February 15, 2009

Nothing ever changes

The older I get, the more it seems like nothing in American social mores has really changed since the 1964-1973 turning point. Thus, the late Daniel Seligman's Keeping Up columns in Fortune from two decades ago seem like they could have been written yesterday:
March 2, 1987
The Dream Girls

A reader has sent in a clipping from Broadcasting magazine and suggested we comment on same. We are delighted to do so as the subject affords a long-awaited opportunity to mention what we consider the single most fascinating social-science finding of the latter 20th century. Pretty big buildup, you say? Just wait and see.

The article in Broadcasting says the Canadian government has developed "voluntary guidelines" about the portrayal of women on television. The article leaves you thinking the governing classes in the U.S.'s friendly neighbor to the north have nothing better to do than brood over the pernicious effects of sex-role stereotyping, and now they are taking action against this evil.

The Broadcasting article naturally reminded the present keyboarder of a study of TV sex roles in his own country. The study, which appeared in Public Opinion last fall, contrasted "TV's Dream Girls" in three different decades (those beginning in 1955, 1965, and 1975). It concluded that women in all three decades are depicted in ways suggesting they are not truly equal to men. The femmes come across as less important than men in TV dramas; they "are less likely to be
mature adults, are less well educated, and hold lower status jobs." Furthermore, women in the dramas tended to derive their identities from their marital status. "A majority of women are identified as either married or single, compared to about one in four men."

We are edging up on the interesting part. Even though women in dramas are stuck in fairly traditional roles, the story line always takes the feminist side of any argument. ("Characters who deride women's abilities are invariably put down by the script.") This was not always true: Before 1965, say authors S. Robert Lichter, Linda S. Lichter, and Stanley Rothman, "22% of the episodes . .. rejected the feminist positions." But not today -- and here comes our fascinating fact. Of the thousands of dramas studied since 1965, "not a single episode derided notions of sexual equality." Not one. Not even to break the monotony. Can Canada top that?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

"not a single episode derided notions of sexual equality."

That was 1987 huh?

Here's an article from CNN today that says the co-pilot in the Continental Airlines crash in Upstate New York last week was a 25 year girl, uh, I mean woman. The article also lays out a timeline that suggests she didn't take "an interest in flying" until her senior year in college and that she graduated in fall 2007.

Quote: Shaw, 25, graduated from Central Washington University in fall 2007, earning a bachelor's degree in flight technology with a minor in philosophy.

So, she was 25 years old, and she'd had about two years total of "an interest in flying" when the commercial flight she was co-piloting crashed, killing all 49 aboard and 1 on the ground.

I'm sorry, I know it's so very politically incorrect, but I have to wonder how she performed in the cockpit under those stressful conditions. I can't but help contrast this tragedy to the Hudson River crash last month with veteran team in the cockpit.


I don't want to hear excuses. A more experienced co-pilot might have saved all of those lives by first noticing, then speaking up and overriding the pilot and/or ground crew errors that led to that crash. Steve is right when he says "political correctness makes you stupid".


Blode032222 said...

It's not too surprising. My guess is that TV portrays women in lower-status roles not to put women down in the eyes of men, but to appeal to the Cinderella factor in women. We're talking about TV shows with actresses who look normal for TV, right? So, lots of TV watchers identify with pretty women who feel undereducated, underpaid, demeaned by their jobs, whatever.

The feminist storylines are just the modern (?) equivalent to a heroic plot. Pretty underpaid woman is put down by nasty villain, who is shown to be a real pig by the emotionally convincing plot. Main character prevails, not by starting a family, getting a degree, or advancing in her career (those involve too much skill and hard work to really appeal to the kind of people for whom TV is preferable to reality).

Main character prevails by building alliances with other women, making a fool of a chauvinist, etc. Anybody can do that. I'm basing this partly on personal experience - the women I know who spend a lot of time in Teeveeland live up to the part about low-status jobs (if not the part about looks). They spend a whole lot of time "fighting for women": implying that men are stupid and have "no social skills", curling their lips at any evidence that a man doesn't like housework, trying to catch men saying sexist things, grousing about how sexist it is that men prefer women who aren't obese, etc. (The women who hold the opinion that men can actually work and think are often the same as the ones who can keep a husband and/or a job working with men who can read and write.)

