM majors were unhappy with the STEM culture, yet had such a strong end goal in mind that they were willing to disregard their feelings about their courses, and sought out welcoming environments in other disciplines to compensate for their experiences in their major.”

Somehow the idea that we have to compete for rare things, like good jobs or academic positions – I have blather enough on that subject to not whack it more here – has become bad?

I find I have a lot of difficulty understanding this. I hear a lot about how women are “underrepresented” in STEM. No one blathers that they are underrepresented in automobile mechanicery or such. It is only in the “good” fields for some reason. Yet all the statistics show that more women than men are finishing college with degrees. why are we not worrying about men being excluded? Is it that feminists want all the good jobs to be reserved for women, to return to the good old days of matrilearity when kings got sacrificed every year?

Competition is part of human nature. It’s in our biology. It’s how we survive. I don’t have to apologize for it, but we as a society do need to be sentient and recognize it. That competition carries over into society. There is competition in the workplace. Back in my day there were all sorts of preferential programs for minorities. Women and other got paid extra for just being there and couldn’t be held accountable for competence. And the programs were Ivory soap failures. Much as we dislike it, competition is what works for humans.

And no, I don’t like it either. I entertain the delusion – sometimes – that nerds are better and should be given preference. But I don’t want to implement it because it would be a disaster. If nerds want to be successful, they need to learn to compete. So why shouldn’t women?

Intriguingly, I think women nerds know this even when they are sprouting feminist ideology. Agnostics in red beanies?

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