Andie D.

My sister is a brassy chick, and I look up to her for the same reasons as you. I've learned a lot from her, and owe a lot of my strength to her example. I am thankful that I have the natural diplomacy though, as I've seen her get burned a few times for leading with her mouth.


Better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt... at least outside of trial settings. I think that Death put it best in Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life:

"Shut up! Shut up, you American. You always talk, you Americans. You talk and you talk and say 'let me tell you something' and 'I just wanna say this'. Well, you're dead now, so shut up!"

And Coyote Ugly bars really are loathsome hellholes of idiocy; if it's her brassiness that got that s*it (oops, almost forgot) done, then boo on that. Efficiency in promulgating stupidity through some measure of loudness and charisma is not an admirable character trait.

The Happy Feminist

But I don't think her goal is to promote anything in particular. I think her goal is to make money, and she seems to be doing that quite well as far as I can tell.

And I will agree that I have absolutely zero desire to actually go to Coyote Ugly. I prefer to just get quietly drunk on my bar stool. I don't need my bartender to entertain me.


OK, another example, much like the one you gave at the end: Phyllis Schlafly is brassy. She is extremely outspoken in a desire to roll back economic and reproductive autonomy for tens of millions of women. I think admiration should probably comes from brassiness + something else.

The Happy Feminist

Oh, I agree. Brassiness isn't the end all and be all. But there is something to admire (and an ironic feminist point to be made) in the examples of women like Schlafly and Coulter, even if their politics are loathsome and I hate what they stand for.


Brassiness without that "something else" is just obnoxiousness. I really admire women who appear self assured, who know what they want, and know how to get it. I suspect that there may be some natural-diplomacy-self hiding beneath the brassiness in many cases that you just don't see. If there wasn't, something tells me that despite their drive and brassiness, they would never have gotten anywhere.


Because whatever it is that makes them brassy, I don't have it.

Personalty types are just another manifestation of The Bell Curve. Note:

The largest sex diff in personality is in the Big Five factor called Agreeableness [1], showing a diff in the means (not just variance) of 1 SD across cultures, where females are more Agreeable than males. Unlike being a guidance counselor, scientific work requires a more Disagreeable personality (which will shock anyone who's actually intereacted with scientists in any field, or with science bloggers for that matter). You have to be comfortable with easily hurting other people's feelings, vigorously defending yourself when attacked, and so on (although if you're extremely Disagreeable, you won't benefit from criticism).

Scientific work also requires a more Introverted personality; males are more likely to be Introverted (again, a shock to those who just landed from Mars). And on and on. Therefore, we expect the sex differences in who's on the faculty of science depts at elite universities to be even more skewed than if it were the result of a single normally distributed trait like g.

That's hard enough for most (but not all) liberal intellectuals to live with. The exciting work is showing that such differences are not purely arbitrary social constructions that could be altered tomorrow if the will were there, nor solely the result of environmental insults like poor nutrition or macho Martians targeting human females w/ ray guns. No one wants to hear that the surest way to produce a female scientist (compared to alternative ways) is to selectively mate two top scientists.

Scott Lemieux

Brassy chicks certainly can't be hommaged enough for my liking...


TM, I am shocked, SHOCKED, that you would ever say that scientists were disagreeable.

Seriously, that's the first time I've heard someone argue that it was the genetically based female personality (rather than a lack of intelligence or talent) that is the basis for the lack of women in science. So what do you think came first, TM, the preference for agreeable, extroverted women in society, or the genetics?

I went to a talk about 2 years ago of a guy at UCSD (I think) who was looking at behavioral traits like agressiveness in spiders. Lo and behold, the bell curve appeared again (pesky population genetics!). Aparently, being a really voracious spider is good because you get to eat a lot. But if you're too voracious you eat the male before he can have sex with you. I really enjoyed this talk.

The Happy Feminist

Of course, I know I have portrayed myself as very agreeable, but my husband uh disagrees.

In fact, we have had ferocious arguments over whether I am agreeable, in which I have absolutely insisted that I am extremely agreeable. I will brook no contradiction on this point!

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