Actually, Woman TV is kind of a less scholarly equivalent to a Women's Studies curriculum, Women's Studies being summed up as: spending four years at college avoiding subjects employers care about, preferring instead to learn about how even college-educated women have such trouble in the job market.

Anonymous said...


Great post. Ive noticed the same things.

A 25 year old who only had a interest in flying planes since 2007 huh? Amazing. The media has told us nothing about our 25 year old co-pilot in this case have they?

The media has also declined to tell us much about the Buffalo Muslim "moderate" doctor who beheaded his wife, about that Chinese student at Virginia Tech who beheaded another student. Its amazing the "incredible" crimes the media "forgets" about when they dont involve a white male culprit.

michael farris said...

I see we're entering Dr. Helen "Women are no damned good" Smith territory.

Is this really anything that needs encouragement among most of your readers?

Anonymous said...

In Germany an Airbus in gusty conditions nearly pranged during the approach landing in Hamburg. A chance amateur video of the landing was made. The pilot managed to perform a quick restart by taking control after he realised what was going on. Apparently the co-pilot, also a young woman, was at the controls during the first approach. After it was revealed that the inexperienced co was at the switch when the accident almost occurred, the media and certain pressure groups quickly set about covering up the fact and censuring anyone who noticed.

Anonymous said...

Television has been a perhaps under appreciated factor in the “turning point” of the middle 1960s. TV was invaluable to convince large numbers of “middle Americans” that the cultural revolution was more widespread than it really was at that time. TV allowed a small number of people to create a cultural revolution in part by making it appear that large numbers of people had already signed onto the program. Whether the issue is “feminism” or affirmative action or gay rights or what have you.

By exaggerating the breadth if not the depth of the cultural revolution, those controlling TV were able, simultaneously, convince both the youth and the older folks that most of the youth had turned against the older folks and their ways. This process also made use of “peer pressure” on the younger folks who “knew” from TV that if they didn’t “get with the program” they would be on the outs.

The success of this process was spoofed in the “Brady Bunch” movies, which had the Brady Bunch stuck in the early 70s well into the 90s. But on the actual Brady series, the early episodes looked like they could’ve been filmed in the early 60s or even late 50s. Then all of sudden the Brady kids and the gay Brady dad got “hip” but of course in a “lame” sort of way.

Anonymous said...

Funny that Canada getsmentioned here.
Perhaps the Canadian television industry's most successful and widely viewed program ever is the decidely no-PC 'Naked News'.

Anonymous said...

Our side needs to start doing TV. Imagine what an impact VDARE would have if it hosted a weekly hour long program. Even if it were at 2:30 Monday morning it would catch on. It would also break up the informational log jam in the mainstream media by saying the "hate facts" that reporters are currently fired for saying.

Soap said...

michael farris said... I see we're entering Dr. Helen "Women are no damned good" Smith territory. Is this really anything that needs encouragement among most of your readers?

No, the point is PC really does make you stupid, not that women are "no damn good". Yours is an emotional response to an argument that was never made.

The male pilot was apparently at fault. Info is coming out that the plane was on autopilot during the crash which is not normal procedure.

Pilot's Actions Scrutinized in Crash Near Buffalo

Gene Berman said...

Anonymous (directly above):

You're exactly right--even more than you know.

What I believe you don't realize is that the trends go back further, at least into the '50s in some cases (though it was not so widespread and popularly impressed just yet) and may be rooted even further back than I'm aware.

It's all associated with the push on every possible front by those we now call "liberals" to push what were termed "progressive" explanations and policies, which were simply names for socialism of one or another sort. It's been coming at us at various levels of intensity since at least the 1920s (and probably before), with "time out" for wars and such. The main vehicles have been the media and the general teaching profession and institutions.

