Am I Sexist? I Have No Idea.
Never in history have human differences been so confusing. Throughout history we have been more wrong about human differences, but in those times it did not seem as confusing.
Universal truth: All humans deserve equal rights.
Girls and boys in the Middle East, Asia, and everywhere else on Earth deserve the same education, voting rights, and opportunity to work. I grew up thinking that equal rights meant more than that. I thought it meant we should view genders as indifferent. I thought it meant viewing gender without judgement. I think many people still view equality this way. I no longer do.
I’ve come to believe that gender differences are very real and ignoring them is something we do out of fear of social expulsion. The analytical part of my brain hates that we do this while the social part of my brain at least understands, if not empathizes. Ultimately, I always feel that truth should win over lies and that ignoring gender differences is to ignore a truth.
Is It Possible that Ignoring Gender is Detrimental?
Judging genetic groups is important because wired, genetic differences matter.
- Hormones matter.
- Personality matters.
- Motivations matter.
Looking at intelligence as a gene is wrong. Any healthy brain can absorb information, the question is what do our genetics and our personalities make us inclined to work hardest at? Our aptitude for test taking, math, science, dance, exploration, curiosity, stubbornness, and many other things all affect perceived intelligence but have more to do with personality. What are we wired to think and obsess over? I think we mistake intelligence, and even genius, for people who were just very focused and obsessed with one idea which they thought ceaselessly over.
Someday science will prove that our brain capabilities are roughly the same. Science will also prove that we are wired to be motivated by different things, and those things make all the difference in what we are good at.
Historically, Fear has Oppressed Thought
People are scared of being labeled bigots so they ignore real differences. Fear and social pressure are often terrible things that can even make us burn people at the stake for saying the Earth orbits the sun. We are scared of gender difference when men and women should embrace it and let it empower our societies. Overcoming our fear would allow us to better align human resources to human problems.
Do Genetics Really Mean Nothing?
Everyone deserves the right to a fair audition. Everyone should be allowed to do any job. Even more importantly, everyone deserves the right to go out and start a competing business when they believe their talent has been unfairly turned away (safe guarding ‘low barriers to entry’ for starting a business is a powerful tool for societal-correction). I’m just not sure if humans should be so quick as to pass equal pay laws that abandon personal responsibility and, at the same time, abandon one of the traits that has kept us alive throughout history: judgement.
Yes, judging people means admitting that genetics can tell us something about the probably of someone succeeding at a job. Is that evil or is it just life? And are the results of doing such a thing unfair?
People who are genetically misaligned for a particular job would certainly have to work harder to get the job or get paid the same. That’s fair though. If a person is part of a group where a genetic tendency for things like violence, family, design, or management is present and well aligned to a job, is judgement so evil? Maybe any other method would be counter productive.
Is My Experience Representative or Just Random?
I’ve had about a dozen bosses in my short life (no, I’ve never been fired) . Of my favorite and best top three bosses, one was black and two were women. This small sample result doesn’t surprise me. I think white, male bosses may be less socially wired, comparatively more abrasive, and less likely to tailor management style to specific personalities. Sometimes I go as far as to wonder if the last few hundred years of evolution have programmed middle class Western men to be slower thinkers that are more able to concentrate on dull tasks like paperwork.
I’m not sure what part of evolution would explain if this is a real genetic difference, but that’s part of the problem. Talking about gender difference and race difference is pretty much off limits if you ever want anyone to hire you. The result? Less research produced and even less publicly discussed.
Currently I am teaching in Thailand. My observations so far have been that men don’t generally make great kindergarten teachers. Women, even young ones with no kids, are amazing with little kids.
Women’s Rights Aren’t Just Important
When it comes to building thriving societies, I think I’d put more emphasis on woman’s rights than most people would. I don’t just think it is important, I think it is pretty much essential to a thriving society. Each gender deserves equal rights but we are not, on average, equal and that fact, that difference, is what balances a thriving society.
Men are more violent and, I think, prone towards corruption. Women are more socially wired. It’s a sort of anti-corruption gene. The result is that if you empower women to hold more positions of power within any corrupt organization, corruption goes down and fairness blooms.
Women are a truly amazing component of society that all men should admire. Muhammad Yunus won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on micro loans. He figured out that in many poor societies all a person needs is 10 or 20 dollars to go buy goods. They will go buy bread or fruit and resell it. However, even small loans require collateral for the bank to keep, otherwise people won’t pay you back. Yunus figured out that this was often not true with women, they are too community oriented and socially wired to not pay back the money. He could loan money to women with only “social collateral”.
Greg Mortensen wrote “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones for Schools”. He helped build schools in Afghanistan, with a focus on educating young girls. He has been ridiculed for exaggerating parts of his journeys, but none the less I take much of his thoughts and words to heart. One thing I loved was:
“If you teach a boy, you educate an individual; but if you teach a girl, you educate a community.”
Ignoring how socially wired women are is a mistake. Women can change the world if they just compete on the things they care about most. What an egocentric male takes and tries to use to his advantage to gain a position of power, a woman will share and pass on.
The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.
