Would you please make up your minds? - Macleans.ca
 

Would you please make up your minds?


 

Jane Taber, in feminist mode:

It is striking to sit in the House of Commons during Question Period and watch how the big issues of the day are divvied up along gender lines.

Consider two of the significant stories of this fall – the H1N1 crisis and the allegations of torture of Afghan detainees. When it came to dealing with H1N1, women MPs asked the questions and the female Health Minister answered. This changed dramatically, however, when the story moved on to guns, war and torture. That’s when the guys took over. For the most part, the women sat quietly in their seats.

Quite. Silly old gender stereotypes. Imagine, in 2009, assigning portfolios according to outdated sex roles:

As a leading expert on women in politics, the University of Toronto’s Sylvia Bashevkin says this is not uncommon – women traditionally deal with the butter issues (social spending, health and the arts) and men with the gun issues.

“What cabinet positions women historically were offered were portfolios that were seen as a logical extensional of a traditional maternal role: health, education, welfare, culture,” Ms. Bashevkin said.

There is a gender bias, too, when the issue is the economy. The Finance Minister is male (and always has been in the federal government) and so are his opposition critics.

So we’re agreed: everyone thinks this is wrong. Everyone, that is, except … other feminists. Or sometimes even the same ones: when it suits them, they will invoke exactly the same stereotypes, only with a feminist twist — how women are more caring and compassionate, while men are confrontational and macho; how if women ran the world, there would be no more wars; how women lead in different ways, by consensus and relationship-building, while men win through brute force. You only have to Google the word “testosterone” to see how often this line of argument is invoked.

Indeed, you can see this same whip-sawing between equality-seeking and difference-invoking going on just in the course of Jane’s story:

Anita Neville, a Winnipeg MP and chair of the Liberal women’s caucus, doesn’t entirely buy in to the women-are-butter-men-are-guns theory…

“I think there tends to be some stereotyping of it, but I don’t think it’s universal,” Ms. Neville said.

She said that she has asked a question about torture in Afghanistan; she sits on the Commons Defence committee and has been to the special parliamentary committee examining the torture issue.

So gender is beside the point; men and women are on the same intellectual and moral plane, right? Uh, no:

Despite their numbers, Ms. Neville remains positive about the impact of women in the House. She said female MPs can play a big role behind the scenes. For example, she said that the Liberal women’s caucus pushed former prime minister Jean Chrétien to resist sending Canadian troops into Iraq.

Sigh. The boys wanted to play with their guns, until the nurturing, peaceloving Gaiawomen stayed their hands. Of course.

The only way to approach this subject is to accept that there is no logic or consistency to it whatever. Sex differences are irrelevant; sex differences are all-explanatory. Women are equals; women need special treatment. Don’t call me a waitress, I’m a waiter; I’m a Mistress of Arts, not a Master; my title is chairperson/chairwoman/chairman/chair. It’s utter chaos out there, and it’s not going to get any better.


 

Would you please make up your minds?

  1. one more bad <strikeout> and i'm outa here.

    • Only goes to show that stupidity is not gender specific. It does however seem to be concentrated in the Conservative party.

  2. Golly, Andrew; is it possible that women might be individuals with differeing opinions? Are men all homogeneous robots.?

    • I believe that ac is saying that homogeneous portrayals of sexes suit some women just fine some of the time, not so much other times.

      • Homogeneous portrayals of the sexes suit some men just fine some of the time, no so much other times.

    • I have to admit, the same thought occurred to me as I read this.

  3. Hear, hear.

    I'm a staunch gender egalitarian But I'm driven batty by the logical and philosophical inconsistency of folks wanting to pick and choose when being male or female is irrelevant, but then sometimes all about essential qualities and strengths/weaknesses.

    That said, we're not that many decades into meaningfully overcoming cultural and societal barriers against women, so there's bound to be some missteps.

  4. Recycling essays from first year university now, Coyne?

  5. Yep. And signing my name to them.

    • An example of modern masculine bravery. How apt.

