February 14, 2005


At U.Va., a reversal on roles: Biological differences and basic gender paths linked, professor says (CARLOS SANTOS, February 13, 2005, Richmond TIMES-DISPATCH)

In the classroom and in his new book, Steven E. Rhoads is teaching the unorthodox.

The longtime University of Virginia professor is teaching, in fact, against at least 30 years of dominant, post-sexual revolution ideology.

The women's movement has ignored the biological difference between men and women in its push for equality, he says in the book, "Taking Sex Differences Seriously." Ignoring those deep biological differences has harmed women, pushing them into the workplace to the detriment of their children, he says.

Rhoads contends, based on 10 years of research examining numerous biological and sociological studies, that most women want most of all a loving husband and children. They are happiest at home with their babies, he says.

"In the future we will see fewer women attempting to do career and family simultaneously and more who think in terms of sequencing the two," the political scientist said in an interview. "We already see evidence that increasing proportions of mothers are staying home with their newborns in the first years."

The sexual revolution has also hurt women, he said. Most women -- unlike most men -- are harmed by casual sex, he said.

"There is a nonreligious argument for women to be more chaste," he said. "It's for their self-interest. More is at stake for women."

His views have thrust him into the limelight with appearances on NBC's "Today" show and C-SPAN, and with requests for dozens of interviews from radio and newspapers across the country. His book is being used as a textbook in 60 colleges across the country. The first printing of 8,000 books sold out.

Last month, Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers raised a furor after a speech in which he suggested that innate differences between the sexes could explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers. Summers, in defending his remarks later, said people "would prefer to believe" that the differences in performance between sexes are due to social factors, "but these are things that need to be studied."

Rhoads agrees with Summers, noting that though women are better at math calculation, men "by their nature" are better at math reasoning or higher math -- why most astronomers and physicists are men, he says.

It's particularly delightful that the same folks who insist Nature is such a powerful force that it will select for a moth with one kind of spots and exterminate the others argues on the other hand that there can be no differences between genders.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 14, 2005 7:36 AM

"Progressive" thought is contradictory by nature. As you've said before, I believe.

Posted by: Bartman at February 14, 2005 9:19 AM

Equality as an abstraction. If it ain't so, use the courts to make it so.

Posted by: at February 14, 2005 9:49 AM

"happy" is a relative term.

Maybe they didn't like their childhoods and want something different for their kids.

Doesn't mean mom will be "happy."

Posted by: at February 14, 2005 10:59 AM

"there can be no differences between genders."

Sexes. Dammit.

gen·der n.

1. A grammatical category used in the classification of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and, in some languages, verbs that may be arbitrary or based on characteristics such as sex or animacy and that determines agreement with or selection of modifiers, referents, or grammatical forms.
2. Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.

Usage Note: Traditionally, gender has been used primarily to refer to the grammatical categories of “masculine,” “feminine,” and “neuter,” but in recent years the word has become well established in its use to refer to sex-based categories, as in phrases such as gender gap and the politics of gender. This usage is supported by the practice of many anthropologists, who reserve sex for reference to biological categories, while using gender to refer to social or cultural categories. According to this rule, one would say The effectiveness of the medication appears to depend on the sex (not gender) of the patient, but In peasant societies, gender (not sex) roles are likely to be more clearly defined. This distinction is useful in principle, but it is by no means widely observed, and considerable variation in usage occurs at all levels.

When you use the word gender instead of sex, you are handing a victory to the social scientists and to PC types who insist that that sex is a social construct not a biological fact.

Never surrender.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 14, 2005 2:53 PM

"There is a nonreligious argument for women to be more chaste," he said. "It's for their self-interest. More is at stake for women."

Well, duh.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 14, 2005 7:37 PM