Sunday, January 29, 2006

larry summers is me?

I've avoided taking the IATs in the past because, like most well-meaning people, I can realize that I am a product of a biased society with biases of my own without wanting to be straight-out told that I am that way. So I started slow, with the Judaism test and the Gender-Science test.

The odds that I'm secretly self-hating seemed slim to me. Turns out I was right: I love my people -- to such a degree in fact that I was really frazzled associating the bad words like "destroy" with them. In the end, the test told me I have a strong preference toward my own kind. Interesting.

The Gender-Science test however threw me for a loop. It tests how strongly you believe, as the president of Harvard does (or did, before the public exorcism,) that science is manly and liberal arts are girly. I myself am a liberal artsy girl who never excelled at math and only sporadically enjoyed science. BUT I grew up among the most high-achieving math and sciency girls you'll ever meet. Numbers came naturally to them. One's in an MD-PHD program, one's in med school, one majored in applied math although she went on to law school, one's doing public health in Ethiopia. At college, several of my female friends were also comp sci or math majors, and they're all either in grad school currently or planning to be.

Likewise! I know plenty of male film & english majors. In fact I'm shacked up with one.

So what does it mean for the world if even I, with this background, can be confronted with a whopping STRONG ASSOCIATION with [men and science] and [women and liberal arts]? I despair.

Interestingly, I had a really hard time associating "Latin" with women or with liberal arts. I kept getting that one wrong. Latin is apparently, in my head, a male language. I blame President Bartlet.


rabi said...

my results said something like, "no strong association either way." which seems like a fairly accurate representation of what I believe my belief to be. I didn't try any of the others though; they seem much scarier.

ester said...

the women in science one? really? but you ARE a woman in science.

that's like how i took the women-family, men-careers test and discovered i have a small but noticeable men-careers association. my mom has *always* worked and i intend to do the same. it's very upsetting. although i maintain that it's not so much that i have trouble associating women with careers as that i have trouble associating men with doing things in the home. (maybe because my dad wasn't big on housework.)