More women in fields of science have great benefits for all of humanity. I have always appreciated a female perspective and found the shortage of females in math and science to be problematic.
One of the benefits of women in science is the objective study of women by women. The New York Times has an enlightening article, “A Cold War Fought by Women.” Of particular interest is the study of female aggressiveness.
There is a popular myth, of which I was a subscriber, that media advertising and men are to blame for women’s self-image and competitiveness with each other. These studies led by Dr. Susan B. Hrdy scientifically analyze the issue and determine a different outcome than we think.
The conclusion: “The research also shows that suppression of female sexuality is by women, not necessarily by men.”
More from the article: “Now that researchers have been looking more closely, they say that this “intrasexual competition” is the most important factor explaining the pressures that young women feel to meet standards of sexual conduct and physical appearance.”
“To see how female students react to a rival, researchers brought pairs of them into a laboratory at McMaster University for what was ostensibly a discussion about female friendships. But the real experiment began when another young woman entered the room asking where to find one of the researchers.
This woman had been chosen by the researchers, Tracy Vaillancourt and Aanchal Sharma, because she “embodied qualities considered attractive from an evolutionary perspective,” meaning a “low waist-to-hip ratio, clear skin, large breasts.” Sometimes, she wore a T-shirt and jeans, other times a tightfitting, low-cut blouse and short skirt.
In jeans, she attracted little notice and no negative comments from the students, whose reactions were being secretly recorded during the encounter and after the woman left the room. But when she wore the other outfit, virtually all the students reacted with hostility.
They stared at her, looked her up and down, rolled their eyes and sometimes showed outright anger. One asked her in disgust, “What the [expletive] is that?”
Most of the aggression, though, happened after she left the room. Then the students laughed about her and impugned her motives. One student suggested that she dressed that way in order to have sex with a professor. Another said that her breasts “were about to pop out.”“
I love science for proving and disproving what we think we know. Which is why I encourage all young people to embrace science classes as a great path for their future and for humanity!