June 21, 2012

Well-behaved women don't deserve a spot at Princeton.

The Atlantic has a long article with a title I feel like I've seen a hundred times: "Why Women Still Can’t Have It All."  It's very putting-the-duh-in-dull. I'm not saying you should read it. I just want to talk about the penultimate paragraph:
I continually push the young women in my classes to speak more. 
The author, Anne-Marie Slaughter, is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. Somebody please tell me why Princeton University — Princeton University! — is admitting women who need to be continually pushed to speak more. In the 21st century. They don't deserve the seats they fill. They shouldn't be coddled. They should be flunked out. You get into Princeton and you sit there too timid — or too withholding — to speak? Unacceptable. The teacher shouldn't be prodding you.
They must gain the confidence to value their own insights and questions, and to present them readily. 
Is this kindergarten? This is Princeton! How many applications for admission did Princeton turn down in the process of matriculating these ladies?

Yesterday, I saw the old bumper sticker: "Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History," and we had a conversation about whether the sentiment had any relevance today. I took the position that it did, because women still succumb to the cultural expectation that they should be pleasing and well-liked. It's a problem. Get over it or don't, but why are you occupying classroom space that could be used to good effect by someone who doesn't need a university professor to nurture her to the point where she can "present" her "insights" "readily"? If you'd confessed your limitation on your application form, the university could — and should — have rejected you.
My husband agrees...
A classic feminist line!
... but he actually tries to get the young men in his classes to act more like the women—to speak less and listen more. If women are ever to achieve real equality as leaders, then we have to stop accepting male behavior and male choices as the default and the ideal. 
Yes, men. You need to back off and behave more like the women who need the professor to continually push them to value their insights so that they may present them readily. The future depends on your going beta.
We must insist on changing social policies and bending career tracks to accommodate our choices, too. We have the power to do it if we decide to, and we have many men standing beside us.
Insist. Try a petite stamping of the foot while you insist. Yes, you can, little lady. And little men: Behave yourselves!

Absurd!

217 comments:

1 – 200 of 217   Newer›   Newest»
BarryD said...

"Somebody please tell me why Princeton University — Princeton University! — is admitting women who need to be continually pushed to speak more."

Because they are legacies, their parents pay full tuition, and donate a bit, to boot.

Next...

BarryD said...

(Nobody in the real world thinks that attending Princeton is all about one's intrinsic merit...)

MadisonMan said...

I love althousian take-downs like this one.

Thanks!

Ann Althouse said...

"Because they are legacies, their parents pay full tuition, and donate a bit, to boot."

All the more reason for not coddling them... and presenting coddling them as advancing human civilization.

Fen said...

In the 21st century. They don't deserve the seats they fill. They shouldn't be coddled. They should be flunked out. You get into Princeton and you sit there too timid — or too withholding — to speak? Unacceptable. The teacher shouldn't be prodding you.

Thread over before it starts.

And thank you for restoring some of my faith in feminism.

Meade said...

Your husband agrees.

David said...

I'm just desperate to get the students in my classes to say anything (besides the three men who sit front and center and won't shut up).

paul a'barge said...

Wow, where are these women who sit quietly and learn while not flapping their gums?

All the women these days seem to think everything that pops out of their mouths is a pearl and that all the world must wait for them to inhale in order to get a word in edgewise.

Real men don't marry these women who can't restrain their pathetic need to spout off about everything.

MadisonMan said...

And let me add -- I enjoyed part of that long article -- the part where she realized that being away from her kids was not the best thing for them (although she writes that her teen kid not talking to her as if that's something unusual for a teen). Duh. But then she gets to eyeroll territory, talking about what needs to be done.

Here's a newsflash for her: Men have had this problem for many many years. Centuries even. You make a choice: Support your family with a great job that takes you away from your family, or compromise with a job that allows flexibility. Maybe you won't make as much money, or have as much "power" or "prestige" in the job. Men cannot have it all. Why should women?

BarryD said...

Nobody in the real world thinks that Princeton is about advancing human civilization, either.

But you're right, as long as they have the little trustafarians in their classrooms, they might as well teach them to assert themselves. Otherwise, rowdy snowboarders will forever cut in front of them in lift lines.

Synova said...

"Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History,"

What is so wrong about this (other than that it's nominally true (is nominally the right word there?)) is that to be true instead of misleading, it has to be "Well-behaved HUMANS seldom make History."

I'm glad Ann followed up with the bit about trying to make men more like women, more well-behaved.

It's really awful if you think about it. What a horrible thing to do to human beings, and what a short-sighted thing to do to society.

And besides that, from my personal point of view (and there's all sort of other reasons I'll never make History), trying to level the playing field for these shrinking violets is trying to lift them, without merit, over ME. Not some other weird category of "men" who are naturally privileged and obviously oppressors who need to be held down. No, me.

And I suppose that's a sort of arrogant in a fashion but arrogance is one of those elements of misbehavior that lead to History, no? Call it self-confidence for display in polite company if you must. Call aggressiveness merely being assertive. Instead of saying pushy, call it bold.

Whatever.

Call a 15 year old's presumption to do real medical development audacity.

But for the sake of everything good in the world, do *not* ask the aggressive, arrogant, bold and audacious to be quiet and let the little girl speak.

Charles said...

Where do I go to nominate this for "Post of the Year"?

BarryD said...

'"Well-behaved HUMANS seldom make History."'

True. Of course, "making history" can be a great thing, or a terrible thing.

Admiral Grace Hopper made history in some wonderful ways. Pol Pot, not so much.

TosaGuy said...

If such women finally do speak up, do we get to criticize what they say? Or do they get a free pass while we inflate their self-esteem.

MikeR said...

Bizarre, IMHO. People should be rejected from college because they have quiet personalities? :O Do you really think that only lawyer types are of any real value to society?

AaronS said...

"We have the power to do it if we decide to, and we have many men standing beside us."

Yes, but if they must act like women they might be at a disadvantage against other men.

Meade said...

Meade said...
"Your husband agrees."

Oops... sorry, did I comment out of turn?

Seeing Red said...

So she's willing to have Sarah Palin come in and talk to her classes?

Smilin' Jack said...

They should be flunked out. You get into Princeton and you sit there too timid — or too withholding — to speak?

University freshmen, male or female, have very little to say that's worth listening to. The ones who are wise enough to know that should be flunked out?

Aridog said...

What a horrible thing to do to human beings ...

But ... it is so necessary to cultivation of the Lumpenproletariat and other under-achievers. Class consciousness requires it.

YoungHegelian said...

Male courage and risk-taking probably account for a great deal of male worldly success. It sure accounts for a large fraction of male accidental deaths (Hey Y'all! Watch THIS!).

I blame/credit testosterone. Maybe we should hand out patches to the little girls in grade school.

penelope said...

“Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History,”

Just another—lamer—variation of George Bernard Shaw’s “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

BarryD said...

"People should be rejected from college because they have quiet personalities?"

Absolutely! And extraverts should be thrown out because they can't stand studying in the library by themselves every night.

jimbino said...

Women who want to speak up and have the audience agree with them should skip college and just get married; witness Ann and Meade.

Actually, though, I have sensed the absence of women my entire professional life, from studies in math, physics and theology to work in aerospace hardware and software design. I have almost never had a woman as colleague, boss or underling.

I think the mastery of STEM is both necessary and sufficient for women to achieve equality and find a voice. We have plenty of women lawyers, psychologists, teachers and nurses.

Balfegor said...

They don't deserve the seats they fill. They shouldn't be coddled. They should be flunked out.

They shouldn't be coddled or pushed in the course of a discussion (if they don't want to speak up in a seminar, the Professor shouldn't go out of her way to include them), but if they're unclear that class participation is part of the grade, that should be made absolutely clear to them. And if they fail to speak up more, they should understand they're going to flunk.

That's also important for Asians, particularly foreign-born Northeast Asians, who are in my experience culturally inclined to let loudmouths dominate the conversation even if what they're saying is completely wrong (in a classroom of Whites, I am generally the quiet one; in a classroom full of Asians, I become the ignorant loudmouth). But if you make clear that it's an expectation of the class that they participate and challenge other participants, then they'll know their choices are to speak up or flunk and suffer the humiliation of explaining that to their family and friends.

Synova said...

My feeling, watching my classmates, is that many of the quiet ones are engaged in the material and stubbornly assertive about what they *think* of the issues, they just don't feel compelled to argue in class. They end up with the best grades anyway, and likely the best understanding. There is no reason at all to think that they'd let themselves be pushed around or bullied by someone who is pushy about their opinions (like me.)

I suppose that what I'm saying is, vocal or not, they don't need to be protected or prodded or hand-held just because they don't jump into the fray in class.

Pogo said...

The Atlantic and other lefty publications trot out the Why Women Still Can’t Have It All article every 3 years or so, and have done so since 1968.

Progressives are just postmodern reactionaries, revisiting their adolescent touchstone for reassurance they have not strayed from the One True Path.

traditionalguy said...

This is a great lesson that Bradley seems to have internalized in the Wisconsin Supreme Court chambers.

But what if the man she attacks raises his hands and dares to defend himself from a weak girl? Only at Princeton will that hothouse pro female rules carry every young agressive woman to enjoy her inheritance of winning every time.

Balfegor said...

Bizarre, IMHO. People should be rejected from college because they have quiet personalities? :O Do you really think that only lawyer types are of any real value to society?

If you're in the humanities in an elite American university, your ability to construct BS arguments fluently on the fly in a public setting is the skill that you are expected to learn. That's what seminars are for. If you can't or won't do that, you should be studying math or engineering or something.

dreams said...

Women are good, men are jerks regardless of how women(and suck up men) say it, same message.

Aridog said...

Balfegor said ...

If you're in the humanities in an elite American university, your ability to construct BS arguments fluently on the fly in a public setting is the skill that you are expected to learn ...

Why thank you. You've just explained why so many politicians come from "elite" school backgrounds.

YoungHegelian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

I'm well behaved.

YoungHegelian said...

I think women, shy or brash, should learn to value their insides.

God knows I sure do.

(C'mon, guys, one of us was going to say it sooner or later. Well, maybe not Andy...)

wv:fockstag

rcocean said...

Althouse's whole point is we shouldn't be coddling anyone in college - even women. Either women are the weaker sex or they're equal. If they're equal, we shouldn't be "pushing them to speak more" or expecting men to be quiet and defer to them.

Disagree?

Charles said...

Balfegor is right (if not diplomatic).

The purpose of this type of class is to teach students to

1. Be able to analyze facts and craft logical and intelligent arguments; and

2. Express those arguments verbally and in the written form.

At an elite school, students shouldn't be starting from scratch.

Lyle said...

