Originally Posted by financeguy
That actually, women and men fulfilled different roles at historical points in societal development because it was the most rational segregation of labour between the genders for those particular periods of time and state of societal development and not because of some crazed scheme on behalf of paternalists to oppress women?
Well, generally speaking, yeah! If anything especially where gender is concerned, I'd be the last person to argue the point that the presence or absence of particular social institutions at particular places and times more often reflects a society's attempts to find the most effective system for keeping everyone fed, housed and protected (while building on existing customs and values), than it does its fundamental goodness or evil. The relationship of contraception to women's movement into the professional world is a good example--if I didn't have access to it, we'd probably have 9 or so kids by now rather than 3, I'd have spent the last 15 years continuously pregnant or nursing, and while I like to think I'm pretty resilient when it comes to balancing family responsibilities with professional ones, there is a line, and I can't really imagine the life I have now working in such a context. (Nor for that matter could my husband afford to focus his paid endeavors on teaching MFA courses adjunct and winning the occasional measly poetry prize--too many mouths to feed!) And I think it goes without saying that the unavailability of contraception to most of humanity for most of historical time is not the result of some monstrous misogynistic plot. But, likewise obviously, the social effects of making reproductive technologies that powerful that accessible are numerous and complex, not at all limited to giving women of certain socioeconomic backgrounds a wider range of employment choices. And turning back the clock is never an option in addressing any bad consequences of such changes; it simply can't be done.
The education stuff seems a bit scattered and anecdotal and I'm not sure I fully grasp the point, but for starters, I'm puzzled by the idea that teachers opining young girls are in general
more compliant and diligent than boys, and young boys in general
more restless and disorganized than girls, is anything new under the sun--it isn't, that's an age-old observation with most likely a combination of social and biological factors underlying it.