Subject: Women in EA
Date: Tue Jan 11 2005 - 13:16:35 EST
My 2 cents...
Men and women differ both in heredity and in socialization.
Only women give birth and only men inseminate. On average men are stronger
and faster, women live longer, men have better spatial visualization, women
are more patient, etc., etc.
OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL (which they are not!) I have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER
what this might mean for (a) proportion of men vs. women composing, and (b)
type, style, or mood of music composed by men vs. women.
With respect to socialization, all human societies are unjust, but of
course some much more so than others. Gender discrimination is a feature of
all societies in some form or other. Ours seems better to me than most of
which I've read. Still, our society seems think to boys are better at
technical things and girls are destined for, well, other things. I strongly
doubt that this prejudice is justified by the biology although, at the same
time, I think there probably are some biological differences in various
technical abilities by gender.
But even if technical ability did have a strong basis in biology, I do not
think that would justify discrimination against a person who chose to
pursue a particular path in life. Such a person might well be more talented
than most people of the opposite gender because an average is just an
average and the spread of differences in the human population is very wide.
For example, the best female athletes cannot compete with the best males in
their sport, but the best females can certaily beat MOST males in those
sports. Such a person might compensate in idiosyncratic ways to function at
a higher level than their "talents" might appear to support.
Given that electroacoustic music has a strong technical requirement, our
society obviously discriminates against women entering this field starting
with early socialization. No doubt many women and many men feel that their
attitudes about technology and about competition with others in this field
are "natural" although I strongly doubt that they are.
Finally, I feel that competition is inherent in any highly enjoyable and
prestigious field where the supply of workers far exceeds demand. I think
that serious music is the very epitome of this situation. Such competition
exists whether people have competitive attitudes or cooperative attitudes;
it is a result of the numbers. I think that any gender-based differences
(arising either from heredity or from socialization) in competitive spirit,
judging, etc., can only magnify all other outcomes of gender discrimination
I support Miriam Clinton's desire to be judged as a composer and not as a
woman composer. In the long run I don't think anybody is going to care much
about whether the composer of a particular piece was male or female, any
more than I think very many people today care much about whether some
particular fragment of ancient Greek poetry happens to be by Sappho or by
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