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If it is a "man's world" is it due to meritocracy?

 
 
Reply Fri 21 Dec, 2007 02:08 pm
I often hear that it's a "man's world" and though there are many ways it's quite the opposite I've long championed the cause as a male feminist (the kind that wishes for equality, not the kind with a bone to pick with the opposite sex) but recently had a thought that has sent me reeling for days.

See, it's often assumed that it's a "man's world" due to the inherent sexism of the men who inhabit it. But women had every chance that men did to make it a woman's world and subjugate men.

Does that mean that to some degree it's a man's world because men are better suited to rule it?

I want to hear some other thoughts, and before any tarring and feathering takes place please note that I'm not entirely convinced that it's anybody's world, much less that the possibility I bring up has any merit (if I were forced to settle this debate in my head this minute I'd lean towards men being better equipped to subjugate if not necessarily rule).

Anywho, I'd like more viewpoints and fodder for the warring parties in my head who have carried on this debate for almost a week now.
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Dec, 2007 02:20 pm
Whether or not men are better equiped to subjugate, it has nothing to do with meritocracy.

Nepotism is everywhere, not meritocracy...
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Dec, 2007 02:25 pm
I'm not as appalled by that as you might think.

To start with though I think any generalization based on gender will have its exceptions. (Well, except for purely equipment-based generalizations I guess.)

But one thing that's struck me in the years since I entered into a relationship with a scientist (and started paying closer to attention to why scientific fields tend to be dominated by men) is that for whatever combination of reasons, men seem to be more likely to engage in focused, single-minded kinds of pursuits. Could be external -- women are expected to do more (the whole thing about women doing more housework even when they work as many hours as men). Could also be internal, though, and that's an idea I've found interesting in recent years. That women are more likely to seek balance -- to have a life.

A willingness to do without a life is a plus in terms of leadership, I think. Not necessarily conducive to happiness, but conducive to single-minded pursuit of goals.
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Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Dec, 2007 02:27 pm
Simply ask the warring parties in your head to have sex and see who's on top!

Chumly: Well then who's on top?

Robert Gentel: Yes.

Chumly: I mean the person's name.

Robert Gentel: Who.

Chumly: The person on top.

Robert Gentel: Who.

Chumly: So OK Who's on top?



Since you've been reeling for days you might want to stop listening to Irish music.
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Dec, 2007 02:37 pm
sozobe wrote:
Could also be internal, though, and that's an idea I've found interesting in recent years. That women are more likely to seek balance -- to have a life.

A willingness to do without a life is a plus in terms of leadership, I think. Not necessarily conducive to happiness, but conducive to single-minded pursuit of goals.


Ok, and one of the warring parties in my head would warn me that I'm on a slippery slope towards justifying unequal hiring practices, salary inequality and the like since those factors can also be applied toward corporate leadership and pursuit of corporate goals...
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Dec, 2007 02:43 pm
Quote:
Does that mean that to some degree it's a man's world because men are better suited to rule it?


No. That phrase is a result of the fact that men suck at subjugating women. Women are much more subtle in it, they don't get exposed so that phrases may be conjured about their conduct.

In my opinion it is the women who rule the world. They do so from the shadows, using their men as puppets. The "violated women's rights cause" is their strongest card. Twisted Evil
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Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Dec, 2007 03:38 pm
I think the question is a red-herring, in that like minded men and women rule the world. It's like blaming only Southern men for slavery existing in the ante-Bellum South. I think both men and women, aka, "families" that owned slaves, were accepting of that inhumane institution. Let's not blame men.

Perhaps, women are in "tacit" agreement, more often, as to what men are "doing," rather than being the "doers" themselves; however, if they didn't like what men were doing, they could stop it pronto ("the bar is closed until further notice," so to speak).
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cassandramichael
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Dec, 2007 03:23 pm
White and Black
I think that's like asking if it is natural that white men subjugated blacks.

First of all, men do NOT rule the world. Only men who engage in "manly" behavior do (i.e. no "sissies", "gays", etc).

Second of all, history is written in a way that always justifies what is around at the time.

