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  1. I think there are a number of factors at play here, actually — which is no surprise, since humans are a mentally complex species. First, those in power in a culture like to hear stories which justify and reflect back their power. This is the essence, in fact, of what Durkheim discusses in his analyses of religious thought within a culture, roughly paraphrased: religious totemization of Man allows the community (ruled and defined primarily by men) to create and worship itself, and justifies a collective effervescence that always places Man in the category of sacred object which must command respect and obligation.

    Consequently the society’s totemic objects and symbols (including Man, monotheistic religion, and in our culture’s case, the iconic “Science”) end up containing the society’s sacred energy, invested via the society’s rituals. It is through this paradigm that the audience reaches its expected emotional catharsis: Science is a societal allegory which, as one of society’s totemic concepts, allows the audience (and through it, society) to justify and worship itself.

    In our society “Man” is defined as powerful, active, possessive; “Woman” is oppositionally and automatically defined as “owned” (through social rituals such as marriage, etc.), passive, and weaker. Any scientific theory, therefore, that defines the males as strong, controlling, and active upon the passive, weaker, possessed females will be more popular than the alternative. This isn’t usually consciously deliberate — it just “makes more sense,” or “feels more right,” or is believed because it was delivered by a man.

    Does that help any? :)

  2. A very interesting little analysis of this piece. Cogently argued indeed.

    Of course, this now brings me to a question: often, in cases where a specific theory is espoused, and ‘non-critical data’ is thrown out, it’s because there’s some opinion or goal at stake. What I wonder if, what were the researchers attempting to gain/prove by this? Such as, when you’ve got researchers trying to downplay the prominence, importance, and power of women in other cultures, because you’re towing the party line of patriarchal superiority.

    Or is it wrong to assume that there’s always an overt ulterior motive? Could it just be that they assumed one specific concept was right, because it was the first thing they thought of? What is your opinion on why they would be doing this?

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