Why do men always…

Yes, I know it’s terribly boring to talk about a forum on a blog, or to talk about a blog on twitter, or to talk about twitter on a forum, or any of that.

I came across a number of threads today asking questions along the lines of “Why are men useless?” “Why do men never empty the bin?” “Why can’t men multitask?”

To which my answers are no they aren’t, yes they do, yes they can. Perhaps one man in your life is currently fulfilling your expectations of men as useless, but there is no reason at all to think that all or even most men are like this, and certainly no reason why they should be.

I want to emphasise that this kind of lazy generalisation is just as sexist and just as damaging to society and just as unhelpful to feminism as the traditional “Women can’t park” or “Women don’t understand politics”. If you repeatedly tell people that they are bad at something it is likely to become the case. If you tell people that they are incapable of doing something when in fact they have not had the same opportunities to learn then you are a fool. If you say that men cannot do a task, you are claiming that task for women (and vice versa). Why is it that we want to claim bin-emptying, while men claim politics?

For those who want to say “oh but men can’t multitask” or “everyone knows women have worse spatial awareness” I strongly recommend Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine(ignore the horrible cover). It’s sociology/neuroscience/behavioural psychology applied to gender differences and it manages to be very entertaining. A couple of key experiments: men do better at empathy tasks after reading that men who are empathetic get more girls; women do worse in maths tests if you remind them that they are women and women are expected to do worse than men.

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