Violin Gender

September 13, 2005 at 06:38 AM · I was recently told that a violin's gender is determined by whether a whole piece or 2 half pieces of wood was used for the back. Is that true? If so, which is which?

Replies (73)

September 13, 2005 at 08:50 AM · What are you talking about?!?!!?

September 13, 2005 at 08:53 AM · Violins have "genders" - and this is due to whether the tone sounds more masculine or femenine. This is based purely on the tone that it produces, and not how many pieces the back is made of. Personally, I like my one-piece backs, but i'm not backist (I think I once saw a one piece back cello - amazing. had such a lovely tone).

September 13, 2005 at 09:30 AM · Hi,

Personally - I think this is B.S., but the gender image comes from the voice of the violin and a comparison with the human voice, where a violin with a brighter tone is often refered to as soprano-ey. There is also the shape of the instrument as demonstrated well in that 1930's photograph. However, I have never heard about the back thing.

Personally though, I think all this stuff is crap - a fiddle is a fiddle (or a violin is a violin for the P.C.)


September 13, 2005 at 11:07 AM · A violin does not reproduce and therefore does not need a gender. Seesh.

And.....I have heard a man sing contra alto just as I have heard a woman sing tenor parts. So that voicing stuff is sexist.

This is just another fine example of how sexism is permitted in our society and embraced by people who believe it.

September 13, 2005 at 11:38 AM · I thought I could always tell the gender of a player on the radio by listening to tone...

September 13, 2005 at 12:50 PM · Hi,



September 13, 2005 at 12:13 PM · Sarah,

It was just something I heard about during our orchestra rehearsal break, and wanted to confirm the "myth". All of sudden, I am accused of being one of those "sexist" in the society that has been a scape-goat for every problem (society gets blamed for everything).

You need to loosen up a bit. I am not here to attack you or your believe/non-believe, or anyone else. It was just a silly question.

September 13, 2005 at 12:26 PM · I've heard that you can tell if you look really closely under its belly.

However, the instrument might not appreciate the scrutiny. I'd recommend just asking it.

September 13, 2005 at 01:37 PM · I asked my violin what it's gender was and it says it's a man trapped inside a woman's body. I simply can't afford corrective surgery at this point - can anyone recommend a luthier willing to do pro-bono work???

September 13, 2005 at 01:50 PM · So Eric, what surgery is required? I'm sure there's a place or two in Beverly Hills that could help...

September 13, 2005 at 02:02 PM · Well I keep starting to type a witty response and then remember there's younger folks among the crowd. So I guess I'll just let it lie heheh.

September 13, 2005 at 03:04 PM · William - I think she was more referring to me with those sexist remarks.

Sarah - I hardly think that saying a violin sounds feminine or masculine is hardly being sexist - as I am not saying whether I prefer one over the other.

There have been discussions on this website asking whether people name their violins. Some have male names, some have female names. Some choose their name based on the tone, some because of looks, some because of the maker, some because of personal preference.

As you have said, a male can sing a female part, and a female can sing a males part. It is just like this with violins. "Feminine" violins can produce a "masculine" sound, and vice versa.

Yes, it is a load of bollocks, as a violin doesn't have any reproductive organs, but you can still refer to a gender in the type of tone it produces. This is not being sexist in any way (as far as I can see. If you feel otherwise, please e-mail me. Let's try to keep these discussions to Music rather than political movements).

September 13, 2005 at 03:21 PM · My violin is androgynous:)

September 13, 2005 at 04:13 PM · Given your name, I would think your violin also shares your genital predicament heheh.

September 13, 2005 at 04:14 PM · A person just *knows* a violin's gender. Either you have the ability to recognize it or you don't.

I think it's only natural to give human characteristics to an object that we love so much. Everybody has names and genders for their cars - so why shouldn't we have names and genders for our instruments?

September 13, 2005 at 04:14 PM · Ok, I may have over-reacted....

I wasn't calling anyone on this site specifically a sexist. I was referring to the line of thinking that was suggesting the need to label inanimate objects male or female for the sake of argument, based upon it's values. This implies the use of stereotypes to determine said values as feminine or masculine and I rather don't like being put in a box because of my uterus. :)

September 13, 2005 at 04:33 PM · "when I have a brand new hairdo

with my eyelashes all in curl,

I float as the clouds on air do,

I enjoy being a girl!"

--just something my violin told me the other day.

September 13, 2005 at 07:22 PM · At least your violin doesn't try to be the boss.

September 13, 2005 at 06:26 PM · Sarah - some tounge in cheek provokement...

