I confess to sharing Sarah Hoyt’s disdain for the attitude that girls need extra encouragement in any field whatsoever. You know what girls need, if you want them to succeed in male-dominated environments? Not screeds penned by crazy feminists who work in media – but training in how to interact with males. In a professional capacity. Aka NOT like how girls and boys interact with each other in school, where they are competitors for the best grades or best boyfriend/girlfriend (for the most part).
A brief perusal of the existence of “chick flicks” and movies made primarily for males (“action movies” I suppose, but that category is broader than what I’m thinking of) demonstrates the fact that males and females run on different operating systems.
For another example, I remember one night around the dinner table, myself and two other female members of the family carried on a conversation amongst ourselves for about three minutes that left father dearest bewildered and shaking his head. And he lived with us and had raised two of us himself! I call it “femalespeak” – and a great deal of the premarital counseling that J and I went through before getting married involved communication issues, but unfortunately never breaking down explicitly this division between how most men and most women communicate. As they say, we’re using the same vocabulary but speaking different languages!
I grew up in female-dominated environments, and wasn’t exposed to the different paradigm of male-to-male interactions until after marrying; my husband’s family is precisely 50/50 split, unlike my own, and they have a very strong tradition of wargaming together. Let me tell you, listening to male interaction after being immersed in female-dominated social settings is one heck of a culture shock. Girls simply do not talk to each other like that! There would be eternal enmity. Blood in the water. It was highly distressing – at first. But then, with observation (and, thankfully, the experience of watching a good bit of shonen anime in which fight-to-make-friends is a common trope) I realized that this wasn’t a fight – it was males engaging in their own form of group-cohesion behavior.
When men and women don’t realize that they operate on such fundamentally different wavelengths, you end up with ignorant pansy media females claiming that there’s a “hostile environment” towards women in male-dominated fields. Now, there may be a total jerk or two (they do exist, just as total bitches do exist) but the culture in today’s American male-dominated fields will appear hostile to the women who don’t understand men. Even though it’s not actually hostile at all!
This does a grave disservice to everyone. There is nothing wrong with chick-flicks or action-movies, but your enjoyment of the film is likely to be greatly impaired if you’re expecting one and get the other!
What’s more, the STEM fields are results-oriented, rather than socialization-oriented: which means that they are a much more natural fit for the male “jocular competition” form of culture than the female consensus-oriented culture. If we want able, STEM-oriented women to “feel welcome” in such fields, we should be teaching them how to tell the difference between male communication styles and female communication styles so that they’ll understand that the “harsher” male mode is neither personal nor an attack nor unwelcoming – in fact, it is the exact opposite and exactly what the feminitwits claim to want: equality. If you have to be treated with kid gloves and Victorian manners, you sure aren’t equal to the men, ladies.
And there’s nothing like saying “girls need extra encouragement!” to show that you think girls are inferior special snowflakes who can’t hack it on their own. Pfui on that!