I agree with Althouse.

I must admit that I am the timid type. I definitely have things to say and can say them at times, but I usually keep my mouth shut in public forums because often anxiety just destroys whatever it is I want to say and I can't say it.

I also believe that some people remain silent in public forums out of fear of disagreeing with others publicly. They don't want to be seen as divisive and then ostracized by others. Many people will just spout off what they think the group wants to hear rather than present a thoughtful comment. I don't fall into this group.

jimbino said...

No Charles,

"Verbal" includes "written." The most useful women learn to express themselves both orally and in written form.

Bender said...

How about true equality which allows men to be men and women to be women and respects them on that basis, rather than demanding that women hate their inherent natures and be men instead?

How about, instead of teaching women that they should despise who they naturally are, and demand that they change, this professor accepts them as they are?

Besides, if people speak out more, this professor might not like being told that she is full of shit. Far safer for the student to remain silent and not risk a retaliatory bad grade.

Shanna said...

if they're unclear that class participation is part of the grade, that should be made absolutely clear to them

This. I do think there is a role of teachers in freshman type corses to sort of transition students from the level of expectations in high school to the level in college. Class participation may be part of that transition.

I do not think people who are naturally outspoken should be hushed constantly for the quieter ones if a class grade is involved, but I do think nurturing students to learn to express themselves in public discussion could be considered a legitimate role for teachers. Would you rather they get out of college with no ability to speak up?

ElPresidenteCastro said...

God forbid that quiet thoughtful people get an elite education. Don't you think there are enough over educated loudmouth douche bags in the world? How many used car salesmen, lawyers, failed presidential candidates does Princeton need to pump out?

Out in the real world the constant talker is a burden. Give me three quiet and thoughtful people and I can get something done.

X said...

althouse makes too many presumptions here.

mtrobertsattorney said...

If it is a problem that "women still succumb to the cultural expectation that they should be pleasing and well-liked", does it follow that the better "cultural expectation" is that they should strive to be unpleasent and dis-liked?

Shanna said...

First of all, courses, not corses. Gah.

Besides, if people speak out more, this professor might not like being told that she is full of shit. Far safer for the student to remain silent and not risk a retaliatory bad grade.

This can be true, but it is also a skill to know how to talk to people and craft arguments when they disagree with you vehemently (and knowing when to take a pass on that).

Aridog said...

Charles ... you forgot a key element of Balfegor's assessment (which I agree with):

Item 3. If logic doesn't dazzle, then baffle with bullshit.

YoungHegelian said...

@ElPresidenteCastro,

Out in the real world the constant talker is a burden. Give me three quiet and thoughtful people and I can get something done.

There's the blabbermouth and then there's the spontaneous leader.

It's also the loudmouths who actually have the courage/stupidity of their convictions to challenge the leadership when they feel it's going off the rails. Quiet & thoughtful people are often dangerous "Yes-(wo)men". Go watch John Ford's Fort Apache again.

X said...

what makes you think a teacher who puts the duh in dull leads interesting classroom discussions?

DADvocate said...

Human nature became what it is today through a process of evolution. If you or I denied the theory of evolution, these professors would ridicule us to no end. Yet, they spend their lives spitting in the wind, believing we all have to be the same, and denying the outcomes of evolution. Nature always wins. You must learn to work with it to join in the victory dance.

Rabel said...

She seems awful whiny. Take a very high level government job in which you will set policy that affects the lives of untold millions but bitch about the hours.

Pet peeve:
"My workweek started at 4:20 on Monday morning, when I got up..."

People who claim they work a 60-80-100 hour week but start counting from the minute they wake up, include their commute, and don't stop counting until they get home.

paul a'barge said...

Flunk out the ones that talk too much.

Hagar said...

My experience was that arguing with the professor in a liberal arts class would mean an automatic C or even a D for the course.

It is prudent to keep your head down and your mouth shut, since you really are there to get a college degree with the highest grade average you can manage, so that you can impress the lady in "Human Resources" when you apply for your first job.

edutcher said...

Maybe she has brains enough to know when to keep her mouth shut, especially if she hasn't got anything to add to that particular conversation.

The wisdom of Proverbs 17:28 also applies.

PS I have a brother-in-law who, when he has nothing to say, never fails to come out and say it.

BarryD said...

"Althouse's whole point is we shouldn't be coddling anyone in college - even women."

Princeton graduates 90% of its students, within 4 years. It has the 7th highest 4-year graduation rate in the nation.

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/highest-grad-rate

Where I graduated, some of the more challenging majors were not even set up to graduate students in 4 years, at all. Here's an example from a random school, not my alma mater.

http://www.uc.edu/degreeprograms/Program.aspx?program=20BSME-ME

"UC’s mechanical engineering program is a bachelor’s degree program designed to be completed in five years." (emphasis added)

You're going to tell me that Princeton is graduating 90% of everyone who starts, within 4 years, and there's NO "coddling" going on, in terms of programs, academic assistance, etc.?

I'd need to see some serious evidence, to believe that.

I suspect that women aren't alone in being coddled.

PatCA said...

OTOH maybe they don't speak because they disagree with the prof and don't want to endanger their grade.

Mimi Black said...

paul a'barge said...

"Wow, where are these women who sit quietly and learn while not flapping their gums?

All the women these days seem to think everything that pops out of their mouths is a pearl and that all the world must wait for them to inhale in order to get a word in edgewise.

Real men don't marry these women who can't restrain their pathetic need to spout off about everything."

This ^ attitude is shoved down the throats of boys and girls growing up in the decades since the civil rights era, and both sexes have been influenced by it massively. My contemporaries had jr. high and sr. high teachers hitting us over the head with it, and lots of parents as well, never mind the media, which as anyone with a working brain knows has exploded exponentially since around 1990. Of course women are trying to be accepted by society, when they act like themselves, they get loudly shouted down en masse. Men on the other hand, as also anyone with a working brain knows, are NOT shouted down en masse when they spout off about anything at all, even when they have zero clue about what they're saying.
We can complain all day about how people "are" when they don't match what we judge to be intelligent, but if we actually give a crap why anything is going on, we have to actually LOOK at cause and effect. WOMEN who feel safe speaking out, and can do so with aplomb and not stumble in thought and word while doing so because of anxiety, even in a small group of people, almost always had someone in their background who consistently encouraged them, validated them, and had their back. Against the hoards of naysayers, you know, the ones who let the boys (certain boys anyway) speak their minds, and who attack the girls with personal insults when they try the same thing. Perhaps what Prof. Slaughter was saying was more like there AREN'T any academic achievers in modern classes who had any idea how or why it is good to speak one's mind, because they have all been taught that it is BAD,by the people they grew up being influenced by. You asked why, that's what I've been watching for a good 30 years. Every generation has to deal with the egos of the generations before it, and the consequences or benefits show up in their behavior and attitudes.

Chip Ahoy said...

It was so full of shit it grew mushrooms. It put the shit in shitaki.

No searamously tho, when you wrote my husband agrees I thought that was you talking not her. Oh, that's indented. This is what makes me a slow reader, I go back and zig zag to see who's doing the talking. Sort it by making one voice sane and sensible and the other voice squeaky and questionable.

Amartel said...

The "well-behaved" girls whom everyone is excoriating here are actually refusing to go along and get along with the author's program. In other words, they're misbehaving. Ergo, according to the thesis, they shall RULE THE WORLD.

The general assumption is that they're not talking in class because they're timid (and also, apparently, "coddled" and "legacies"!?!) but I don't see any particular basis for that assumption. Who knows? Maybe the author sucks as a teacher, runs a dull discussion, or is pushing a political agenda that there's no percentage in contradicting. The 'timid' characterization could just as easily come from the author's desire to position herself as superior to these uncooperating women. A little lady on lady passive-aggression, in the service of social engineering. It's not uncommon.

That being said, yes, public speaking and argumentation is an important skill, especially if you don't have a STEM degree, and shy people should make an effort to talk in class.

John said...

'althouse makes too many presumptions here.'

Althouse makes too many presumptions everywhere - but don't expect confirmation from Meade. He is obviously on good behavior today.

wyo sis said...

If one of the stated purposes of the class is discussion and participation then a serious student will discuss and participate.

Synova said...

"...when they act like themselves, they get loudly shouted down en masse."

In what universe?

And I will say this... when I was young I was stricken with debilitating shyness. It wasn't at all because I lacked *support*. That's a foolish excuse. It would be as easy to say that I was so incredibly shy so that I *peed* myself (and I won't admit what grade that was in) rather than risk speaking to my teacher when I'd forgotten her name, because I had too much support. Perhaps I had no idea how to assert myself or deal with the slight risk of disapproval because I'd never encountered disapproval?

That would make as much sense.

I didn't learn to speak up for myself until I was in an UN-safe environment. Not that I recommend this, but that's what it took.

Boys and men get "shouted down" and are expected to say what they mean to say in environments that are not in any way SAFE. They get ridiculed and put down or have you *never* listened to men in a situation that is primarily male?

This fantasy world where boys are given "safe" places to express themselves and girls are not is created whole-cloth inside the heads of people who simply want dominance for their ideas without having to actually present them.

bagoh20 said...

Some people can't seem to discuss a problem with women without ending up saying that the solution is for men to be more like them.

That's kinda feminine and sexist.

bgates said...

They must gain the confidence to value their own insights and questions

We are to believe there is a danger of students graduating from an Ivy League university who don't think highly enough of themselves.

Staff said...

So this comment actually comes from someone that attends Princeton-- unlike those who have presumptions about what Princeton is or does. Princeton is not, as many of you believe, as it appears on A Beautiful Mind-- geniuses mocking each others faults and thrusting their theses in each other's faces. It is also not a place for the privileged, or the 'legacies' of which we speak. I am a Hispanic female from an urban, underprivileged neighborhood, of immigrant, working-class families. And I am no novelty at Princeton. There are many, many just like me.

This article makes various assumptions that should be questioned.

I think that maybe we should reconsider why Princeton is still using the same class structure that was used when Princeton was an all-male school. Any psychology textbook will tell you that men and women have different learning and communication styles-- why default to the mens'? And why is the metric of a powerful woman one that insists that she is loud-- or that she act like the toolbag that pulls arguments out of his ass to get an A in a precept?

Also, a lot of this paper has more to do with introversion and extroversion than with the male/female dynamic. Fact: The majority of the most brilliant people of our times were introverts. Why are we forcing our youth to be extroverted-- to participate in class discussion, to give public presentations? Why don't we value the work that they do on their own? Their own introspection? Their writings?

