How principled are opponents of scientific research?

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July 7 2006 2:48 PM

Stem Sellouts

How principled are opponents of scientific research?

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Carstonio speculates that "Hirshman is really a mole for anti-feminist groups."

Can one only change a careerist society by infusing its icy materialistic heart with humanist sentiment? seg makes a good argument that this is so:

Women may have entered the workforce, but corporatist culture has done little to accommodate the needs of the family in response. Maternity leaves are miniscule when given, and often result in demotion. Paternity leaves are nothing more than a joke—men do not have the choice to spend adequate time with their families. Clinton's family leave act was controversial, charged with "hurting business". Safe, affordable day care does not exist for most of the country's employees—and as I'll return to in a moment, day care for most is not a choice, but a necessity. Working hours in the United States grow longer, not shorter, leaving little time for our families.

In my opinion, it would be in everyone's best interest if this culture could change—men, women, and certainly children. But if the culture is going to change, then somebody is going to have to force it to bend. When women opt out of the work force, they strip themselves of the economic power to make demands. Why should corporations listen to us if we're not of some value? Only by staying in the work force can we earn real power, And have a fighting chance to really create family values.

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What are the moral hazards of pursuing material success? rundeep provides a stark illustration of ambition's conflict with idealism:

To act as if women have not made significant strides in the professions and in business in the last 20 years is just plain unrealistic. But here's another nasty little fact: women are often the biggest stumbling block to other women in the workforce. "You wanted your babies, now you stay home with them" is something I have heard from people who would otherwise happily declare themselves feminists. Or it's more insidious. A good friend of mine, ostensibly a decent person, objected when women at her firm elected to tack their four-week vacation onto her 12 week paid maternity leave. She led a fight to force these employees to take vacation at some other time during the year because it was intended to reward work and not motherhood. So I wouldn't be so complacent about "women encouraging women" in the workplace, especially if one-half of them are moms and the others aren't. Indeed, if Hirshman were the CEO, do you have any doubt that she would fail to promote women who elected to spend "too much time" at home.

For a truly galling anecdote of professionalized misogyny between women, check out candoxx's testimonial account. But nixie_watervixen notes one way in which women who don't work professionally subtly demean their professional counterparts:

I think that women who accept jobs and school spaces and plan to leave before they enter these schools and the prestigious jobs right after them, are doing a major disservice to the women in this country. They are reinforcing the idea that women are not to be seriously considered for demanding, high-powered careers because it is unlikely that they will stick with those careers anyway.

If women should be redoubling their ascent of the corporate ladder, several despondent men seem to be on the verge of hurling themselves off. TJA writes:

I'll tell you right now, having a choice IS liberating. How do I know? I am a man. I HAVE no choice. I feel limited and imprisoned. Society tells me I must work and can never take time from SUPPORTING my family in order to BE with my family. I would LOVE to have this choice that the feminists so easily dismiss as a mirage.

Several writers offer insights to illuminate the caste bias behind the valorization of success. tkropp notes that most people "have been firmly ingrained since [childhood] that a person's duty was to family first." A female attorney, whits, observes her husband's career pains from staying at home, concluding "insisting that women work 'for the good of equality' is both short-sighted and ignores the fact that this is a stay-at-home parent problem."

Might work-force feminism ask more of some women than they are prepared to bear? BZL presents with symptoms:

How would this author counsel a woman who, like me, lied in bed sleepless at night hating her place in the all-empowering "corporate" world, starting to imagine herself like a little squirrel on a wheel. And how did I get myself into that endless pit to begin with? By believing crap like this, that it was more important to pretend I was happy in the corporate world rather than develop my own less financially rewarding interests.

She might find a sympathetic physician in lyn_vla, who reports: "I will be taking a year off next year after residency and may never reach my career potential, but I am exhausted and will happily put my own needs and those of my family above the cause of feminism."

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