Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Bryant (
31 Aug 1996 14:33:48 -0600

In article <504kgg$>, Susan <> wrote:
> (Bryant) wrote:
[Huge snip for bandwidth]
>One, which I'd love to track
>>back down, was explicitely about a feminist view of behavioral biology.
>>If you have any titles to recommend, I'd be interested in reading 'em.
>Well, there's Myths of Gender, by Anne Fausto-Sterling. She'e done a lot
>of work in the area of the biological basis of gender, particularly the
>more nasty abuses of sociobiology. Then there's another one that I
>posted from home, but I don't know if it made it on the newsgroup or not.
> I'll try it again and see what happen. I think it's called "Health and
>Gender", but I don't remember anything else. I'll keep looking.

Thanks. I wonder, though, about the characterization of sociobiological
analyses as "nasty abuses." Just because I haven't read any that I found
fairly described that way doesn't mean that they're not out there, of
course, but I've seen such a huge backlash against evolutionary
psychologists' treatment of grief and rape, for example, that I suspect
many such "abuses" are really little more than readers'
misunderstandings. For instance, the Thornhill's rape papers (5 or 6,
with 4 on humans, I think) were read as somehow *advocating* rape, even
though they state in their paper that changing a phenomenon requires an
understanding of it, etc.

>Glad to hear it! As for the other, there is a school of thought that
>comes out of the good cop-bad cop model That Martin Luther King
>couldn't have accomplished anything without the more extreme versions of
>Malcom X.

Ah, Earth First! meets the sufferagettes? You may be right. The problem
with this tactic is that the radicals get all the air time because
they're "controversial" (a prereq for a journalist's attention, these
days), leaving more cautiously reasoning individuals in the shadows.

>>simply cannot become about making folks feel good. It's got to be as
>>objective an effort as possible, or it will become little more than an
>>adventure in dialectics.
>I agree, but where we differ is that I think it's important to consider
>how those conclusions are presented. IMO, science should't be allowed to
>be more important than people. There are ways to present things that do
>less damage to people.

Actually, I agree with this. But putting qualifications and cautions in a
paper and emphasizing what findings do *not* mean is a much different
game than attacking folks for daring to address a topic scientifically at
all (as has been done to sociobiologists, for instance).

>Sometimes, I think scientists use their supposed
>objectivity as a weapon to say things they know will make people angry.

I've sometimes learned the most from folks who really pissed me off at
first, but forced me to articulate my objections precisely.