Phyllis Schlafly

Despite five weeks of public mea culpas by Harvard President Lawrence Summers, what one Harvard professor called "a firestorm" continues to percolate on Ivy League campuses and in the national media.

A Harvard Crimson poll reported that 52 percent of Harvard professors now disapprove of Summers, and the presidents of Princeton, Stanford and MIT have chimed in with op-ed criticisms.

Now that Summers has released the text of his Jan. 14 speech, we can see that he presented three rational hypotheses to explain why there are fewer women than men in science and engineering academia:

  1. "The high-powered job hypothesis" (the concept that women voluntarily reject the 80-hour week and job intensity that top careers require.
  2. "Different availability of aptitude at the high end."
  3. "Different socialization and patterns of discrimination" (the favorite feminist explanation for all sex differences).

The outburst by feminist professors simply confirms the stereotype that not only are they too emotional to handle intellectual or scientific debate, but that they seek to forbid any research that might produce facts they don't want the public to know.

When MIT Professor Nancy Hopkins rushed from the room, claiming her "heart was pounding" and her "breath was shallow," she reminded us of Miss Pittipat Hamilton in "Gone With the Wind" calling for her smelling salts before she swooned.

We expect more willingness to discuss unpopular views from female professors who want to be taken seriously.

Perhaps it's a coincidence, but the national media have climbed on this gender controversy to help market the latest feminist assault against homemakers, Judith Warner's "Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety." She calls "the general culture of motherhood in America oppressive" and asserts that women are locked into a "cult" that worships the goddess of perfect motherhood.

Forty years ago, Betty Friedan's book "The Feminine Mystique" appealed to the pampered suburban housewife by claiming she suffered from "the problem that has no name."

Warner tries to initiate a similar movement by labeling women's plight the "mommy mystique" or, inelegantly, "this mess."

Whereas Friedan's book initiated a drive to move mothers out of the home, Warner's book hopes to start a drive for the taxpayers to help women living "Mommy Track lives" to "get a life of their own."

Both books are a tiresome litany of complaints about life's daily challenges in the lifestyles that women have freely chosen.

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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