Do you consider the majority of non-English languages sexist in that they denote nouns as male or female? ;)

September 13, 2005 at 07:50 PM · It only really bothers me when something is termed feminine as a means of being deragatory or implying a weakness. THe biggest example is to think what a whimpy guy is called by his buddies....he is usually called a 'girly man' or worse.

It does not bother me that something is termed a feminine noun, like in French "La Nationalite" because this does not impress any value judgement upon the 'gender' of the word. It is a means to categorize spelling and grammar.

September 13, 2005 at 08:07 PM · Sarah,

So should we assume that you do not swoon over the governor of California? :-)

September 13, 2005 at 08:08 PM · Um....yeah. He really showed us what he is made of that day.

I could say so much more on that topic, but let it suffice to say I was sorely disappointed at his level of sophistication in the evolutionary progress of man.

September 13, 2005 at 08:32 PM · Edit: haaaa. On second thought, I can't do that to myself. I guess I'm a wuss.

September 13, 2005 at 08:35 PM · But I liked that first response :)

September 13, 2005 at 08:44 PM · Thanks. What "day" are you referring to? I don't follow the governator like I should.

September 13, 2005 at 08:37 PM · When the Governator accused his state legislature of being 'girly men' because they did not support his proposed budget because of the special interest groups they were representing. Here, "girly men" was used as a deragatory term --name calling by a supposed mature adult-- against people whose opinions were different than his own, and therefore incorrect, invalid, and apparently 'feminine'.

September 13, 2005 at 08:50 PM · Ah, I remember that. The thing that hit me was the stupidness of the statement in terms of reality. The specific terms he used are pretty minor to me. Steve Austin was a good governor of Wisconsin though.

September 13, 2005 at 08:52 PM · It was a reference to an old SNL joke, come on... It is insulting to some men to be called a woman, as they are not women and do not want to be called that which they are not. It is insulting to some women to be called manly for the same reasons. It is insulting to humanity to preach for a sexless world where the characteristics that both define and limit each of the sexes, both vital to the race as a whole, are not to be mentioned or used to describe the world around us.

My fingers are insulted that some lifeless piece of black wood is called a fingerboard.

My dog is insulted that some small piece of wood on an instrument it can't even play is called a tail-piece.

All non-English alphabets of the world cry injury at F holes being so named when they also, and in some cases more closely, resemble characters from other scripts.

Sheep are demanding reparations after centuries of having their innards stretched along the length of a box of wood simply so the two leggers can listen to meaningless pitches of varied tone.

The insanity never ends.

September 13, 2005 at 09:06 PM · The thing I like best is peoples demanding reparations for some phenomenon they exist because of. I'm actually quite a feminist and general egalitarian, but I can't resist teasing boneheaded allies.

September 13, 2005 at 09:06 PM · "I was sorely disappointed at his level of sophistication in the evolutionary progress of man."

I notice how Sarah is repulsed by the evolutionary progress of "man" and not the evolutionary progress of "both man and womyn". Who's being sexist now? Seriously, as many crass men that exist, there exist crass women. Particularly in present day American suburbia; a.k.a. "Soccer moms". These types are very agressive as individuals and also as drivers. They also hold a belief that they are entitled to everything their hearts desire. The entitlement factor as I call it harkens back to welfare rats who cheat the system. Shall we call soccer moms upwardly mobile welfare rats? This rule tends to apply slightly less, but not terribly so, to the white suburban man.

Don't take me out of context. Or go ahead and take me out of context. I really don't care.

September 13, 2005 at 09:14 PM · I was using the term "man" in a broad sense the same way scientists do to describe the species that we as humans belong to. I thought context would make that clear.

AS I was referring to a specific person, I didn't feel the need to list the history of jerks on the plannet earth, but yes, there are some rude women as well. I never said there weren't.

September 13, 2005 at 09:23 PM · Jim, can you explain further?

September 13, 2005 at 11:08 PM · With all these arguements going on, now I feel regret posting this question.

September 13, 2005 at 11:22 PM · Sarah, I don't want to get specific because somebody will take it the wrong way. It was weirder in the 80s. I never got slugged for holding a door, but I heard stories. Lots of pent-up...something :)

September 13, 2005 at 11:55 PM · Sarah, there is an inherrent flaw in your line of reasoning. Allow me to explain.

