Aug. 5th, 2012

starfire11: (Default)
So I'm taking this LSAT prep course for when, well... I take the LSAT.

And our teacher is pretty smart. Like, really smart. Like, if this course wasn't way over-priced, I'd love to sit and talk to him for an hour or two. Maybe. Just about life in general.

At least I think I would.

So he has some issue with global warming. I don't know if he supports increasing knowledge on it and making efforts to deal with it and is annoyed with people who think it doesn't exist, or if he thinks people being concerned about it are morons. It's hard to tell. He tries real hard to keep his opinions to himself and not insert political agendas into the course, like most teachers and professors. Most of the time.

So anyway, we were talking about diversity considerations in the LSAT (it's a very important thing and really helps you solve things fast).

Diversity considerations are quite varied, and include considerations towards women. I don't exactly remember how we got to the subject, but somehow he ended up making a comment about how women stick to things even if they're not good at them, while men give up when they're not good as something and go do something else. He then went on about how he thought woman's way of doing this was the better option.

Principal on my mind was the fact that this implies that a) all women are the same and all men are the same, mentally b) mental decisions like choosing what things to do in your life are possibly genetic. Neither of which is true.

Everyone thinks differently. Everyone has a plethora of reasons that have a high chance of varying from everyone else's reasons for doing something, even if they do the same things. That's not even going into HOW they do those things.

Playing piano is not genetic. Playing on a computer is not genetic. Playing football is not genetic.

Here's my problem. For starters, I understand that you could look at "historical precedent" for this idea. After all, if women had just given up when people said no to women's suffrage, then we wouldn't be voting now, would we? While we MIGHT have eventually gotten the vote anyway, here's a thought: some people thought that women a) did not have a god-given right to have a say in any type of politics, and/or b) didn't vote and didn't care to even if they could, and/or c) wouldn't vote even if they could.

There's historical precedent for many women refusing to give up when the going got tough and no one was giving an inch on women's rights or what things women wanted to do. Being accepted in different jobs. Getting what you say out. Writing things. Heck, today that happens.

Female bloggers aren't surrendering under the barrage of rape threats and racial slurs and "get in the kitchen" commentary whenever they open their mouths to say what they think about the weather in the gaming community. Good on them!

That doesn't mean it's GENETIC. That means any number of things. Among them, that women are breaking ground, still, in fields that were formerly closed to us. That giving up means giving into threats. Giving into selfish people who are only out there to hurt others because they have nothing better to contribute to human society.

I could make a comment about how men don't do things like that because they've never had to, they've always had rights (which women have typically had to fight for, tooth and nail), but that's wrong too.

Saying that every man has been deemed equal by human society for forever is entirely untrue. The first thing that comes to mind is slavery. Women AND men had to fight for their freedom, even when people didn't want to give it to them. And then they had to keep fighting and fighting because people (at least in America and a couple African nations) viewed them as second-class citizens. African-Americans still fight for their rights today, just like women. The Jews fought for their right to a Jewish state. Many religious leaders and groups have fought for the right to follow their own beliefs with their families and friends and congregations. Look at the Mormons, the Quakers, just about every religious group that came to North America when Britain was colonizing it originally. People said it couldn't be done. People burned others at the stake. People formed lynch mobs. People launched missiles. People ignored them. People carried out assassinations, wars, protests, mass trolling... and still, others refuse to give in. This isn't a sex-based boundary that separates a group from b group for inspiration. This is the needs of a person or people fighting for what they think they need for themselves or others.

Heck, internet trolls are typically bad at being funny. Doesn't stop them from keeping it up. Being bad at school didn't stop a lot of people from going. And I mean PEOPLE. Not women OR men. PEOPLE. All-encompassing. I'm curious about what his theory has to say about people who don't fit into the men/women categories like transgender, Two-Spirits, etc. Do they just mix it up?

