Science is not anti-feminist.

Jill Psmith of I Blame The Patriarchy writes (bold emphasis mine):

The argument has been made that intuition is superior to science because it is somehow free of the oppressive misogynist entanglements that encumber its dude-dominated counterpart. A spin-off of this argument says that, because academia has traditionally given (and continues to give) women the stink-eyed bum’s rush, science is antifeminist and, presumably, must be shunned in favor of this women-centric intuition dealio.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for any concept, process, person, or cognitive function to exist outside of patriarchy. That’s what patriarchy is: a world order with firmly established and inescapable auspices. Science, like everything else on the planet, is Dude Nation’s minion, yes, but “intuition” doesn’t exist in a magical patriarchy-free zone merely because it is associated with women’s reality. In fact, it is because of patriarchy that women were assigned the supposedly unique and mystical power of hunchiness the first place.

[…]

[T]he statement “science harms women” is not as accurate as is “the application, by misogynist knobs, of scientific method to systems of oppression harms women.”

Read the whole thing. (via Pharyngula via geekfeminism)


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11 Responses to “Science is not anti-feminist.”

  1. Jill Psmith Says:

    I would like to thank you for refraining from jumping on the Twisty Hates Science Bus that’s been tooling around the web for the past few days. Apparently, because I did not delete (on grounds of heresy!) comments written by readers who hold views opposite to my own, I am being held responsible for starting some crazy “science is antifeminist” movement in the Internet. Which is delusional, and which sorely chaps my hide.

    I would also like to thank you for having the good taste to quote me. Cheerio!

  2. Restructure! Says:

    I am not aware of this Twisty Hates Science Bus. Care to enlighten me, if you don’t mind?

  3. Manju Says:

    “Unfortunately, it is not possible for any concept, process, person, or cognitive function to exist outside of patriarchy.”

    This is a variation of an old Marx formulation—just replace patriarchy with classism—and a sign of a philosophy descending into a closed system of thought. In this framework, there is no legitimate way to criticize the philosophy, since any criticism can be dismissed as a social construction of the patriarchy w/o addressing the actual argument…because the argument is assumed to exist within the patriarchy. Transcendental knowledge is impossible.

    The conundrum is, having undermined the possibility of knowing in any objective way, Marxists (and the fellow leftists they influenced) are at a loss to explain how they alone are able to achieve the objectivity necessary to make this claim in the first place.

    This helps explain how progressive people of such goodwill, intellect, and genuine desire to create a better world, could end up creating Orwellian nightmares only rivaled by the slave trade and the 3rd Reich. Creeping intellectual totalitarianism..

  4. Restructure! Says:

    That’s a bit different, since I would argue that logic is a tool that can be used to criticize anything within the patriarchy. Logic itself has nothing to do the patriarchy, although white men tell us that logic (and science) is the domain of white men, and that emotion (and intuition) is the domain of non-white people and women.

    A very basic logical requirement is the principle of non-contradiction. If a set of propositions is logically inconsistent, then the system is obviously false. However, adherence to logic is completely different from black-and-white thinking, since black-and-white errors of thinking are usually predicated on false opposites. For example, sexists may believe that a “female scientist” is an oxymoron, but that is predicated on the false belief that science and women are opposites.

  5. Oh Really Says:

    This error of the False Dichotomy
    Would that be similar to your previous assertion that women and people of color earn less, and that is because they are women and people of color?

  6. fred Says:

    Jill P Smith’s blog and article can be summed up with this one sentence:

    science is antifeminist and, presumably, must be shunned in favor of this women-centric intuition dealio.

    In other words, science doesn’t support her prejudices. Therefore science should be rejected rather than her prejudices.

    Whereas restructure’s blog can be summed up by this sentence:

    Logic itself has nothing to do the patriarchy, although white men tell us that logic (and science) is the domain of white men, and that emotion (and intuition) is the domain of non-white people and women.

    Interestingly enough, anyone reading jill’s or restructure’s blogs would indeed conclude “that logic and science [are] the domain of white men” since neither of them has shown any aptitude for it.

