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But Then, Women Can Find Their Own Socks

November 01, 1994|GENE WEINGARTEN | THE WASHINGTON POST

This thesis will reluctantly examine the painful though inescapable scientific fact that women are stupider than men.

The author wishes to emphasize at the outset that not all women are stupider than all men; indeed, some women are very smart, such as Marie Curie and Katharine Graham.

But the unassailable evidence from all available aggregate data--as measured physiologically, taxonomically and through the application of empirical testing procedures involving highly scientific terminology such as "standard deviation"--is that women, in comparison to men, are imbeciles.

This conclusion should not be used to discriminate in any way against women, nor to make any assumptions whatsoever about the cognitive abilities of individual women, many of whom have made valuable contributions to society, such as Sandra Day O'Connor and Katharine Graham.

Before summarizing his findings, the author also wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to Charles Murray and the late Richard J. Herrnstein, authors of the controversial, gigantically scientific new book arguing, with grave misgivings, that black people are genetically inferior to white people in intelligence. Drs. Murray and Herrnstein make this courageous assertion at the very real risk of being labeled dangerous, evil racists and making many millions of dollars.

This article could not have happened without their inspiration.

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1. The Ascent of Man

Schoolchildren are familiar with the standard drawing illustrating mankind's emergence from the primordial soup and gradual evolution to the upright, cerebral biped he is today.

It is instructive to note that the most obvious evolutionary development accompanying man's increasing sentience is his increasing erectness. Stated more scientifically, the evolution of the brain is inextricably twinned with an increase in the height of his center of gravity (emphasis mine).

According to "Gray's Anatomy," a woman's center of gravity is 12% lower than a man's. This reflects the comparatively larger displacement of her hips and lower torso, a factor attributable to her capacity for childbearing.

The author wishes to emphasize that women's childbearing role is an important one, and women should not be disrespected for this, or belittled for it, even though it is irrefutable evidence that they are lower than men on the evolutionary scale.

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2. Weighty Evidence

A 1992 medical study of cadavers at the University of Western Ontario and a contemporary but independent study in Ulster, Northern Ireland, concluded that on the average, men's brains are 8% larger than women's brains, even after adjusting for the discrepancy in the total body weight of men and women.

We make no assertion here that brain mass relates directly to intelligence. As scientists, we must at all costs avoid the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc. To argue that women are dumber because their brains are smaller would be no more intellectually valid than asserting that just because someone is 6 feet, 7 inches tall, he is more likely to be able to dunk a basketball than someone who is 5 feet 3.

So call this one a tossup.

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3. Extremely Empirical Data

According to the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., women, on average, score nearly 50 points below men on the Scholastic Assessment Test, the national college entrance exam.

Some studies point out that once women are in college, their performance is equal to, or even superior to, men's performance. We must accept that fact for what it is. Unscientific. Unlike an exam administered anonymously, graded by computer and field-tested over generations to eliminate bias of any sort, performance in school is perforce a manipulable measurement. It is a measure not of raw ability, or of intellectual capacity, but of a mishmash of qualities that includes diligence, organization and diplomatic skills. It can be affected by factors as extraneous as one's consumption of fraternity beer, or one's skill at coquettishly elevating one's stockinged thigh in a manner pleasing to the professorial eye.

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4. The Women's Tutorial

Lately, social scientists have been conducting elaborate studies involving male and female performance in the workplace. One of the more interesting of these was a recent study by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners on the relative success of businesses run by men and businesses run by women. The study also surveys the management techniques employed by each sex.

At first blush, the results suggest parity. Men and women owners succeed in business in about equal proportion. Men tend to be more dictatorial, women more consensus-building. These were the results as reported in the national media.

The national media failed to properly interpret the results.

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