      What you might do is perhaps notice that the very definitions of "men" and "women" hardly apply to the juveniles which make up our political and journalistic class, for the most part. It's the not the stereotyping that's the immediate problem.

      • But taking anonymous potshots is mature and appropriate, is it? Next.

        • That wasn't a potshot. I'm 99.9% sure he wrote something like this in undergrad.

          • And you're so brave for criticizing people's opinions under the name "Anonymous."

  6. Aw, poor Andrew. The feminists will not all march lock-step on every issue just for him, and that makes his work so darn hard.

    Srsly, Andrew, you lost me with your opening phrase: "Jane Taber, in feminist mode …" lol.

  7. To be fair, Anita Neville was at least consistent on whether or not people should vote for Dion's carbon tax. So you're tied.

  8. The feminist whining is getting very, very old, much like the Newfoundland equalization whining.

    We continue to here this at a time when females comprise 60% of university students and women have lower unemployment than men.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704

  9. And lower pay.

    • When male life expectancy reaches that of women, I'll start listening seriously to your case for better pay. Until then, just use some of those extra five years to earn the difference.

      • "I'll start listening seriously to your case for better pay."

        I don't think anyone thinks they are making a case with *you*. But it's significant that you believe one should be made. Because you're the only who counts, right?

        • Have you ever heard of the concept in language called an "expression"? If he said "I disagree", would you be commenting on the use of the word "I"?

        • You're right Anonymous. It was my oversight. Clearly I should have said, " Me will start listening…". That damn 'I' keeps sneaking in there where it doesn't belong.

      • Because living in poverty when you are too old to work is every man's dream. Or, because every man want a job at Wal-Mart when he's in his 80s or 90s..

        • Here's an honest question Jenn. Which gender is vastly over-represented amongst the homeless? And here's a hint. The answer isn't "female". Does that narrow it down for you?

          • That's hilarious! Women should make less money than men because there are more homeless men?

            So, do you figure then that if men had a minimum wage of, say, $35/hour, we'd solve the homeless problem? $50? $100?

          • I never said women should make less money. You brought up the homelessness issue, I didn't. And, women doing the same work as men DO make the same money. Stratified sampling within career choices, and adjustments for time taken off for child birth, shows that. Overall, their wages average about 70% to 75% of men's, because they choose different work.

            And I only bring up the life expectancy thing to begin with because if men were outliving women by five years, we could expect a major fuss being made about that. But the fact is, we men are, on average, inherently more violent, more competitive, more risk-taking and more reckless. We commit suicide more often, and do so more violently (and succeed at it more often). We also willingly take on more stress in our often mindless competition with other men, inviting more heart disease and stroke. When we do finally run ourselves into the ground, we're much less likely to reach out to those around us for help. Therefore, for men to complain about life expectancy is absurd. It's all because of our own behaviour and our own choices. However, those tendencies can also lead to higher incomes. We're more extreme at both ends of the scale.

            If I can admit that, why can't women admit that it is often their own choices that result in lower overall income levels? I'm not arguing that discrimination against women in terms of wages and in jobs availability never existed. It did. What I'm arguing is that we've largely overcome that, and what differences in average incomes remain can be explained by inherent gender differences. Much like men's lower life expectancy can. And of course "inherent gender differences" can only apply on average. It cannot be applied to any one individual.

  10. "Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman. The Republican party's cynical calculation that because she has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!) she speaks for the women of America, and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage. She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women." Wendy Doniger Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago's Divinity School

    One problem I find is that women like to speak for other women like Doniger did about Palin. Lots of influential women are into identity politics except for when it comes to them, of course. Then they are individuals who can do anything they desire.

    Over the years, a few women I have dated claimed gender differences did not exist while giving me Men/Mars Women/Venus book to explain why relationships are difficult. I have been reading about genes and evolutionary psychology recently and to claim that humans are tabula rasa is nonsense on stilts.