Exhibit A: I was using the term "man" in a broad sense the same way scientists do to describe the species that we as humans belong to. I thought context would make that clear. My friends, this is more than a simple error made by Ms. Benedict. This is a blantant inconsistency in Ms. Benedict's platform. Firstly, she criticizes the use of male and female terms to describe, in a general sense, tones and song projection from a violin. NOW, she uses the man in a general sense, and expects us to lend an ounce of creedence to her argument. We can't do that if she by her own hypocricy contradicts herself by complaining on using general terms when she errs by using a general term herself. Bam. Period. Case closed. End of story.

AS I was referring to a specific person, I didn't feel the need to list the history of jerks on the plannet earth, but yes, there are some rude women as well. I never said there weren't. True enough. You didn't say there were't. But that's a moot point, because your position has been discredited.

William, don't feel bad for starting a harmless post. This is all healthy debate.

September 14, 2005 at 12:06 AM · Sarah, I thought you were pointing the comment exclusively to the male gender.

I'm still flattered to have a door held open for me, and I love returning the favor, too.

September 14, 2005 at 12:05 AM · Look here, Emily Grossperson... Err, nevermind. ;)

September 14, 2005 at 12:17 AM · My last name implies an aversion to men, perhaps stoked by pent up... something.

It's an unfortunate misnomer.

September 14, 2005 at 07:39 AM · Max, are you purposefully trying to misunderstand me?

Your picking up and deliberately misunderstanding the fact "Man" has two meanings...the word for male human as well as a term to describe humanity in general, is your own problem.

But if you had read my posts rather than taking out all your own anger against what you feel is unfair feminist wrath, you would see I did in fact state I believe the use of feminie versus masculine terms of description are only disliked by "MZ Benedict" (your own emphasis)when the feminine counterpoint is used in a derogatory manner.

If I had wanted to say something about men in general (the male human), I would have written it this way: " his level of sophistication in the evolutionary progress of MEN" See the difference? Besides, evolution is not a term to describe daily behavior but rather change over large ammounts of time so that again points to my meaning of 'man' for humanity.

September 14, 2005 at 10:03 AM · Max, what was the point of that virulent (however you spell it) attack on sarah? Perhaps it's you that has too much pent up....xomething

September 14, 2005 at 12:25 PM · Hi,

I will explain. Max's point is simply this: in the end it is the labelling that is wrong regardless of the gender towards which it is directed.

While I still think that a violin is a violin, I don't think that using the imagery of the human voice of something to explain a violin's attributes is sexist if it is not done in derogatory terms. Whether one chooses to abide by such a description or not is another matter.

This is a touchy subject, but I find one question that has always haunted me... Why, if the two sexes are obviously different by nature, is it so wrong to mention differences? And how is that derogatory?


September 14, 2005 at 01:52 PM · Because in the United States we have been trying hard for the past 40 years to breed all common sense out of ourselves and replace it with hyper-sensitive political correctness where everyone is afraid to speak honestly for fear that someone may be offended.

Welcome to the new world order. Fragmented nation under no ones god, with Doubleplus Goodspeak for all.

September 14, 2005 at 02:39 PM · Both Christian and Eric have said it all.

I hold no pent up anger. I am merely pointing out logical fallacies, and watching the results.

September 14, 2005 at 02:37 PM · I don't get what the argument is about.. Sarah there's nothing derogetory (sp?) about saying that violins with higher/brighter tones are feminine.. and darker tones are masculine. To me..It doesn't make a bit of sense to say your violin has gender... but .. I don't see how it's sexist. Women have higher voices men have lower... what's sexist about that? its just a fact. Or do i need to go into the birds n the bees?

September 14, 2005 at 02:27 PM · Never fear, William. The debate will happen whether you facilitate it or not! It's all good clean fun -- better than going out to bars or playing in the street, right? ;)

The problems with gender in the U.S. come from the "women's lib" movement, or really a gender-equality movement. Because an awareness of gender can lead to discrimination, the movement sought to downplay the differences between gender.

However, there's a difference between gender awareness and gender discrimination. There are basic traits that make either men or women more suited as a group for specific tasks, but individuals buck those trends with impunity. A man's large muscles may be better developed than a woman's, while a woman's small muscles are better developed than a man's -- but that doesn't mean that a woman can't plow fields and a man can't do beautiful needlepoint. They're just probably not genetically predispositioned to do so. Like that matters!

There are differences in the way we interact with each other as well. However, it's unclear how much of it is genetic and how much of it is trained. Men tend to be more agressive at pursuing goals, and tend to externalize failure. Women are more cautious, and tend to internalize failure. I'm obviously speaking VERY broadly here (no pun intended ;)). So when a man makes a mistake, his tendency may be to blame the circumstances. When a woman makes a mistake, she may instead blame herself.

