Yet another weird SF fan


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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I Doubt If This Is Due to Male Chauvinism

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about Dr. Ben Barres (formerly Dr. Barbara Barres). He (if Dr. Barres insists on being a he, we can let him), claims to have experienced less discrimination as a man than as a woman. I'm a bit dubious that was due to gender discrimination. It's possible that the increased respect he's getting has been due to having more experience and more publications. There are other explanations for one apparent type of increased respect:

Which may account for what Prof. Barres calls the main difference he has noticed since changing sex. "People who do not know I am transgendered treat me with much more respect," he says. "I can even complete a whole sentence without being interrupted by a man."
That's probably because they can now get a word in edgewise.

3 Comments:

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

From Ben Barres' comments at PhysOrg.com :

"I feel like I have a responsibility to speak out," he said. "Anyone who has changed sex has done probably the hardest thing they can do.

It's freeing, in a way, because it makes me more fearless about other things."


He's a guy - just as much as you are. Just think, there was a 1 in 10,000 chance you would be in his situation too. Born with 46xx chromosomes, but with exactly the personality and feelings you have now.

If you don't understand that, really understand it, both intellectually and emotionally, you can't understand Transsexuality, or to give it its new-fashioned name, "Congenital Neurological Intersex" or CNI.

This is a guy who had to fight for his masculinity, it wasn't just handed to him on a plate. My journey is in the opposite direction, and I will never understand Men, but I have some inkling of what he had to go through.

He (if Dr. Barres insists on being a he, we can let him),

That was unworthy of you.

claims to have experienced less discrimination as a man than as a woman. I'm a bit dubious that was due to gender discrimination.

I'm not. Going the other way, and doing it in months not the usual years due to a weird metabolism was a real eye-opener to me. The way I was talked over at meetings, by people who I'd worked with and known for years.

I got some sisterly advice on assertiveness from some female colleagues: the fact that I needed it was far more surprising than minor details like my bust growing bigger.

OK, I admit, my buttons got pushed. And it was only a minor aside in an otherwise good post.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Zoe Brain said...

That's probably because they can now get a word in edgewise.

HEY! I strongly resemble that remark!

But seriously, folks... he always had a male-type personality, so this wouldn't have been a problem, no matter what the shape of the body.

I, er, well, um, TS women have been known to be a bit, um, domineering of meetings. The male respect plus a tendency to gabble on, going down related pathways, like this one.

Oh SPIT!

And it's not true we always have to have the last word, either.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Matt A said...

That's probably because they can now get a word in edgewise.

In a word, NO.

You've probably never looked close enough to notice, but men automatically give other men more space - both physical "personal space", i.e. they don't stand as close to you - and "mental space" - it seems they automatically think something said by another man is intrinsically more worthwhile .

Also in conversation, men achieve a lot more with small amounts of "social grease" - statements like "Cheers, Mate", "Easy, buddy". Not interrupting another man is just part of this social grease - giving a man his turn to speak is analagous to giving him physical space.

I'm a bit dubious that was due to gender discrimination. It's possible that the increased respect he's getting has been due to having more experience and more publications.

Take a man and a woman with equivalent academic records and the man will have more respect. He will generally be considered to have done more of the work (more people would assume that a woman just got her name put on the paper) and have a greater understanding of the concepts as well as a greater capacity for future contribution to the field.

11:40 PM  

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