I have to wonder whether racism, bigotry, sexism and hatred are more prevalent in present day (than say, 10 years or 20 or 30 years ago). Or if what is out there is just made more visible via social networking and such. I'm guessing it's probably a bit of both.There does seem to be a blurring of the line between real life and celebrity (reality shows, politics, and inane web discussions). Many people seem to think their comments matter... celebrity disagreements, who said what about who, who wore what, and what state of (un)dress the latest selfie subject is in. Some of this leads to a false sense of importance (as evidenced in snowflakery many of us encounter). Obviously my jaded view of life doesn't apply to everything. But it does give me pause to wonder and to be thankful for the wonderful and talented people who I do count as my friends.
What's different now is that racism, sexism, etc. are less socially acceptable in some quarters, and people are more likely to call it out when they see it. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing. Random anecdote: My little sister's (public, blue-state) elementary school had career day. She signed up for the "doctor" session. They didn't let her attend the doctor session, because "girls can't be doctors." They put her in the fashion model session instead. This is my younger sister, now, and I AM NOT THAT OLD. I'm guessing (hoping?) that wouldn't happen today.
Lord have mercy. Girls have been becoming doctors for literally a hundred years now.
According to Wikpedia, Elizabeth Blackwell graduated from medical school in 1849 (and I know her name because there were biographies of her available to children in the 1970s, when I was working my way through all the bios of women in the children's section of the library). So, yes, it's been happening for a while (and there were presumably plenty of women acting in a medical capacity well before that).
On that topic, allow me to offer a random product endorsement. "Headstrong; 52 Women Who Changed Science—and the World" by Rachel Swaby. Each bio is only a few pages long, but each outlines the lady's early life, education, connection with and contribution to science, and their many trials and tribulations along the way.It's a pretty spiffy book. I'm pleased to say that I was familiar with most of the entries in my field and a goodly fraction of those in related fields. In other sections, however, I learned of pushy chicks who accomplished things vastly beneficial to us all but of whom I had never heard.
Thanks, PP, I'm going to check this out. I have a couple of grandnieces who should be reading things like that.
It's CURRENT YEAR!
Given the election coverage, the coverage of the Olympics, and the many, many talks given to middle-school and high-school girls by their administrations about the way that girls dress (that can be distracting to boys), I think 2016 is the Official Year of Sanctioned Misogyny. That is not to take away from the rampant racism. It's just that it's become totally okay -- even in official capacities, like the school dress code bullshit -- to point out that women and girls are lesser creatures.
Indeed. And there seems to be some associated hysteria at the thought of putting an older woman -- a crone, to use a word that, tellingly, has both positive and negative connotations -- in charge. That, of course, follows eight years of very high anxiety, in some quarters, at seeing a dark-skinned man of African ancestry in charge, which has led to some really bizarre breaks from reality (apply Occam's razor to this, please: why in the world would somebody *bother* to falsify the birthplace of a biracial kid born in Hawaii in the early 1960s? Did they think there was the slightest chance he'd run for president? If so, they were crazy -- perhaps crazy in a good way, but crazy nonetheless. And, even in that case, doesn't his mother's unquestioned U.S. citizenship make the whole effort unnecessary?), and some pretty vocal backlash, including a resurgence of language and behavior that I really hope is an extinction burst, the last gasp of resistance from those who refuse to accept that the United States is becoming increasingly multicultural, with various kinds of power still unequally distributed, but increasingly available to at least some members of historically excluded groups. I suspect we'll see something similar -- a weird bubbling up of stereotypes about women that we'd half forgotten -- if a female candidate is elected. The interesting question is whether, if we elect the nominally white (actually orangish) male candidate, the hateful public rhetoric will actually decrease. I suspect it might. I also strongly suspect that other bad things will happen (and, at least equally to the point, other useful and necessary things *won't* happen), but, oddly, the public discourse might actually improve slightly. While I'd be in favor of that, it's not a price I'm willing to pay.
By some coincidence, I was at another site reading about Extinction Burst just the other day.Re hateful public rhetoric, I fear that should one of its greatest perpetrators gain some small plurality and therefore be elected, others will take it as a "mandate" to contribute to it all the more.
And how come no one ever worries about the boys distracting the girls? Do people really think that teenage girls are immune to the opposite sex?(Or am I going to be told that girls are socialized to dress and behave provocatively, precisely in order to attract male attention?)