    • Seriously, do "feminist" women (read some women) really say there are absolutely no differences in genders? I find that hard to believe, although I don't know. Could it be that some men hear "no difference" when women are saying "no value difference"?

      • Not well written. Poorly expressed.

        I have dinner plans with my missus tonight. I need about 10 minutes to make a few adjustments and I will be ready to go. My better half is now in her second hour of getting ready.

        This is our regular routine when we go out … but do they have any greater meaning? I find that some men and women do acknowledge the difference but don't think it affects behaviour, or there is no great meaning to it, just is. Differences exist in vacuum. People seem to accept benign examples but when examples get more serious than mine gender differences disappear.

        Do you think our behavior tonight has any greater meaning? I would argue genes are significant influence on how we behave, not only how we get ready for dinner.

        • I can assure you that how you get ready for dinner has absolutely no bearing on who does the house cleaning, because I used to enjoy spending an hour or five getting ready myself–and do no cleaning whatsoever. The only "greater meaning" in your example is that your better half (which is a flattering/condescending term in itself) has increased the enjoyment time spent on an outing–the longer a person takes getting ready, the more fun it is, I've found. The getting ready is fun, I mean, not that it impacts on the fun once you go. But then, you were probably enjoying the game, and she probably would have been vacuuming if she wasn't busy getting ready :) For myself, I'd have been trying to balance the chequebook, or fighting with the ex, or feeling guilty because I wasn't vacuuming. So no, I don't really think that genes play much of a role in this example, unless it exists in the fact that many women find primping, brushing, and adorning to be fun. But the value of the difference is the same–doing something you enjoy.

  11. Women are not a big homoegenous group Andrew and everyone else. And neither are feminists. I'd expect you to have figured that out by now but your agenda has rattled your brain. Wanker.

    • I think that's my point, actually: you have a lot of people parading around under the same banner while saying entirely opposite things. Or rather, you have the same people saying entirely opposite things at one time or another, without so much as acknowledging or even (one supposes) noticing the inconsistency. That's the confusion I was talking about.

      • Quite unlike, oh, say, conservatives? Who all subscribe to cookie-cutter think?

        If you're willing to think in slightly deeper terms than labels, there are ways of understanding the tensions that have always been in play in the women's movement, as in any other social movement of consequence. But I don't know that any of us is going to knock herself out doing that basic work in response to one of the silliest and flimsiest excuses for a post I've ever seen you publish. (You can probably think of better examples, though.)

        • So those tensions are sometimes inconsistencies, right? Isn't that the main point? Not quite sure why you're so sensitive about it.

        • Don't be too hard on Coyne, skdadl. I'm pretty sure he spent his day watching episodes of Manswers.

        • It is difficult for Conservatives to figure us wimmens out. We do not all do the lockstep thing. as you say skdadl.

          They want a more homogenized corporate view on everything, black and white no shades of gray. Ever. It makes their brains fog up. Poor dears.

          And you know that poor Andrew here just has a difficult time with anything like gender or humanitarian issues.
          Just like when he sits on the board of The Canadian Constitution foundation which celebrated the end of the Court Challenges program for all those "left wing fringe groups". Oh, but he is supporting Shona Holmes. He likes what she has to say. Yesiree.
          :)

          • What about ac's point that some of these inconsistencies come from within individuals, too.

            Coming at it from another angle, what are people supposed to do? Or, more accurately, what are men supposed to do? If they suggest differences between genders, they get heck. If women do it, it's OK. Right?

          • What about ac's point that some of these inconsistencies come from within individuals, too.

            Points need to be backed up with evidence. Coyne didn't do that. His Anita Neville example was faulty because it compared gender assignment of issues to positions on issues.

          • I figure that Harper never got over his and the NCC's loss before the Supreme Court in 2000 when several intervenors funded by Court Challenges, notably Democracy Watch, were able to face him fair and square before the court. I think that's one of Steve's Rosebuds. Court Challenges was doomed from that day on.

