From R L
Title Pseudo-intellectual misogyny
I would like to preface this story by saying that I am a non-white cisgendered man that often engages in political debate with some rather reactionary characters. This story should illuminate that for all reading.
I once met a stereotypical brogrammer who claimed to be an anarcho-capitalist. For those who don’t know, they’re essentially laissez-faire capitalists that want the state gone completely. So basically, any anti-discrimination protections created for women amd minorities, any equal pay initiative, every affirmative action initiative and every workers rights protections are gone. They believe that ”the market will sort it out naturally” even though it’s very clear to anyone with any knowledge of the history of capitalism that this will not happen. But when teey get called on it, they blame some non-existent bogeyman called corporatism, without any awareness of what that word actually means.
These sorts of people have an unbelievably hard time accepting the fact that institutional oppression is a thing, largely because it takes a special kind of special to casually ignore the entire history of the last 200 years and say ”We need to let corporations go free and discriminate at will”. This means any criticism of societal structures that oppress certain groups needs to go out the door, as that would torpedo their central argument that markets are perfectly efficient and are perfectly equitable.
He was your stereotypical libertarian. ”Show me a law where women and minorities are biased against”, ”women’s choices cause the gender pay gap”, ”racism does not exist anymore”. Given the fact this man was not oppressed in any meaningful way, it would be extremely likely he would come to this conclusion.
I bombarded him with examples of women and minorities being seen as less competent by interviewers. He then called those studies ”tripe” because ”they don’t take into account all the variables involved”. He never explained why this is the case, he never gave a cogent argument what those variables might be and he never gave a wayit could be improved, but it’s probably because he and his little political cult believes any sort of statistical social science is worthless.
… unless it agrees with their preconceived points of view.
He would never, ever hesitate to pull out studies proving that women are either inferior of less disposed at things like STEM or military work. He would show how ”women give up easier at physical tasks” without criticizing why they did so and if social pressures might contribute to that. He would bring up the pseudo-academic concept of the Norwegian Gender Paradox, which states that, as a country becomes more prosperous, women, who now ”have the freedom to choose”, will choose the occupations they’re naturally suited for. In other words, women aren’t suited to be engineers, without the overt bigotry usually involved with this kind of argument.
This is where I got absolutely enraged. His studies very clearly relied on the same statistical correlation he decried in mine His studies on women in the military excluded social factors that may have caused those results. When I claimed his ”paradox” is irrelevant (given the fact, in many of the so-called ”sexist” countries he named, engineering is not considered a man’s job and that the proportion of STEM women has increased over the last few decades. He claimed this was ”proof that I was wrong about discrimination in STEM” (despite the fact feminism has gained a lot of traction over the past few decades). When I pointed out how much of a hypocrite he was for not applying his bullshit standard of evidence to his own argumentation, he blocked me, not before saying that ”biological differences between men and women are readily apparent”.
It was a rather tedious exchange with an extremely arrogant mediocre white man (this was a 30-something who, despite having graduated a decade prior, was still in an entry-level engineering job; the fact he isn’t oppressed in any way shape or form means this isn’t due to institutionalized bigotry and should be proof of how much of an idiot he is).
However what got to me the most was the sheer level of confirmation bias he was experiencing. He never ever bothered to apply his bullshit standard of evidence to his own studies, touting them as absolute fact. That reeks of the unconscious sexism that led to James Damore publishing his nonsense literature review in August.
I’ve spoken to actual scholars who research attrition and unconscious bias. They very clearly laid waste to his arguments.
The whole ‘give me the confidence of a mediocre white man” adage feminists chant permeated the entire exchange. How a lower-end BEng graduate with no experience whatsoever in social science lecturing me as to how much of an idiot I was made me feel the crunch of oppression. I’m an ethnic minority, and the patronizing tone of voice he used never escaped me.
It was after this incident that I realized feminism was indeed correct and why men like this are the reason there are so few women in programm9ing.