Monday, April 01, 2013
An April Fool's Post
I'm itching to give you all sorts of April Fool examples from research popularizations when it comes to studies on women or gender. But I've learned my lesson: The more I give out freely, the less money I will ultimately get from my perhaps-book!
Now wasn't that about the nastiest paragraph you have read today? Nyahnyah.
Even goddesses must sometimes eat, and monsters, though easy and cheap to catch, are not good in nutritional balance. Hence the need for money.
But I CAN tell you that much writing about research should be re-shelved under "creative writing" or "looking for controversy, if not found, manufacture it".
The second aspect of this writing experience that retains a permanent April Fool aspect is the imbalance between feminist and anti-feminist voices in the mainstream media. It's incredibly easy to get money and a comfy chair as an anti-feminist; it's about as easy to get a few cents and a rickety stool as a feminist as it is for a herring to start a world war. Not impossible, just unlikely.
And why? This is the other jokey bit: Because feminism is assumed to be so dominant that its opponents need to be heard. The real reason is that the anti-feminist side has most of the moolah.
The way all this comes about is that Hillary Clinton is labeled as a radical feminist. Any woman or man who even makes a quiet note about a few feminist arguments while also discussing the anti-feminist arguments is labeled a rabid feminazi. But someone advocating the removal of women's right to vote is just a valuable critic of the general debate. That's how we get the same drag-the-center-to-the-right that we have observed in general political debates.
I've written before that the debate on women and gender is biased, to begin with, by the fact that the two sides are assumed to be men-are-better-than-women-except-in-childbirth and men-and-women-are-equal*. The obvious third alternative is completely missing in those debates. I am certainly not advocating it, but its absence puts the men-and-women-are-equal group not in the center where it belongs but at one extreme. Then the center gets pulled somewhere between men-are-better-than-women and the-two-are-equal.
*"Equal" here does not mean the same. Neither does it mean not-same. It has nothing to do with that aspect and all to do with equal opportunity and equal valuation.