On defining gender equality
What is gender equality? When I asked myself this question, I came up with two possible answers:
- Gender equality is treating all genders as if they were the same but making allowances for biological or cultural differences.
- Gender equality is treating all genders as if they were the same – biological differences are entirely ignored.
The first definition allows me to say that yes, women should not be taxed for menstruating and so on. However, it also can suggest that women should be in charge of taking the children, men should earn the most money in a household and so on.
Vice versa for the second definition. I personally think that the second definition encourages greater responsibility for your own actions – PMS is not an excuse for your own behaviour, ‘innate’ lustfulness is not an excuse for rape – while also including transgendered people since it’s such a restricted definition. (I won’t talk much about transgender issues since I know so little about it.)
Upon closer inspection, these are just extremes on a scale of definitions of gender equality:
I think the best definition of gender equality includes all biological differences but none of the cultural differences – cultural differences between genders change over time (for example, women were considered sex-hungry in Classical Greece, not men) and can also easily oppress people (for example, a feminine woman is considered a weak, ineffectual and useless doormat and all men eat lots of meat and drink lots of beer). However, where exactly is this definition? What does it include? Because culturally assigned differences oppress people, I think that being safe is staying as far right as is justifiable is the best course of action. From what I know about differences between genders, this includes the fact that men have XY chromosomes and women have XX, but excludes statements about the personality of all genders, for example ‘men are naturally lustful aggressive beasts’, a statement generally considered to be true in today’s culture or ‘females act like this and men act like that because their brains are different’, a statement that doesn’t consider variation between individuals and thus may exclude some people from the (cultural/social) definition of a certain gender.
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In Finland, after WWII, their allegiances with Russia were pushed to the brink. They had few prospects for the future … UNLESS they could do something to take control of their own destiny. They needed a plan for improving the future prospects for their citizens, or they would continue to struggle. They came up with such a plan.
They approached the students in the top 10% of their classes at their colleges and offered to pay for a masters degree in education if they would commit to being teachers. They would be well paid, and the best trained teachers in the world. They would get to formulate the education system for the country. THEY would decide how it would run.
And they attracted the smartest college undergraduate students to become their new teaching force. No real need for a union, but they have one anyway … they were treated by society and the students like other advanced professionals … doctors and lawyers …
Each class has five or six teacher’s aides, who may have bachelor degrees or not, but the main teacher always has an advanced degree, and always was one of the top students in college.
They don’t waste half the week with testing. In fact, some years, students don’t take a single test. They only take one or two achievement tests the whole time they are in school.
When a student gets behind, that student will be assigned individual instruction by a teacher with an advanced degree in remedial education.
About 95% of their students graduate high school.
Regardless of Islamist fantasy, Islam does not in any way offer a blueprint for a modern state, let alone a totalitarian one. What it offers are general guidelines and principles that do not even assume a state in the modern sense of the word. More importantly, Islamic law is not some kind of codified law that can be “instituted”, it refers to a huge body and tradition of rulings, methodologies, interpretations that are themselves not without contradictions. When modern-day Islamists talk about implementing shari’a, they usually mean: oppress the women and blindly institute penal law, which inevitably leads to grave injustices that no classical scholar of Islam would support.
A 1993 New Yorker cartoon famously proclaimed, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” The Web is a very different place today; you now leave countless footprints online. You log into websites. You share stuff on social networks. You search for information about yourself and your friends, family, and colleagues. And yet, in the debate about online tracking, ad networks and tracking companies would have you believe we’re still in the early 90s — they regularly advance, and get away with, “anonymization” or “we don’t collect Personally Identifiable Information” as an answer to privacy concerns.
In the language of computer science, clickstreams — browsing histories that companies collect — are not anonymous at all; rather, they are pseudonymous. The latter term is not only more technically appropriate, it is much more reflective of the fact that at any point after the data has been collected, the tracking company might try to attach an identity to the pseudonym (unique ID) that your data is labeled with. Thus, identification of a user affects not only future tracking, but also retroactively affects the data that’s already been collected. Identification needs to happen only once, ever, per user.
Interestingly, some of the only people who don’t think gays and lesbians are set in our ways from birth are the right-wing fundamentalists who want to “fix” us. They frequently claim that the reason we turn to the queer side in the first place is because our animal lust gets the better of us. Of course, if you give it a little thought, what they’re really saying is that anyone who lacked their moral strength would change teams — the temptation is that overwhelming. To think like this in the first place, they pretty much have to be working from the assumption that gay sex is better than straight sex.
In terms of landing additional press coverage, the liberal media watchdog group FAIR recently suggested that if Occupy Wall Street organizers “want more media attention, they should just call themselves Tea Party activists.”
So true. And if liberal protesters want to be described in the press as people-powered “populists,” they should also just call themselves Tea party activists.
The interesting observation I’ve made about “too hard” games is that they always seem to emphasize the end-game experience over the early or mid-game. Conversely, “too easy” games seem to make their push initially, but then stop trying to engage players once their initial push has dissipated. I thought a good solution would be to create a static level of engagement throughout the experience – keep player interest moderately high for the entire length of the game.
That didn’t work at all.
A rule of thumb about human stimuli is that if they aren’t changing, they get filtered out. Players NEED that upward or downward engagement curve to be present. So I came up with a different approach to designing engagement: Plan for two overlapping engagement curves.