Women are crap says Times economist

Since he got a regular column with the Times, Chris Dillow’s blog articles have become increasingly outlandish. His recent piece on why women are crap is a case in point.

However, although his arguments, if that’s what you can call them, are silly, they are no worse than some of the rubbish that apparently respectable columnists write about men. Those all-men-are-hopeless articles have been around for at least the past twenty years. Some of the bullshit has been repeated so often that it has become ‘stuff everyone knows’.

For example, we all know that men can’t multi-task. It is accepted as an article of faith. Women repeat it in the workplace and men either nod or keep quiet. There is no point in arguing with the cod-psychology of a thousand Cosmopolitan and Femail articles. The fact that there is not a shred of evidence behind this assertion doesn’t seem to cut much ice.

There’s lots of other ‘stuff we know’, like women being better at communication and having the interpersonal skills that men lack. Much of this is taken as read but, again, there is precious little evidence to back it up.

Against this background, Chris Dillow’s diatribe seems somewhat mild. I have no idea what his motivation was for writing it. I suspect it was just to cause a bit of a stir. Whatever his reasons, the piece shows how silly it is to make sweeping judgements about gender characteristics.

I wrote this while picking up my phone messages and eating a biscuit. Does that count as multi-tasking?

Update: Just because Chris does it, that doesn’t mean you have to join in.

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5 Responses to Women are crap says Times economist

  1. Pingback: Against women

  2. chris says:

    My motivation for writing it was in my question: “am I a victim of selection effects?” and in the fact that a couple of earlier posts had discussed selection effects.
    Let’s grant that my arguments are silly. Doesn’t this show that even huge samples – women I’ve met in the last 20 years – can be systematically biased, if they are drawn from non-random sources.
    This being so, shouldn’t we be much less confident than we are about drawing inferences from personal experience – even a lot of it?
    The post was not about women, but about the nature of knowledge – a point everyone seems to have missed.
    And yes, some of my posts might seem silly. But this is because I occasionally (often?) err on the side of silliness, to undermine notions of judgment, credibility and expertise.

  3. Rick says:

    Ah, I’d missed the previous posts.

    I thought that was probably what you were getting at. To an extent, we all use data to reconfirm our current view of the world and screen out that which contradicts it.

    Even so, we would be stupid to ignore previous experience completely. Some of my greatest fuck-ups have come from ignoring my gut instinct and giving people the benefit of the doubt. By spending too long looking for water-tight data to confirm or refute my suspicions, I have held off from taking action for too long.

    That last paragraph, Chris, you’re having a laugh with us all, aren’t you? 😉

  4. chris says:

    This is precisely the point, Rick. It’s impossible to always make right decisions – or maybe to often do so; evidence and rationality is always imperfect, except in trivial cases. Hence my problem with managerialism.
    And I think I’ve been pretty consistent (unusually) in opposing the notion of credibility:
    http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2005/02/against_credibi.html

  5. Pingback: Marks and Spencer is not the whole economy « Flip Chart Fairy Tales

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