I personally don't feel comfortable talking in precept because often I feel that my ideas and opinions are too complex to voice in the 50 minute discussion we have once weekly. And I wouldn't be so presumptive as to occupy the other students' time with it-- because a handful have equally complex, well-thought out, and introspective opinions to which I feel should be owed equal respect. But just because I'm not talking, doesn't mean I'm not thinking and not writing. And it definitely doesn't mean that I'm not a smart, capable and powerful woman. I dare you to show me otherwise, and I will show you how you're ideas of a powerful woman are inherently sexist.

Shanna said...

Quiet & thoughtful people are often dangerous "Yes-(wo)men". Go watch John Ford's Fort Apache again.

In Bschool we watched a video called the 'road to abilene' all about how somebody suggested something and although everyone in the group would rather have stayed home, they all ended up going on a long drive with no air conditioning to eat indifferent food in Abilene because nobody spoke up. (we also looked at lots of ways to avoid groupthink - most of which involve somebody speaking up).

What is going on with blogger today?

Freeman Hunt said...

Women are quiet in class? Where is this Princeton place you speak of?

Shanna said...

You're going to tell me that Princeton is graduating 90% of everyone who starts, within 4 years, and there's NO "coddling" going on, in terms of programs, academic assistance, etc.?

In my experience, expensive schools have students who are highly motivated to get out in 4 years. They may have AP credits, take summer school, or take bigger loads per semester, but one way or another most of them are getting out in 4 years.

tim maguire said...

Isn't a whole lot of college about "nurturing"? It's not just teaching facts about your chosen field but about your development as a person. These are just kids we're talking about here, very young, first time away from home.

College admissions should also be focusing on potential, not just past accomplishments. And if people need a little encouragement to achieve their potential, that is, and historically always has been, part of the job of the teacher.

ricpic said...

Are women at Princeton seriously graded on how much noise they make in class and not on their exam results or papers handed in? If so it's wrong for women and would be wrong for men. Anyone can fake being lively in class and not no squat.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Huh. It can be difficult to get some students to participate, but in my limited experience (as a TA who taught a few courses, not a career educator), it was much more an ethnic than a gender divide: My Asian-American students were much less likely to speak up in class than were my white students. (With exceptions -- actually, a couple of the most communicative students were children of Thai immigrants. Go fig.)

What I was teaching was musicianship, and as the course required students to sing in front of the class, that shyness was a real barrier. I tried various ways to break it down, but the only one that worked was breaking them into small groups and assigning each group a round -- that is, a small song where everyone sings the same line, but at staggered intervals. The students could learn the piece first singing it in unison, and then, once all were confident, split it into the individual, staggered lines and make harmony.

I was always willing to spout off in class; no prodding necessary.

Synova said...

"I personally don't feel comfortable talking in precept because often I feel that my ideas and opinions are too complex to voice in the 50 minute discussion we have once weekly."

That's frustrating, isn't it?

It's hard to contribute smaller, shorter things, that are relevant and worthwhile, when what you've got to say would dominate the class.

Constructing a sound argument or explaining something complex isn't the same skill as debate, either; Building instead of finding the flaw. There's many a time I didn't get into something in class because it would have been inappropriate.

Toolbag?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Staff,

I personally don't feel comfortable talking in precept because often I feel that my ideas and opinions are too complex to voice in the 50 minute discussion we have once weekly. And I wouldn't be so presumptive as to occupy the other students' time with it-- because a handful have equally complex, well-thought out, and introspective opinions to which I feel should be owed equal respect. But just because I'm not talking, doesn't mean I'm not thinking and not writing. And it definitely doesn't mean that I'm not a smart, capable and powerful woman. I dare you to show me otherwise, and I will show you how you're ideas of a powerful woman are inherently sexist.

Oh, golly. You don't speak because your thoughts are just too complex to fit into speech that has to take place within a fifty-minute window? You don't think that maybe it would be a good idea to learn the skill of distilling your thoughts down so that you can make an argument at somewhat shorter length?

By the way, you've wasted a perfectly good "e" and an apostrophe there that might have been put to better use. Just sayin'.

Synova said...

Speaking of safe environments.

The first time I ever stuck up for myself and asserted my own opinion and disputed authority, I stood up and told off my 6th grade teacher.

What I found out that day is that people who agree with you when it's safe, will not support you.

They just won't.

So don't expect it.

There is a great deal of strength and freedom to be found when you realize that you have no *right* to expect support. Every other person gets to decide for themselves if they'll take that risk or not. They aren't obligated to you, no matter what they said before you put yourself out there.

Balfegor said...

Re: Staff:

It is also not a place for the privileged, or the 'legacies' of which we speak. I am a Hispanic female from an urban, underprivileged neighborhood, of immigrant, working-class families. And I am no novelty at Princeton. There are many, many just like me.

I have family who graduated from Princeton in the past few years, and I have to say, their impression of Princeton was that it really does live up to the stereotype -- more preppies than you can shake a stick at.

I personally don't feel comfortable talking in precept because often I feel that my ideas and opinions are too complex to voice in the 50 minute discussion we have once weekly.

Maybe that's the case, but surely you see the astonishing intellectual vanity folded into what you just wrote there, right? And at any University, if your thoughts are interesting, there's no reason the discussion has to begin and end in the classroom. If your thoughts are complex, but interesting to other people you can continue chatting with the professor and your classmates afterwards, or strike up the conversation beforehand. That's kind of the point of everyone getting together physically on a single campus -- to facilitate those kinds of discussions.

And I wouldn't be so presumptive as to occupy the other students' time with it-- because a handful have equally complex, well-thought out, and introspective opinions to which I feel should be owed equal respect.

"Presumptive" => "presumptuous."
Also, not "to which," just "which."

I hate to play the grammar nazi, but I rather like Princeton, and you're letting the side down here.

You shouldn't feel like you're being presumptuous by inflicting your opinions on others in class. That's what the discussion session is there for -- it's the one time when people can't just get up and walk away because they think you're talking rot. It's good training for them too, to listen to an opinion with which they may find disagreeable, without being allowed to act out about it. It's also important for you to test your ideas out against other people, to let them tear into what you're saying. Otherwise, really, what's the point of having discussions? That's the difference between a seminar-style course and a lecture.

X said...

I thought Staff's comment was interesting and specific. Mimi, no offense, but yours sounded like something out of Jezebel.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Synova, your response to Staff was kinder and better than mine. Thanks.

All the same, I do believe that the only way to learn to do something is to try repeatedly to do it, and initially fail at it most of the time, likely as not. Getting students to be able to articulate what they mean, pithily and clearly, is obviously part of the point of the preceptorial system. It's a useful skill, and one that can't really be taught any other way.

Bender said...

Quiet & thoughtful people are often dangerous "Yes-(wo)men".

Not sure what this means, except perhaps that silence implies consent, but "yes men" are indeed often dangerous (as are know-it-all academics like Lt. Col. Thursday (Henry Fonda), who should have listened to Capt. York (John Wayne), who was hardly a loudmouth blowhard).

But usually if you agree with what is being said, speaking out is superfluous. In reading blog comboxes, few things are more annoyingly pointless than the pat-on-the-back comments. Such inanities do not advance the discussion one bit.

Usually, the only time worth commenting is to object and disagree, to create a back-and-forth dialogue or to slap down someone who is clearly wrong. Do that in a classroom though, or at work with the boss (especially when followed by throwing down the gauntlet, a la Capt. York), and you are likely to regret it.

Shanna said...

The first time I ever stuck up for myself and asserted my own opinion and disputed authority, I stood up and told off my 6th grade teacher.

I think I argued with my fourth grade teacher about her interpretation of a point in the bible (was a christian school). I even brought in references. I think she just told me to sit down.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
labonnegrace said...

Nothing wrong with "coddling" if it gets people to do better work. That's what good educators do.

As a freshman, I was too diffident to open my mouth in class unless an observant teacher noticed that I had something to say but was too nervous just to barge in and interject. I was lucky enough to have a couple of professors who made an active effort to draw me out in class discussions, which, in turn, helped me a far more active, involved, and vocal participant further down the line.

Expecting someone to flounder just because they haven't developed a particular skill yet is ludicrous.

David said...

I went to Wesleyan in Connecticut in the 1960's--all male at the time. Coeducation was in the air though not on the ground, and I ended up in an exchange program with Sarah Lawrence. I lived at Sarah Lawrence and attended classes there for three weeks.

There were several males from different schools on this exchange. At the end we were asked to give presentations in a well attended open forum about our experience.

Sarah Lawrence was supposed to be radical and cutting edge in those days. They had a vaunted "Don" system that was supposed to engage the women one on one with teachers (mostly male) of high skill and intellect. Classes were small, set up for discussion.

In the forum I said that I found most of the women passive and unquestioning, more inclined to listen and regurgitate than to question and probe. It was quite different from Wesleyan, though I did not say it exactly that way.

With one exception, the audience took this presentation passively too. One woman later pretty much eviscerated me in a funny and nearly unanswerable way. The rest just said "moo" and "baaaa."

About a week later I received a nice note from the President of Sarah Lawrence, thanking me for taking the time to be there. He said he had appreciated my comments. They echoed his biggest concern about the educational environment at Sarah Lawrence.

As to Princeton, five decades later? Who knows? Maybe the girls are just hung over all the time? Or exhausted from the ordeal of fighting oppression. Or maybe--and this I fervently hope--the author of the article is just seeing an unrepresentative sample.

Synova said...

"I think I argued with my fourth grade teacher about her interpretation of a point in the bible (was a christian school). I even brought in references. I think she just told me to sit down."

Ah.

What I stood up and said was something to the tune of, "You are wrong. We feel betrayed. You have done a bad thing that you shouldn't have done. All of our feelings are hurt."

I wasn't asked to sit down, I was subjected to deliberate humiliation.

Taught me not to speak for others. ;-)

Shanna said...

Synova, I gather your circumstances were more dramatic (or possibly traumatic) than mine. I didn't mean to be flippant. Some people are naturally argumentative as I have always been I guess (in the best way of course :) and some people have to have a good reason.

I know in groups, I tend to let others take a leadership role if they are really intent on it and capable, but in a vacuum I always take over. People vary.

Jim S. said...

Well-behaved women often make history. Don't make excuses.

David said...

I did try to read the whole linked article. God! What an exercise in repetition. And repetition. Did I mention the repetition? Actually, it makes me wonder about her evaluation of the women in her classes. Has she considered that she might be putting them to sleep?

Bender said...

Shanna -- it is my experience that most people do not believe that an adult is capable of error, and instead take everything that is said as gospel truth, until they are well into their teens, if not later.

It takes quite a bit of time for some people to learn that, not only are adults, including adults in authority, fallible, but that the proportion of intelligence with adults is the same as it is with children. That is, a great many adults are dumb ass fools, just as they were dumb ass fools when they were kids. But it takes a while for a mere child to comprehend that.

