having read the whole thread I thought I'd better go back to the OP and see what he actually asked:
Originally posted by Ghost147
This is a question from the ignorant (aka me). Because of the past hundreds upon hundreds of years of neglect and abuse of women, forcing them into a
state in which not to think freely, and a position in which they were (and sometimes still are) unable to attend schooling. Would this genetically
make women less intelligent than men?
Okay, I hope you don't mind if I challenge a couple of statements you made.
First of all, while there is no doubt that women have been neglected
and abused and in some places still are (perhaps even more repressively than in the past), I don't agree that this forces them into a state in which
they cannot/are not able to think freely. (Your own phrase -- "forcing them into a state in which not to think freely" is a little ambiguous but I
hope I've taken your meaning.)
Physical and even mental oppression do not mean that the person is not able to think
freely. Acting upon or voicing those thoughts -- yes, that
is true enough. But I believe that when a person is in an oppressed or difficult situation, s/he is more likely to resort to escape via thoughts than
when things are going well. However, that's only my belief and I might be wrong; I can only speak from personal experience really. Even so, it does
seem to make sense to me that if women and girls in some cultures were repressed and restricted in what they could or say, then they would more than
likely build survival mechanisms by thought processes.
You mentioned "unable to attend schooling". Again, that has been and shamefully, still is the case in some parts of the world. But that's
schooling, revolving around literacy, numeracy and learning, in many cases in the past and still now (in feminine-repressive societies)
based upon male-oriented concepts of what is "needful" by way of formal education. There is no way that the men in such societies wanted women and
girls to stop learning altogether, for if they did, who would learn the recipes for doing the cooking? Who would do the washing so clothes were clean,
who would spin wool and other fibres and make and repair clothes, who would do the myriad tasks of child-rearing, who would conduct the midwifing? Who
would hold and pass on the secrets for making herbal medicines and other cures?
In even the most repressive societies, women have always passed on a tremendous amount of knowledge to their daughters, and as all this had to be done
purely by direct instruction and memory, often with no recourse to reading from books, women must have developed and continue to have a high level of
ability to learn, retain information and pass it on, with the only key resource being their own minds. I would expect that although there have not
been so many women as men who have become famous as inventors, artists or scholars, their own day-to-day life required them to be inventive, artistic
and scholarly -- but not from a perspective that most men ever recognized. Their achievements were not seen as such and were simply taken for
I am not writing this to put men down. It's just that I feel the basic assumptions in the OP's question are perhaps not a true reflection of the
historical or present circumstances of many women (vis a vis
mental development) or of how they have always coped with them. However, I am not
"knocking" the OP, just presenting my own point of view.
Just as an aside, I feel that while intelligence may have genetic components (and research with twins tends to support that concept), one of the
factors in demonstrating intelligence is expectation. I told my daughter that she can achieve anything she wants to. I tell my students (of whom
around 75% are post-high-school-grad women) the same thing. My expectations for her and them are not limited by their gender. I just consider how I
would want to be treated in terms of expectations if I were a woman. It makes sense to me, anyway.