I know you don't mean to say that it is natural or right that men should rule the world and you asked a good question. I also know that feeling- you're reeling because you're either afraid that it may be true, or because there is something in the idea that doesn't fit, but you can't place your finger on it.

Just think back to the 1800s- white people were "meant" to rule the world. Since black people had an equal chance with white people and cam out on bottom, people back then figured that it was just nature's way.

There may be no real "reason" that men/women/whites/blacks are at the time dominant- it's just the way people are taught to believe.
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Dec, 2007 01:55 am
Re: White and Black
cassandramichael wrote:
I think that's like asking if it is natural that white men subjugated blacks.


I don't. I don't really believe that "unnatural" really exists at all except as a concept and I don't think it's a similar comparison since the subjugation of racial minorities has a lot more to do with the "minority" part of the situation.

Additionally, racial subjugation is obviously (at least to me) situation much more than it could ever be dispositional. One invention can turn the tide and can't be generalized to a demographic.

If women were a significant minority to men it might be comparable as being outnumbered would be the obvious reason and since this isn't a transitive issue I don't think the case can be made that it's entirely situational.

Quote:

First of all, men do NOT rule the world.


I've said as much in the initial post, but for the purposes of this discussion I'm considering the areas in which they do.

Men get the raw end of the deal in many areas, which is relevant to the possibly flawed generalization that it's a "man's world" but does not change that there are also clear areas where they don't.nSo I avoid trying to resolve generalization about who believes what demographic is "ruling" all and focus on specific inequality in representation.

No matter what you think about the overall picture there are certainly male-dominated microcosms.

Quote:

Second of all, history is written in a way that always justifies what is around at the time.

...

Just think back to the 1800s- white people were "meant" to rule the world. Since black people had an equal chance with white people and cam out on bottom, people back then figured that it was just nature's way.


I dig your point but it's also not really what I'm talking about (pardon my incoherence). Yes, often superiority and domination is merely a perception, but I'm not talking about people's illusions, I'm talking about reality.

It's not an illusion that males are better represented than females in many areas.

Quote:

There may be no real "reason" that men/women/whites/blacks are at the time dominant- it's just the way people are taught to believe.


Yeah we're on the same page insofar as certain "domination" and "superiority" being a matter of belief, but I'm not talking about the people who "believe" themselves to be superior or on top. That there are clear areas that are dominated by those of the male persuasion is not a matter of belief and I'm trying to resolve the degree to which it's dispositional versus situational.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Dec, 2007 07:55 am
Robert Gentel wrote:
sozobe wrote:
Could also be internal, though, and that's an idea I've found interesting in recent years. That women are more likely to seek balance -- to have a life.

A willingness to do without a life is a plus in terms of leadership, I think. Not necessarily conducive to happiness, but conducive to single-minded pursuit of goals.


Ok, and one of the warring parties in my head would warn me that I'm on a slippery slope towards justifying unequal hiring practices, salary inequality and the like since those factors can also be applied toward corporate leadership and pursuit of corporate goals...


Yeah.

I do feel the need to say that I think there has been institutional sexism and that it still exists... I think that there are bigots who won't hire women simply because they're women, even if the women in question could do the job extremely well. I'm mostly talking about various types of research into why there continue to be disparities at the highest levels of leadership and in some fields even when conditions seem to be conducive to gender equality.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Dec, 2007 03:24 am
sozobe wrote:

I do feel the need to say that I think there has been institutional sexism and that it still exists... I think that there are bigots who won't hire women simply because they're women, even if the women in question could do the job extremely well.


No doubt, and I'd also go far as to say that it can be self-perpetuating, in that initial bigotry can create an environment where a certain gender has an easier time.

For example, if men are more comfortable doing business with men, and the business world is mostly comprised of men then it can be self-perpetuating even if it becomes an ideal meritocracy.

Quote:
I'm mostly talking about various types of research into why there continue to be disparities at the highest levels of leadership and in some fields even when conditions seem to be conducive to gender equality.


I'm also very interested in areas where women tend to do better than in other areas, such as in non-profit organizations where I believe they are better represented than in for-profit organizations.

Some other issues I'm debating in my head are whether women are generally less selfish than men (political voting trends are other data I am looking at right now) and whether women are generally more likely to avoid confrontation.
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