None of these differences says a thing about a person's intellectual capacity. That's where societal training comes in, and where the gender equality movement saw the opportunity for improvement. Historically, men have done the hunting, the plowing of the field, the supporting of the family. Women have been the ones to keep the home fires burning -- no less of a task, but perceived as such. The perception became that men did the Important work. Then the perception became that only men COULD do the Important work. Despite the fact that men, women and children alike participated in the industrialization of America, the pay differences, and differences in allowed responsibility in the workplace between men and women still continued the fallacy that Only Men Do Important Work.

In trying to overcome this pervasive fallacy, the gender equality movement decided that in order for women to be considered as Equal, the differences that define the genders must be minimized, disguised, etc. Hence women wearing trousers, burning bras, training themselves to be professionally agressive ("bitchy"). In some respects, this has worked well enough that it's okay again to agree that we have differences. While the equality of opportunity and earnings is not entirely complete, I don't think the changes that have happened in the general mindset can be completely undone.

Anyway, that's enough for me! Gotta get back to Important Work. :)

September 14, 2005 at 02:53 PM · Ungh! Heard that!

September 14, 2005 at 03:48 PM · Eric, are you really trying to say with your posts that gender equality is the opposite of common sense? That it is insanity to be more sensitive to those of us bothered by 1950's gender roles?

Patty, I think your post was very enlightening.

And lastly, I did not mean to imply that likening a bright violin to a woman's voice was sexist. I meant to show a little frustration that all violins cary the same pitches and while there are many colors of tones out there, I wanted to escape the generalization that if your violin was rich, mellow, powerful that it was considered male. Women can carry these traits too. But now that argument is so obscured....

September 14, 2005 at 05:42 PM · Wow. I really had no idea any men still thought women aught to be barefoot and pregnant for the good of the economy.

It is about having a choice. If i choose to work and not have kids, it is my life. If I choose to work and have kids, it is my right. But I promise you, I do not work just so I can live in a bigger house, while I sit back and wish I were a man. I work so I can contribute to society and use the brain God gave me.

September 14, 2005 at 06:14 PM · "Wow. I really had no idea any men still thought women aught to be barefoot and pregnant for the good of the economy."

If you think I think that, then you did not read my writings very closely.

In fact I stated that a person who stays home is at a tax disadvantage. In effect, all are compelled to work--even if this is not healthy for the future of the culture (in other words, you are not raising your children if you are at the office 9 hours a day, commuting from LA to the S.Berns each way...). A man or a woman staying home are penalized equally.

The point is that the structural changes that have occurred--women entering the workforce--have not been done with the "terms and conditions" of the women's movement. Rather, the wholesale entry of white middle class women into the workforce has provided less expensive educated labor at discount prices to corporations.

You may think you work "for the good of the world" or some lofty goal, but if you are at all like me, and you have to put food on the table and pay for a house that is 1400 square feet and 7 times your white-collar professional salary, then you know that it is not merely is structural.

September 14, 2005 at 06:08 PM · America is about money. If you have money, you have choices. What swings between your legs (or not) has nothing to do with it.

Bill's post is dead on accurate. America's economy is essentially slave labor to support a rich, ruling elite and 'freeing' women chiefly accomplished doubling the pool of exploitable labor for said elite.

Do children benefit from having both parents away for 12 hours a day?

Do marriages benefit from having husband and wife spend more time with co-workers than each other and so stressed out that their sex life disappears (see numerous articles about this phenemonen).

For you to twist Bill's post into 'Bill thinks all women should be bare foot and pregnant' shows that you are either as close minded as the people you purport to fight against or in a situation where your choice to work is less a right than a luxury.

I have countless friends who MUST work simply to support the children they get to see for a few hours a night before they go to bed. Kids raised by strangers so that Mom and Dad can go work for a company that will lay them off the instant it is profitable to do so.

How you can see it any other way is beyond me.

September 14, 2005 at 06:18 PM · Wow. So...What sex is my fiddle? Male. His name is Bill. However, his maker's name is William, he goes by Will, and I hear he hates the name Bill. So I may be changing it soon.

Bill has a lovely deep voice and is very responsive. Hmmm...

On sexism etc. etc. etc.: I know my capabilities and don't need anybody to validate me as a woman or womyn or anything else. I love having doors opened for me by men who also have no pc ax to grind and who can't be bothered trying to analyze the gender appropriate actions to take every minute of every day. "Mankind" has always meant all of us, as has "man" in any traditional context. My generation needs to get a grip.

