you know, the way that Peggy’s experiences and role in Steve’s life is being totally downgraded and re-written through that radio show is a great metaphor for the historical climate. All these men coming back to work and they’re taking the jobs back because you can’t have women doing a “man’s job.” You’ve got this whole country attempting to erase the capabilities and strength of women- you’ve got women being disallowed to play sports after fucking killing it while the men were gone. you’ve got women losing the ability to earn a paycheck, losing diversity in the job market, getting lessened pay. You’ve got women being taken out of factories because what do women know about machinery, about creation, about innovation? What’s it matter if women were good at it? What’s it matter if women were doing just fine without all these men around? You’ve got women not being able to work anymore, not being able to claim authority and autonomy anymore. You’ve got men coming back and taking jobs and you’ve got capitalism and politicians and every media outlet trying to feed women the lie that they weren’t successful, independent, or self-sustaining at all. That, in reality, men were always doing the saving and women were always doing the failing. And that’s the farthest thing from the truth, but the truth doesn’t make the papers. 

Peggy, at one point, literally kicks a guy’s ass while the radio plays over, painting her as a hapless damsel in distress. And while the audience knows the truth- that Peggy (and women) are completely capable, admirable, and strong in reality, fiction plays a very different song.

Friends, i am ready for Peggy Carter to reclaim her narrative. 

get a grip

Whenever someone’s talking to me about gender differences, I ask them to estimate–in their own words–the difference between male and female grip strength.  Are the distributions about the same?  Are they different?  How different?  

I like this question because it’s an easily understood topic that everyone has some experience with, and there’s no obvious moral overtone.  Who cares how much grip strength you have, anyway?

Most people I’ve asked say that there is no difference on average [!] or that men have a slight edge.  When I tell them that the distributions are in fact almost non-overlapping, they are always surprised.

What about socialization, they then ask.  (Please, please god let it be socialization!)  So you can go on to compare non-trained men to women athletes in sports like handball and judo, where grip strength is at a premium.  This improves the female mean, but does not make much of a dent against the male grouping.  The 75th percentile for women athletes is below the 25th percentile for untrained men, and the strongest woman athlete in a sample of sixty is barely at the level of the median man.

[original paper]

Now, my interlocutors are all smart people who have gone to four-year college or universities, institutions that are supposed to equip them with critical thinking skills and at least the rudiments of a scientific education.  And yet they reliably swing and miss on this question.  What’s weirder, they’re probably the only group of human beings in world history that can be relied on to get it wrong.  If you asked medieval peasants the same question, they’d laugh in your face and tell you that you were being ridiculous.

PS: Note also, as with practically everything else, the increased male variance.