Thursday, February 23, 2006

Stephanie Has a Larry Summers Moment

(Originally posted last February; re-posted in honor of Mr. Summers' departure from Harvard.)

Last night while taking a bath, gender studies theorist Stephanie Hayes (Stanford 2024) found herself agreeing with Larry Summers. Examining the two helicopters which have joined Mr. Whale, the dawfin, the boat, and the ducks as her bathtub toys, she turned to me, held out the copters, and said, quite firmly:

"Mama helicopter, baby helicopter."

"Stephanie," I chided. "Helicopters have no gender roles, other than the identities imposed on them by our patriarchal culture. That the larger helicopter is of the female sex does not automatically make her a mother."

She frowned, and had the mama helicopter feed the baby helicopter for a moment. Then an alternative dichotomization of family roles occurred to her.

"Mama helicopter, daddy helicopter!"

"No, Stephanie. All helicopters are equal, except for the Apache AH-64, which is quite a bird. They do not divide their nurturing duties in accordance with male supremacist norms oriented around cultural suppression of women's sexual being. Accordingly, 'mama' and 'daddy' are inappropriate, and indeed offensive, terms."

Unable to refute the self-evident logic of this (and irritated at my racist use of 'Apache' and 'oriented'), she had the helicopters visit Mr. Whale for a few moments while I rinsed the shampoo out of her hair. Finally, she made a multigenerational leap of family dynamics.

"Nona helicopter, Stephanie helicopter!" she crowed triumphantly, and the Nona helicopter brought the Stephanie helicopter presents and food.

And thus we see the pernicious effects of the patriarchy. Female helicopters are forever doomed to subordinate themselves to males, bear young, and feed the offspring of subsequent generations. My best efforts at gender neutralization have failed. If she wants a Nona helicopter, a Nona helicopter she shall have.


emily1 said...

and this proves, of course, that women are out-numbered in the sciences because they are biologically unable to compete.

Robert said...

You broke the code!

Now get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich, please.