            Coyne is supporting Shona Holmes? Who does OHIP by remote? Shona the queue-jumper? Shona "I'm entitled to my entitlements" Holmes? That Shona Holmes? LOL.

          • Sure, you've got AC all figured out don't you. Read his mind you have. It's his corporate, black and white view of the universe. Yup. Let me guess, he's not appreciating the unique perspective women bring to the table (except when conveniently they don't have a unique perspective because dammit, they're just like men). Pale indeed.

      • The only confusion I'm seeing is *you* having such a big problem with this:

        For example, she said that the Liberal women's caucus pushed former prime minister Jean Chrétien to resist sending Canadian troops into Iraq.

        Which you sneeringly describe as this:

        The boys wanted to play with their guns, until the nurturing, peaceloving Gaiawomen stayed their hands.

        You need to get over Iraq, Andrew. Follow your bud David Frum's example…Just stop talking about it.

      • Are Macleans writers allowed to get a bit shirty when someone calls them a wanker when both are in agreement?

        I thought you showed great restraint, Coyne.

        • Are Macleans writers allowed to get a bit shirty when someone calls them a wanker when both are in agreement?

          No, but they are allowed to put a horse's head in your bed. I have two, courtesy of Wells.

          • That's just not fair. Those poor horses.

  12. Joylon, you're not kidding about evolutionary psychology. It's a real eye opener in that it offers the ONLY model of human behaviour that makes any sort of consistent sense. That academia has essentially ignored evolutionary factors (i.e. 'instinct') as the major driver of human behaviour makes the past 100 years of social science research almost completely useless. That is finally starting to change. By the sounds of it, you've already read Steven Pinker's Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. If not, I highly recommend it. Other must-reads are The Red Queen by Matt Ridley, and The Murderer Next Door by David Buss.

    • Thanks for the tips. I have just got into the topic a few months ago and am wading me way through. I have not read any Pinker yet but it sounds like I should. I just picked up The Red Queen earlier today at the library and am looking forward to it.

      I read an interview in the summer that got me started on the topic. I forget the person's name but they talked about the work they are doing now, and over the past decade or so, and how scientists are changing their own minds but it has no influence on wider scholarship. Politically correct people fancy themselves Torquemadas who have to eliminate heretics.

      • You must also pick up The Selfish Gene by Dawkins. Get the 25th Anniversary edition if you can.

  13. Great insight, ac!

  14. Well, at least this post isn't as stupid as the one Mark Steyn has written, in which he blames Jennifer Lynch for the Fort Hood shooting.

  15. Oh gee, let's ALL change our minds right now, and write the opposite of what we believe. That could be fun and Andrew has met his quota, so we could all otherwise stfu, because really it's silly and Jane Taber is not a feminist. Oy vey.

  16. Gender is the modern neurosis. Don't listen to the feminists (but you must – *must* – indulge them and pay lip-service…just don't commit any thought-crimes, "patronize" them, or get an inappropriate erection). The post-feminists know where it's at. More Camille Paglia and less Womynz Studeez, please.

    • Calm down, dear. Take deep breaths.

    • …(but you must – *must* – indulge them and pay lip-service…just don't commit any thought-crimes, "patronize" them, or get an inappropriate erection)

      Too late on the inappropriate erection thing. I tried to be good today. I really did.

      • I know. I saw your photo.

        • LOL! I thought this site was PG. But seriously, I'm in general agreement with feminist principles (and with greater female representation in politics). My beef is the selective and/or opportunistic use of feminist arguments, which end up reinforcing the very biases feminism is purportedly trying to counter. There really is a double standard there.

          • I don't disagree with you, Lee, I do know of the double standard of which you speak. However, I'd like to point out feminism doesn't own this trait. For example I give you the number of times women (the gender) have been accused of inconsistency (as an individual) on this very blog thread, contrasted with Wherry's timelines of what Peter MacKay said just three posts down from here.

            Somehow this doesn't equate to men being inconsistent.

