Scott Alexander's Rebuttal to Sexism Theory of Occupational Gender Difference


I recently read this article here:
and personally I found it very persuasive, and the evidence against the theory that sexism is the root cause of the lack of women in tech extremely strong, if not damning.

Here’s a choice excerpt:

As the feminist movement gradually took hold, women conquered one of these fields after another. 51% of law students are now female. So are 49.8% of medical students, 45% of math majors, 60% of linguistics majors, 60% of journalism majors, 75% of psychology majors, and 60% of biology postdocs. Yet for some reason, engineering remains only about 20% female.

And everyone says “Aha! I bet it’s because of negative stereotypes!”

This makes no sense. There were negative stereotypes about everything! Somebody has to explain why the equal and greater negative stereotypes against women in law, medicine, etc were completely powerless, yet for some reason the negative stereotypes in engineering were the ones that took hold and prevented women from succeeding there.

And if your answer is just going to be that apparently the negative stereotypes in engineering were stronger than the negative stereotypes about everything else, why would that be? Put yourself in the shoes of our Victorian sexist, trying to maintain his male privilege. He thinks to himself “Well, I suppose I could tolerate women doctors saving my life. And if I had to, I would accept women going into math and learning the secrets of the Universe itself. I’m even sort of okay with women going into journalism and crafting the narratives that shape our world. But women building bridges? NO MERE FEMALE COULD EVER DO SUCH A THING!” Really? This is the best explanation the world can come up with? Doesn’t anyone have at least a little bit of curiousity about this?

Thoughts, opinions, or rebuttals? I genuinely want to see if there’s a solid counterargument to the points he’s raised throughout the article.


“Could it be that some stigmas are stronger than others? No that would be silly. Anyway, here’s why women aren’t in computer science because of their hormones”

(I skimmed the article because I’m in a rush let me meme in piece)


SSC is always a good read.


You know I can’t let you do that.

This is literally what the research points to, according to the studies cited within the article.
Why else would women with ‘congenital adrenal hyperplasia’, a condition that gives them a more typically-male hormone balance, be the singular group of women who don’t display the same rates of aversion to the fields in question? At this point your position looks like nothing better than stupid, blind faith in absolute equality.

@StrangeSignal @Flavia
Defend your position, cowards!


most women want a man to provide for them , hence are less competitive in the labour market


poast evidence or get out my thread. I don’t need retard derailment services at the moment.


his “rebuttal” of it being because of sexism is literally none existent.
it consists of “no that’s silly”, then some studies showing that the people who actually did succeed didn’t think there were negative stereotypes, despite them not being the group that can answer that, not being sociologists at all and also obviously not having been negatively affected enough to discourage them from their goals.

i’m only reading section IV because it’s the only section i care about

i love the bit in the middle though where he rants about men not getting enough jobs in whatever field

also the bit where he goes on about the object thing distinction and then just kind of… speculates on what fields he thinks fits where with literally 0 academic justification for any of the decisions he makes

(I love how he cites an unfinished paper, by the way. I know he’s just trying to get around paywalls but there’s a certain beauty to the fact that his evidence hasn’t even been published yet)


His rebuttal is the question why many other fields that had rampant sexism in the past that completely barred women to entry are not very equal, and to point out that the characteristics of those fields just so happen to almost perfectly line up with the “interest” theory. Why would systems-based fields of work magically retain sexism that apparently keeps women from joining them when so many other fields didn’t? Do you really need “academic justification” to understand why psychiatry and pediatrics are professions that involve interacting with people more-so than surgery?

Do you have any response other than “haha look he pointed out some fields men don’t have jobs”, “this study [without saying which] wasn’t written by sociologists”, or “look he cited something in a way that doesn’t send readers to a paywall- ha what a loser”? All of these are vapid form-over-substance attacks, and you should know that.

Childish and kind of pathetic, given the entire thing builds upon itself. I mean I guess I shouldn’t have expected an actual response out of you, since almost every post you make that isn’t directed at some mentally ill easy-target retard seems to always be evasive and half-baked. I don’t want to be vicious like this but it’s the only way I know how to respond to bad faith actors. I’d rather you not respond at all if you aren’t going to take the time to approach the subject at hand with dignity and diligence, instead of petty, trite quips masked with an air of “I’m just too above this”.


