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Adventures in sexism

May 26, 2012

You might have noticed that I like lecturing people. It’s why I keep this blog, after all: to tell every random internet surfer what I think about the world. I’ve been pondering if I couldn’t turn this into a business? Get people to pay me to come and lecture them? Not on society or the meaning of words, since I have no expertise beyond that which comes from living in our society, and guess what, so does my potential audience. Speculations and gut reactions and armchair psychology analyses will firmly remain blog fodder. But maybe I could establish myself as a lecturer on science theory? I have both training and work experience as a scientist, something most people don’t have. And I think it would be good if the general public knew more about how science works: what distinguishes scientific knowledge from other knowledge? What does it mean to say “science confirms” or “science has shown”? How can a layperson figure out if a journalist’s writeup is trustworthy or not? That kind of thing.

I mentioned this idea to my job agency handler, thinking it would please her. It did. She told me to go to an orientational seminar about starting up your own business. I did.

All in all, it was a very useful seminar, with lots of tips on the legal responsibilities of business owners, as well as resources to help you get your company off the ground. One of those resources was a government-supported (but probably not government-run) organization named “Frauen und Beruf”, which means as much as “Women and Career”. I think you can guess which gender was not allowed on their seminars… which is a shame, because they were offering some rather interesting stuff, including the (for me) highly relevant seminar about starting a company part-time. I really can’t understand why a person would need a vagina to be allowed to learn about that. I’ve got nothing against holding gender-separated courses, mind you. Some people do learn better in a purely female (or male) environment. But to offer it only to one gender?

I also can’t understand why the representative from “Frauen und Beruf” got to give her spiel right in the middle of the seminar, in front of a mixed audience. If it was me planning the seminar, I would have put her last, allowing the male attendants to quit earlier if they wished. That’s how I know it from orchestras: if you’re playing two pieces with a full orchestra and one piece with only strings, you plan your practise sessions so that the string piece is either first or last. You do not put it in the middle and require all your wind players to sit around idly and quietly. That’s respectless.

And as a counterpoint to the casual misandry above, have some casual misogyny: Cracked lists “female orgasm” on a list of sexual perversions. That link is quite safe for work, by the way. But don’t expect to find anything amusing or interesting if you click through. The full list of so-called “perversions” is: foot fetish, oral sex, female orgasm, kissing, and an interest in boobs. My goodness. We learned steamier stuff in eighth-grade sex ed!

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