          • Men are every bit as capable of irrational, inconsistent though. Such contradictions exist across the political spectrum as well. I believe cognitive dissonance is the term. On the whole, it's human nature. Slightly different in women and men, but not more or less severe in either. This blog post was about the inconsistencies espoused routinely by some feminists. The next one will be about someone else. If there's one thing AC excels at, it's pointing out these logical inconsistencies wherever they exist. It's why I read his stuff.

        • Jesus Crit, I was a baby in that picture. Did you have to tag it with my name? Embarrassing baby pictures are bad enough without being explicitly identified.

  17. When I was in university, a friend of mine asked me to proofread a letter he was sending to the ministry of education to demand that people be given the option of receiving a "baccalaureate" undergraduate degree because "bachelor" is sexist. I tried to explain that the words come from the same Latin root. He was unmoved.

    Sometimes I don't get people.

  18. This is a pretty stupid criticism of a column that was just examining the underrepresentation of women in parliament and what, if any, effect that may have on policy discussions.

    Git yer guns boys! We be goin' huntin' for some straw men!

  19. Inconsistency. Hypocrisy. Heterogeneity. Politics. Huh. Who woulda' thunk ?

  20. Wasn't the private member's bill to abolish the long gun registry recently put forward by a female <strikeout>member</strikeout> backbenchperson? Hmmmm.

  21. Isn't Pamela Wallin a shill for the Conservative war machine?

    • Then doesn't that confirm precisely what Andrew trying to say in his post? That framing H1N1 as a "women's issue" and the Afghan war as a "men's issue" is nothing more than silly feminist drivel?

      • Does anyone really know what Andrew was trying to say in this post?

        • Yes, he's saying that feminists want it both ways. On the one hand, they want objective equality that is gender blind. On the other hand, they want special recognition for traits traditionally associated with women.

          The two propositions are logically in contradiction with one another.

          Like he said, it's a bit of a mess.

          • Well, that's a man for you. :)

            It isn't contradictory at all. The ISSUES should be gender blind, the tools used in dealing with various issues are, generally speaking, different between genders. Sometimes, a different solution to a problem can be found using consensus, compassion and caring, AND sometimes a different solution to a problem can be found using confrontation and brute force.

            If both those solutions are presented all of the time, we'd have more choices. Instead, we generally only use consensus on health care, education and culture, and generally only use confrontation and brute force on the economy and foreign affairs.

          • Yes, it is contradictory. You seem to be fine with the idea that there are general differences between genders. The feminist advocates, or whatever they are, seem to be fine with them only some of the time. The other times they cringe at the mere suggestion that men and women are different in any way, as per ac's blog post.

            Then again, since should we expect logical consistency from women? :P

        • Yes. He's saying it's near the end of the month and he needs to meet his blogging quota so here's some ill thought out crap.

        • Glad to see I wasn't the only scratching my head while reading it.

    • That'd be the Conservative War Machine that was designed and implemented by the Liberals?

  22. Why is it that the complexity of gender roles is a sign of "utter chaos?" Do you think there was ever a time where they WEREN'T complex? And, if so, were those better days for women? For men?

  23. Feminists sure hate having their logical inconsistencies pointed out to them. They want to be able to argue that any differences in the behaviour or career choices between women and men are either the result of social conditioning or oppression by the patriarchy. Yet they will just as quickly argue (often in the same sentence) that women are better at this role or that role because they are more nurturing or empathetic, or because they "bring a female perspective to the table."

    There certainly must be a fair degree of lingering sexism out there. Otherwise we men would not continually infantalize women by leaving unchallenged some of these grossly illogical utterances. I suspect if we actually did start treating women as equals – instead of like opinionated little sisters – they wouldn't like it very much.

    • Feminists sure hate having their logical inconsistencies pointed out to them.

      Any group consisting of two or more people will have logical inconsistencies but only a group of morons believes that two people having two different opinions about something is relevant to any conversation.

