I was just over at P.Z.’s palace, reading this interesting and disturbing post regarding the dearth of women in college engineering programs. He cites some genuinely scary shit going down at University of Waterloo, including some anonymous douchebag plastering these posters around campus: [Caption: “The brightest Woman the Earth ever created was Marie Curie, The Mother of the Nuclear Bomb. You tell me if the plan of Women leading Men is still a good idea !”]
P.Z. also mentions a horrific 1989 rampage in which a gunman executed 14 women engineering students:
He said to them: “Do you know why you are there.” One of the girls answered “No”. He replied: “I am fighting feminism.” The student who had spoken added: “We are not feminists, I have never fought against men.” He immediately started firing on the group, from left to right.
In response to a female student’s concerns about the unnerving events at Waterloo, some sniveling, privileged twit said this:
Really Sherlock? UW is a male dominated campus, I wonder why… oh, let’s see, UW is in the top for Engineering, Math, and CS, given that most girls doesn’t want to give the effort and sacrifice needed to go through the Engineering or Math program at UW, you are going to bitch and cry that the university is male dominated? Really? So if you want a female dominated campus, try “Bryn Mawr College”.
You have no right to bitch that the campus is too male dominated, when there are literally no girls in the Engineer or Math faculty, even though there are scholarships and extra benefits given to females that are in the Math faculty.
P.Z. makes the excellent point that the sexist attitudes of swine like this guy are a much more insidious threat to women’s equality than misogynist poster hangers are, or even anti-feminist mass murderers for that matter:
If you want to know why an engineering school can be a “male dominated campus,” look to the people who feel that women don’t work as hard, aren’t as capable, don’t belong in a science and engineering world, and that male privilege is an earned status.
Predictably, jackasses quickly showed up in the comments, though I am supremely confident that the Pharyngulites will expertly demolish any and all comers, as usual.
But I want to stress something about the deranged poster hanger, as I did over there. I’m just not down with the advice to tear down the posters and charge the culprit with a crime in connection with hanging them. University of Waterloo is in Canada, and I am unclear on the breadth of free speech protections in Canada, i.e. whether Canadians enjoy essentially the same First Amendment rights that U.S. citizens do. Regardless, I am one of those “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it” types. For example, I support the rights of heinous, odious @$$holes like the KKK and Fred Phelps to say whatever the hell they want.
In addition to strongly supporting free speech in principle, I believe that heinous, odious @$$holes provide absolutely fantastic opportunities for mockery and derision of their stupid ideas — and as everyone here knows by now, I am a huge fan of mockery and derision of stupid ideas. By far, the most useful and effective counter to ignorant and hateful speech is nearly always more and better speech, not censorship. P.Z. himself already got us halfway there when he said this about the poster:
“It’s ahistorical nonsense, of course. Marie Curie was not the inventor of the atom bomb, men are not blameless for the creation and use of it, and Curie was not the one great mind in all of womankind.”
Instead of tearing them down, I would strongly urge leaving all of the posters up, and plastering over ever single one a sticker that says exactly what P.Z. said — to which I would add: “Dumbass.” Then I’d plaster on another sticker, directly under the words “The Truth,” that says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
And yeah, I would do it in hot pink text. :p