This may sound far-fetched but it's not. I'm on record, telling a group of college administrators (in 1957) that, in a few years, there would be widespread riots and demonstrations on campuses across the US and that the general result would be that, nearly everywhere, administrators and faculty would bargain, placate, and, essentially, "cave" to the demands being made. And that would not be because they were craven or cowardly (though they were both) but because they would be doing it deliberately (almost as though by conspiracy) because it was they, themselves, who had groomed the rising generation to justify such confrontational and threatening behavior as legitimate expression.

How did I come to be able to make such predictions? It's simple, actually. I followed news pretty closely and saw what was already happening on European campuses by
students inspired by all types of egalitarian and anticapitalist agendas. Just figured it would be here before long.

They definitely appreciated my insight. So much so that they expelled me, describing me as a "dangerous radical" and "communist agitator."

We are in far worse shape today. They're so far into the foundations that they couldn't possibly be expunged in less than a couple generations and i don't even see a start on the horizon.

Grizzlie Antagonist said...

It's not always a question of what "anyone can do".

Don't forget that there's a prevalence of TV episodes where the woman or women not only engage in psychological manipulation of the male heel but actually physically subdue him, as well.

The first overt example of this might have been Mary Tyler Moore judo-flipping Dick Van Dyke.

But even earlier on, there was also an Andy Griffith episode, where his beau -- armed with a steely expression of militant purpose on her face -- defeats him in a rifle-shooting competition and then punctuates that accomplishment with some sort of in-your-face comment.

As I recall, poor old Andy hadn't even really done anything wrong, but he had to pay for some sort of idiot remark that the geeky Barney Fife had delivered on his behalf.

In any event, since then, there have been, of course, an onslaught of TV episodes and movie scenes in which an attractive woman makes her point by physically subduing in some fashion her boorish male companion. It's standard fare that that's going to happen at least once in any situation comedy that has a long enough shelf life.

I'm not really sure that "any woman can do this" though. I'm a criminal defense attorney who does a lot of domestic violence cases, and amazingly enough, in the vast majority of cases that come to the attention of the authorities, it's the man hurting the woman.

Female-on-male domestic violence isn't at all unheard-of, and it's most likely to occur when the woman is armed with a weapon and/or the element of surprise and/or being benefited by the fact that her male target is afraid to even defend himself.

But in most straight up confrontations, it's the woman getting the worst of it.

For some strange reason, however, in such instances, the authorities don't give the male suspect any plaudits for the use of domestic violence as a means of empowering himself.

Depending on the frequency of his domestic-violence crimes and the severity of the injuries that he causes, he's treated either as an embryonic monster or as a full-fledged monster and locked up.

And I certainly don't counsel my clients that laying angry hands on their partner is legally or morally justifiable.

Yet, from a purely sociobiological standpoint, it can be shown that the male half of the partnership is likely to have at least as great a need for "empowerment" as the female half.

Grizzlie Antagonist said...

-----Then all of sudden the Brady kids and the gay Brady dad got “hip” but of course in a “lame” sort of way.-----

They really did, didn't they?

The phrases "groovy" and "far out" make their way into a number of the later episodes, and the clothes and the hair styles became a little more progressively "mod".

And at least one Brady song has an environmental theme to it.

But even during the progress of American involvement in the Vietnam War and before the termination of the draft, did Greg ever face any issues more pressing than that of who was going to get the extra bedroom in the attic?

Anonymous said...

as someone who provided ground transportation for flight crews to and from the airport i can tell you that i never heard of a twenty five year old in the cockpit of a commercial passenger flight. mid thirties was about the youngest but that was a generation ago.

the more i think about this crash story the more outrageous it seems. a fifty year old pilot with a very attractive twenty five year old woman in the other seat who has two plus years of experience? on a passenger jet?

it was smaller regional airline. her pic in the news link shows her as a very attractive blonde. i wonder if the pilot will turn out to have an elevated blood alcohol level. i wonder if he had an ownership stake in the small airline and i wonder if he had any role in hiring the blonde.

