All American women have been minimized and discriminated against, as have women in every culture, and far more greatly in many countries other than the United States. The only question in each woman’s case is how much and in what fashion. Unhappily, from what I’ve observed, women tend to fall into two categories: those who know and understand that minimization and those who either don’t know it or who deny it.

In a previous blog, I discussed the economic/pay side of discrimination, but minimization and discrimination go a great deal further than pay and also affect pay levels, if indirectly.

Picture this. A female nominee for a cabinet post is alleged to have been a heavy drinker in college, a fact corroborated by acquaintances, then is discovered to have lied about both the drinking and the fact that she obtained hacked emails that she used to rate judicial candidates for a previous administration. Do you honestly think that such a female nominee could be approved today? Yet Kavanaugh did both and was also accused of sexual assault – and all those accounts were termed a smear campaign by the administration.

Or picture this. A female nominee for an appointment requiring Senate confirmation loudly accuses the senators of persecuting her, then insists that events that have been publicly confirmed did not happen. She next turns a question back on the senator, asking in a sarcastic manner if that senator had ever done something similar, and finally bursts into tears and insists that she’s innocent of all of the accusations. Would she get confirmed? I strongly doubt it… but Kavanaugh did the same thing… and was confirmed.

Most minimization of women isn’t as public as in the case of Dr. Ford, but it’s still present and continuing.

More than a few colleges are admitting men with lower grades and test scores than comparable women applicants – citing the need for gender balance. They certainly weren’t concerned about balance when male applicants vastly outnumbered women.

To this day, regardless of explanations or denials, Islam, Orthodox Judaism, and the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches, as well as the Mormon Church, continue to dictate and enforce the idea that male superiority is ordained by God. There can be no women Popes, nor can there be any female Mormon prophets [and I noticed that, at the last semi-annual LDS Conference, there was exactly one woman speaker over the entire two-day proceeding].

Vera Rubin was rejected from Princeton University’s doctoral astronomy program because, in the 1950s, Princeton refused to admit women. She got her doctorate in astrophysics from Georgetown and went on to discover proof of dark matter, yet despite the magnitude of that and other work, and a campaign by many of her colleagues, she never received the Nobel Prize in Physics. Only two women have ever received that prize, and not a one in more than a half century.

As a graduate student in 1967, Jocelyn Bell Burnell first built the special telescope, laboring in damp and chilly English weather to install more than 100 miles of cable and copper wire across a windswept field near Cambridge. She operated the instruments and analyzed the data, poring over miles of chart paper etched with the inked recordings of galactic radio waves, finally discovering the first pulsar, but the 1974 Nobel Prize went to her Ph.D. supervisor, rather than to the two of them. Since then, she’s been recognized by a number of awards, and finally, just this year, some forty-four years later, she was awarded the special Breakthrough prize in fundamental physics [and she’s directing the money to go to the Institute of Physics to fund Ph.D. studentships for people underrepresented in physics].

Then there was the professor who was the only woman on a university leave, rank, and tenure committee whose male members wanted to deny a full professorship to an outstanding woman associate professor because she’d expressed a few opinions suggesting that there was subtle discrimination against women. That single woman on the committee suggested that the issue in question wasn’t the professor’s political views, but her record and teaching… and that it would be a shame if it came out why that associate professor had been denied a promotion. The committee reconsidered, but the matter never should have come up, nor should such a committee have ever been composed of eight men and only one woman.

My own wife was told by a senior faculty member that she didn’t really need her job because she had a successful husband.

The real-life examples of this sort of minimization could literally fill hundreds of thousands of pages, if not more, and yet the men in power still don’t get it… and neither do, unhappily, a great number of women. And when women bring up such issues, with longstanding facts and examples, the president declares that they’re just a mob, conveniently forgetting and ignoring the fact that every week he incites mobs with lies and misrepresentations.

And far too many people can’t or won’t make the distinctions.

5 thoughts on “Minimization/Discrimination”

  1. R. Hamilton says:

    As always, the victim is responsible.

    And up to a point (i.e. short of assault and battery, which nobody should tolerate), that’s probably how it _should_ be. Nobody not perceiving themselves to share a similar victimhood will be impressed by anything less than the ultimate glass ceiling breaker: offer a better value than the competition, consistently, persistently, and without complaining – at least not in a place or way that might inconvenience your employer, certainly not unless they’ve done something bad enough that even the non-sympathetic would agree it was odious or illegal.

    That’s absolutely unfair, of course. But reality has NEVER been fair, and expecting to mobilize “society” or some other essentially unaccountable group to make reality fair, would be either silly, or devolve into tyranny even more unfair (if for a time, to different people); or at the very least, exacerbate tensions without actually solving the problem. You have to win on the other person’s terms, or it doesn’t change anything.

    1. Derek says:

      “The rules you made up only benefit you, let’s change them to benefit everyone.”

      “What? No. Because then the rules wouldn’t benefit me.”

      You’re assuming that the current state of affairs is the natural order, and not something that has been imposed on the rest of us. Gods forbid we do anything to alter the rules of non-sacred origin to be more equitable. Why, the pain of addressing tyranny is worse than tyranny itself!

      To the privileged, equality feels like persecution.

      1. Alan says:

        I think you’re making an assumption of natural order. Humanity is probably one of the few creatures on the planet that has long since eschewed any sort of natural order. We modify the environment around us, we grow, change and adapt. The natural order of humanity 5000 years ago would be vastly different from today’s natural order.

        As a society we have the ability to decide what the ordering of our social structure is. Right or wrong, fair or unfair. The true natural order would be something akin to pre-historic cave man, at best.

        Modern society has proven time and again that those in power will not change unless forced to do so. I would concur with Hamilton that in order to change the situation you have to either win, not just win but truly hammer your opposition, using their rules. The alternative is to bring enough force to bear from lower levels that those in power see no safe alternative but to change the rules as you wish.

        1. R. Hamilton says:

          I’m NOT arguing in favor of the left crushing everyone else to force its view of enlightened society. I actually think that if the left backed off considerably, picked a few battles, and picked only reasonable modest advances on those, by relatively courteous and non-disruptive means, they might be far less of a threat, not to privilege (which they merely want their leaders to hold rather than either their clientele or the current holders), but to liberty and sanity, which IMO they are now.

          As for breaking the glass ceiling by offering better value, try asking someone that’s done that. Or look around. Those who do it that way, rather than by gaming the system, have respect and at least some more remunerative rewards.

      2. R. Hamilton says:

        Yes, absolutely. Nobody will willingly surrender privilege.

        However, some of that depends on what “privilege” means. If it only means having some right or property that someone else is denied (not merely doesn’t have at the moment, but is prevented from even pursuing!), that’s a problem, and perhaps, in some more enlightened eon (never now 🙂 ), people need to change. Indeed, that concept of privilege is rather distasteful even to some of the privileged; one-upmanship on a personal or group level (as contrasted with commercial competition) is ultimately unwinnable, unsatisfying, and just putting someone else down rather than simply pursuing one’s own ambition.

        However, if it simply means retaining what one has, that does NOT have to be a problem. The “pie” isn’t a fixed size; productive and reasonably non-divisive behavior creates more pie, and all that has to happen is that the privileged don’t take the new pie quite as fast as it’s made. Growth, alone (where the “limits of growth” doesn’t apply anytime soon), will solve most problems, if people are willing to practice _just_ enough moderation to let it gain on the problem.

        If people don’t feel threatened by change, they’ll be far less likely to resist. And even outnumbered, the “privileged” will likely succeed if they resist, at least until so vastly outnumbered that a revolution, far likelier to make things worse even for the winners, would be likely.

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