Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Title IX, Variance by Gender, and Sexual Assault in College
            To me, the most interesting part of the last presentation was the article we were given. While rape on college campuses is quite probably the more dramatic and important issue, I found the article significantly more interesting. A couple things about it stuck out to me. The first was the arrogance of the proposal that men had greater variance than women. It seemed purposefully crafted to explain away other studies showing similar intelligence in men and women as well as showing a refusal to admit cultural factors. Furthermore, the proposal seemed to ignore any real, empirical data, instead choosing to anecdotally suggest that there were more famous men. That’s a really strange foundation for a broader thesis, especially when the authors choose to ignore the social and cultural realities of women having a far harder time finding work. I also thought the direction the authors took their own thesis in was interesting. While they at least considered the possibilities of cultural factors more than those who suggested that men had higher variance than women, they eventually returned to the fact that women are more responsible for children than men as their reasoning for the dearth of well known female geniuses. I thought this was a strangely specific direction to take when there were so many possible cultural factors at play.

            In terms of the greater presentation, the statistics on college campus rapes will always be shocking. The idea that one in four women in college will be sexually assaulted is absolutely mind-boggling, so much so that it is near incomprehensible. Part of this shock factor probably comes from both the personal shame felt by many women who have been raped and the cultural discomfort with the subject of rape. Both feelings are regrettable, though also understandable, and it seems quite likely that they make it far easier for colleges to cover up their lack of a reaction to the sexual assaults that so deeply harm their campuses. If it weren’t for how uncomfortable people were about talking about rape, it probably would have been far harder for a Harvard dean to tell a female student to not talk to anyone about her rape. I’m not sure where any solution could come from except from students. I think that if students make enough noise, they can force colleges to start moving towards preventing these rapes. I don’t think that there will be any movement from colleges until they are forced to move, and I think students are the only ones with the power to force this movement.  

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