I’m not reading it because I don’t care, Ricky.

it was written by psychologists
and it’s the one about hormone imbalances

that was more to do with "this piece of work which he is showing us hasn’t been published and verified in a trusted journal"
the paper later was published but we don’t actually know what changed

you asked for my opinions anyway, in your opening post
those were the things I thought about it

I mean, I’m much more likely to trust a specialist in psychology’s opinion on what this psychological concept affects than someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about


You’re just injuring your own reputation at this point. If you don’t care, don’t engage. Going half-way and then pulling out when pressed makes you look pathetic on so many levels. You claim to “not care”, yet you deeply care about this subject given your posting history and the vehement disagreement with the content of this article when presented in many other circumstances. Therefore I can only believe that you’re lying- you do care, but you just can’t muster the intellectual resources to debate, or perhaps don’t care about the scientific coherence of your own position over the amount of emotional investment you’ve put into it. Either way you end up coming off as having the character of someone who doesn’t deserve to have time wasted talking to, regardless of the subject.

So which field of specialty do you think is most well suited to understand the affects of hormone imbalances on human behavior? Because generally psychologists handle medicine with regards to behavior, hence why they prescribe anti-depressants and the like.

Scott Alexander is a practicing psychologist with an MD.


fucking went ham on @bandy


(Not pushing stereotypes or anything like that this is based on a Scientific Study, and this is on average and of course there are crossing over between men and women)
There are biological differences between men and women. (included a study below)
The reason why 60% of Linguistic Majors, 60% of Journalism Majors, and 75% of Psychology Majors are female are routed in biological differences. Women on average tend to be more caring and more emotional. This the reason why most women go into the fields above, because it suits their biological needs. The reason why not many women go into Tech Fields is because they are not attracted to those fields. The reason it is 100% is because this is just on average and there is crossing over between men and women.
Final point if it is just Sexism point me to specific examples of how tech companies have discriminated against women.


I don’t think any of that contradicts the argument that social stereotypes of women do exist and that these influence women’s career path decisions, nor does it present any argument against the belief that these stereotypes should be deconstructed and all students should be encouraged to think critically about what kind of life they want and why they want it. This is the most important point: negative stereotypes clearly exist, they suck and we should try and stop them limiting the potential of young people to succeed.

Anyway I think the author takes the idea of ‘personal interests’ in the wrong light. How do these interests manifest themselves? Are they a substantive product of simply a being a woman, or are they broad tendencies conditioned by cultural and structural ideas and values? I would lean toward the latter argument, and don’t think the author provides any evidence to justify the former.


This is biological reductionism. If women’s degree choices are biologically ingrained in their DNA then why did the number of female computer science majors in the USA fall from 37% in 1983 to under 15% in 2010? (source) Genetic evolution doesn’t change that drastically in under 30 years, it’s much more likely that social pressures and cultural attitudes did.


Nothing here actually refutes what he is saying because no one who believes in biological reasons for differences in interests between the sexes will say the amount of each sex in certain fields is determined entirely by biological differences. The idea that they do is a complete strawman.


According to the study you just provided 85% of Bachelors earned in Health Professions are women. That leaves 15% for men. It is the same gap as Computer Science except reverse. Is it sexism and discrimination keeping men from those fields and if so why are we not talking about that too? There are biological differences why men don’t want to go into that field and same for women. Again I say there is crossing over in each. Now I am not saying that is all biology some may be culture, but in that 30 years Women’s rights in the work place has drastically improved. (Source)
Point me to where the specific examples of sexism is. Which specific institutions/businesses are not allowing women into tech fields. Then let’s go write a petition to those institutions/businesses to stop them.


He implied that he believed that, even going so far as to say that the reason for deviations from the norm in data is because these genetic tendencies are just broad averages. His post didn’t consider cultural and social pressures at all. I know most sane people don’t believe in rigid biological reductionist methods in analysing social behaviours, but some idiots on the internet do.

I am merely trying to get biblos to consider the tremendous influence of social pressures and environmental factors in shaping a woman’s behaviour and life choices.

Perhaps. I’m sure many men do not consider a nursing role because that is a ‘woman’s job’, or would not consider becoming a dietitian because ‘men don’t need to diet’ or whatever. Obviously cultural stereotypes and standards, patriarchal ones, play a role when people consider the career path.

This is not the argument made, the source in the OP quite clearly rules out the possibility of this being a factor. You aren’t really considering anyone else’s argument but your own, and I doubt you have even read the source in the OP.

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Why do you think they are as they are?

How is this sexism?


Not a bad demonstration of Beauvoir’s woman-as-signified-other.


It’s an example of a social pressure that could explain the gender gap in career choices. Boys and girls grow up with constant pressure to conform to certain standards and behave in certain ways; this much is undeniable, and it’s easy to see a clear link between those standards and the gender gap in career choices: