A letter for Emily

Hi everybody, this letter is mainly for Emily, the last caller on the show titled “The Male Automotive Ego”. Staff, if you feel it compelling enough, please share with her.

Dear Emily,
Though I don’t have a succinct answer to your weighty question, I wanted to offer you some encouragement. I’m a woman going on 30 next year, and I, too, am somewhat interested in technical fields, though I don’t claim to be an expert by any means. You may feel that you bruised your friend, Bob’s ego, but you could have also done him a bit of a favor if the situation had been a little different. For example, if he intended to diagnose the problem himself, you may have given him a good place to start looking. I wish to encourage you not to hide what you know, or even what you think you may know, simply to be polite, or because you’re afraid of someone’s ego. Certainly be polite, as you were, and if you’re not sure, say so, but never be afraid to speak your mind. In school, I was often told by peers, and even a teacher’s aide that talking about geometry, sound equipment or cars “won’t get you a date”. I didn’t care, and I kept learning afterall. I turned out alright, and so will you. My advice is that if your intelligence turns off a potential date, then he’s not for you anyway. I think you may find the answer you were looking for from The Representation Project. http://therepresentationproject.org/ This is a group that seeks to challenge media stereotypes of both women and men alike, with the aim of allowing both sexes to be who they really are instead of trying to fit into society’s “box” for them. I know in my heart that not all men are power-hungry, tool-wielding ego-freeks, and not all women are pretty buble-heads who stick to their traditional fields. Take care and best of luck in whatever you do.

That call could have been years/decades ago…

Stereotypes exist for a reason.

Yes, stereotypes exist for a reason - because people create and perpetuate them. Without any bad intent, it is easy to perpetuate harmful stereotypes because they conform to one’s own experience. But - again, I am assuming no malicious intent - it is wrong to suggest to a woman that a stereotype will never change and she should change her behavior in order to conform to the status quo. I know that Tom and Ray are not psychologists or counselors, but anyone who calls in stating they have an interest in mechanics should not be discouraged from pursuing that and sharing that knowledge. This should be a learning experience for Tom and Ray - who are awesome!, not Emily - who is also awesome!

“Stereotypes exist for a reason.”

… and that reason is insensitivity and a callous attitude.

"Stereotypes exist for a reason."

… and that reason is insensitivity and a callous attitude.

You left out stupidity.

My wife was in a second semester calculus class and was having difficulty with one of the assigned problems. When she went to see the prof, he told her that women couldn’t do mathematics and there was no use giving her a hint as to how to do the problem. This was before I knew her. She told me about this when we were going together. I knew the prof that told her this and I figured he had assigned a problem that he couldn’t do himself. At any rate, I paid the tuition for the future Mrs. Triedaq to take math courses–she took second and third term calculus, linear algebra and statistics and did well in all the courses. The down side is that after she showed that she could do mathematics, I have nothing I can hold over her head to show how much smarter I am.

well triedaq, you picked her and she picked you… nuff said?

One of the main reasons for stereotyping is laziness! Just pigeonhole those you don’t like or don’t trust.

Another reason is insecurity. It gives a false sense of security that you are better than the other guy.

Politicians do it all the time in denigrating their opponents.

That reminds me of a catankerouss physics professor who tried to enforce uniformity on the class by specifying exactly the size and shape of the papers to be handed in, etc.

I went to him with a problem I could not solve since I did not understand what he wanted. He told me sternly: Why don’t you come to me with a “clear cut problem”? I answered that: “If the problem was clear cut, I would solve it myself!”

I still passed the course, but hurt his “infallible” reputation.

One of the main reasons for stereotyping is laziness! Just pigeonhole those you don't like or don't trust.

Laziness?? Maybe. I think it’s just bigotry. And most bigotry comes from just plain stupidity.

Politicians do it all the time in denigrating their opponents.

Or people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. They are MASTERS at it.

Stereotypes in and of themselves are not bad. Assuming that a group of teenagers in gang colors on a deserted street might be dangerous is a prudent assumption. Using statistical generalities is what keeps us alive. It’s the misapplication of those generalities to specific individuals that is wrong.

Quote Jesse Jackson:

There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.... After all we have been through. Just to think we can't walk down our own streets, how humiliating.

You holier-than-thou types can pontificate all you want. It’s just human nature.

@insightful, one stupid quote from one idiot doesn’t prove anything. All you’ve proven is that anyone can be a bigot, regardless of their own ethnicity, and most people already know that. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of The Jeffersons already knew that.