[Excuse the lack of links – I may go back and edit this. Thought I’d put on a copy-paste of a facebook post of mine about Sommers so that the GamerGate crew might see something they are interested in they track to my site. *waves*]
I’ve already read that article [5 feminists myths] – in all it’s painful simplicity. I’m also aware of how Sommers operates.
There are absolutely stats that are often misrepresented in feminism. Games of telephone make the words “completed or attempted” go away, or “for the same work” magically appear. Those who create publications, especially, should do their homework to be sure that they are not disseminating misinformation – keeping in mind that the impact of their statement will be more damaged by being easily debunked than if it lacks that extra level of outrage.
And that’s the thing – what Sommers does – what she nearly *always* does; is “debunk” the low-hanging fruit while very seldom clearly articulating the reality of the situation. It’s a dishonest rhetorical tactic – used by the pseudo-science crew and ideologues all the time.
Essentially – poke a hole in what someone said at one point about something; and use that “debunk” to dismiss the issue all together or pretend that poking holes in other’s argument magically makes what you have to say correct.
This is exactly what is happening with the wage-gap discussions – even though “correcting” for everything under the sun actual obscures more issues than it elucidates; and even when you correct for everything under the sun that you can possible “correct” for – the gap is still on the order of 10%.
When people say the wage gap is debunked – the base assumption is that ALL pressures on a person’s career are fair – EVERY single one. There is no such thing as not getting a promotion or not getting a job in the first place if you are not the right gender; there is no acknowledgement of the fact that women get MUCH less for having the same qualifications due to differences in salaries in various fields; where fields considered appropriate for women, that tend to appeal to women (for whatever reason) tend to pay less. There is no acknowledgement that men tend to feel less pressure (and have less opportunity) to engage in family life if they have children.
Another example of Sommers “debunking” was a video (some of which I agreed with) about a commercial talking about girls being encouraged in STEM fields. The commercial used Engineering (one of the fields with the fewest women active in it) as an example, with a statistic that did state that they it was only valid for Engineering (so it was not a lie – as much as simply using one of the more extreme examples).
Sommers claimed that this was disingenuous because Engineering was an outlier and doesn’t represent all of STEM. Fair enough.
But then she went on to use Biological Sciences as an example – which is ACTUALLY the outlier – being the ONLY STEM field where there are (now a majority) of women active in the field.
She has a reputation among feminists for doing this – all in the guise of the “factual feminist”. I mean, it really takes guts to call out a tactic and then IMMEDIATE *use that tactic*.
[Update: A guest blogger will be posting a better, much more researched, discussion of Sommer’s brand of feminism and her associations.]