Want to experience real discrimination? Anybody remember the last time someone offered to bring you in to play for free and pay you with a trip through the buffet line, or for "exposure", or because they're sure you play "for the love of it" and should be flattered to be asked? Now THAT'S discrimination. In what other profession would you be expected to give away many years of training and experience for free?

September 14, 2005 at 06:36 PM · Eric and Bill, I still think you are wrong.

It is not the case that women entering the workforce has diluted the economy so that we all must put in 12 hours a day to keep a mediocre house. Women (if you remember the WWII ) were pretty much compelled to join the workplace in order for the United States to win the war. It is that huge gain in per capita productivity that allows us to remain competative in the Global Marketplace. Without women working, our economy may be that of a third world country...if nearly half of our productive citizens abruptly stopped producing anything. A man works just as hard today as he did back in the 1940's, so many gains made in per capita economic productivity are a direct result of women joining the workforces.

While not ideal, I really don't think it is such a crime for kids to be looked after for 12 hours a day by another person either. For 8 of those hours the kid is probably in school (essential to future productivity) anyways, plus they benefit from socialization skills earmed through attendance in aftershool sports, music lessons, or whatever else they spend those extra hours away from their parents. I don't think any child psychologist has yet proven daycare is a source of evil or a detriment to our nation's children. Besides, daycare guessed

And stress on a marriage? That is individual and determined by the personalities involved. Blame that on women working, and you are just....misinformed.

September 14, 2005 at 07:44 PM · "Women (if you remember the WWII ) were pretty much compelled to join the workplace in order for the United States to win the war. "

Can you please explain how you make this consistent with your remark about the 1950's? Are you then saying that we have had high female employment ever since the 40's?

"Without women working, our economy may be that of a third world country"

If you seriously believe this, then you are in serious need of some education in economic reality. The disparity between India and the US is roughly 25:1. In other words, my 1 dollar will buy 25 times more minutes at the parking meter, 25 times more real estate etc (not world commodities) than I could buy in the US. And you are claiming that by reducing our workforce by 28% or so we will be in the same place?

" A man works just as hard today as he did back in the 1940's"

This is true. Unfortunately his own pay has been stagnant or declining for that effort. Many professional fields such as engineering have seen significant declines in real earning power since the beginning of the century.

"While not ideal, I really don't think it is such a crime for kids to be looked after for 12 hours a day by another person either."

Wow. So I guess that either (a) you don't have children or (b) you are living in denial.

" For 8 of those hours the kid is probably in school "

School is 6 hours long ,not 8. And for the 1st 6 years of life, there is no school. For the 1st two years, you are still a nursing baby or toddler.

"plus they benefit from socialization skills earmed through attendance in aftershool sports, music lessons, or whatever else they spend those extra hours away from their parents"

I don't know what planet you grew up on, but while I loved my sports, I also cherished coming home and just playing. Just playing--with my brother or my neighbor. I remember playing in the back yard with my mom--looking up at the trees and the blue sky. Making up games. Unstructured. Does evey minute of a child's life have to be organized and marshalled by a stranger-adult?!

Oh, and who takes the child to all these after-school activities? If the parent is at work, it ain't gonna happen!

"I don't think any child psychologist has yet proven daycare is a source of evil or a detriment to our nation's children"

Au contraire. There is plenty of research that shows signs of "neglect" in "daycare kids". That you or the press chooses to ignore it is your own folly. Do you always believe the party line?

"And stress on a marriage? That is individual and determined by the personalities involved. Blame that on women working, and you are just....misinformed. "

Well, you obviously have no children. Until you have them, you just can not understand the stress thing. Parenting is hard work--it is extraordinarily fulfilling, but it is also hard work. It is much harder when neither are home, when neither parent has any clue what the child has really been doing with her time, etc. You think you get feedback from the daycare? Ha! How many minutes per year do they devote to briefing the parents? They send home boiler-plate flyers with cute clip-art.

Are all children "harmed" by day care. Perhaps not. Do they miss out on key nuturing from a parent? Absolutely.

Some parents go to great lengths to minimize daycare. They adjust their schedules. And then the parents never see each other. It is absolutely amazing to me that you do not see the negative consequences of having parents not caring for--not raising--their own children.

Do you want your child to have her own viewpoint? Do you feel that your beliefs (rather than a daycare worker's) are worth passing on? Then you better be there for the little one. Otherwise, they won't listen to you even if they hear you.

Nobody--not me, not Eric ever blamed these problems on women working. We blamed them on both parents being compelled to work just to meet basic needs--being compelled to neglect their childrens' welfare.

