Feminism - Part Un

The Punkster has recently finished the 49th carnival for feminists, where she invites a bunch of bloggers to submit entries focussed on (what I assume) were pre-determined categories. While I plan to read (and therefore comment) further on them, I obviously started with the women in tech and gaming sections, two areas I totally identify with :D.

NB: This was actually a comment on her blog, but I hate the concept of having what has become an entire blog entry in the comments section, so its been moved here.

For more information, see this; There’s an episode of a chemistry teacher and a student’s account of the Intel Science Talent Discovery Fair (something I participated and did rather well in *shrug*, a few years ago - so I know a bit of what happens behind the scenes).

".. but a rumor passing around the class that our chemistry teacher had asked two of her favorite students to prepare a project for entry in the fair. These students were, of course, boys.."

From what I can make out, instead of having the entire class involved in the usual exercise of coming up with project ideas, and perhaps selecting the best ones out of them, the two boys were selected in a unilateral decision. But, doesn’t that mean she must’ve left out almost all the other boys too?

So basically, a female teacher at some point in her life gets to the stage where she thinks that the boys are better than the girls. Hmm. Would this be influenced in any way, not by their performance, but solely their gender? The question I'm trying to ask here I guess, is why and how does she get to such a point?

And of course, while I'm at it, I'll touch off the extensive topic of infanticide and foeticide and whatever-icide that people go through to avoid having daughters. To people familiar with this sort of research - has anyone ever done work on why women would do that to their own daughters? Surely not everyone is forced or influenced by their in-laws or husbands?


Anonymous said...

hmm , I think the teacher episode just shows one person's mode of operation ( dictatorial ) against another ( democracy ). And I am thinking the women who are part of the infanticide scheme should stand up and ask the uterus-less men who would nurture their bloody gene pool !

SnarkyRepartee said...

Just to clarify something: I don't think the teacher hated girls or even consciously excluded girls -- it was just a decision on her part to get her favorite students to do the project -- and they happened to be boys. The nature of the school was such that this was usually the case -- a very conservative school where it was expected that boys excel at academics and that girls grow up to be good wives and mothers. Yes, she definitely left out all the other boys too and I think that was quite wrong too. I don't even mean to imply that the boys she selected weren't good at chemistry -- looking at their performance upto that point and even after, they were definitely good choices. But there was such a concentration of intelligence in that class -- I have never seen anything like it since -- it just seemed silly to me to make a decision so arbitrarily, when it was perfectly possible and even likely, that there would be great ideas coming from the class.
Regarding infanticide and foeticide: My mother actually worked in the government against this problem and she told me that in most cases it was the husband who instigated the infanticide even if it was the wife who actually killed the child. It's usually very difficult, if not impossible, for them to stand up to the husband, since he has both financial and social control over her. There is a strong financial incentive for such an act to be committed due to expectations of dowry and lavish weddings. My mother was of the opinion that the only way to combat this practice was by changing the perception of daughters as less valuable than sons and achieved considerable success through this.

bluebutterfly said...

yeah well i can so totally relate to this ... well we have often bitched about teachers not giving enough attention to the girls and being far too enamoured by the guys in the class and for some it may be true and for others might not be .
but there was one computer teacher who has gone down in teh pages of history for her strong bond with the guys ... now our generation isnt exacty one which doesnt talk to boys and doesnt sit with them . but this particular teacher took it to a different level ... some say maybe she wasnt married and craved for the male attention and others that she just liked to flirt with them .... and of course the guys got more marks than girls they could do everyting in her class ... thank god she got married and left the school
as for the infanticide thingy , after reading about it like thousands of times in the text books i can say this much thats ninety percent are pressured by the husband or in-laws and as for the rest ten percent they necessarily do not want to create any fights among the family due to their rebellion ..

the wannabe indian punkster said...

Post part two!


That Armchair Philosopher said...

@anon - hmm, someone should REALLY have ad campaigns which talks about this :) I mean if there're no women left - who are they going to drool at et al?

@snarky - hello! hmm. conservative is right, although I wish they knew better than to encourage stereotypes like that. You weren't at DPS by any chance were you? :)

Oh interesting - if its the husband who instigates it, can't he be in legal hot water? or perhaps forums where women can go with this? I'm guessing it would be tough, these things probably do exist already - but why aren't people taking advantage of this? The sex ratio is screwed in a lot of states anyway - and I don't just mean the _gender_ :)

@bluebutterfly - wow. that sounds slightly iffy - in the US, she'd be in prison in no time WITH all her info in the papers haha.

@punkster - yes yes, Real Soon Now! I'm so busy with work these days..

Renovatio said...

I tried to do a film on infanticide a few months ago, and the areas were rife with rumor, but no one was willing to stand up and actually say that they condoned it, even off camera. I'm still sitting on an un-shot script.

Red said...

Oh this is the old saans- nanad burn more bahus than chapatis theory.

Yup, there is a reason why women do it to their own daughters. Patriarchy (if you believe it exists) operates everywhere (except some matriarchal tribes of the Upper Amazon), men and women are both part of it and buy into its values. So if women have been for generations taught to value boys over girls, they are going to out of the way to kill them

A mother killing her daughter could do it out of sense of self preservation (OMG my husband will burn me now), self worth (I'd rather not living with the shame of producing a daughter), cold cost benefit analysis given that its a patriarchal society (feeding, clothing, protecting and marrying her off vs. expenditure)

A woman can be a male chauvenists, the same way as a man can be a feminist.

That Armchair Philosopher said...

@renovatio - a film which no one wanted to help out in? hmm, I'm not surprised. Are you planning to pursue it any further at all? It might be interesting doing it as a web collaboration of some sort?

@red - hmm, apart from the upper Amazon, there's also the matriarchal societies in Kerala, much closer home where property et al is passed down to the women, and not the men. Yet, from all my impressions, Kerala is a very interesting (in a negative way) place when it comes to Male dominance over women..

But is patriarchy ingrained so deeply into some that they would go ahead and forget all logical thought? wow. Hmm, the shame and cost factor I hadn't considered - but now that I think about it, it seems pretty plausible.

Oh, and I like your 90s blog :)

Unmana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unmana said...

I believe those communities in Kerala (and the Khasis in Meghalaya) are matrilinear, not matriarchal. So property is passed on through the woman, but she herself is not treated with much more respect than in more common patrilineal/patriarchal societies.

Wikipedia says "Most modern anthropologists and sociologists assert that there are no known examples of human matriarchies from any point in history." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matriarchy)