A Reply

“Namae Nanka:

“Considering that Marie Curie is more well-known than Maxwell, I won’t stress on the low status part.”

Two Nobel prizes in physics have gone to women in over a hundred years. You want to argue that one of the two being better well-known than a physicist who did not is evidence of the “triumph of feminism”?

If you really want to make the argument, name to me the other woman who won the award. Try it without Google! And while you’re at it, tell me if Madame Curie (or this other woman, whose name you are almost certainly unaware of) is more well-known than, say, Einstein. As long as we’re cherry-picking examples to give credence to specious arguments.

Your logic-fu is less than compelling, Namae Nanka.”


Before we start,  in fairness to Mr. Scalzi, while the above was written in a hurry, I will take my own sweet time.

Mr. Scalzi makes this point in response to my post on his site, where he writes about how the white male privilege might be explained gently to stubborn white males by using the example of difficulty in video games.

So let’s check the physicists that are known to general population:

Einstein – ‘Super duper genius dude, with a whacky hairdo, made a theory which no one understands and was bad at maths in school. So maybe I can be like him too since I flunked my maths test’

Newton – ‘An apple plonked on his head, and he did something with gravity.’

Marie Curie – ‘A woman who invented radium while overcoming patriarchal oppression and became a shining role model for women in science for the next 100 years.’

Maxwell – ‘ahh, who?’ or ‘some symbols in the chapter on electromagnetic theory.’

The above was my experience, before one day I chanced upon Maxwell’s wikipedia page.

The point which Mr. Scalzi didn’t get was that Maxwell is considered the No. 3 guy in the legendary physicists category, and would have got one or two of those nobels if he had not died before the awards came into being. Another man would also have had the honor of having two nobels in different hard sciences categories alongside Madam Curie if he had not died before her. The point about nobel prize was never in the reckoning to start with.

So if a guy like Maxwell is less well-known that the middle name of Ms. Curie, (much important in today’s increasingly hyphenated surnames world and which I remember unlike the name of the other good lady, which I forgot, who also overcame patriarchal oppression to get the physics nobel back in 1963, I remember the year LOL), what hope is there for lesser mortals like us who were born with penises?

A woman who might not rank in the double digits, much less a few notches lower than John, (or was that James?) Maxwell in the physicist hierarchy and yet is much more famous by the virtue of her sex.  Or consider Rutherford, her contemporary unlike Maxwell, and regarded as the Father of Nuclear Physics

In regards to his “Triumph of feminism?” quip,

Lets consider the books written for children:
I asked a sociologist why there are more kids books about Curie than Einstein. He looked puzzled for a moment and then responded, “Of course! If your going to write a book about a scientist for girls you don’t have that many options, but if you are writing a book for boys there are so many options.” This would quite naturally inflate the number of books about the individual female scientists. In this scenario it is crucial to consider how many of the total quantity of books about each scientist are written about men and how many are written about women.

(remember to read the mouse-over text)

Of course, in his mind, it’s a tragedy that there are so few women scientists, men are to be blamed or to be reminded of their privilege that they have so much variety! And since gender equality is a must, the above is only fair.

Which brings us to domestic violence. Do feminists care about gender-equality while teaching young boys not to hit girls? Even though their rationale for not doing so, that inter-gender violence is overwhelmingly male upon female, is based on shaky facts?

Why is it relevant?

One of the triumphs of feminism is expropriation of men’s better qualities as human qualities and thus equi-present in both sexes but not expressed in women due to patriarchy/sexism/gobbledygook. At the same time men are saddled with their relatively worse qualities as their own failing and the failing of their sex’s grip on power, and are brainwashed about this from birth.

So the term man comes into existence for something bad, otherwise, women can be brave too, can be strong too, can be as good as men and sometimes even better, and remember that the his-story of mankind is about oppressing these wonderful talents of women. Otherwise, women have done all this before men!

Other times, we are all equal.

How has the triumph/success of feminism come about, despite it being such a shoddy POS ideology, is related in Steve Moxon’s The Woman Racket, where he shows that the difficulty setting, to borrow Mr. Scalzi’s example, is higher for an average male, with low-status males at the bottom of the pole for any consideration by the society.

A man who wrote this comment below me, gets some of this:

I also agree with @F. Martin that people born into a disadvantaged situation get more praise when the achieve something (first black this, first woman to do that, etc…), but I personally think it is deserved. I don’t think that praising one person for an accomplishment lessens the achievements of anyone else. There isn’t a finite amount of awesomeness available in the universe.

Unfortunately, the number of books is finite, percentages of college seats by gender are finite, the monies that the USG spends on the gender ‘issues’ is finite, yada yada yada.
Reality doesn’t care for such mawkish sentiments.

As a father of multiple daughters I like to hope that by the time they are old enough to notice that the world will judge them based on their merits rather than gender.

I wish the same; so hopefully by the time they grow up, feminism will have been flushed down the toilet and they will thank the men who made their accomplishments possible.

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

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