As such, the others probably did not support you because they thought that you were wrong, as opposed to the god-like teacher, who was all-knowing and all-wise, no matter who much of an idiot he or she actually was.

Gabriel Hanna said...

In an introductory physics class, the students are quiet, not because they are thoughtful, but because they are afraid to look stupid in front of the class by asking a question--although at any given time 90% of them have the same question. It is very difficult to know who is following when everyone just sits there like lumps.

Sometimes they will ask their neighbors a question about the lecture, but they will not ask the instructor. They are afraid that asking a question that reveals they dont understand something will somehow result in a lower grade.

Synova said...

You know, it's funny though.

I disagreed with one of my Bible School teachers (two years after high school) in class one day. As far as I could tell he loved it. He tended to drone, you know, and staying awake was sometimes an issue. I certainly had no reason to think anything was amiss.

Later that day I discovered that it had been an "event" complete with hushed tones of amazement while relating the story. "Julie got in an argument with Pastor Eberline!" (I'm mangling the guy's name.)

I didn't understand it then. I don't understand it now.

John Lynch said...

Once, I stopped talking so much in class because I thought I was being a loudmouth. My participation grade went down to a "B." Lesson learned.

Heck with the other students, they can talk if they want. I wanted an "A."

I have contempt for people who expect to go through life being rewarded for showing up. I realize the education system beats hustle out of people, but I still meet people who resent having to differentiate themselves from the group and who expect raises and recognition from just doing their job. That's simple conformity and anyone can do it.

This isn't just a female problem. Plenty of men do it, too. If you job sucks, find a new one. If you don't, then apparently it doesn't suck that much. If you want a raise, ask. If they say, "no," then find out what you need to do to get one and do it. If they still don't, then maybe you should leave.

Conformity causes a lot of suffering and should be avoided. Conformist rules aren't there for my benefit. They are there for all the people who want ease and comfort and predictability. Screw them. I want to excel.

Comanche Voter said...

Why don't these ladies just grow a pair and speak up?

Okay--politically incorrect.

But out there in the real world, folks have to know when to speak up and when to shut up. Very few people find the ideal balance. But if you've got something to say, and it's worthwhile, say it, whether you're in a skirt or a set of pants.

Synova said...

"As such, the others probably did not support you because they thought that you were wrong,..."

Were you meaning to respond to me?

In any case, the others I was speaking for had been making the same complaints and saying the exact same things, I related their feelings pretty much just as they expressed them. The teacher says, "Who agrees with that?" and naturally got total silence in return.

Deciding to take a risk, doesn't mean that anyone else will take a risk, push come to shove.

Balfegor said...

Haha, I see that immediately after I went grammar nazi, I had an episode of gross disfluency. Always the way!

Lem said...

Just choosing to go to Princeton does not make one a real Princetonian.. or something.

Choosing to stay at home mother does not make one a real femenist.. says Elizabeth Wurtzel..

I think the professor agrees with Wurtzel more than she lets on.

David said...

Staff the Princeton undergraduate says: But just because I'm not talking, doesn't mean I'm not thinking and not writing. And it definitely doesn't mean that I'm not a smart, capable and powerful woman. I dare you to show me otherwise, and I will show you how you're ideas of a powerful woman are inherently sexist.

Would it be snarky if I started with the grammatical mistake in your capable and powerful closing sentence? Or the notion that strenuous disagreement with your concept of a powerful woman would make me sexist?

Actually I'd rather go back to your earlier statement that "my ideas and opinions are too complex to voice in the 50 minute discussion we have once weekly."

IYou need to learn to simplify your ideas, or at least your means of expression of the ideas. In my experience people need a long time to express their concepts usually don't have very well formed ideas.

(And yes, I realize that no one would talk to you this way at Princeton. That's the problem.)

TosaGuy said...

"I personally don't feel comfortable talking in precept because often I feel that my ideas and opinions are too complex to voice in the 50 minute discussion we have once weekly."


Then you better learn how to do it because your future boss won't even have 50 minutes per week to hear your complex ideas.

Probably the most valuable thing I learned in the Army was after preparing for a 20-minute presentation to the Commander was getting up there ready to go and having him say, "You have five minutes." You still have to provide everything he needs to know no matter how you "feel" about your ideas.

Word of advice: Ideas and opinions are thoughts, not feelings.

JL said...

Some "well-behaved" people (not just women) are introverts by nature, as opposed to being meek or timid due to fear of rejection. It doesn't mean they lack confidence, intelligence or don't have opinions. I can imagine how if one wishes to be a courtroom attorney, being an introvert might be a disadvantage. But there are probably other aspects of a law profession where being out-spoken and opinionated is not necessary. Why flunk out the quiet, studious types who may go on to be great legal thinkers, writers, researchers? Seems like we should value and encourage the quiet reflective types as well as the great public speakers.

Introverts are not yes-(wo)men. They are independent thinkers, who are not likely to be influenced by caring about what others think of them. If you ask for their opinion, you'll usually get an honest, direct answer; whether they think you'll like it or not.

Synova said...

I actually really *really* like blogs. Usenet was the same.

You always get to say your whole piece without interruption. But it's not like writing (or speaking) into a vacuum either. If you make a weak point it's torn apart, even by your "friends", and if you say something stupid someone tells you so. If you're lucky they'll tell you why.

But you don't get interrupted as you build your argument.

TosaGuy said...

"Then you better learn how to do it because your future boss won't even have 50 minutes per week to hear your complex ideas."

Your boss, whether male or female or a saint or a jerk, won't wait around for you to develop your thoughts on their time. They have their own work to do.

Make mistakes in college and learn from them. You are not a precious snowflake.

Balfegor said...

Re: JL:

Why flunk out the quiet, studious types who may go on to be great legal thinkers, writers, researchers? Seems like we should value and encourage the quiet reflective types as well as the great public speakers.

The expectation that you be willing to talk about what you're thinking in front of other people in class -- that you be willing to engage in discussion -- should not be a huge hurdle even for introverts who are quiet and studious. There is not, or should not be an expectation that every student be a "great public speaker." Just that you be willing to communicate with other human beings face to face and that you be willing to do the work to make that communication effective.

Introverts who hate talking in front of other people should, in fact, have the incentive to be the most effective communicators, because if you're effective, you can stand up, say your piece, and sit down and have it over with quickly. You don't have to luxuriate in the sound of your own voice to be an effective communicator.

Princetonian said...

@ Balfegor

This is not even a discussion: Princeton is becoming more diverse in every way-- in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual preference-- and yes, socio-economic class. Being 'preppy' has more to do with campus culture than with peoples' origins. Yes, I am a first-generation American and a first-generation college attendee-- but God forbid I wear Ralph Lauren...?

And no, I don't think it's intellectual vanity to think I have complex opinions on issues that I've spent the greater part of the last few years considering. I think that's exactly the kind of intellectual confidence we want from students-- including female students. I think your deriding comment is exactly the kind of problem that Slaughter was attempting to address. (Not to mention your need to point out grammatical errors in a blog comment written by someone who learned English as their second language-- I guess that doesn't discourage participation from minorities either, eh? I apologize grammar nazi, but I'll have to excuse myself while I go publish my thesis.)

And I'm not saying that intellectual exchanges don't happen on campus-- I'm saying that they don't happen in precept. You have fifty minutes to discuss issues of really great importance-- with people who don't always care. A lot of the time, you'll have students from various different departments, only taking a class because its a requirement, and trying to float by as best they can by feigning interest or pretending to have done the necessary work. After the professor has spent fifteen minutes trying to catch everyone up and get everyone on the same page-- you will undoubtedly spend the rest of the hour battling through a lineup of tools that are trying to get precept credit (and suck up to the teacher) by quoting page 1258634 of the most obscure reading (which he/she had only partially read or understood)in order to impress the preceptor. It is not a place for honest, clearly-formulated intellectual discussion. That happens outside of the classroom. The best experiences I've had at Princeton are when I meet informally with similarly interested, opinionated people (sometimes, but not always, classmates). But their ideas (and other smart ones) never come out during class precisely because they have been good students: they've done all the readings, internalized them, and thought about them outside of class. And they've formulated complex, smart opinions. Asking them to boil them down to a two sentence comment in a short class (and worse, grading the comment equally to someone who did none of the readings, but can quote John Doe) is unfair.

And, I would argue that students SHOULD NOT be forced to condense their arguments for easy consumption. We cannot communicate advice to our politicians, our doctors, our scientists, using curt opinions without explaining the delicacies, caveats, conditionalities, and assumptions associated with the conclusions (Congress: take note).

I'd much rather read smart peoples' (including classmates') well-thought out arguments than have to sit through a class discussion where no one is speaking the same language. Or worse-- "were their missing the arguement for the details" (See what I did there? I can already hear the collective cringe).

Signing off now. Good discussion (ironic that it didn't happen in a classroom with randos, but in a blog with similarly-interested people)!

John Lynch said...

That's not a bad argument. Internet discussion is about simplicity and repetition, not about accuracy. The world isn't simple, and the ability to spam doesn't imply wisdom.

The commenter universe is governed by familiarity.

Princetonian said...

@ David- you have no idea how people talk to me at Princeton.

@ Tosa Guy- what makes you think I'll have a boss? Not to mention, maybe we shouldn't be using the Army as the pinnacle of efficiency and clarity of thought that you're making it out to be. It might be a bit of a stretch.

leslyn said...

"women still succumb to the cultural expectation that they should be pleasing and well-liked."

Women do this?? Since when? I thought this dinosaur expired at least 20 years ago. I don't know any women like this.

In the (traditionally male) working world I've been in, it's men who think you should be quiet, unassuming, and "likable." If you're not, you've failed in your role, and consequences attend.

Truth to tell, even those traditionalist assholes are rapidly disappearing. It's normative to expect women to be competent, or at least capable of competency.

Who are these shrinking violets? Are you sure the writer is living in the 21st century?

Princetonian said...

And-- for anyone who is still watching: I was in Amb. Slaughter's class when this article was written. And, on my end-of-term comments, she wrote that my participation was "uneven". I'll take that.

JL said...

The expectation that you be willing to talk about what you're thinking in front of other people in class -- that you be willing to engage in discussion -- should not be a huge hurdle even for introverts who are quiet and studious. There is not, or should not be an expectation that every student be a "great public speaker." Just that you be willing to communicate with other human beings face to face and that you be willing to do the work to make that communication effective.


Yes- and since it does not come naturally to them, a young introvert needs to be trained to express their opinions openly to others - ie: in a good school by a good teacher. To state that an Ivy League education should be denied to someone because they are "well-behaved" is absurd.

leslyn said...