      • Really. So, there exist no logically coherent groups or movements on this entire planet. Fascinating.

        • "So, there exist no logically coherent groups or movements on this entire planet"

          Sounds about right to me.

          • OK, I suppose it's incumbent on me to try to provide at least one example of a logically coherent group, then you tell me why they're logically incoherent. So, what about the American libertarian movement. How are they logically inconsistent, as a group.

          • I knew I should have put in a qualifier. Except for "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" there are no 'logically coherent groups …..' Other than that, I stick with my comment. :)

      • Right. So we should not point out the logical inconsistencies in feminist thought because it exists elsewhere too, and that's where we should be challenging it. Speaking of logical inconsistencies…

        • You can point out the logical inconsistencies of a feminist.

        • funny how people think feminism is a coherent school of thought. are we talking first wave, second wave, third wave; liberal feminism; radical feminism etc. to criticize "feminists' for being inconsistent is truly reductio ad absurdum. it is like saying conservatives are incoherent; we talking neo-cons, theo-cons, paleo-cons, tories, red-tories, libertarians, republicans etc.

  24. Wow way to attack Jane Taber like that – (note the sarcasm!!!!!!!!) I may not agree with Jane Taber's normal gossip on the Globe and Mail but this articles adress serious and real isses. When will there be a female defense minister? A female justice minister? Probably NEVER with this governement since the Cons can't elect many lawyer women and capable women.
    Women do not like to be put down like you're doing right now Andrew Coyne.

    • Ah – would that be his line that 'So we're agreed: everyone thinks this is wrong.' in reply to under-representation? Because that seems a fairly reserved put-down, by all measures.

    • This is why it is important to know our history when we make an argument about politics. Kim Campbell served as Justice Minister AND Defense Minister under Brian Mulroney.

    • You might not like being put down, but sometimes you deserve it.

  25. That's funny, both Jim Beam and Maker's Mark claim to make the best bourbon. They can't both be right. Could we please have some consistency from bourbon makers? Is that too much to ask?!?

    • Good point to make: there is no singular feminism (unfortunately, feminists managed to muddle that key realization by setting the controls in the direction of insane relativism, but that's another topic!). But I think Coyne's argument is closer to bourbon distillers arguing their spirits to be equally tasty, and pretty much indiscernable from vodka in every respect, only much, much better.

      • But perhaps they pursue that line of argument because they are marketing their bourbon to Russians.

        • lol!

    • A better analogy would be Beam whining that it's not fair that Mark's bourbon tastes better, and that something must be done about the fact that people prefer Mark's bourbon, because Mark and Beam are equal and everybody must buy them equally.

      • No. It wouldn't, actually.

        • I find your candour to be rather pointless. Thanks for nothing.

  26. Hobgoblins. Small minds.

  27. Come on Coyne, everyone knows males are incapable of understanding the ethereal heights of feminist logic thought.
    It's sexist of you even to attempt to think about it.

  28. You just confused the domains in which women ought to be participating in, with the attitudes we would bring to them. Not your fault: Jane Taber did the same thing.

    Of course, Taber also forgot the party with the woman deputy leader/house leader who regularly leads off question period in the leader's absence on all issues of the day, and which used to have a female defence critic until she retired.

    Anyways, it's not the end of the world if you get a bit confused about what women want. Think how confusing it was for women to figure out how to move into and fit into a world not designed by them. Contradictions should be embraced, because we learn from them.

    • Thank you for giving new meaning to the word "patronizing."

  29. Edit check: "You just confused the domains in which women ought to be participating, with …"

  30. Dear Mr. Coyne,

    This might be the most painfully dim thing I've read here yet…and with Colby Cosh on board, that's really saying something!

    Mr. Coyne, you are clearly a smart man, which is why it's painful to read something that would garner a Pity C in 1st year university. Feminism is not monolithic, never has been, never will be. What you are highlighting in your inimitable way is the tension between the feminisms of Luce Irirgaray and Judith Butler…even I, with my woefully superficial understanding of feminism, was able to spot that right away. Frankly, your preconceived notions on this topic say much more about you than feminism.

