Even the most ardent historian, male or female—citing Amazons and tribal matriarchies and Cleopatra—can’t conceal that women have basically done fuck all for the last 100,000 years. Come on—let’s admit it. Let’s stop exhaustingly pretending that there is a parallel history of women being victorious and creative, on an equal with men, that’s just been comprehensively covered up by The Man. There isn’t. Our empires, armies, cities, artworks, philosophers, philanthropists, inventors, scientists, astronauts, explorers, politicians and icons could all fit, comfortably into one of the private karaoke booths in SingStar. We have no Mozart; no Einstein; no Galileo; no Ghandi. No Beatles, no Churchill, no Hawking, no Columbus. It just didn’t happen.

Nearly everything so far has been the creation of men—and a liberal, right-on denial of it makes everything more awkward and difficult in the long run. Pretending that women have had a pop at all this before but ultimately didn’t do as well as the men, that the experiment of female liberation has already happened but floundered gives strength to the belief that women simply aren’t as good as men, full stop. That things should just carry on as they are—with the world shaped around, and honouring, the priorities, needs, whims, and successes of men. Women are over, without having even begun. When the truth is that we haven’t even begun at all. Of course we haven’t. We’ll know it when we have.

~Caitlin Moran

Do you agree or disagree with the above sentiment and statements, and why or why not?


NOTE: I'll be contrarian in the discussion, both because I find it fun, and also because echo chambers are boring.

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"this bigoted shit stinks"

Why is Moran bigoted? It's a fairly strong label and you should actually provide quite conclusive evidence for her being so. Whether I agree with it or not, I hardly see it as bigoted statement she is making. She's definitely not putting a fine point to it, that much we can agree on.

"To think that anyone would attempt to make the case"

You should perhaps buy the book and make an angry review of it. :)

The best reason why that women's achievements were not on the level of men is because they simply were not allowed to back in those days. People need to be afforded the opportunity without fear of repercussions. Even today the gender equity is not on the same page...


To be fair, no one was allowed to do very much back in those days when around 98% of the population were doing subsistence farming. And anyone devoting their life to science and innovation until recently were certainly in danger of starving. As they say, for every innovation there's 100 failed ones, and in the annals of history those who failed died.

And of those 2% to continue to use your numbers (made up as I'm sure they are, it's likely less in my opinion), it was only males throughout our history who had the opportunity to wield their power, influence, and thoughts to change the lives of others.

For a multitude of reasons, it has been the men to predominately hold power and wealth in our collective past. Of those few women who have been able to claim it for themselves, they truly excelled: Nefertiti, Cleopatra, Catherine the Great, Queen Elizabeth I, Mbande Nzinga, Queen Victoria. All those women were great leaders during their time. If it seems that women have contributed so little to history, it's only because they have had little in the way of opportunity or resources to do so, not because women are less capable of it.

Made up on the spot, and I'm proud of it! In seriousness though, we can probably agree on it being a rough maximum amount of non-farm workers, and probably not too far from the truth, and being illustrative in the least. 

You are making the argument that women couldn't excel because there was a pressure in all time periods, in pretty much all civilizations, pretty much all over the world, which conspired to keep them down. Moran is making the argument that it was just women not stepping up to the plate. Who has the burden of evidence it that discussion?

They both do. How would Moran prove her stance anyway? 

It's not being covered up, suppressed, or oppressed. There is no conspiracy and I'm certainly not advocating that there is. It's simple cause and effect of societal factors that have led to a lack of notable contributions from women throughout human history dating back to the earliest tribal cultures to explain why we are a predominately patriarchal culture. These factors are so prevalent that they affect what constitutes our definition of a notable contribution. Maybe there were notable contributions that were just overlooked because they weren't deemed notable enough. As they say, history belongs to the victors, so too does it belong to those who merely write it. To that end we'll never know for sure.

Moran seems to be saying that since women can make contributions in certain fields now and that there were some exceptions in the past, that it is only women who have themselves to blame for not doing "better." It's the same argument that says someone who commits a crime is just a bad person and overlooks the societal factors that help create a criminal. Is the criminal responsible for not following the law? Yes. Is any woman responsible for not pushing the boundaries of what she is deemed acceptable women's work? Yes, the same as it would be for any individual, but despite personal responsibility, if we want to understand why they choose to do what they do, we have to understand the influence of society on the individual and how it helps make people who they are and what they do.

The burden of evidence is on both parties, it just seems to congregate more on this side rather than hers.

And yet, there seem to be fields where even in today's less bigoted climate women don't seem to show much originality. Talent, yes, but originality no. Architecture, philosophy, symphony composition. No client is going to turn down a major architectural design and choose an inferior one because the better one was done by a woman. Off the top of my head, I am unaware of much groundbreaking philosophy done by women. Ditto for symphonies, though there are several excellent female conductors. Let's stop pretending the sexes are more the same than they actually are. Women aren't inferior, but they show their talent in different areas. 

Perceptual psychologists have discovered rather strong differences between the way men and women perceive and process perceptions. For example, men are better at creating and maintaining a mental map of an area and navigate by that map. A woman will tend to remember her way by landmarks. "To get to the school I drive up Main St and turn left at the Sunoco station, right at Mimi's Diner and then the school is two blocks up on the left." The male counterpart is driving through a map in his head. Of course, these are tendencies, not hard and fast totally discrete differences.

So don't create discussion around a somewhat controversial issue. Gotcha. And having read through the thread I haven't really seen any hostility. In general debates on this site may get heated, but I haven't come across much hostility - unless you define disagreeing as hostility.

The quote itself is lifted from the book "How to be a Woman", written by a highly regarded woman, and the title reflects it target audience being women. Saying that it's insulting reflects more on you, apparently those poor and weak women need to be sheltered from uncomfortable statements in your world.

I unfortunately have to head off to work, so my weekend of being a contrarian just became a lot more difficult. You can have your wish in that regards. :) 

Women's history?! That's fairly innane, history is a science and that is akin to "Women's physics". I dare you to tell my sisters that women don't have normal history...

While special pleading is cute, you may wish to stack one side against the other, which is what Moran did and offered you her conclusion. 

A strawman would be me putting words in your mouth that you didn't say. You went in to defend women, I made the statement that it wasn't necessary or asked for, and quite insulting in my view. Women can defend themselves quite well without your help, and they are much more likely to attack the argument than the man, as evidenced elsewhere in this thread.

Yeah, I think I'm done with this thread. Feeding a barking dog only stops the barking long enough for it to swallow.


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