.. but he actually tries to get the young men in his classes to act more like the women—to speak less and listen more.

This quote would piss me off if it weren't so asinine. I suspect that, if these two can't get women to speak up in their classes, it's because the women know they are being patronized, and they're cutting their professors off. I sure would.

John Lynch said...

Being in the Ivy League means auditioning to join the elite of this country, even the world. It's not just about an individual student's education. Princeton isn't a consumer good, it's a leadership academy. We depend, for good or ill, on the graduates from a small group of elite universities to run the modern world.

So, yes, students need to step up to the role or make way for someone who will.

TosaGuy said...

If you won't have a boss, then good for you. I guarantee, though, that you won't put up with employees who take more than 50 minutes to express an idea. Also, clients, financers, etc. won't listen to you for that long either.

The best Army general the US has had in recent years got his PhD at Princeton. I've met one of his former primary staff members and he had to prepare all of his briefings in that manner.....because the boss was simply that damn busy.

Don't knock the military too much, it allows people far more freedom to think and take initiative than most civilian environments.

leslyn said...

I like Princetonian. Cogent, logical, unintimidated w/o resorting vastness.

bgates said...

Princeton is becoming more diverse in every way-- in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual preference-- and yes, socio-economic class.

Yes, that covers every conceivable dimension of human variability alright.

Not to mention your need to point out grammatical errors in a blog comment written by someone who learned English as their second language

Someone who learned English as her second language.

I guess that doesn't discourage participation from minorities either, eh?

Are you suggesting minorities are less able to handle having their errors corrected?

Carnifex said...

I never went to a high brow school. The closest I ever came to offering an opinion in class was in parochial school, when I had started noting inconsistancies in the Bible. Nuns don't shine on people questioning the Bible, so after my trip to the principals office I never did it again.

Until high school, were I got into an argument with a science teacher. Even though I had direct experience to prove otherwise about her position, again it didn't end well.

So I took my lesson and have applied it throughout my life. Never contradict a fool, nor question a nun. The fool won't learn and the nun will hit the back of your hand with a ruler.

For the young woman attending Princton...No, not every ones opinions or thoughts are valid. Lotsa' dumb in this world :-)

John Lynch said...

I had far more freedom in the military than most of my civilian jobs. They really do want soldiers to think for themselves.

It's ironic that a supposedly "conformist" institution really isn't, but that the supposedly "free-thinking" university system is a hotbed of lockstep activism.

Can't speak for the elite levels, but at the state school I went to there wasn't a lot of intellectual diversity.

Balfegor said...

Re: Princetonian --

Top line -- I have to say, your description of Princeton makes it sound like the actual classroom education is pretty crappy. My experience of seminars in undergraduate was much more rewarding. Even law school, which I did not like, was better than your description of your seminars.

And no, I don't think it's intellectual vanity to think I have complex opinions on issues that I've spent the greater part of the last few years considering.

It's not intellectual vanity to have opinions. And it's not intellectual vanity to spend "the greater part of the last few years considering" them. But it is nothing more than intellectual vanity to write in that self-congratulatory tone about how your ideas are so "complex" (or how you have spent the "greater part of the last few years" considering them). The complexity of your ideas, how many years you spent coming up with them, how hard you thought about them -- who cares? None of that has any relation to the quality of the ideas themselves, and none of that's an excuse for not speaking up in class.

On the other hand, the other stuff you have put out now about the general worthlessness of your classroom discussion (classmates just taking classes for a credit, not doing the reading, etc.) is a valid reason not to bother speaking up in class. If, as you put it, your classmates are all "tools," then . . . sure, I guess that makes sense. Maybe you should pick different classes though? It doesn't sound like you're getting your money's worth.

Carnifex said...

@John Lynch

Man, that's a depressing thought. I picture a nation run by OWS and shudder. GAAAHHHH!!!

ricpic said...

Hey Princetonian, grow a hide. Balfegor didn't say anything remotely assaultive to you. Mildly critical at most.

He'll probably now tell me to butt out. ;^(

TosaGuy said...

Princetonian does properly describe most graduate school discussion courses. However, one does not have to play the petty suck up games, but one can certainly attempt to elevate the level of discussion. More importantly, life will include much more of that level of "discussion" and one best learn how to deal with it in as practical a manner as possible.

If you raise the right thought and pique the right interest, the audience will demand more information from you and grant you the forum you desire. That won't happen if you don't try to engage them.

leslyn said...

Sorry..that was supposed to be "nastiness". I did proofread. But my phone has this moral editor that won't let me use some words until I've corrected them TWICE.

John Lynch said,

We depend, for good or ill, on the graduates from a small group of elite universities to run the modern world.

Woo Hoo! Get outta town! The cabal of princelings rides again! ...You're not as necessary as you think you are.

Balfegor said...

Re: JL:

Yes- and since it does not come naturally to them, a young introvert needs to be trained to express their opinions openly to others - ie: in a good school by a good teacher. To state that an Ivy League education should be denied to someone because they are "well-behaved" is absurd.

They should be trained in a good school by a good teacher, yes, but in the same way that an Ivy league school shouldn't have to teach students basic math or how to write an English sentence, they also shouldn't have to teach students to open their mouths in class discussions. That's a reasonable baseline expectation for a course of study in the humanities. And I think that's all that's meant by "well-behaved," i.e. that the student isn't speaking up in class.

John Lynch said...

I'm very necessary. Otherwise the pizzas can't get where they are needed. Famine, riots, war, anarchy. I keep them at bay every day.

CWJ said...

Regardless of how you feel about the topic of this post, what put my gag reflex in motion was the notion that this was a problem because the school was Princeton. Why is Princeton so exceptional? Why pray tell should this behavior or lack thereof be any less an issue one way or the other at any liberal arts college?

I think one of the biggest educational cons executed on the American public was convincing them of the academic superiority of the ivy league. Networking superiority, no doubt, but academic rigor compared to any number of non-ivy colleges with the same mission, no way.

TosaGuy said...

I suspect that the concept of pizza delivery has had more of an impact on the nation than the author of the subject article.

People who think of things for years should also think about that.

Balfegor said...

re: ricpic:

Hey Princetonian, grow a hide. Balfegor didn't say anything remotely assaultive to you. Mildly critical at most.

By internet standards I have been postively gentlemanly!

Also, I realise I switched "opinions" in Princetonian's post to "ideas" in my response. Pure inattention to detail on my part.

leslyn said...

@JL not you personally. The cabal of princelings.

John Lynch said...

CWJ-

The Ivy league universities are superior because they are selective. It's hard to get in. That matters.

If you believe Charles Murray, that's all that matters.

John Lynch said...

leslyn,


:)

damikesc said...

Women outnumber men badly in college as is. Yeah, women need even MORE of a helping hand.

University freshmen, male or female, have very little to say that's worth listening to. The ones who are wise enough to know that should be flunked out?

A lot of grad students aren't appreciably better, sadly.

Men on the other hand, as also anyone with a working brain knows, are NOT shouted down en masse when they spout off about anything at all, even when they have zero clue about what they're saying.

Are you being serious?

No, boys just get drugged if they talk out too much. Been a problem for decades now.

I personally don't feel comfortable talking in precept because often I feel that my ideas and opinions are too complex to voice in the 50 minute discussion we have once weekly.

If your writing style is any indication --- you think far too highly of your arguments. Yes, you are too deep a thinker to make a damned point in 50 minutes? No, that means you are a person who has nothing to say and wants an infinite amount of time to prove it.

You want a dose of fucking reality? If you are from the Right --- you aren't allowed to talk, period. You point out that the wage gap is a lie and people will shout you down. You ask how standardized tests can be racists when ALL of them have virtually identical racial breakdowns in results (and the races have little in common) and you get shouted down. Point out something not controversial --- that Stalin was no better than Hitler --- and you get shouted down.

College allows a TINY spectrum of opinions. And yours fits neatly in the spectrum.

And, I would argue that students SHOULD NOT be forced to condense their arguments for easy consumption. We cannot communicate advice to our politicians, our doctors, our scientists, using curt opinions without explaining the delicacies, caveats, conditionalities, and assumptions associated with the conclusions (Congress: take note).

People have neither the time nor desire to hear your ideas expressed ad infinitum. The world is busy.

leslyn said...

"Well-behaved women rarely make history" is the only bumper sticker I have ever put on a car and I still have it.

I don't have it because I "still succumb to the cultural expectation that [I] should be pleasing and well-liked." I thought that dinosaur expired at least 20 years ago. I have it IOT give the finger to the laggards who haven't caught up to the 20th (much less 21st) century yet.

bgates said...

my phone has this moral editor that won't let me use some words until I've corrected them TWICE

Maybe it's just pushing you, as a woman, to gain the confidence to value your own word choices.

CWJ said...

@JL

I would say arbitrary, not selective. Yes, everyone wants in because they've been told to want in. So they perforce have to reject lots of applicants. Does that mean they end up with a superior group of attendees, not necessarily. Nor do I believe it.

Princetonian said...

@TosaGuy- I agree that the world wouldn't function if everyone took 50 minutes to express an idea. But not all ideas are equal-- and most people who work together already have a common understanding of 90% of whatever subject matter. It's difficult when you have to start from square one and then try to communicate a complex idea with 15 other people that have something to say. Or, for example, it's going to take me 150 pages to write my thesis (which is meant for mass consumption) but it only takes me 10-15 minutes to explain it to my thesis advisor or my co-workers.
And I agree, I think the military doesn't get enough credit for the kinds of opportunities it provides. I only wish that, as a female, I was able to take advantage of more of them.


@bgates- I'm not saying that minorities are less capable of dealing with criticism or corrections-- I'm saying that focusing on minor grammatical flaws and ignoring the argument is effectively the same as silencing a person. You literally dealt with three lines of my response, none of which had to do with the main argument, and yet carry the pretention of actually having said something valuable. It's easy to point out flaws, but the honorable man (or woman) actually engages with ideas.

John Lynch said...

Tosa Guy-

I'm amazed, every day, that I can make a good living by moving pies around town. What level of economic development has to exist for this to be possible?

Service jobs are the raw edge of capitalism- I make money based on sheer hustle and persistence. If I don't show up, I don't get paid. If I'm faster I get more deliveries and more pay. Tips are somewhat random, so I never quite know what's going to happen on a given delivery. It's really a microcosm of the world, at the intersection of work and risk.

I'm also amazed by how many people can screw up such an easy job. That's taught me a lot about why so many people are poor.

And it beats the hell out of working in an office. Ugh.

CWJ said...

@John Lynch

Followup to my previous reply to you. I do agree with you about the future leaders comment you made. If networking and getting a leg up on the fast lane is your goal, then go ivy. But don't pretend that you're getting an academically superior or more rigorous education than any number of other liberal arts colleges around the country.

leslyn said...