September 14, 2005 at 07:05 PM · Women joined the workforce in ww2 because of the void to be filled as those men were sent overseas. Filling a void is maintaining status quo, not achieving a productivity gain.

You selectively ignore or are apparently completely unaware of the true source of productivity gains in the economy - the impact of technological advancements.

Effect of change in workplace habits on marriage from 1945 to date are discussed in the paper I've linked below. If you've done more exhaustive research than this 50 year study, I hereby concede to your opinions.

There are also numerous other articles if you care to dig around and see if your opinions hold water in the face of research. Humans are affected by their environment. Pretending that external stresses such as those that come from a career have no effect, and that the health of a marriage just depends on magical, immutable personality traits is laughable.

No one said women entering the workforce has caused everyone to work 12 hour days. What was said quite clearly was that women entering the workforce doubled the number of people that are being exploited.

No one said children are harmed by attending daycare. The question asked was what benefit there is in having your kids raised by strangers over having the time and opportunity to raise them yourself. Kids learn social skills in school and have for generations. Kids don't get the love and nurture of a parent from a paid employee punching a clock. There is a difference.

I guess I'll throw in the towel. Discussions where one side repeatedly twists the words of the other accomplish nothing. Unless, of course, you are running for political office (another part of the democracy now reserved for multi-millionaires regardless of gender...).

September 14, 2005 at 11:47 PM · Okay, I can't resist throwing my three cents into the boiling kettle...

No one could have loved my children with the same passion and devotion that their dad & I could give them. (Though I'm sure we can all agree that there are some parents who are not fit for the role.)

I was privileged to be able to stay home & be with the kids, though as a family we made some major sacrifices. No one will ever convince me that Daycare and Preschool is needed for socialization. Any parent worth their salt will provide ample "socializing" for their children in natural settings with companions which the parents, and child, chooses, and to take them places where they learn proper behavior: library, museums, concerts, church, etc. Because we chose for me to stay home I was able to take the kids to the creek, to the park, to "wee sing"music sessions, places they interacted with other kids. The kids & I are incredibly thankful for the time spent lazing at the creek hunting crawdads & frogs and swimming, rambling through the woods and climbing trees; Strolling through town and joining up with the other kids playing outside; developing imaginations through play & reading. Kids only have a few years to PLAY uninhibited. Why do we think we should foist our busy lifestyles & schedules onto them?

Another benefit that came about: our kids are excellent at helping neighbors and friends because we were often involved in helping out in the community when and where needed. They understand the satisfaction of lending a hand.

I work outside the home (as well as in our woodworking business) in order to pay for escalating health insurance - though we rarely need a physician. That is not my choice, it is a burden laid on us by out-of-control insurance. I could contribute more to society if I only worked at our home business, then I could volunteer at the local school, sort food at the foodshare facilities... Like it or not, most of us are slaves in our society, whether male or female.

My son is now married and one of these years they'll have kids. Odds are that he will stay home with them because his wife will be in position to earn more money. He will be excellent at raising them if they chose this path. Times have changed and gender roles are more flexible. Each family needs to work out what works best for them.

Radical changes have transpired since the 40's & 50's, economically, politically, as well as socially, and we have a lot of work ahead to straighten some of these issues out. We need to stop being quick to to assume the worst, not to read more meaning is implied than is stated, and to learn not to jump to anger at perceived insults.

I'm not one to give my possesions names, or think of them in gender terms but it is amusing to hear the names given to objects. Where's the harm?

Humor - We need more.

September 15, 2005 at 01:03 AM · I'm laughing but I'm not very optimistic. Good thoughts and writing.

September 15, 2005 at 09:42 AM · You people are so frustrating. You pick apart my post and try to 'stick it to me' for stuff I never ever wrote--claiming I convienantly left it out or some other nonsense-- when in truth it was because that particular topic is off in left field from the current issue. It is like trying to armwrestle an octupus.

How am I supposed to make any kind of intelligent response when you toss so much extraneous information that my head wants to explode reading your "reply"?

The truth is you are not going to make me change my mind no matter how you attempt to cram it down my throat---including 5,000 word essays dancing all around the point, tossing in false statistics and skewed "opinion" as fact all the while.

This is my last post on this increasingly dumb thread.

Edit: This is something my husband found in support of my earlier stated post regarding the effect of women on the global marketplace...these are real live actual statistics so you cannot possibly have anything to say against these:

Compiled by the Women's Bureau of the United States Department of Labor, June 1993.

Of the 100 million women 16 and older in the United States, 58 million were labor force participants (working or looking for work) during 1992. Women experienced their highest labor force participation rate of all time in 1992--57.8 percent. They also accounted for 60 percent of total labor force growth between 1982 and 1992.