And this is where we fail. We fail to make it clear that intelligence and ambition take different forms. Social worth is not measured by a paycheck. What if women have a lower % who are genetically wired to want to build empires? Maybe fewer women decide to quit their job and start a tech company from their garage. Honestly, who fucking cares? Is that such a terrible thing? I hope half the planet is less likely to be wired that way. We need less egocentrism.
In Freakonomics I read about how women who graduated from Ivy League Law Schools and Medical Schools more often choose to take up careers doing pro-bono law and medical work. They more often go to Africa to help save lives or join all kinds of civil rights causes. Why can’t women stop asking to be viewed as indifferent and, instead, embrace how amazing they are?
In The Realm of the Abstract, We Are All Still Barbarians
Fairness is such an insanely difficult thing to debate. Humans have become masters of the physical world; ships, cars, planes, computers. It’s easy to call judgement unfair when judging physical things. Yet we struggle with systems like stable families, governments, and corporate structure. The following is an example of how easy it is to fairly judge something when talking about physical things:
It is possible for a 90 pound man to win a fist fight against a 300 pound man. It is reasonable to predict the 90 pound man will loose.
Simple right? Similarly, it is possible to have 210 pounds of abstract, genetic advantage. Characteristics like a natural inclination to nurture or to be violent, might be such an advantage depending on the situation and goal. As would other attributes such as building an empire versus solving world hunger. Or adrenaline seeking versus stability seeking. What if women are great managers of people and of tasks? What if men are more likely to spend time away from family and spend sleepless nights working?
One task that has played a large role in my adulthood has been working to align my natural attributes to my career. I have advantages as an American, coming from a wealthy family, with naturally high ambition, a strong desire to build things, and a tendency to rebel against authority.
However, I am geography disadvantaged due to not being born and raised near Silicon Valley, the heart of my generation’s booming economy. I am chronologically disadvantaged; I graduated from college during the biggest recession in a century. I am educationally disadvantaged as I went to an average public school for grade school and to a more affordable state university that my parents favored for college. Maybe being a second child is a disadvantage. Maybe it’s the opposite. Yet, no one gives a shit about my inherited disadvantages.
As a fairly privileged adult, I am glad no one cares about my disadvantages. I was dealt my fair share of good cards. Whatever my set of advantages and disadvantages, now it’s up to me to make the best of it.
I’m not making a case to ignore the disadvantage. I am advocating for females to take it upon themselves to right the situation without regulations and laws. Asking the government to fix their problems is a toxic mindset. Strong people, who have plenty of opportunity, don’t solve problems by begging.
One of the most respected accomplishments in business is to start a business. Build an app, write some amazing software, start a manufacturing company, or a financial firm. In business respect is earned so quit begging for an artificial fix from congress to close the wage gap. Honestly, if a woman isn’t talented enough to negotiate herself equal pay, I would question if she deserves a law to force it. It’s business, grow up.
‘Self Made’ or ‘Government Made’?
Feminists perpetual complaining about disadvantages likely throws gas on whatever fire exists. I have the advantage of knowing a lot of successful people and not one of them respects people who complain about disadvantages until someone else fixes things for them.
The American woman is comparatively advantaged to the other 6.8 billion people on Earth. With that kind of advantage, it’s insane to have an external locust of control and go about blaming others. If I were a woman I would distance myself from the complaining and clearly state my intention to succeed despite any lingering stereotypes our society still holds.
The further we go down this road of government intervention for demanding perfect equality, the more young adults see government intervention and take it as the norm. Feminists are setting an example that the government should mandate not just equal rights but equal careers. It used to be successful people were self-made-men and self-made-women, who overcame every hurdle. That they overcame every curveball was part of the pride. That mentality appears to be fading fast.
Women own companies. Women are hired to run global companies. In every industry you can find women CEOs and thousands and thousands of women are millionaires and can help young women fund ventures. Women are far, far, far from oppressed yet they are still demanding the government fight their battle.
As our youth sees and learns from this toxic mentality, what will the next generation demand be balanced? And the generation after them? What if statistics show short people make less on average? Blonde people? Fat people? Ugly people? Will laws be passed to eventually make sure everyone is paid the same? Do we trust government to competently assess if two people of different genetic backgrounds are truly producing the same quality work? No. The result will be everyone gets paid the same, period.
I May Be Crazy
I may be crazy. It’s possible. Yet, I am glad that I’m working my hardest to understand things for what they truly are. Men and women are different and aligning our strengths correctly could mean a brighter future for everyone. Men have proven to be great builders of physical things and terrible builders of communities. It is important to remember that while we have become masters of science and consumer goods, the world has hardly become a better place. The progress that really matters (less poverty, more education, more democracies through outreach not war, etc) is left unconquered and maybe better aligned for women pioneers.
Things work best when people are true to themselves, pursue their passions with hard work, and overcome obstacles with ingenuity. Many women are fighting for a 10-15% pay gap to be righted by the government. What if they spent that energy fighting to earn their place in history as the most socially valuable generation to ever live, and who did it for less pay? There is a cross roads here and fighting for pay may be very wrong. Pioneers think different.