I am suspicious of arguments that rest on the author’s personal observations of cultural change over time. It involves trying to describe shifting mores that have only been observed by someone who has himself changed over the period. There are things I think that are true of, say, the 1990s that are not true now, but how do I separate changes in society over time from changes in myself over time? I can only ever have observed the 1990s as a teenager and I can only ever observe the 2010s as a 30-something year old. What if my interpretations of events are because of who I was and not what those events were?
Morrissey at least asked “has the world changed or have I changed.”
I mean, we have no way of understanding the world that doesn’t involve pooling our subjective interpretations together, but maybe I like arguments better if they acknowledge better how dependent they are on assuming highly personalised experiences can be universalised. (Lord don’t let me be foolish enough to argue for the supremacy of abstract data above all else.)
Warning signs: “People X these days…”; “People don’t X anymore…”
Perhaps a lot of The Way We X Now is just The Way You X Now Because You’re Older And Look At The World Differently.
For the best part of a century from 1788 to 1868 a total of 157,000 prisoners were sent from Britain to Australia. Only 25,000 were women. By 1833 male convicts accounted for 80 per cent of the recorded east Australian population. Among convicts the ratio of men to women was 8 to 1. Over time the ratio in the general population settled down to 3 to 1.
In the parts of Australia that had the highest male to female ratios, women were the most likely to get married, the least likely to be in paid work and the least likely to work in high paying occupations.
Grosjean and Khattar’s shocking finding is that those differences persist today. They’ve digitised maps in each of the state libraries to match up the results of Australia’s first censuses with the results of the latest census broken down by postcode.
Women in those postcodes today are less likely to work in high-status high-paid occupations. As they put it: “Historical gender imbalance still explains 5 to 10 per cent of the variation in the glass ceiling effect.”
Peter Martin, “It’s reigning men. How our convict past explains our glass ceiling,” The Age, June 27, 2014
Interestingly, the authors of the paper point out that Australian gender-ratios in the 19th century matched those of the American west, which I’ve always figured was more progressive on gender than other parts of the country. However, that’s mainly in regard to political representation and participation, something it shares in common with Australia. Here’s some info on the current pay gap by US state, but I’d say you’d need much finer data to draw useful conclusions — Nevada, for instance, has the third smallest gap while Wyoming has the largest. (I guess this is me admitting that my five minutes of Googling are vastly inferior to two trained economists’ highly rigorous statistical analysis.)
Anyways, welcome to prison island. The original Oz.
Oh, one more thing. Here are some out of context quotes from the paper:
Conservative gender attitudes are like the peacock’s tail. Like the male peacock with the big tail, which is so attractive to the female but makes him unable to run away from predators, the man who defends conservative gender roles may still be attractive to the woman but he is not happier as a result.
And, while we’re on tails:
Adopting cultural norms is faster than growing a tail, easier, and cheaper.
hndrk said: Whoa whoa whoa whoa WHOA! Charli XCX like "a less accomplished version" of Sky Ferreira!?? *emergency brake noise* (Just no.) ;)
I mean, this just doesn’t seem like it should be controversial to me! OK, Exhibit A: “Everything is Embarrassing.” Exhibit B: “You’re Not the One.” Exhibit C: “Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay).”
The defense rests. ;)
Hollywood, that is to say, Los Angeles, is not, of course, a city, and its sinister forces are very oblique. There’s no public transportation system whatever, so the people drive around as though they were living in Des Moines, and it has all the rest of the disadvantages of a small town, only filled with displaced persons. On the other hand, life there has an engaging surrealist quality, an almost exciting grotesqueness.
The cultural scene there in general is sped up, sort of concentrated. Southern California is a mecca for all manner of freakishness, beginning on the most middle-class level — hot-dog stands in the shape of a hot dog. If you go there, you’ll immediately see a carnival, Disneyland aspect that is different from any other place in America.
There were a lot of people in the audience who were there, and it was their childhood, and they have a very distinct viewpoint on what was going on. And it has been cemented by the representation of the late ’60s as this revolutionary moment, of cultural upheaval, whatever the cliche. My basic statement was there were a lot of people who were adults when this happened, and they had their own lives, also. It’s just like the idea that as the hippies come along, “Oh, Don’s going to be left behind.” Well, you can read Playboy Magazine and you can see that a guy Don’s age in a suit and a tie is still at the top of the heap in 1969. It’s not like they were supplanted by people in bell bottoms and sandals. It really was a kind of acknowledgement of the fact that the way history has been metabolized is very different than the way it was.