The more education a woman has, the greater the likelihood she will seek employment. Among women 25 to 54 years of age with less than 4 years of high school, only 51 percent were labor force participants. For female high school graduates with no college, 74 percent were in the labor force. Among women of the same age group with 4 or more years of college in 1991, 84 percent were in the labor force.

The proportions of college degrees awarded to women have increased at all levels. Women have earned at least half of all bachelor's and master's degrees since the 1980-81 school year. In engineering, women earned 14 percent of bachelor's, 13 percent of master's, and 9 percent of doctorates in 1988-89. In mathematics, women earned 46 percent of bachelor's, 40 percent of master's, and 19 percent of doctorates. Over an 8- year period--from 1980-81 to 1988-89--women's share of degrees rose from 14 to 26 percent in dentistry, 25 to 33 percent in medicine, and 32 to 41 percent in law.

September 15, 2005 at 10:53 AM · Ok, I don't really want to prod the embers, but I'd just like to point out that those figures were from 1992. It seems to me that since then (over 10 years ago) times have changed a bit.

An example: If I look at my sister's year books from her first year at the school, the year 12's (final year of pre-tertiary school) numbered about 15. Of these 15, they would all sit tertiary enterence examinations, and probably attend higher education. There were 9 females in this class.

In 2004, the year 12's numbered 117. There were 66 females. Of the 117, most would head straight into training (either apprenticeships or Vocational Education and Training Programs) or Tertiary Education. From there, they would almost certainly head into the job force.

Now, I know that is a large growth rate in just under 10 years, and I will account some of it to school growth. But figures released here in WA (and the trend is followed around Australia) show that more and more kids are staying through to the end of schooling, not leaving at the end of compulsory schooling (Year 10). There are now more options available for school leavers, including University, VET programs, and Apprenticeships. The figures may not show it just yet, but when these kids finish their courses and enter the work force, you will start to see an evening out of the divisions between men and women.

September 15, 2005 at 01:35 PM · Actually I'd like to give kudos to both sides of the discussion. Frustrated though they may be, I do believe this is the first online argument in the history of the net in which neither side started referring to the Nazis. may have finally disproved Godwin's law!

September 15, 2005 at 03:03 PM · Damn, you just referred to Nazis.

September 15, 2005 at 03:19 PM · You're such a facist.

September 15, 2005 at 04:00 PM · Well, at least no-one used Slush Slimeball's term.

Actually, we can invoke Quirk's Exception and so the argument is not officially over.....far from it. We still have 37 posts left to burn up before this thread closes.

Personally, I think the cello is more feminine than the violin, even though it is larger. The viola d'amore (why isn't it "viole d'amore") is very masculine. The er-hu is most definitely eunuch. (I think the skin used is made from a castrated snake;).

I am not sure about the electric guitar. I think it all depends on whose. Joan Jett's is a boy, I am sure. Larry Carlton's is a girl, don't you think?

Does Camille Paglia play an instrument? If so, which one? Does she play a man, or a womyn? Or an hermaphrodite?


September 15, 2005 at 04:08 PM · Woody Guthrie wrote "This Machine Kills Fascists" in big letters on the front of his guitar. I been all over this great big world and I reckon I ain't never seen nothin' like that wrote on a violin.

September 15, 2005 at 09:01 PM · Time for someone to paint, "This womyn beats The Man with a big stick!" on a violin. :)

It's actually really interesting to watch the different styles of debate on this thread. Not to pick on anyone in particular, but Sarah (who posted recently and therefore is more evident that the other women here) has a distinctly different approach to posting than either Bill or Eric.

(Oh, and Eric, you really think that all of us are exploited proles suffering for the benefit of rich-getting-richer? Fascinating.)

Eric and Bill both use the tactic of flooding the arena with fact. Some of it is useful, some not so much. It's fact, though, externally verified and therefore indisputable in this setting -- or that's the theory, anyway.

Sarah, on the other hand, uses satire and exaggeration to get her points across.

I can't tell you how many times I've watched this same scene play out at home, with my husband flooding the arena with fact and me trying to use exaggeration to make a point ultra-evident. What happens then is that he takes my exaggeration as an attempt at stating fact, and refutes it factually. And of course, that wasn't the point at all.

I've been mostly trained out of the exaggeration habit -- I've learned that when debating with men, they just don't get it.

