Thursday, January 20, 2005

Abilities

Peg Kaplan has posted regarding Dr. Summers of Harvard, and his comments regarding the unique abilities of men and women (see here and here, also). Of course, there has been outrage from women that we might not have the same abilities as men. Of course, in this situation, we are talking about mental abilities. But what if we discussed physical abilities? Would we then be able to accept our differences? Could women accept that we can have children and men cannot? Or would the same argument arise? Perhaps this sounds ridiculous, but reality is that we have different mental capacities than men. If we can't accept that reality, why should we accept the very observable reality that women can have children and men cannot? Is it any less ridiculous? Some women cannot have children - just as some women can excel at math and science. However, they are not the majority. They are the exception to the rule. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. Unfortunately, women are too insecure to accept that we are different than men - and in some things, we do not do as well as they do, just as men do not typically excel at some things that women do. Does it matter? I don't worry about it. There are some things I am good at - some of them are typically female and some of them are typically male. I'm a lousy housekeeper, but I'm a pretty good cook. I am great with maps and have an excellent internal compass. I am very mechanical, and can fix a lot of things. I enjoy numbers, despite the fact that I sometimes see them backwards. I am a lousy communicator of my feelings. I am a great masseuse. I am a good "mother hen." These are part of who I am, and I don't define myself by my gender. It doesn't matter what anyone says about women, and if what this professor says is true - I think it is - then it is worth discussing. Besides that, it gives even more credit to women if they excel in math and science - we should be jumping on this band wagon. It means for those of us for whom math and science is a struggle, we can now understand it and stop being so hard on ourselves, and for the minority that are good at it, they break the mold. Kudos to them! Somehow, I doubt my attitude is going to catch on though.