People have neither the time nor desire to hear your ideas expressed ad infinitum. The world is busy.

LOL. You took your time getting to that.

John Lynch said...

CWJ-

I agree with you. It's not about the quality of instruction. There are many good state schools that provide and equal or superior education. I had two amazing professors right here in Colorado, both of whom had offers to teach in the big leagues.

But that's not what it's about at the elite level, which is why Althouse posted. Don't go to Princeton if you are serving time. The world doesn't need more credentialed mediocrities. We don't want to be led by the timid.

leslyn said...

bates said,

[my phone has this moral editor that won't let me use some words until I've corrected them TWICE]

" Maybe it's just pushing you, as a woman, to gain the confidence to value your own word choices."

Well I wish the fudge it would stop.

Princetonian said...

@damikesc- I'll keep this short, just for you.

Yes, I feel uncomfortable making my 'damned point' through the voices of 20 half-baked arguments in the time period of less than an hour when we're talking about important issues. Especially to people like you, who are so obviously hostile to anything I might have to say.

If you need to resort to profanity to make a point, chances are you're expressing frustration in your inability to articulate whatever point you may or may not have. Use your words, dear.

And if you really want a reality check-- we're in a conservative country, where people get away with calling women sluts for wanting access to reproductive healthcare. I'm not at all concerned with the Right's ability to be heard-- I'm just concerned about the Right.

Also, you know nothing about my opinions or where they fit in on said "spectrum". Don't pretend to.

JL said...

They should be trained in a good school by a good teacher, yes, but in the same way that an Ivy league school shouldn't have to teach students basic math or how to write an English sentence, they also shouldn't have to teach students to open their mouths in class discussions. That's a reasonable baseline expectation for a course of study in the humanities. And I think that's all that's meant by "well-behaved," i.e. that the student isn't speaking up in class.

Granted, the term "well-behaved" is vague.

But in a room of extroverts, the introvert will always appear quieter by comparison. I simply disagree with the notion that an otherwise brilliant youngster would or should be denied access to an Ivy League school because he/she does not speak up in class.

BTW- I know I am ignoring Althouse's bigger point about feminists making excuses for underachieving women. I don't mean to discount it. So I'll shut up about the introverts now.

Shanna said...

Yes, I feel uncomfortable making my 'damned point' through the voices of 20 half-baked arguments in the time period of less than an hour when we're talking about important issues.

Brevity is a valued skill in the world. It's not a bad thing to learn.

Top line -- I have to say, your description of Princeton makes it sound like the actual classroom education is pretty crappy.

Doesn't it?

it is nothing more than intellectual vanity to write in that self-congratulatory tone about how your ideas are so "complex"

I think that they must both be very young. When you are in school your intelligence can be everything to you, because you so far have done nothing else. That kind of dies down once you grow up. Also, it's been my experience that the smartest people are not the ones who go around telling everyone how smart they are.

John Lynch said...

This is like watching a time-lapse film about the evolution of a Althouse commenter.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shanna said...

I simply disagree with the notion that an otherwise brilliant youngster would or should be denied access to an Ivy League school because he/she does not speak up in class.

I agree with you. I also think that a college student may be very bright, but have come from a public school system that was not equipped to teach them. As such, it's great if professors will try to encourage them (or actually teach them!) to develop some skills in rhetoric.

Princetonian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

@Princetonian

Part of effective communication is knowing your audience and tailoring your message to it. Sometimes it's a thesis and other times its cliff notes.

I don't dominate any meeting or class I am in, I am a reserved person by nature, but when I do contribute, what I do provide is important to the discussion at hand. It usually isn't my entire point or all of the knowledge I can bring forward, it is knowing when and what to bring forward.

I have always thought making people talk so they talk is a bunch a B.S., but every person who wants to be a professional in the world needs to evaluate who they are and push themselves to be better and more efficient communicators.

I write long, technical stuff for a living. I get to explore every nuance I want, but I also have to sum up those words in 5-10 minute oral presentations. If I do it right, the subsequent questions drill down into the intricacies of the project because I piqued an interest, if I am unsuccessful, then the questions are about my concept.

Ideas cannot be valued if they are not expressed. Thanks for stopping by. Most people here are good natured and engage in sharp debate because it keeps them sharp. Good luck.

Princetonian said...

@TosaGuy- much appreciated!

TosaGuy said...

BTW.....the author of the this article could learn how to condense an argument.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Princetonian,

Yes, I feel uncomfortable making my 'damned point' through the voices of 20 half-baked arguments in the time period of less than an hour when we're talking about important issues.

Oh. So then the obvious thing to do is zip your lips.

I don't know why anyone would pay $40K+ to sit around a bunch of other (kids/"young adults"/whatever we are calling people under the age of 26 these days) not talking about stuff, but, hey, no doubt you got your parents' money's worth.

I got into Princeton. I went to UC/Berkeley. Oddly enough, there was a lot less whinging from my fellow female students in mechanical engineering than I am hearing here.

bgates said...

You literally dealt with three lines of my response, none of which had to do with the main argument,

all of which were flawed. If you want to be criticized less, write less or write better. Either way you'll present a smaller target.

I'm saying that focusing on minor grammatical flaws and ignoring the argument is effectively the same as silencing a person.

Have you been silenced?

and yet carry the pretention of actually having said something valuable

It's spelled "pretension", dear.

It's easy to point out flaws

One goal of an education used to be to learn to write well enough that it would be difficult to point out flaws.

bgates said...

And if you really want a reality check-- we're in a conservative country, where people get away with calling women sluts for wanting access to reproductive healthcare. I'm not at all concerned with the Right's ability to be heard-- I'm just concerned about the Right.

Also, you know nothing about my opinions or where they fit in on said "spectrum".


Yes, you're playing your cards pretty close to the vest.

Robespierre said...

@ Princetonian ... love you like a sister from another mother. Look forward to reunioning with you until my death. Speak well of me after I am gone.

@bgates ... there is no way you would be as snarky and disrespectful to Princetonian if she were sitting in front of you.

@ BarryD ... really? You can sit on an internet throne and judge the .01% of a Princeton class which has a trust fund? Because you know they have not done the work to gain admittance? You might not realize that graduating from Princeton entitles you to nothing. It would be great if you allowed me to disavow you of that notion, but somehow your existing world view seems to need this tired arc, so have at it.

I found myself talking less and less with each passing year at Princeton because I realized that I was learning more by listening than by yapping. The occasional attempt at a pithy comment followed by a lot of active listening.

I think the problem that Princetonian encounters is something like this: if you tell a collection of the people who have made playing the achievement game their life's work and that class participation counts toward their final grade, you will find more than a few people in that class who make being heard a priority. As bad as that dynamic was in my time (20ish years ago), it must be way worse now given the aforementioned achievement culture.

R. Chatt said...

So why can't more women or men have the option of getting into high level positions after their families are raised? Why do we have to have a system where people are pigeon holed into a career track at the same time they are starting families? We no longer have life expectancies of 40 or 50 years, and maybe the model where men can focus exclusively on their careers while the women take care of children full time needs to be changed.

Anne-Marie Slaughter needs to learn to express herself in less time, that's for sure. If she were still a student no one would let her go on and on repeating the same point: that women with children can not devout themselves entirely to their careers.

Being assertive or not, introverted or extroverted doesn't change that problem one bit.

Another topic for another day, read something else Dr. Slaughter has written, for instance: Adapting U.S. Policy in a Changing International System -- From the Arab world protests to the abstractions of network theory, understanding the new world
SEP 19 2011, The Atlantic. To say the woman is confused is an understatement. Can't believe she was director of policy planning for the US State Dept. Well, maybe considering US policy, maybe I can believe it.

rcocean said...

"we're in a conservative country, where people get away with calling women sluts for wanting access to reproductive healthcare. I'm not at all concerned with the Right's ability to be heard-- I'm just concerned about the Right."

Translation: You like left-wing echo chambers and approve censorship of conservatives. IOW, your'e a typical liberal.

BarryD said...

99.99% of Princeton students will have to work the rest of their adult lives, or they'll be homeless?

Come on! That's not even true at San Diego State.

"graduating from Princeton entitles you to nothing."

No shit, Sherlock. Learn it, live it. Why would you need to disavow me of that notion? I'm far from the East Coast, and even if there are some people who think that a BA from Princeton entitles you to something, I assure you they're nowhere near here.

That's why I COULD NOT CARE LESS if Princeton students make themselves heard in class! You get out of life what you put out, and not everyone needs to be loud to be worthwhile, either. Some of the people who have made the most positive impacts on the world, in history, were probably not focused on bringing attention to themselves in class.

Carnifex said...

@Princtonian

You said--

And if you really want a reality check-- we're in a conservative country, where people get away with calling women sluts for wanting access to reproductive healthcare. I'm not at all concerned with the Right's ability to be heard-- I'm just concerned about the Right.

If this is the level of your arguments and deep thinking, you are right to not speak up.

We'll pass by the 1st amendment, since you apparently don't care for it, and go straight for the hypocrisy. What of those stalwarts like Bill Maher, who call any conservative woman a slut, or cunt? David Letterman making fun of Bristol Palin? Of any leftist mocking Trig? Is that okay? Maybe you should scold those on your side before scolding others.

And who is denying anyone access to reproductive care? Ohh...you want ME to pay for your party! Well you can forget that, ya slut. Show some responsability for your own vaginas welfare.

Old saying. Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool, than to open it and proof it.

Carnifex said...

oops prove

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Princetonian,

And no, I don't think it's intellectual vanity to think I have complex opinions on issues that I've spent the greater part of the last few years considering. I think that's exactly the kind of intellectual confidence we want from students-- including female students.

But you seem to think that your precept classmates are mostly slackers, apart from a few deep thinkers like yourself.

I think your deriding comment is exactly the kind of problem that Slaughter was attempting to address. (Not to mention your need to point out grammatical errors in a blog comment written by someone who learned English as their second language-- I guess that doesn't discourage participation from minorities either, eh? I apologize grammar nazi, but I'll have to excuse myself while I go publish my thesis.)

You know what? There are people who do not get extra admission credit for learning English as a second language. They do not, as a rule, speak a first language whose written form is quasi-phonetic as English (and your first language) is. You might have run across a few such people at Princeton.

And when you publish your thesis, could you give us all a link?

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

@bgates- "One goal of an education used to be to learn to write well enough that it would be difficult to point out flaws."

What have you written? And how much of it was done in debilitating fear that you'd be criticized?