Anonymous said...

after a little searching i found out the female co pilot was actually only twenty four years old and not twenty five. but a second pilot was also in the cockpit (jumpseating). so there were two experienced pilots present plus the co pilot at the time of the crash.

but check out the fuzzy math of the claimed hours of co pilot flight experience in an ap article on the crash. more than two thousand hours flown in just over twelve months? that number sounds heavily padded.

the hours of flying experience claimed reminds me of the ridiculous claims last week about the supposed "first woman to swim the atlantic ocean" but it turned out the math only added up to two hundred plus miles swam instead of two thousand plus miles swam and they were forced to retract the story. i think that was associated press also.

"BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The pilot of the plane that crashed near Buffalo had been with the airline for nearly 3 1/2 years and had more than 3,000 hours of flying experience with the carrier."

"Capt. Marvin Renslow lived in a suburb of Tampa, Fla. A toy scooter lay Friday on the lawn of his home in Lutz (LOOTS). Neighbors say he had two children in elementary school."

"The 47-year-old Renslow joined Pinnacle Airlines in September 2005. Pinnacle is the parent of Colgan Air, which was operating the plane as a Continental Connection flight."

"First Officer Rebecca Shaw joined the airline in January 2008. She had flown more than 2,000 hours with the carrier."

"Flight attendants were Matilda Quintero and Donna Prisco. An off-duty crew member was Capt. Joseph Zuffoletto."

C Mac said...

Re the Buffalo crash co-pilot: Was it at the end of high school or the end of college that she decided to fly? There seems to be some confusion, but I bet CNN screwed up the quote.

Musicians, 9/11 widow, family man among plane crash victims

Morris said her daughter was less than a year from college graduation when she took an interest in flying.

Family, friends mourn loss of co-pilot from Washington

It was during her senior year of high school that she told her parents she wanted to fly.

Mark said...


The proper term for 25 year old girl is "woman." Yes, woman. 25 year old adults have done much of the heavy lifting (not to mention child rearing) in most of our history. This is not to question whether or not this particular 25 year old was qualified to fly this particular plane, but laying the blame for 50 deaths at her feet is one of those elements (like jewbaiting) that gives iSteve types a bad name. I'm all for honest discussion, but sheesh...

Mark said...

Re the TV comments: yeah, there is no underestimating the amount of damage...er, influence TV has had on our attitudes and way of life. It allows for a very small number of people to enter our heads and affect our thoughts and beliefs in ways not known in all of history. It is one reason why only the most dogmatic of religious creeds manage to hold their own against modernity. They (the religions) may seem backwards, but in an enovronment filled with anti-natalist garbage, they're better than nothing...

Colin Laney said...

The proper term for 25 year old girl is "woman."

This is false.

The proper term for a 25 year old girl is "womyn".

Please report to your nearest education center for reprogramming.

Anonymous said...

I love this discussion of TV's influence from an evo-con perspective! Speaking of the degradation of the male in our popular culture, how about "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy", in which the female family members are reasonably sane and intelligent and the males are basically retarded and autistic?

headache said...

"Mark said...

Re the TV comments: yeah, there is no underestimating the amount of damage...er, influence TV has had on our attitudes and way of life. "

You need to dump the tele, and the radio. I never had any, and don't miss them either. Reading certain hand-picked papers and sites does it for me. That way I'm in charge of what propagandizes me.

Soap said...

To Mark, Defender of the Fairer Sex, it is obvious that that ALL CAPS question above was not blaming the 24yr old co-pilot (turns out she was not even 25), but directing blame toward whoever hired her, and more to the point, toward any political correctness regime that has been put in place industry-wide that is leading to inexperienced 24yr old co-pilots flying our commercial passenger jets.

Political Correctness not only makes you stupid, as Sailer says, but it can get you killed.

And, as far as the "baiting" that supposedly goes on on this site and "giving a bad name", the real intellectual breakdown around here is the constant comments like yours that respond to questions and assertions that were never actually made in the thread.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the degradation of the male in our popular culture, how about "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy", in which the female family members are reasonably sane and intelligent and the males are basically retarded and autistic?

So true. It's why I've increasingly lost interest in most television and movies nowadays. Despite the genuine talent and wit often on display, the relentless man-bashing leaves such a sour taste in my mouth that I just can't watch it anymore.