Will Knowland was an English teacher at Eton which is one of the UK’s most prestigious private schools. His crime, which led to his dismissal, was to make a YouTube video that discussed the concept of masculinity. Given that the pupils had previously had to endure the teaching from Laura Bates you might think that the video (that is embedded below) might restore some balance to the dialogue. I can not see a lot wrong with the content and much of it is backed up by references from the research literature. There are, of course, parts you might take issue with. For example, I thought there was too much emphasis on conflict and war but it seems to me that the video could have been a useful jumping-off point for discussion.
That discussion was never allowed. He was described as a vile misogynist in parts of the press even though there is no evidence his thoughts are motivated by a dislike of women. His crime was to suggest that societal differences between men and women might partly be rooted in biology and the evolutionary interests of women. That conflicted with feminist liturgy and as a result, he lost his job.
Antonio Garcia Martinez
Antonio Garcia Martinez was recently fired from Apple following an organised feminist mobbing. The reason was a paragraph taken out of context from his book Chaos Monkeys that “Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit”. Apparently, this remark would make workers at Apple feel ‘unsafe’ – it seems to me that their reaction may back up his claim at least in respect of those people who were made to feel ‘unsafe’. For a more detailed account of this affair see here.
The greater male variability hypothesis (GMVH) is an idea that there there are more idiots and geniuses among men than women. Agree or disagree with the hypothesis it has a worthy lineage and it merits free discussion. However, it is a major threat to the world view of social constructivists who believe that all differences between men and women are explained by an invisible social structure – the patriarchy. Evidence for greater male variability is found in a wide range of species from wasps to orangutans. Numerous studies point to greater variability among men and boys, in brain weight, 60 metre sprint times and reading and mathematics scores. Perhaps this, rather than social factors, accounts for the finding of more men than women not only among Nobel laureates and chess champions but also among suicide victims and rough sleepers. You can agree or disagree, but it is surely the hypothesis is worthy of investigation and discussion. So when Ted Hill (Professor of mathematics at Georgia Tech) and Sergei Tabachnikov, a Professor of Mathematics at Pennsylvania State University tried to publish a mathematical paper on this subject you might expect it to be judged purely on its scientific merits. Initially, that is just what occurred and paper was accepted for publication in a prestigious mathematics journal and was being typeset in India when Women In Mathematics (WIM) got to hear of it. Subsequently, the paper had to be rescinded not because of any scientific objections but fear of the reaction that might be aroused. Sergie, in response to online pressure, withdrew his involvement but Ted Hill who was now retired and an emeritus professor bravely persevered and the paper was then accepted by the New York Journal of Mathematics. However, again in response to pressure from activists and denigration of the peer reviewer on social media, the paper vanished. Please note the paper was not retracted because of scientific faults but ‘disappeared’ in response to pressure from the radical activists operating behind the scenes. Civil discussion of controversial ideas is not allowed, it seems.
Larry summers was an academic economist, former chief economist at the World Bank and president of Harvard University.
He aroused the ire of the feminist lobby when asked to speculate on the reasons for lower female representation in some areas – engineering for example. As well as social factors, he mentioned the greater male variability hypothesis. That is, even though average ability is the same a small difference in standard deviation (a measure of spread) could lead to more male idiots and geniuses. Despite support from Steven Pinker and others, feminist outrage was such that he was eventually forced to resign in 2006.
Google employee James Damore, was invited to speculate on the reasons for differences in male and female representation in parts of Google and how to make the organisation more inclusive. He wrote an internal memo that suggested that Google might be an ideological echo chamber and that although discrimination exists it is extreme to attribute all disparities to oppression (by the ‘patriarchy’ for example). He suggested that differences might simply reflect different choices men and women make. His arguments were backed up by academic references and while that doesn’t make them true it does make them defensible. Despite this academic underpinning, his memo caused outrage among the feminist mob and he was remotely sacked.
Laura Bates even included James Damore in her toxic little book Men Who Hate Women even though there is no evidence at all that James was motivated by hatred of women. Kate Bevan made the false claim that Damore had suggested that his female colleagues were not good enough for the job see here.
You can find the full memo here – read it. Whatever your viewpoint, agree or disagree with him, you have nothing to fear.
This case is a little more nuanced but I still do not think he deserved to lose his job at CERN at the behest of the usual outrage mob. Strumia’s crime was a presentation he made at a CERN gender diversity workshop in 2018. He produced data that challenged the belief that women face discrimination in hiring for science positions.His produced data that appeared to show that female academics were being hired with lower numbers of citations than their male peers. In fact, there is plenty of other data that backs up his position. For example,
Where he went wrong was bringing particulars of his own case up in a public meeting and naming the person who was appointed ahead of him Anna Cerasole and the person he held responsible for that appointment Silvia Penati. He also referred to Silvia Penati as ‘commissar’ with all the overtones that has.That was a mistake and I think owed them an apology – though no more than that.
For more details of his ‘thought crimes’ I recommend David Collins’ account in Illustrated Empathy gap that you can find here and an account in Quillette that you can find here and an article in Quillette that you find here.
What all of these cases have in common is that fragile feminist egos were hurt by the suggestion that differences in representation may not be entirely explained by an imaginary force ‘patriarchal oppression’. Challenging that piece of orthodox feminist liturgy will very likely cost you your reputation and your job. In an earlier post, (here) I speculated (as others have done) what toxic femininity might look like. While males may be more physically aggressive female aggression takes the form of spreading rumours, social exclusion and reputation destruction. It seems to me that the cases above are illustrations of this problem.