I wasn't aware that I had to have perfect grammar in blog comments I write while I'm splitting my mind between work and the Euro cup quarterfinals. But, duly noted-- I will get my editor on it next time.

Likewise, I'd be disappointed if my learning was spent on minutia, details that Microsoft software can fix, as opposed to focusing on ideas and the formulation of lucid argument. Had this happened in our fifty minute classroom discussion, your rebuttal (none of which dealt with any actual issues) would have taken up half of the class discussion, effectively silencing me. I probably would not have had the chance to respond, just because of the nature of 20-person class discussions. So why even start, if I'm going to be attacked for being a non-native English speaker, or because of some vague allusion to your assumptions about my values? ( If you feel inclined, I'd encourage you to specify exactly what about my values you oppose-- conviction without thought is a horrible thing). It appears that a lot of your hostility seems to be pointed at the fact that I'm a Hispanic woman-- prior to my last post, I made no comments on any of my political or moral opinions. Your attacks on my language do not come from any genuine concern for the improvement of my grammar-- you're grasping at straws to make me feel intellectually inferior.

Your comments are exactly the kind that Slaughter is trying to discourage. They're counterproductive. For the same reason, you'd never hear these comments coming from any serious intellectual. But if it makes you feel better, by all means-- let me know what typos I've made.

@ all the rest-- I give you my best, I've enjoyed this discussion, even those of you with whom I've differed in opinion. I'm signing off.

Henry said...

I still strongly believe that women can “have it all” (and that men can too). I believe that we can “have it all at the same time.” But not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured.

True. Society has to change. Catherine the Great "had it all" (and Genghis Khan did too).

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Princetonian,

And if you really want a reality check-- we're in a conservative country, where people get away with calling women sluts for wanting access to reproductive healthcare. I'm not at all concerned with the Right's ability to be heard-- I'm just concerned about the Right.

If this is what Princeton turns out these days, I no longer regret not having gone to Princeton.

One person called one other person a "slut," not because she "wanted access to reproductive health care," but because she wanted not to have to pay anything for it.

No one was denying her access to contraception. No one was denying anyone access to contraception. Ms. Fluke's case was about drugs used for non-contraceptive purposes, but with contraceptive side effects. She said explicitly that her own (Catholic) school, Georgetown, covered these, but that there were other schools that did not.

Meanwhile, PPACA doesn't cover male contraceptives or male sterilization at all, though you or any woman could get The Pill, an IUD, or a tubal ligation for free. Does that make sense to you?

Henry said...

The best hope for improving the lot of all women, and for closing what Wolfers and Stevenson call a “new gender gap”—measured by well-being rather than wages—is to close the leadership gap: to elect a woman president and 50 women senators; to ensure that women are equally represented in the ranks of corporate executives and judicial leaders. Only when women wield power in sufficient numbers will we create a society that genuinely works for all women. That will be a society that works for everyone.

Well thank God we have a solution to this problem. Seize the day.

Amartel said...

Michelle-

"Access" = "free"
EVerybody :O KNOWS that. (Sarcasm.)
There's a long long list of code words and truth-avoidance jargon that one has to recognize and regurgitate in order to make sense of the left. This Slaughter woman sounds like a big ole lefty, too.

New Thesis: The semantic gymnastics required to participate in lefty academic (yeah, that's redundant) discussions inhibits classroom participation.

Synova said...

Well!

I guess I missed a whole lot of fun while I was off killing monsters.

mccullough said...

Princeton is full of wimps.

Synova said...

"Woo Hoo! Get outta town! The cabal of princelings rides again! ...You're not as necessary as you think you are."

Ha Ha!

See, I knew that in her secret heart of hearts Leslyn was one of us.

Synova said...

"I think the military doesn't get enough credit for the kinds of opportunities it provides. I only wish that, as a female, I was able to take advantage of more of them. "

Which "more of them" would that be?

I really sort of doubt you've got your heart set on being a SEAL. So, that's an *intellectual* wish, right? For women other than yourself?

(In the Air Force there are about three jobs that women aren't allowed to do and none of them put you on the hot-track for promotion. That was true 20 years ago, too.)

damikesc said...

Yes, I feel uncomfortable making my 'damned point' through the voices of 20 half-baked arguments in the time period of less than an hour when we're talking about important issues. Especially to people like you, who are so obviously hostile to anything I might have to say.

Do you have any idea why anybody here would be hostile towards you? Any idea whatsoever?

Hint: Discussing how your ideas are too deep to be conveyed in 50 minutes in a tedious post isn't exactly good form.

If you need to resort to profanity to make a point, chances are you're expressing frustration in your inability to articulate whatever point you may or may not have. Use your words, dear.

I'm not the one crying that I don't have the chance to articulate myself to my satisfaction.

And if you really want a reality check-- we're in a conservative country, where people get away with calling women sluts for wanting access to reproductive healthcare.

When I mentioned that your ideas are not nearly as great as you think they are --- this comment alone demonstrates that.

You are impressively incorrect here. The beef was asking for others to PAY for birth control. The point was made in detail if you could spend a few moments not bemoaning how people don't get your special type of genius and actually study up on the topic.

Also, you know nothing about my opinions or where they fit in on said "spectrum". Don't pretend to.

Your deep thoughts aren't nearly as deep or fresh as you think they are.

People can hear cliched thoughts by people for engaging in you in far less time than you can spout them.

Likewise, I'd be disappointed if my learning was spent on minutia, details that Microsoft software can fix, as opposed to focusing on ideas and the formulation of lucid argument.

I hesitate to raise your writing to the level of an argument by providing a thorough dissent of them. I see no reason to do more work than you do.

If you're going to make cliched caterwauling as your main form of communication, at least do it competently.

It appears that a lot of your hostility seems to be pointed at the fact that I'm a Hispanic woman

Yes, that is the cause of it. Of course, outside of you, nobody has mentioned it, but still...

leslyn said...

One person called one other person a "slut," not because she "wanted access to reproductive health care," but because she wanted not to have to pay anything for it.

One person was applauded by a million others for calling another a SLUT about getting birth control. If you want it free ,you may be cheap, but not a slut. In fact, Limburger waxed ridiculous about SEX, asking rhetorically how much birth control she needed in order to have more sex.

Just plain stupid, and gratuitously nasty. But from what I can tell, he's always gratuitously nasty; I'm just not sure about how stupid he is. He was stupid that day.

Big Mike said...

But Professor! Is it not the case that young women who conform well to societal norms -- in other words women who are "quiet and well behaved" -- are exactly the sort of female high school seniors who will get the highest sorts of recommendations from their teachers and guidance counselor?

Big Mike said...

How did Sandra Fluke get into this thread? Now there's a girl not afraid to misbehave.

I was not bothered by Ms. Fluke's sex life, but a number of elements of her testimony to Congress certainly did bother me.

(1) If you closely parse her testimony, Fluke said that other women at Georgetown Law were complaining that their birth control cost $1000 per year. If she had any sort of intellectual capacity at all, shouldn't she have researched what the true cost was? Okay, there are no Walmarts in Georgetown (the closest is at least 11 miles away in Alexandria, and there are none at all inside the Beltway) so it scarcely matters that Walmart sells a month's supply of generic birth control pills for only $9. But even so, I don't see how any of her female acquaintances could get the cost of birth control up to a full Grand even their IUDs were solid gold.

(2) The law student dorm at Georgetown costs $5500 to $8000 a semester, and 1L tuition is $45,000. They can afford all that yet cannot afford birth control unless they get it free? Does that make even the slightest sense? It's not as though the cost of living in the ritziest part of Washington, DC, is particularly cheap.

(3) No one put a gun to her head to come to Georgetown, did they? I mean, if I went to a Muslim university I wouldn't complain to Congress that they don't have pork chops on the menu; I'd have too much common sense. Yet Sandra Fluke went to Georgetown despite knowing ahead of time that it's a Catholic university. Where's her common sense in all of this.

(I cannot resist pointing out that $9 times 12 months is only a tenth of what Fluke claimed her classmates were paying, so you'd think an enterprising female 1L with a car would make monthly trips to the nearest Walmart in Alexandria and brink back plenty of birth control pills to resell at a 200% markup. This would make the young entrepreneur wealthy still get the cost of birth control at Georgetown Law well under the thousand dollars a year.)

Big Mike said...

@leslyn, Rush Limbaugh makes a very comfortable living skewering people of the left wing who desperately need to be skewered. The word "slut" was a bit much, but Fluke needed to be skewered, and was.

ALP said...

I am curious: was anyone able to get through the entire linked article? Good lord, was she paid by the word???

As a female that never wanted kids, and is decidedly NOT ambitious...I've always stood on the sidelines of this debate, looking on with amusement at how desperate some women are to HAVE IT ALL!!! Kind of like not being able to turn away from a train wreck.

Not being able to get through this article gives me hope that the "train wreck" attraction I have to this issue has abated. This Atlantic article cured me! Oh happy day!

Shanna said...

details that Microsoft software can fix

I hope you've leaned in your time at Princeton that there are a number of grammar issues Microsoft most decidedly will not fix for you.

My favorite is manager/manger :)

Milwaukee said...

What a tempest-in-a-teapot. Big la-te-dah. The professor wants to hear the students talking to validate her, not the students validate themselves. She's probably teaching some dumb-ass class where any position is correct if it is well defended, and students are waiting to hear the "right" answer so they can merely spew it back at her. Or the material is so banal it could be summarized on the back of breakfast cereal box.

I've been involved in National Honor Society selection in high schools. One of the characteristics is supposed to be "leadership". Mostly girls, and some guys, never say boo, yet want credit for "leadership by example". Bullshit. Nobody in the room notices them, so how can they lead by example?

This woman is too full of herself. If the students gave a rat's ass about the course they would have plenty to say. They don't care, and she's offended. Further, she's dealing with entitled students who don't feel like they have to put out any effort. Big stinking deal. When they prima donnas graduate, will they be able to do a damn thing useful to society?

Bender said...

It's not as though the cost of living in the ritziest part of Washington, DC, is particularly cheap.

Massachusetts Avenue near Union Station, which is where Georgetown Law is, is hardly a ritzy area. Then again, there isn't much housing in that area, so students mostly live elsewhere in the District. There is a CVS two blocks away though, where you can get the Pill for about $30 per month.

David said...

The explanation is simple:
"Princeton" means town of princes.

T said...

Hey. The future belongs to China. If you men can't behave like like a Chinaman, then you should have no future at Princeton!

T said...

Hey. The future belongs to China. If you men can't behave like like a Chinaman, then you should have no future at Princeton!

kmg said...

This is why feminism, far from helping women, has actually exposed the vast extent of female inferiority far more visibly than was ever possible in the old days.

There is a reason traditional cultures trained women to be ladylike and demure. How else to make them even tolerable for marriage?

