Minorities vs majorities

Gareth thinks feminists are being unfair. Sounds like an unsettled argument to me.

Gareth has been talking about feminism recently. He mentions a couple of examples where feminists have claimed that women are a) less likely to be unfaithful, and b) less likely to declare wars. He's not particularly convinced, and anyway:

There is little acceptance that equality seems to mean an equal opportunity to make those stereotypically male mistakes. And given the chance, women do. But rather than trying to sort this, accept this failing, there is such a spirit of denial that men's failings could be replicated that... well, it just annoys me.

Gareth later brings up another gender-related issue, being Oscar awards - why are there separate Actor and Actress awards? He argues that this is just affirmative action, which I think is one of his weakest points: irrespective of pay inequality and power structures, one of the first thing any script writer is going to do is to consider what gender a character is. It's one of the more reliably defining characteristics of any human being - far more than skin colour, ethnicity, nationality or maybe even ideology - and we may not know for sure how much someone's gender influences things, but we're pretty sure that it matters.

I think, perhaps, this is the main issue: gender is still something that we don't fully understand, and, what with equal opportunities, abortion, AIDS and homosexuality having been major political issues in recent years, it's not something that's going to go away. When it comes down to it, he gender debate is still a new and current question. Until we find something that trumps gender, it's not going to go away. Given that gender is a fundamental biological predictor of how our bodies and minds work, that may well be different.

In comparison, it's far easier for race issues to become less important: we always hate the most recent arrivals most. It's no longer a major stigma to be a Polish-, Irish- or Italian-American, or to be Jewish, or, for that matter to be black (quick: count the hostile stories on Latinos in the Californian media, and compare the numbers with those badmouthing African-Americans). The French no longer hate the Portuguese much more than any other close neighbours, and the Vietnamese immigrants after 1954 must have been severely relieved that France then went on to lose a war almost immediately afterwards against the Algerians, who had the triple disadvantage of being a) later, b) closer, and c) not having subsequently given the Americans a bloody nose after the French effectively said "OK, mister wise guy, let's see you have a go".

Frankly, this whole "women are less likely to do blah than men", "not so, women are equally or even more likely than men to do blah" he-said she-said tittle-tattle is a sign of an immature debate, a requirement of more research, and I look forward to finding out for sure, in perhaps twenty years or more, whether I'm more likely to dump or be dumped - at roughly the same time as medical scientists finally tells us whether wine, beer, both or neither makes us healthier.