Being a bad spouse doesn't stop most people. Nor does being a bad parent, since your parents don't teach you how to be a parent. They try to teach you how to be an adult. Parenting is something that typically comes (today) with a lot of guidebooks, advice from friends and parents, and experience. Also therapy. Especially for poor relationships. Sure, improvement may be a really, really, really slow-to-come goal (or something that never comes), but people still try. They don't always say "Well, I guess I suck at this, I'll guess I'll either be a bad spouse and stop trying to be good, or just stop being a spouse." They try to work it out, which is part of what being in a married relationship is about. Understanding each other. Living with each other. For everyone else, there's separation, divorce, adultery, and the cowards who abuse their spouses. Also note: being a spouse, partner, or parent is not tied down to father/mother/husband/wife. Any and all can be bad examples of their... category or whatever. As the child of divorcees with LOTS of friends who are ALSO children of divorcees, I am very, very well aware of this fact.

Also, did anyone care to mention that step-fathers never really stick out in fairy tales? It's always evil stepmothers or stepsisters. What about an evil step-brother?

Being a bad movie creator didn't stop M. Night Shyamalan (at least I have no official proof that he's stopped trying to push another Avatar: The Last Airbender movie - when I see this, I'll change my position) or Kevin Costner. Being bad never stopped Nicholas Cage from, well... acting. Or Kristen Stewart. Never stopped Stephanie Meyer or Christopher Paolini from spewing out the Twilight Series and The Inheritance Cycle. Never stopped Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin from running for political office. Or Rebecca Black from creating not just one, but TWO really terrible songs. Never kept Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga from being stars.

Being bad at ruling hasn't stopped any NUMBER of rulers throughout history, female AND male.

Also: saying that some people stop when they realize that they're bad at something, just in general, implies that there is one and only one definition of "being bad at something". For starters, there are a number of different ways to be "bad" at just about anything. You could be a good violinist, but you might not be an inspiring one. For some people, that's considered bad. You could be a good violinist, but you might not be a fiddler. For someone who learned the instrument to play fiddler music, that might be considered bad. Maybe you're good at playing classical music but not pop. A lot of people who learn some kind of musical instrument (including singing - your body can be considered an instrument, by certain standards) are very disappointed by this. Playing popular music today is hard because of the requirements for that music, while a great deal of the very old stuff people groan about when they see the majority of what music players play in orchestras and concert bands is rather simple. For starters, there's typically far less improvisation. Improvisation can be incredibly hard. Or it can be incredibly easy. Yet another spectrum of "good/bad".

Being good at playing an instrument isn't the same time of good as being good at a sport (or anything else). I'm not saying one is better than the other (personally, I rate violin, piano, and singing over football, but then again, a lot of athletic men getting paid to jump each other, frequently, on television... always makes me waver), but they have no equivalent rating system, unless you just use the general rating of "pro", "amateur", "prodigy", etc. A system which can be rather extensive, depending on what you're looking at.

Things having different "good/bad" scales at least in part because they require different skills. Playing a stringed instrument like the violin, viola, cello, and bass requires a lot of hand-eye coordination and a skill at reading music while watching a conductor and listening to the people around you, along with a plethora of hand skills. Playing football, depending on your position, requires skill with running, a certain body weight requirement, physical fitness, good eyesight, and certain areas of body strength, as well as a knowledge of football rules, and a number of others I know I've missed. Why I picked football instead of soccer, which I'm more familiar with, is beyond me.

Books have different good/bad scales. I don't like "Howl's Moving Castle" for the same reasons I like "Hardball" or "Crown of Slaves" or "Bridge of Birds". They all make me laugh, but if I kept everything that made me laugh... well... I'd have a significantly larger library and far less self-respect. Genre makes a difference. Stephanie Meyer and Christopher Paolini are both bad at writing for a number of similar and different reasons. While I argue whether both ever actually sat through a whole English course (I only assume Smeyer did because she has a degree in English)... if I were to write yet MORE summaries on why their individual series suck IMO, they would not be the same, but with different character names and plot points. Genre writing can also be different. Someone writing modern fiction is most likely going to write differently than someone writing fantasy or science fiction. Just like a Shakespearean actor is going to have a different acting style than a non-Shakespearean actor. While I love Shakespearean actors, I don't rank them over non-Shakespearean actors, and I don't dislike non-Shakespearean actors. They just act differently. Some are bad, some aren't. Some are even good.

