Saturday, January 14, 2006

sometimes one just has to shake one's head...

Washington Times reports:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy belongs to a social club for Harvard students and alumni that was evicted from campus nearly 20 years ago after refusing to allow female members...
Judge Alito's "affiliation with an organization that fought the admission of women into Princeton calls into question his appreciation for the need for full equality in this country," Mr. Kennedy said Wednesday.

Kennedy spokeswoman Laura Capps said there is "absolutely no comparison" between the Owl Club, a social group, and an organized effort to "exclude women from getting an education" at Princeton.

"It's a social club. It's like a fraternity," she said. "He has been fighting to break down barriers for decades."

This Quaker's take is that there is no reason for social clubs to erect barriers along sex lines. Excluding women (or men) from a club or a function or a conference really says that there is something about women (or men) that makes them unsuitable for the company of the other sex in that context or for some activity that the other sex wants to engage in.

And if that's the case what is the activity in which the one sex wants to engage that is so unsuitable for the other that a rule, rather than natural inclination or lack ability, is enough to preserve the integrity of that activity? Perhaps the desire to exclude the other sex is an indication that it's really an unsuitable pursuit for either sex.

Excluding either sex from any activity by rule only proves that those who want the rule believe in sex stereotypes that do damage to the other sex and to their own understanding of themselves. People who harbor misconceptions about the other sex also harbor misconceptions about their own. One cannot believe foolish ideas about the opposite sex without believing in foolish ideas about their own.

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