  7. Restructure! Says:

    In other words, Jill’s criticism of anti-science arguments doesn’t confirm fred’s prejudices about women being enemies of science. Therefore, fred’s absurdly unshakable confirmation bias rejects the idea of pro-science women rather than his prejudices.

  8. fred Says:

    I think you’re working that one a little too hard. LOL!

  9. LizM Says:

    Fred,

    Anyone reading your comment and observing that you rendered Jill’s statement that “A spin-off of this argument [that intuition is superior to science] says that, because academia has traditionally given (and continues to give) women the stink-eyed bum’s rush, science is antifeminist and, presumably, must be shunned in favor of this women-centric intuition dealio” as “science is antifeminist and, presumably, must be shunned in favor of this women-centric intuition dealio” would, after marvelling at your ability to ignore every part of the sentence in question except for a dependent clause, the sentiment within which the author clearly disagrees, further marvel that anyone could so disingenuously represent material which is *reprinted, in context, at the top of the bloody page*, before finally marvelling that accomplishing this feat would manage to inspire in you the confidence in your own scientific and/or logical reasoning ability necessary to locate in yourself a consequent authority to criticize the aptitude of others in these areas.

    Respecting the quote from Restructure!, it is unclear how the assertion that logic’s ability to exist outside patriarchy (or, more properly, its ability to be applied fairly within the patriarchy) is anti-science–or at least, I assume that’s what you meant, as you failed to provide a helpful gloss of what she *really* intended to say.

    Lastly, it isn’t just “anyone” who, after misreading both comments in your proud tradition, would conclude that only white men are capable of scientific and logical reasoning; where “anyone” is not both a racist and a misogynist, “anyone” would not use a sample size of two to generalize about the bulk of the world’s population.

  10. fred Says:

    LizM-

    Far be it from me to criticize another’s grammar but that was ridiculous and maybe I should try to write the longest goddamned run on sentence the world has ever seen in a futile attempt to make myself look intelligent and obscure the true meaning of what I’m really saying because I don’t really have shit to say but I just want to say it anyway because I didn’t like what you had to say.

  11. LizM Says:

    Run-on sentence: a sentence containing two or more independent clauses joined without appropriate punctuation. My first paragraph had a very long sentence, true, but it was not therefore a run-on sentence. There may be a style issue here, but there is not a grammatical one. The reason that it was long was because I was quoting two (themselves long) sentences in it while also making a separate point. Honestly, shorter sentences would have been preferable, but I do not hold the belief that obscurity equals intelligence or that shoddy ideas can be concealed with elaborate language or big words.

    Since you didn’t actually engage my point, but felt the need to attack it anyway, here it is again in short sentences that you can more easily read.

    Jill said “A spin-off of this argument [is that science is anti-feminist]” and you misrepresented that as “Jill said that ‘science is antifeminist.'” Yes, she did say those words, but for the purpose of mocking rather than expressing or endorsing the argument. This has been pointed out to you repeatedly, by Restructure!, on this and other posts. Someone (here, you) who either refuses to see or honestly can’t see the difference between “some people argue X is true, which is ridiculous and I disagree” and simply “X is true” is in no position to hold himself out as a paragon of logic or of scientific reasoning. Also, although it seems that you are trying to make sort of point about Restructure’s comment, you have not made it clear what that point is. The line you quote would not seem to support any point I would imagine you might make based on your many other comments on this blog, which are consistent in their tone, content, and low quality. Lastly, even if your interpretation had not been faulty and Jill actually had argued that science is antifeminist (and Restructure! had made whatever undetermined point you’re accusing her of making), it is not true that “anyone would conclude” from this that only white men are good at science. Racists and sexists would make such an unfounded generalization based on a sample size of two, while others would not.

    Ironically enough, all fred’s comments can be summed up as follows:
    “I don’t really have shit to say but I just want to say it anyway because I didn’t like what you had to say.”


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