Sunday, February 07, 2010

The New York Times Hates Women. Part III.

This could also have been subtitled: Poor Women. Too Clever For Their Own Good.

I'm a little bit fed up with these kinds of articles, and they have been many:

After midnight on a rainy night last week in Chapel Hill, N.C., a large group of sorority women at the University of North Carolina squeezed into the corner booth of a gritty basement bar. Bathed in a neon glow, they splashed beer from pitchers, traded jokes and belted out lyrics to a Taylor Swift heartache anthem thundering overhead. As a night out, it had everything — except guys.

"This is so typical, like all nights, 10 out of 10," said Kate Andrew, a senior from Albemarle, N.C. The experience has grown tiresome: they slip on tight-fitting tops, hair sculpted, makeup just so, all for the benefit of one another, Ms. Andrew said, "because there are no guys."

North Carolina, with a student body that is nearly 60 percent female, is just one of many large universities that at times feel eerily like women's colleges. Women have represented about 57 percent of enrollments at American colleges since at least 2000, according to a recent report by the American Council on Education. Researchers there cite several reasons: women tend to have higher grades; men tend to drop out in disproportionate numbers; and female enrollment skews higher among older students, low-income students, and black and Hispanic students.

In terms of academic advancement, this is hardly the worst news for women — hoist a mug for female achievement. And certainly, women are primarily in college not because they are looking for men, but because they want to earn a degree.

But surrounded by so many other successful women, they often find it harder than expected to find a date on a Friday night.

I have bolded the bit that is extremely insulting. Note that that bit is the closest the article ever comes to congratulating these female students for their hard work and success. This could only happen to women, not to a minority group, say. And not to men.

Can you imagine reversing this? Take something like the military which is predominantly male. Do you see articles written about how the poor men must suffer, not having any women to date? How they can't get married, due to the predominantly male environment? How they therefore should allow more women in and possibly relinquish their own jobs in consequence?

You don't see those articles, and neither were reversal articles of this type written when colleges were filled with nothing much but men. Nobody worried that those poor men couldn't be able to find a wife or a date for the weekend, nobody. And this has never been a concern with all-male colleges even today. It is only a concern when women have become the majority of college students.

What were the concerns about female students in those days when Harvard was all male and dinosaurs roamed on the streets of Cambridge? If I might make one guess, the concern was probably that women were in college only to get their Mrs. degrees and that they took away places from the more deserving men.

In an odd way, this new generation of articles isn't that much different. But now it's the Mrs. degree women are told they can't earn at college. What the solution might be is not made clear, but obviously it is for a certain number of these women to drop out so that more men can enter in their place. That way everyone will be much happier (except the women who are made to drop out as their incomes will be lower and they still can't earn that Mrs. degree).

I'm not quite sure what drives these stories, though I suspect it is our subconscious training in patriarchal thought patterns. If the man is supposed to be the breadwinner and the boss of the household, and if the woman is supposed to be a helpmate and household manager, won't the world fall apart when colleges have -- gasp! -- 57% women?

You may remember that this pattern in colleges is a pretty global one. Women tend to be more than half of college students everywhere they are allowed to, including in Iran, where women are 60% of college students. Thus, the reason for this is not some horrible feminazi plot (as American conservatives argue).

The real reasons are many, but one that holds true all over the world is that men have traditionally had access to many well-paying blue-collar jobs without a college degree, whereas the jobs available for women with just a high school degree or its equivalent usually haven't paid anywhere near as well.

Why doesn't the New York Times write about that,eh? Or of the problems of minority boys and men, the group in which most of the gender difference is created?

Sigh. Those are rhetorical questions.