hardly any women improvise. Why? The ability is there but perhaps the motivation is less. They don’t feel driven to do it.
I suppose the stock explanation for any such difference is that women were not encouraged, or were not appreciated, or were discouraged from being creative. But I don’t think this stock explanation fits the facts very well. In the 19th century in America, middle-class girls and women played piano far more than men. Yet all that piano playing failed to result in any creative output. There were no great women composers, no new directions in style of music or how to play, or anything like that. All those female pianists entertained their families and their dinner guests but did not seem motivated to create anything new.
Meanwhile, at about the same time, black men in America created blues and then jazz, both of which changed the way the world experiences music. By any measure, those black men, mostly just emerging from slavery, were far more disadvantaged than the middle-class white women. Even getting their hands on a musical instrument must have been considerably harder. And remember, I’m saying that the creative abilities are probably about equal. But somehow the men were driven to create something new, more than the women.
It's really handy for the writer of this article that no women were a part of the jazz movement, innit?
This article repeatedly, repeatedly, uses exaggerated examples such as this one which deliberately set a "male movement" vs. a "female movement" to establish one example which is then taken as evidence of the entire point.
There were women in jazz, tons. But the author credits the entire movement to black men, forgetting black women or other women who were a part of the genre. They were typically singers, so no, they wouldn't improvise in the same way that a jazz quintet would. But to say that black men created jazz is to ignore Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith and countless others. So his point here is that women simply are less creative than men, because white educated women who were trained to play the piano as part of standard "wedding material repertoire" weren't creating music, but black men were. Except there's loads more cultural differences than he's taking into account here. Except there's loads of women he's discounting when he says they had no part in jazz.
How about this?
Women specialize in the narrow sphere of intimate relationships. Men specialize in the larger group. If you make a list of activities that are done in large groups, you are likely to have a list of things that men do and enjoy more than women: team sports, politics, large corporations, economic networks, and so forth.
If that's true, then conversely, men shouldn't specialize in small group or single person activities. Funnily enough, most creative activities (writing, painting, playing music, composing, etc) are not group activities. By that logic men shouldn't be better at these activities. However, apparently besides preferring large group activities men are still also more creative, even when it comes to doing things they don't prefer. Also, there should be fewer male writers than women (there aren't), since men as a whole don't prefer that type of activity. Fewer male painters. Composers. You get it. None of which there are.
I mean, like, I think I'm just hearing "men are naturally better at everything" over and over again in different ways in this article. Either you're not or you're not bothered by it.
This one is for PantherHeel93 :
cultivating a unique skill isn’t essential for her. But playing the trombone is a way to get into some groups, especially brass bands. This is another reason that men go to extremes more than women. Large groups foster the need to establish something different and special about yourself.
So, in this paragraph, the author is saying that women don't feel the need to differentiate themselves from each other because they don't descend from women who have had to fight their way to the top to mate. (For the time being we'll disregard my first problem with this statement, which is that since every person is a product of the combined genes of a woman and a man, writing as if men descended only from "men who had to fight to mate" and therefore are more aggressive, and as if women descended only from women who, well, didn't, establishes an interestingly tribe-like and ignorant paradigm which disregards the fact that since those fighter men would have had to fuck those non-fighter women to create children, the aggressive traits of the fathers would have ended up in both their female and male progeny while the lazy traits of the mothers would have done the same and it's really fallacious and in fact stupid to suggest that the male offspring only take after their male forefathers and the females their female foremothers.) In this paragraph, the author states that men feel the need to be special and do things which set them apart, while women simply don't, because each gender feels drawn to different sizes of interpersonal relationships (essentially, men like group bonding, women like pair bonding).
Here are the questions which spring to my mind in regards to these assertions.
First, how are we justifying this statement? How are we justifying or backing up this idea that women don't differentiate themselves as much as men do? Let's go back a paragraph or two:
research showing that men think of themselves based on their unusual traits that set them apart from others, while women’s self-concepts feature things that connect them to others
So because women tend not to think of themselves in ways that distinguish their personal self from a group, we are supposed to conclude women actively don't try to set themselves apart from others. Or, while some women might do it, they aren't driven to do it in the same way as men are.
Empirically and scientifically speaking, how might one quantify or measure degrees of "setting oneself apart from others" or "individualism"? If we can do that why is there no mention of a measurable and statistically significant difference between men and women in that regard? I mean, you'd think someone would have looked into this, right?
Why is fashion supposed to be dominated by women if women aren't creative and don't need to set themselves apart from each other? (Maybe it's not really dominated by women so the answer is "because it's a man's thing." You tell me.)
Now, as for that statement about how large groups foster the need for individualism, I'm a bit puzzled by that. I mean, come on, we've all read "The Lottery." Or "A&P." Or any story about a small town which rigidly enforces uniformity at the price of citizens' happiness or even lives. Uh...Footloose? It seems a common maxim taught to children in schools that groups create "group think." Or as we call them now, "echo chambers." or "hiveminds." Or "reddit."
So like, how is that statement, that large groups somehow foster individualism, being blandly accepted by everyone reading it? The generally accepted maxim about group behavior refers to lemmings and essentially asserts the opposite. But here this author can slip in this sentence and everyone seems to have swallowed it like gravy because it fits so well in the cadence of the speech and patterns the author has already established.
I'd even assert that in large groups it is better for the group to have at least 2 people that can do each job not one special individual. An individual is important to the group if he can hunt, for instance. But if he is the only hunter the entire group is fucked if he is hurt or killed. If you have multiple hunters, they aren't special, they aren't distinguishing themselves from the entire rest of the group - they're a subunit - meanwhile it's better for the group because redundancy.
I mean, so, how about all of that? Besides the fact that this paragraph is essentially saying that women just aren't driven to be special which disregards every single woman who accomplished anything of note in any art or science - Marie Curie coming in top of my list - because she was driven to it. If a woman's driven like that, apparently, it's just gravy. Whereas it burns in every man?
If what I am seeing is wrong, tell me how it's wrong. But what I am seeing a lot of in this article is deliberately separating men and women into 2 distinct categories that are like yin and yang : they do not overlap, they compliment, but if you are yin you are definitely clearly not yang and vice versa. It's stuff like saying men descend from the men that fought to make kids while women descend from the women who just lay there. Like excluding the entire history of women in jazz from a discussion of the jazz movement.
I'm not saying men and women might be different, but complimentary. I am saying this article is bullshit.
I mean for christ's sakes guys the man titled his essay "Is There Anything Good About Men," then opens by saying:
The question of whether there’s anything good about men is only my point of departure.
I think it’s best to avoid value judgments as much as possible...I have no conclusions to present about what’s good or bad
Is that my axe to grind kleinbl00 ? Is that me misinterpreting this article?
I mean literally the sections "Men on Top" and "Stereotypes at Harvard" are basically saying "Well there are just more men," and then "Not all men," and then "well maybe there aren't simply more men than women, maybe it's that there are more men at the ends of the spectrum as opposed to the middle" in case being told that the reason there were more men in power than women was simply because there were more men at all seemed slightly, I don't know, flimsy or tautologic to you.