Topics: Misc, Sexism
28 Jun 1994
I was reading in "Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?" and one of the
questions was: "Whatever happened to pay toilets?" The answer is, in
part, is that feminist groups sued (and won) that they were
discriminatory because women had to use them to urinate! By that piece
of reasoning obstetricians charging money is discriminatory. It
doesn't matter that women use more of some service, reality is
irrelevant, only that some apparent gender difference can be found.
It reminds me of Nader and friends complaining that women are
discriminated against because they pay more for hair care and clothing.
Again, the reality, that women are more demanding of those things, is
irrelevant. Somebody found a difference and proceeded to use it as an
exercise in victimization. I don't suppose they every bothered to
check that men spend more on tools, cars, and pin-up calendars.
All examples hold up in the aggregate as well as per item.
Even though pay toilets are a pretty trivial matter, there is an
important aspect of affirmative action here. AA started out on the
presumption that the only thing holding back women and minorities was
prejudicial discrimination. The first laws strove (and, of course,
failed utterly) to eliminate this discrimination. It quickly became
obvious that the problem was not discrimination, but reality (*)
(though possibly an unfair one, in the sense of historical injustice,
societal expectation, school funding, etc.). Since the original
purpose was not fairness but political power, the justification had no
trouble switching over to trying to enforce 'equality' even where
clearly not economically rational or based on real discrimination.
Some AA supporters are honest about what they are doing, but many still
try to sell it as basic fairness. It is clearly not that.
My favorite example is that AA supporters originally fought for
Universities too use SATs so they couldn't discriminate. When it
turned out that disproportionately few blacks being admitted reflected
their relatively worse education instead of discrimination, AA
supporters turned to denying the value of the SAT and trying to rig the
scores by quietly 'norming' them.