    (Wikipedia is your friend sir, use it.)

    Why this is a problem for you is mind-boggling. Can you find an example of ANY thought/belief system whose adherents believe the exact same things and on the methods to best achieve them? I can't. Why is feminism not given the same latitude?

    Sincerely,

    Disappointed.

    • What is ridiculous is that there even is a complex belief system built around feminism. Why can't we just assume that for the purposes of governance, all PEOPLE are equal and will advance on the basis of merit?

      • Well obviously you've thought long and hard about all of this…

        I stand corrected.

  31. Jane Taber is a terrific example of why women's views aren't taken seriously or pursued. She's got national print and TV platforms, yet conducts herself (and her "news") like a giddy, giggly gossip. I can't think of her male equivalent in political writing — possibly best comparison is Perez Hilton, just kind of mean and sensationalistic, unburdened by dealing with facts, just spin. ____So trying to write a serious analytical column about a silly superfluous woman is an act of futility. It would be if about a silly superfluous man too.____Of all the women journalists working on the Canadian political scene, why not talk about Kady O'Malley, or Susan Delacourt, or Tonda McCharles? While they are all intelligent and curious journalists with terrific writing skills, they are none of them shills for any party, nor are they stymied by being seen as either women or feminist journalists. They're just plain good. ____Actually the more I think about it, the angrier I feel that Jane Viper is put out there as a political woman journalist — perhaps there's an agenda to giving her such prominent play over top of other, smarter, better women journalists.__

  32. Would you please make up your minds?

    Your headline says it all. Women are so flighty, aren't they?

    I'm surprised we still put up wit them at all.

    Women need to decide that either they are different from men, (and therefore can't be trusted to run things like wars, or the economy), or they're exactly the same as men (and therefore they should just shut up already about being underrepresented in the corridors of power, because it doesn't matter, we're all the same anyway). They can either be marginalized because they're different, or marginalized because they're the same, but they need to decide which and stop pretending that being marginalized is somehow a problem in and of itself.

    If women are different from men then we need to recognize that and only let them do certain things. If they're the same as men, then it doesn't matter if they don't get to do certain things because a man would do the job just the same anyway.

    Women hold fully 22% of the seats in the Parliament, men only hold the other 78% of the seats. When will Canadian women be satisfied???

    • "His study comes as the proportion of male teachers is at its lowest level in 40 years. Roughly 80 percent of teachers in U.S. public schools are women."

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti

      I can't find similar numbers for Canada but I know it's about the same. Do you think it's a problem when more females than males make up a profession or is it only an issue for you when it's male dominated field? How about sports. Black males dominate American sports – should there be quotas to help the laggard white guys?

      • I do think it's a problem that such a huge percentage of our teachers are women (particularly in elementary grades) but no, I don't support any sort of quota to address that situation. (I also think that just maybe "women aren't as involved in the democratic governance of our nation as they could be" is a different and more serious issue than "women (or men) aren't as well represented in profession X as they could be". Member of Parliament isn't just another job. Parliament isn't just another workplace. Mind you, I'm not suggesting a solution to these complex problems here, just suggesting that we look at these (large) disparities as actually being problems (or at least POTENTIALLY problems).

        I agree that maybe women just aren't interested in joining the freak show that is Parliament. So, if we have a system in place that seems like it might (speaking in generalizations) tend to disincentivize more than half of the population from fully participating in the democratic process, maybe that's something we should be looking in to. If the system seems to keep women from wanting to participate, perhaps we should look at changing the system, rather than just shrugging off their under-representation, or trying to change women to fit the system. Is our current system of governance really so super awesome that we can't discuss possibly changing the system to no longer discourage women from participating?

        • It makes me weary when I think of what type of people who I wish were attracted to politics and the type of people we end up with. There has to be some kind of paradox about the best people for the job of MP would not touch it with ten foot pole.