Another example is how more and more men are now examining why 95% of the comedians who are actually funny, are men. Women insist they are just as capable of comedy as men, but the laughs are not forthcoming...

For reasons that are well-established, but would not have been examined if not for feminism.

autothreads said...

But just because I'm not talking, doesn't mean I'm not thinking and not writing. And it definitely doesn't mean that I'm not a smart, capable and powerful woman. I dare you to show me otherwise, and I will show you how you're ideas of a powerful woman are inherently sexist.

The smart, capable, and powerful women that I know don't start sentences with conjunctions such as and or but.

kmg said...

I should add that Princeton, like Brown, is a place where the daughters of rich people go to get a veneer of intellect.

Princeton has no Engineering School, and no Business School.

I am not sure if they have a Med School either...

So they don't have some of the primary career-oriented degrees.

At the same time, the undergrad eating clubs and fraternities are a big deal...

David said...

@Princetonian:

Nice of you to show up. Really. But as you can see this is a tough crowd.

I think you are very wrong about this: And, I would argue that students SHOULD NOT be forced to condense their arguments for easy consumption. We cannot communicate advice to our politicians, our doctors, our scientists, using curt opinions without explaining the delicacies, caveats, conditionalities, and assumptions associated with the conclusions (Congress: take note).

Curt opinions are entirely different than efficient advocacy, which in turn is the product of complete command of facts and context. There is a big difference between being brief and being curt. The people you will want to persuade in your life are likely to be busy and impatient. Think Steve Jobs. He would have had you out the door well before your 50th minute.

Thank you for showing up. It was far better than most of our usual trolls.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Big Mike: FWIW, Sandra Fluke never testified before Congress. She gave a press conference which was made to look as though she testified before Congress.

J said...

There is a reason men use the term 'pussy' as a derogatory word in situations referring to confidence and cowardice.

sleepless nights said...

Mmm. Can't speak for all women, of course, but (closing my eyes and attempting to remember how I actually felt) it wasn't that I valued my insights too little to participate, but rather I valued them, and truth, too much to bother dealing with a bunch of banal assholes competing for attention and external validation like pitiful dogs. Almost all class commentary was/is absolute bullshit no matter how arrogantly stated, and I didn't feel like playing along. I'd let it out in writing.

I forget when and why I got over that and started announcing my every brain fart with loud confidence and acquiring fans and detractors.

I've since devolved back to my old ways because, with the wisdom of the intervening years, I again don't see the point in getting into a pissing contest with a bunch of jackasses - except as a time waster and/or to let off steam.

Edit: posted on wrong thread, so an afterthought:

Both the introverted and extroverted 'personas' were badly behaved by regular standards. It's the ideas and thoughts themselves that matter, not whether they are quietly or loudly expressed.

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

Ironically, I was once in a seminar class where I was taken aside (along with the only other woman) by the professor and told I might want to hold back a bit because my forthrightness was "intimidating" the men. Since at this point I had already begun to literally count to 5 seconds before saying anything, in order to ensure I was giving others an opportunity to chime in, I found the entire thing absurd.

Anthony said...

Maybe it is that I come from a family of strong willed women but only issue with a lot of modern "feminists" is frankly how whimpy they are.

Saint Croix said...

it wasn't that I valued my insights too little to participate, but rather I valued them, and truth, too much to bother dealing with a bunch of banal assholes competing for attention and external validation like pitiful dogs.

Yes, but it's quite arrogant to think "I don't need external validation, I know best." Consider how such an attitude can lead to error. You're not testing your beliefs. This creates a feeling of smug superiority. You think your beliefs are right because they are never given the opportunity to be questioned or challenged by other people. You are snug (and smug) in your cocoon.

Image a Supreme Court where the Justices issued opinions without writing out their thought processes.

Also you might consider the possibility that your thoughts and opinions may be right, and might help other people discover the truth. If people are wrong, challenge them. You might be able to do so in ways that actually get them to change their mind. (I rarely am capable of this feat!) But you might also sway the nation of non-talkers, the silent majority.

I'd let it out in writing.

This is fine if your professor challenges you and writes commentary on your work. But a lot of professors don't do this.

DEEBEE said...

Ann. I am lost. Why is speaking ones mind with some semblance of sanity not well behaved? Why is only keeping quiet is so?

Saint Croix said...

It may be more feminine to save your thought processes for intimate moments. You let the strong man hear what you really think while you remain a mystery to the world. And you let the strong man beat down the apes with the purity of your beautiful thought. He takes credit (which is wonderful for the male ego) and you are the behind the scenes mastermind.

On the other hand, the strong silent man is an archtype, too. And women can be very talky. The Palins would be a wonderful example of this dynamic. I am sure Todd Palin has a very strong influence on his wife and her thought and opinions. But he has no urge to compete with her. Thus they become a unit. Sarah, the talker, is the vocal one who expresses what needs to be said.

Contrast the Reagans (or the Bushes, or the Obamas or the Kennedys), where the man is the public face with all the strong opinions, and the woman is nice and quiet.

Michelle Obama got some feedback on her political observations and she decided that she would rather avoid all that drama and keep her opinions to herself. She didn't want to sabotage her husband.

Feminists hate this! They prefer the divided Clintons, constantly battling with each other for our attention. The Clintons never seem united. They always seem to be backbiting each other and sabotaging each other. The Clintons are a "feminist" couple because they don't have defined roles. Their ill-defined roles destabilize their marriage. It always seems to be on the rocks.

One might argue that feminists attack well-defined roles in a marriage because they want to attack marriage itself. See, for instance, Simone de Beauvoir. These feminists are hostile to the institution of marriage and want it to fall (to be replaced by the state). These feminists seek to divide the man-woman unit. This is because feminists believe that man are physically stronger than women and will dominate them. And these feminists either don't understand or dismiss the power of female sexuality. These feminists see sex (and men) as something that hurts women. And so we see feminist support for abortion and divorce.

Conservatives, of course, dislike abortion and divorce and believe the family is the bedrock of society, not the state. So you'll see feminists like Palin (or Althouse!) who push back against the left. They argue that feminism is a good thing, and seek to save it from the stupidity of feminists. Many of us on the right feel this is a lost cause.

The war that feminism needed to fight (for political equality) has been fought and won. Now feminism seeks equality in all aspects of life. Feminism seeks to invade every aspect of our existence with such totalitarian concepts like "the personal is political." I feel there is no saving feminism, and no need for feminism any more. The war is over. And yet feminists continue to fight a war against men, and babies. Anything that gets in the way of women. Feminism is now a monster that must be destroyed.

But see, I'm a man who believes a fight is a direct conflict, and should be engaged in honestly and openly. But of course there is a feminine technique of sneaky subterfuge, calling yourself a feminist while you whisper, whisper, whisper a revolution.

Bob said...

Is this kindergarten? This is Princeton!

*pictures Gerard Butler from the famous scene in the movie 300 bellowing, "Madness? THIS IS PRINCETON!"

Saint Croix said...

there are a number of grammar issues Microsoft most decidedly will not fix for you.

I screw up my grammar every now and then. I find it makes the little minds happy. You would think my mistakes would humble my big mind. But they don't.

ThomasD said...

You must have missed the author's interview yesterday on NPR. It was awful. A fully tenured professor, former dean, at an Ivy league complaining that, a stint in DC under Hilary Clinton proving too much for her, is evidence that women still can't have it all.

Clearly this is an orchestrated PR push from the publisher to sell more books.

That's what 'feminism' has become, nothing more than a crass marketing ploy. And one conveyed by the likes of NPR and the Atlantic no less.

Ms. Anne-Marie Slaughter, you go girl!

Fen said...

I must admit that I am the timid type. I definitely have things to say and can say them at times, but I usually keep my mouth shut in public forums because often anxiety just destroys whatever it is I want to say and I can't say it.

I also believe that some people remain silent in public forums out of fear of disagreeing with others publicly. They don't want to be seen as divisive and then ostracized by others. Many people will just spout off what they think the group wants to hear rather than present a thoughtful comment. I don't fall into this group.


Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I come from a family of lawyers. My father encouraged debate as I was growing up. Esp during my rebellious teenage years - I didn't get anything I wanted unless I could present my case and defend it.

I take for granted all the rhetorical skills I developed as a child. So thanks for the reminder that for some folks, the "give and take" can be as intimidating as asking a girl out for a date.

setnaffa said...

Ann, your column is brilliant. But how much of this related to the conditioning of students to accept Government as the best solution to our problems?

Even the "occupy" folks beat women down. And with the incredible peer pressure young folks feel to conform as they leave their parents' home for the first time--including the glorification of "voluntary body functions" and Islam over Christianity--it may be the naturally more gentle women find themselves afraid to speak out for fear of being isolated from the popular kids.

Nathan Alexander said...

The truth is, if you strip out all the self-referential accomplishments of "first woman to", then a more accurate statement is simply, "Women seldom make history."

The vast majority of women aren't competitive in that way.

Most women make family/children their main goal. The most ambitious women set "getting treated like royalty" as their main goal.

Not much chance of making history that way.

Making history is usually done by a man trying to increase their status in order to attract hypergamous women.

Women are more comfortable with marrying (or sleeping) their way into fame, wealth, and comfort than men. Men know from very young that they have to work to earn it.

Robespierre said...

@ KMG if you are mindlessly going to rag on my alma mater, at least get the facts correct:

"Princeton has no Engineering School, and no Business School."

Princeton has a great engineering school. The school has purposely not created professional graduate schools like a med or law school to keep its focus on what it does do. I am not saying that decision is good or bad. I personally thought it meant a great four years for an undergrad.

Robespierre said...

@ Barry D

"No shit, Sherlock. Learn it, live it. Why would you need to disavow me of that notion? I'm far from the East Coast, and even if there are some people who think that a BA from Princeton entitles you to something, I assure you they're nowhere near here."

Riiight ..... that's why you have all the snarky comments about coddling, trust funds, etc. It's because you don't think having Princeton on your resume means something. Your bile comes from indifference.

JL said...

I'd let it out in writing.

This is fine if your professor challenges you and writes commentary on your work. But a lot of professors don't do this.

If college professors today don't want to be bothered to encourage and train young people to speak up- they must show up with that skill in hand or they are not worthy- or take the time to effectively criticize a student's writing, then why are we paying them so much money?

SGT Ted said...

And no, I don't think it's intellectual vanity to think I have complex opinions on issues that I've spent the greater part of the last few years considering.

How can you even know the worth of those opinions if you do not speak them out loud where others can hear and critique them?

You may think that they are "complex" where others might just see them as silly or overwrought or GIGO nonsense. You won't know until they issue from your mouth.

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