Monday, April 18, 2005

power tools

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A witty woman is a treasure; a witty beauty is a power.
–- George Meredith
(from the cover of Vanity Fair, March 2005; the quote is written on Uma's ass)

These little aphorisms are meant to be empowering, but if you really think about them, you find yourself stripped of whatever confidence they are meant to instill. And there’s Uma, on this and every cover. Smirking. Supremely self-assured. She doesn’t have to be witty to be treasured, and she doesn’t have to be witty to be powerful; her beauty is enough. Personally, I don’t think it’s such a rarity for a woman to be both clever and attractive. Another article, in a different magazine, says there are three possibilities: women can be attractive and stupid (good for sex), unattractive and stupid (still good for sex), and hostile, shrewish, and smart (wives).

Perhaps the real rarity is the man who sees a power in every woman, or in every person, for that matter.

Old-school ideas persist. Equality in theory is not exactly equality in practice. I read recently that male brains are 4 percent faster than female brains. Is this an example of an inherent difference, of which I’m sure there are many, or were the girls taught that it’s not ladylike to rush?

The platitude is that hope lies in the younger generations. In Crete, it’s hard for kids learning English to master the difference in pronunciation between he and she; in writing, it’s less of a problem, unless there’s a sentence about a doctor, for example. I find it amazing that the doctor will almost always be rendered as “he” even if the sentence clearly states “she.” The students are also surprised when I point out their mistake, but they see it as a matter of carelessness, whereas I see it as something more ingrained.

I know exactly one male driver who is more understanding, not less, when he sees that the person driving a car that happens to be doing something questionable is a woman. There must be lots of witty and beautiful people out there, male and female. They’ve all got some power. Just look at us: we power blogger.

4 Comments:

Blogger Steph said...

a)
I hear that in Mykonos they also have problems distinguishing between he and she. In the summer anyway... :-)

b)

- Psychologists concluded that secret love affairs are often unsatisfactory.

- I read recently that male brains are 4 percent faster than female brains.


OK, look:
-There is hard science
-There is soft science
-There is pop science

These statements belong somewhere between "fluffy science" and "fabric softener commercial science" ("it will make your sweater 35% softer than it was before").

5:57 pm EEST  
Blogger sissoula said...

There must be a magic formula to make my posts 35% harder than they were before, but sth soft is usually easier to spread. Hey, now, that's not what I meant...

The term of choice is pseudoscience; all the good stuff starts out like that.

7:32 am EEST  
Blogger ιονκ said...

sweet, antidotes for the lack of that warm, fuzzy feeling; assumptions devoid of any scientific reasoning; bits of fluffy speculation.

4:43 am EEST  
Blogger sissoula said...

It was never about the science (just ask Uma), but if you insist... wikipedia says empiricism is at the heart of the modern scientific method. (If wikipedia says it, it must be true.)

A better alternative: niko's blog is all about the fine line between science and poetry. (hi niko)

On a personal note, believe it or not, I believe deeply in math; I believe in (the) tangible things.

7:34 am EEST  

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