Instead, I have purchased a Clue Bat, and beat them over the head with it repeatedly. Eventually, they pass out from the concussion, and I win. :)

September 15, 2005 at 09:34 PM · Haaaa. I thought you were linking to this:

let this be a lesson

September 15, 2005 at 09:44 PM · Clue bat eh? Please keep it to yourself because if my wife finds out I'm probably in for a permanent headache...

Yes, I do believe in all that I posted. However I am stuck in the same dilemna as most latent socialists living in the US. I earn astronomically more than the majority of the people in the rest of the world, I care little for their plight since a change in their situation would require a massive scaling back of my own, yet I am selfish enough to rail against the system in place that allocates an obscene amount of wealth to people who do little more than extract every waking hour they can out of the 'average joe' to make themselves even richer.

Vonnegut said it best. If I can paraphrase, - the problem with the US is that the founding fathers figured the country was so vast that no one thief would be able to do enough damage to hurt everyone else so they set no cap on the amount of wealth that any one person could accumulate.

Big mistake on their part. The thieves are in charge and they hang out in big white buildings along the east coast. And don't interpret that as an insult to one political party - they are both equally culpable.

September 16, 2005 at 01:20 AM · A Fig Leaf.

To Sarah,

Well, I apologize for flustering you. I was in fact quite annoyed that you accused me of the "barefoot" thing, your jumping to conclusions, your lack of interest in reading my words carefully. For my part, I saw you being emotional and jabbed at you, rather knowing inside that it would get you going. This was my unfairness to you for which I am sorry. But I think in the end, I will agree to disagree.

As you can see from Jim's link, this is a Hot Topic!

Part of the difference is generation. You are younger; I don't think you have had children yet, you are starting out life, you have moved abroad, and things look different to you. Your college days are your most recent heavy intellectual exercize, the women's studies courses (I took them too!) are fresh in your head.

I have children, have been abroad and returned, do not feel like I am starting out in life, even though many things are hardly settled in...marriage and children has cemented and reinforced my family at the expense of some of my youthful "independence", wife, children are a unit, a team, one entity--no longer do I feel like I am successful merely if I am successful--"we" have to be successfull.. but the frustrations with careers, houses, wants and needs..the glass is not always half full when you get halfway there...

We have different perspectives, which is a good thing! Let the ideas stand where they may; let them be their own best ambassadors.

Best regards,


September 16, 2005 at 01:40 AM · When y'all are done feelin' sorry fer yerselfs I want ya ta join me an Mr. Erk Stanfeel in a rousin' chorus of "I'm a' werkin' Fer the Union."

September 16, 2005 at 02:04 AM · I'm A' workin' fer the Uuuunion,

Aaaaal the live-long dayyyy

When they get my dues,

I'll see I have no payyyy

Price of milk is up,

me benifits are down,

How much longer can I

live in this union town...

Is that the one?

September 16, 2005 at 02:13 AM · That sounds more like Woody's evil twin.

September 22, 2005 at 03:32 PM · Didn't mean to ignore you for a bit there, Eric. All kinds of work and life things going on, haven't had much time for violining!

"The thieves are in charge and they hang out in big white buildings along the east coast. And don't interpret that as an insult to one political party - they are both equally culpable."

Don't forget the ones in big sprawling seaside complexes all along the West Coast, too. And I can certainly agree with you on the political party thing.

Not sure that I really see the situation as quite so extreme. Have you even been in management, for instance? Even lower management positions fit your mold -- they've got to make sure that the people they manage do their work, but that doesn't mean they have it any easier than those they manage. The way I see it, different positions on the worker/management ladder have trade-offs. Toward the worker end, you can get away with little to no training, not too much job stress (except job insecurity or in some cases, work hazards) and you receive less pay and benefits. Toward the management end, you need a lot more experience, education and training and you've got a heck of a lot of job stress -- there's the board of directors that's on your back to raise the profit margin for the company, there are budgets in the billions of dollars, where one mistake can cost three or three hundred people their jobs; while you may be in little danger of losing your thumb in a machine, you'll probably have a heart attack by age 40 -- and you get paid more.

Unless, of course, you own the company. Then you get squat, because in order for the company to succeed you have to keep all your money there. No lambourgini for you!

But then, I don't tend toward extreme points of view in general. The world is in very pretty shades of grey for me. :)

Perhaps we ought to take the political discussions elsewhere, though...

September 22, 2005 at 09:23 PM · I was talking to a (cellist) friend of mine who happened to be a guy and, after about five minutes, every one of the pegs on my violin slipped, making this weird noise on the way down.

I knew then that my violin was male.

(The jealous type).


September 22, 2005 at 10:58 PM · Budgets in the billions? You must work for the government :)

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