Whose Sexism?

From Slate Star Codex: GENDER IMBALANCES ARE MOSTLY NOT DUE TO OFFENSIVE ATTITUDES

Donald Trump is not a poster child for respectful inclusiveness. He is on record saying that he likes to “grab women by the pussy” in what sure sounds like a nonconsenual manner. His sophistication on gender issues is generally somewhere around the level of australopithecine, distantly aspiring towards Neanderthaldom as some shining mountaintop goal.

 

But Trump voters were more gender-balanced than libertarians: about 47% female, 53% male. Among Trump’s key demographic of white people, he actually won the female vote, beating Clinton among white women by 53% to 43%.

 

The Catholic Church also isn’t a poster child for feminism. Catholic.com, which has such an authoritative-sounding domain name that I assume it’s written personally by the Pope, says that: [...] Add in their consistent opposition to abortion, birth control, sexual liberation, et cetera, and it should be at least a little surprising that women outnumber men among churchgoing Catholics by about 20%.

Reddit as a whole is about 30% female. But the r/libertarian and r/neoliberal subreddits are 5.5% and 4.5% female respectively. Is this because they’re hostile to women? Seems unlikely. The r/mensrights and r/KotakuInAction (ie Gamergate) subreddit are frequently considered especially offensive, and both of them hover around 10% female. Believe that offensiveness is the sole determinant of gender balance, and you’re forced to conclude that adopting Gamergate’s gender-related norms would double libertarianism’s female population.

I’m not sure there’s a lot of mystery left to explain here. You can eliminate every single shred of sexism in the libertarian movement, make it so feminist that it makes Ursula K. LeGuin books look like Margaret Atwood books – and it will still never get anywhere near the gender balance of those weird evangelical sects who talk about women have to be subservient because Eve was made from Adam’s rib.

And if you accept the implict assumption that good opinions = gender balance and sexism = gender imbalance, then forever and always the crystal healers and Trump supporters will have a clear badge of being good people and responsible citizens, and the utilitarians and economists will be, on a collective level, sexist jerks. And it sure seems like this is a point in favor of the crystal healers and Trump supporters if you’re trying to figure out who to trust.

This is a false equivocation between religious and political affiliation, which are very large categories, versus much smaller group affiliations (such as Reddit communities such as /r/libertarian). Or maybe Scott is showing the absurdity of such an equivalence, in which I agree.

With few exceptions, Americans are either Republicans or Democrats, and are Christian. Even if a white person isn’t a practicing Christian, all white people (and the majority of Black people), by default, are Christian, via paternal kinship. The categories ‘Republican’ and ‘Democrat’ encompass the fundamental moral and ethical values held most people (paternalism vs. individualism & self-sufficiency; small state vs. large state; etc.). These values can shaped by peer pressure, personality, personal experience, and may even be genetic. Given how just three categories (Christian ; republican or democratic) encompass 80-90% of Americans, there isn’t much variance or gradation. People ‘choose’ these categories because that’s what they are accustomed to doing, and there aren’t many choices. Now compare that to Reddit, where there a seemingly infinite number of communities.

And computer scientists, mathematicians, economists, utilitarians, libertarians, movement atheists, skeptics, transhumanists, cryptocurrency enthusiasts, et cetera – are an equally sundry non-coalition. But they also have something in common: a serious skew towards men.

And Victoria’s Secret, knitting, fashion & design, dance & ballet, breast cancer, Hello Kitty, Tumblr, and the hugely popular Reddit community TwoXChromosomes all heavily skew towards women. Does that mean those communities and concerns have a sexism problem? No, what it means is men and women are different, and have different interests and concerns. Women are more interested in child rearing, hair salons, and clothes. Men are more interested in existentialism, sports, and science. The preponderance of male membership in certain communities is no more indicative of sexism than the female membership bias in certain communities and activities.

This might mean that there’s a duty for sciency/systematizing/utilitarian people to work ten times harder to fight harassment than anyone else.

Well then why aren’t we complaining about sexism against men in predominantly female communities. Why isn’t the left trying to get more men into knitting, instead of getting women into STEM? The left is ignoring the anti-male bias in the knitting community; if knitting communities were more inclusive and less sexist, more men would do it.

A Google search for ‘STEM gender gap‘ yields 6.4 million result. A search for ‘ballet gender gap’ gives only 400k results, most if not all of them about male biases, even though more women than men are dancers (80%):

A search for ‘knitting gender gap’ yielded a single relevant result.

If men started to outnumbering women in knitting, would the liberal media make a fuss about it? Probably.

Furthermore, many feminist-orientated Reddit communities are intolerant of criticism, as someone mentions in the comments:

On the other hand, you have subreddits like r/feminism and r/menslib where significant departure from the orthodoxy gets you banned with some non-sense excuse about how you’re a harasser and a woman hater. Or for even having posted in the previous two, even if it’s to disagree with them.

Libertarianism was actually invented by someone who owned a forum. He created this idoeology knowing that thousands of people would debate it nonstop.