That was actually rather tangential, so back to the topic.

The Olympics is actually a great example of the array of good/bad. A fencer might not be good at pole-vaulting or running track. A gymnast might be a terrible swimmer. Each of them have a different assortment of things to be good at.

Or they might vary their sports. Maybe this swimmer loves wrestling, but he's better at swimming, so she went with that. In his minds he might be a lot better at wrestling because he enjoys it more (which is also a scale on which to judge "good/bad" for a lot of people), but by other people's standards he's better at swimming.

There's the whole concept of doing what you love. There are scientists who live their entire lives without making a significant discovery in their fields, or any fields, for that matter (which is how the general populace seems to judge "good/bad"). But they do what they love because they love it. They research, watch, theorize, teach, explore... they just do it. Because they want to. Heck, there are teachers out there who loves their fields, but teach middle school courses because all they want to do with their lives is inspire kids to go into their fields and be even better. There are counselors who live their lives just wanting to help as many people as possible. They don't have to believe that their work will change the entire world. They might just be satisfied with the kids they know. With the people in front of their eyes. With making what big or little differences they can. And that's how they judge good/bad.

So maybe a police officer, just by being a police officer, does not, in her entire life, make a dent in the crime rate. That doesn't mean they're a failure as a police officer. Maybe they just kept things stable. Kept the lights running a little longer. Maybe they solved some important cases. Or just cases that were piling up. Maybe they followed in a parent's footsteps. Maybe they look at every single person they help, and, at the end of the day, smile because they made a difference somewhere. Or maybe they sit in their offices and thank whoever they thank, if they thank anyone, that the lights stay on, and that the world keeps spinning, and everything hasn't gone completely to hell yet.

Not everyone gives up dieting or exercise because they're bad at it. Some do. Not everyone does.

In fact, if everyone gave up what they were bad at, the human race would probably still be in the Stone Age. Not everyone is born with "talent" or prodigy-levels of skill. Not everyone has a CHANCE to do what they're "good" at. Some people just find something they can do that's valued, and that's what they do with their lives. Most people have to LEARN to be good at something, contrary to what televisions offer. They had teachers who taught them their letters and basic math and grammar and how to eat at a fancy table and how to clean up after a baby and how to create soda flavors and how to play the accordion and how to crack a good joke and act and ski and drive a car. Not every good driver out there is male. Not every bad driver out there is female, contrary to the theory that only women are bad drivers.

If everyone gave up what they were bad at, we wouldn't have most of reality tele-I mean... Wait. Wait.

... We might be onto something here. Hmm...

People create lots of ways to categorize being a good human being. For some people, it's doing something value with your life, like helping starving children in whatever country is popular to help this week or pushing the agenda of burning homosexuals at the stake. For some people, being a good human being is following certain values. See the requirements for different religious groups or countries. Countries have different values. And citizens who argue what specifically those values are. And what those values mean. And how to use those values. And what is supported by those values. And so on and so forth. Some people think being a good human being is killing yourself and taking other people with you because those people are the embodiment of evil. Suicide missions are rather common throughout human history. This is not something only just discovered in WWII or 9/11. Maybe being a good human being is helping to raise your nephew. Or getting your sister away from her husband. Or informing the world about proper grammar. Or fighting the POWr of those who say that "I" as a pronoun is supposed to be capitalized and "presdnt" is missing a couple vowels.

Standing by your principles. Acting on your principles and not just talking about them. Staying out of other people's business. Knowing when to interfere. Taking an active role in your world.

Pinning something down to something as simple as "guys know when to quit" and "women don't" is a ridiculous theory because of the holes riddled in it.

I wish I could have told this to him then. I NEVER have good arguments when they could be valuable. I don't even know if sending him this is a good idea. He intimidates me. That's part of being a good debater: intimidate your competition, even if you're wrong and they're right. Oh, logical fallacies and drama!

So there. It bothered me and I never got to tell him then and I couldn't quite figure out then why I had a problem with his statements other than the basics I had up originally.



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