          I think it would be great if we could change what kind of person tries to become MP but I don't like idea of tinkering with system to favour one group over others because other identity groups will want their own representation quotas as well.

          • I don't like idea of tinkering with system to favour one group over others because other identity groups will want their own representation quotas as well.

            I agree with this in broad strokes, my only caveat would be that arguably our current system ALREADY favours some groups over others (men over women for instance). I don't so much want to tinker with the system to make it favour women more, I'd like to tinker with the system to make it favour men less (or not discourage women to the extent that it does). Perhaps one can argue that that is a distinction without a difference, but I don't think so. My goal would be to eliminate barriers, not to erect new or different barriers, and CERTAINLY not quotas.

  33. They already comprise 60% of the federal civil service. Another hundred seats in the House would do what exactly?

    • Another hundred seats in the House would do what exactly?

      I'm not really certain, but I'd like to find out.

      I'm also not sure 100 more seats are really necessary, but I can't get my head around the idea that women only holding 68 seats in a 308 seat Parliament is no problem whatsoever.

      • …I can't get my head around the idea that women only holding 68 seats in a 308 seat Parliament is no problem whatsoever.

        I can. Given the repugnant blood-sport that is politics in North America, why would we expect more than 22% of MPs to be women? Women tend not to aspire to be a part of that sort of hyper-aggressive environment. Note the use of the word 'tend'. There are of course numerous individual exceptions to such generalizations.

        • Yes, but if we have a system in place that seems like it might (speaking in generalizations) tend to disincentivize more than half of the population from fully participating in the democratic process, maybe that's something we should be looking in to.

    • I do think it's a problem that such a huge percentage of our teachers are women (particularly in elementary grades) but no, I don't support any sort of quota to address that situation. (I also think that just maybe "women aren't as involved in the democratic governance of our nation as they could be" is a different and more serious issue than "women (or men) aren't as well represented in profession X as they could be". Member of Parliament isn't just another job. Parliament isn't just another workplace. Mind you, I'm not suggesting a solution to these complex problems here, just suggesting that we look at these (large) disparities as actually being problems (or at least POTENTIALLY problems).

      I agree that maybe women just aren't interested in joining the freak show that is Parliament. So, if we have a system in place that seems like it might (speaking in generalizations) tend to disincentivize more than half of the population from fully participating in the democratic process, maybe that's something we should be looking in to. If the system seems to keep women from wanting to participate, perhaps we should look at changing the system, rather than just shrugging off their under-representation, or trying to change women to fit the system. Is our current system of governance really so super awesome that we can't discuss possibly changing the system to no longer discourage women from participating?

  34. Feminism: The demand that women be treated as equals because they are superior.

  35. "So gender is beside the point; men and women are on the same intellectual and moral plane, right?"

    when it comes to corruption, us menfolk are number 1, as there exists an inverse correlation between the percentage of women elected to high office in a country and that country's proclivity towards corruption.

    • Yeesh, did you read the Globe story this weekend about Gloria Arroyo in the Phillippines, journalists murdered for exposing Arroyo-related corruption, etc.? I guess you're gonna argue that Arroyo is just an exception to your rule? BTW, do you have any statistics or evidence to back up that assertion of yours?

  36. All of this doctrine is just an excuse for "pay equity" and all that other bull. This type of feminism proposes that women are "separate, but equal" from men. There are fewer women than men in Parliament only because more men choose to run. Many successful women would (understandably) prefer to make more money in the private sector, with the result that when parties introduce gender quotas on their candidate pool, there are just fewer qualified candidates.

  37. Sorry, that was my reply to jolyon. Don't know how it got here!

  38. It always goes back the The Simpsons:

    Lisa: Assistant Groundskeeper Skinner, don't you think it's wrong that I can't get the best math education because I'm a girl?

    Skinner: [sighs] I don't have any opinions anymore. All I know is that no one is better than anyone else, and everyone is the best at everything.