The Denver Philosophy Meetup Group Message Board › How male and female philosophers differ

How male and female philosophers differ

A former member
Post #: 2
I know that generalizations are generally frowned on (haha) but I have participated in philosophical discussions (both online and in real life) for nearly 10 years and I have noticed a pattern. It seems that women more often contemplate how the little details of life affect the big picture, and men contemplate in the reverse order- reflecting on how huge historical events and ideologies play into current events.

When I philosophize with other women we often make connections between seemingly frivolous cultural changes and huge societal shifts. Knowing that we might sound silly if we say outloud "I think it all started going down hill when they started selling bread already sliced..." (just an example) we might keep our mouths shut in a discussion even if we have a darn good argument for our opinion.

This has me wondering if there is any kind of interest in a womens philosophy meetup? Perhaps it could be a group where we let our guards down a bit and risked sounding a little goofy. :)
Jeanette M. N.
wickedatheist
Denver, CO
Post #: 3,308
I haven't noticed anything that would back up your generalization, but then I haven't been looking. I like to see good studies to either verify or debunk stereotypes like that. Because sometimes there's some truth to stereotypes, and sometimes there's not.

But it seems to me that discussions in mixed groups are more stimulating and less vapid that discussions in segregated groups. I don't know if that's because of:

A) different world views of men and women

B) different group dynamics

C) me being totally wrong and imagining that, or

D) (my favorite hypothesis) unusually smart people preferring groups that are more diverse in one way or another.


As for the whole concept of segregated groups, pptthththt tongue.

I think that "if we have a darn good argument for our opinion," we should be learning to be brave enough to speak, especially when the only consequences are that others might think we sound goofy.

In some parts of the world, women have a good reason to keep their mouths shut in front of the men, because speaking up will get them hurt or killed. But we don't usually face such dire consequences in this country, and should avail ourselves of our freedom.

(And a lot of men are not immune to feeling awkward about expressing themselves in front of women, or other men for that matter; they're just used to the message that they'd better just get over it. The way that we, too, would do well to get over it. Speaking as someone who is still working on "getting over it.")

As for this particular group, in my experience the members who are women tend to be very sharp, as well as confident enough to hold their own among the men-folk. (And those who aren't well-spoken or confident have a fine group to practice in until they are.)
A former member
Post #: 3
Jeanette-

Fair enough. :)

To expand on where I am coming from with the suggestion...
I have known a great deal of highly intelligent and discerning women...some of whom I have met through philosophy groups where they largely stayed quiet and then later confided some thoughts they had wanted to share, and others I have met through book clubs and other social settings who I think would have brought a unique point of view to a philosophy group but they were intimidated by the academic aspect. Some people feel that if they can't quote famous philosophers and recognize all the names and nouns dropped by academic types then they have no place in a group. I thought that ....perhaps... a group of only women might be slightly less intimidating to a more timid woman... not because we are less intelligent but because we are ....usually.... more ... umm... sensitive??

Not that men are insensitive... per se.. (I am not entirely sure how to communicate my thoughts without being insulting or stereotyping so I am relying heavily on the readers giving me the benefit of the doubt if they are inclined to take offense).

But another reason why a segregated group (in addition to the co-ed groups) might be appealing is that it might lead to a more diverse topic selection. Could there be topics that women are more likely to find highly engaging that wouldn't be engaging to a mostly male group? Gender constructs? Gender roles? The philosophy of the feminine? feminism? anti-feminism? patriarchy?


Dan
danlg
Group Organizer
Broomfield, CO
Post #: 1,396
In Early 2007 the women studies invited me in on a discussion concerning truth and women. Availing myself to gathering good research I found this a good place to start.

Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science

On a side note, I've met several female philosopher's all of whom were incredibly introverted by nature. It is not a exception that your general observation of women not sharing in philosophical discussion is only common among non-academics, but among many academics in general.

There is one insightful thing I learned from one of my female Philosophy professor's. The field is litered with competition, from the gates into the Masters program, to publishing and peer reviewing dissertations.... She pointed out that the general nature in academia with women is aimed at cooperative systems rather than competitive systems, for the adversarial nature favors men because of their natural tendency toward agression; whereas in women it is collective, collaborative and cooperative.
A former member
Post #: 1,034
Nice survey, Dan.

I think the world could use more collaboration and cooperation energy; it might even depend on it at the rate we're going.

In addition to highlighting patriarchal BS and bias, feminism has evolved and had an important effect on many fields of study.

Not sure if Paige wants a psychology or philosophy group but, if "timid" bothers you, Paige, you might try jumping in here and being yourself. You're qualified.

Regards,
Dave.
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