“I Don’t Want to Hire Women”: Conclusions I

“It is the salience of gender and gender-related norms, rather than gender per se, that lead to differences between women and men.” (Seger, C. R., Smith, E. R., & Mackie, D. M. (2009). Subtle activation of a social categorization triggers group-level emotions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(3), 460–467.)

My friend Entrepreneur and I have conducted a fascinating social experiment this week. In response to Entrepreneur’s provocative post, I received over 900 comments and emails. Out of these comments, I have had to ban over 300. But it is precisely out of those banned comments that I learned the most important lessons.

The 300+ comments that I deleted without reading them all started with the proclamation I warned people would get them banished: “men and women are different!” The most curious thing about these comments was how long they all were. Most were over ≈500 words. I copy-pasted the longest one into Word and discovered that it was over 3,500 words. It started with, “I know this will not get published, but still I need to say this. . .”

Just imagine this: people are sitting there, composing veritable essays THAT THEY KNOW NOBODY WILL EVER READ. They are speaking into a void, trying to fill it with words. They void, of course, is not located on this blog. It’s located inside them.

Sadly, many people are too stupid and lazy to work out their own individual identity, their own unique worldview. This would be a life-long project of self-improvement and learning, and many people choose not to think or make an effort. In the absence of an individual philosophy of life, they allow outside authorities to fill their inner void with content. The easiest way to organize your existence in the absence of a personality of your own is by adopting some collective identity. Gender roles work beautifully for this purpose because zero effort is required to practice them. Why figure out whether you like pink, blue or orange when you can always allow some manipulative salesperson make that decision for you and make you feel like you actually have a meaning as a result of adopting this “preference”?

As to Entrepreneur’s problem, here is what was causing it. She was so dedicated to offering her workers the maximal autonomy and freedom from hierarchy that she ended up confusing them. Entrepreneur was convinced that everybody wants a workplace where they can choose their own hours, working style, attire, way of handling responsibilities, goals, etc.

But that isn’t true. People do not want that in the least. Just like many do not want a world where they are free to emote, think, act and exist without the constraints of idiotic gender norms. In Russian, we call this, “Put back on my muzzle, because my face gets too cold without it.” Freedom is so terrifying that people feel the need to defend their captivity from anybody who encroaches upon it.

Entrepreneur’s employees were left by her without strictly defined roles. In the absence of punch cards, dress codes, pink slips, employee manuals and other attributes of a rigid hierarchical structure, they didn’t know who they were. So they grasped for a collective identity to inform their behavior, and the one that’s most easily accessible was gender.

Traditional patriarchal gender roles are designed in a way that makes men great workers and women horrible ones. Both men and women at Entrepreneur’s company were resorting to (non-innate, completely manufactured, not in the least hard-wired) gender roles to fill the vacuum she left with her easy-going managerial style. The results were different because these norms obligated men to work well and women to act like infantile princesses.

When I forbade the wordy affirmations of gender identities on my blog, I created the same void for the commenters that the one Entrepreneur created for her employees. Since collective identities are artificial constructs, they are in need of constant and very verbose reiterations. The empty shells of human beings who left these 300+ pathetic “men and women are different” comments perceived an existential threat in my assertion that what they see as personality is actually nothingness.

Crimean Tatars Aren’t Allowed to Remember

Seventy years ago today Stalin deported the Crimean Tatars from the Crimea in an act of racist genocide.

Every year, the Tatars come into the streets in a peaceful demonstration to honor the memory of the victims of Stalin’s deportation.

This year, the occupational Russian authorities have prohibited the peaceful memorial service and have spent all day trying to intimidate the Tatars into not holding it.

Russia has been rewriting history and labeling Stalin “an effective manager” and the world’s savior instead of a bloody tyrant, so the demonstration to remind the world of his crimes is not allowed.

The Funniest Invention Ever

It is an unspoken rule of military procurement that any IT or communications technology will invariably be years behind what is commercially available or technically hobbled to ensure security. One case in point is the uncomfortably backronymed NeRD, or Navy e-Reader Device, an electronic book so secure the 300 titles it holds can never be updated. Ever…

I wonder how it was decided that 300 books were all a person ever needed.