The Truth.

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: Curie/Nuclear explosion poster[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.”

Curie Nuclear Bomb Poster - new and improved.

And yeah, I would do it in hot pink text.  :p

4 thoughts on “The Truth.

  1. Oh noes, the wimmins are getting the nobel prizes!

    Would you like me to call a waahmbulance?

    The USA has an attitude to women indicating that they are incapable of doing mathematics and indeed the sciences causing a dearth of them in engineering. One interesting thing in India is that engineering courses have a high intake of women (50% nearly) and they do just fine.

    I consider Curie as the greatest Nobel Prize winner “so far”. At a time when women were regarded as uppity property she won not one but two nobel prizes for actual science rather than peace or economics. It doesn’t matter what her gender is.

    The atomic bomb’s use was a tragedy but again ultimately necessary. The attitude of the japanese was one of “making their nation so ultimately hard to invade that the americans would take horrendous losses”. The nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced Japan to surrender rather than fight to the death. Do we really think the allies after they got to Japan would have been magnanimous conquerers as they were in Italy or bloodthirsty butchers seeking revenge for the horrors perpetrated who would massacre in revenge?

  2. Someone on PZ’s thread pointed out that in South Korea (?), the numbers actually skew toward more females than males.

    This attitude toward women in the U.S. is ubiquitous and operates on so many levels, from cradle to grave. The “othering” is relentless. Even putting aside the stench of toxic Christian dogma that permeates nearly everything, I think devaluing women and women’s contributions for whatever reason contributes to a macho, homophobic and militaristic culture, embodied perfectly by the swaggering George W. Bush. But with the traditional Christian view of women and marriage being as pervasive as it is here, I don’t see much possibility of a shift in the culture, at least not without a horrendous backlash.

    It also just occurred to me that this nutjob targeting Marie Curie is perfectly emblematic of what happens every day on a smaller scale: if a man does something one doesn’t like, it’s because he’s a dangerous or incompetent person. If a woman does something one doesn’t like, it’s because of the inherently inferior nature of her gender. In other words, she’s dangerous or incompetent because she’s a woman, full stop. Even women internalize this view. (As we all know, women are certainly not immune to Conservative Personality Disorder.)

    This sheds an interesting light on what some of the Pharyngulites were describing of their experiences. I’m paraphrasing several commenters here (and ignoring that jackass Drackoff, who was cleanly dissected and dismembered), but basically they made the observation that women in the hard science programs were generally very competent, and few to none were mediocre performers. By contrast, there were plenty of mediocre men. When a man gets a C on his engineering exam, he gets encouragement, support, and help. When a woman does, she is routinely counseled that she is just not well suited for this field (on account of her silly ladybrain, obviously).

    I don’t think the poster kook guy’s issue is really with the Nobel Prize per se as much as with the perceived power that accompanies that level of recognition. He also puts up another poster with the same image that says “Kill 250 000 innocent Japanese in WW2 and is given 2 Nobel Prizes. Expose the defective Moral Intelligence of Womankind and it is called Sexism.”

    The same kook also said:

    The truth is that overeducated women are truly dangerous. If they don’t know right from wrong they will nuke the whole Planet and call it the latest fashion from Holt Renfrew. This is the truth. The world is in trouble today because the higher moral intelligence of men is not in charge anymore. How long will you let this continue? The choice is in your hands. I didn’t leave posters on your campus because I am a fool. I left them because I am your father who is concerned about where your education is ultimately going. You are being taught the virtues of gender equality when gender equality is nowhere in the Orginial [sic] Plan of Creation.

    His view is the tiresome old biblical one: women are morally bankrupt because they are women, and therefore need to be dominated, controlled, and kept in their proper place by men, who by definition are infinitely superior in every way. That Eve sure fucked us over. *yawn*

  3. Pingback: Nuclear War in 2011 | nuclear attack | jeff morrison | movie trailer

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