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Royal Concertgebouw... all men?


Stephen  Fine

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quote:

Originally posted by Cedar:

K545, the cases are slightly different in that skin color differences are superficial but there are some significant structural, biochemical and neurological differences between the sexes. If you check a little deeper using your Army example training regimens didn't change after racial integration but they did change after gender integration.

An interesting point. On the other hand, I would guess that the number of occasions in wihch Vienna Phil members have had to share foxholes, latrines and pup-tents is fairly small.

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quote:

Originally posted by Cedar:

T

K545, the cases are slightly different in that skin color differences are superficial but there are some significant structural, biochemical and neurological differences between the sexes. If you check a little deeper using your Army example training regimens didn't change after racial integration but they did change after gender integration.

Yes, you're right about that, BUT...that didn't stop the "comfort level" arguments K545 was referring to from being made.

In fact, K545: That's precisely what I was thinking of when I wrote the other post. I came across those records while conducting a research project several years ago, and couldn't help but note the similarity.

And you still get the same "comfort level" arguments when it comes to gays in the military, so I guess the ol' "we've come a long way, but have a long way to go" still holds true.

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quote:

Originally posted by Cedar:

I can think of a few quite practical reasons for having a single gender organization...

1. Uniformity of appearance in concert. One tux looks about like any other tux but I have yet to see two women wear the same outfit to a performance.

2. Only one dressing room required.

3. All combinations of roommates for traveling accommodations are appropriate.


1. If this was thought to be a "problem" specifications could be made about dresses. This doesn't seem like a very big problem to me.

2. A typical orchestra employs 90 people. I don't know what orchestra you play in, but there is no way 90 people can fit in any dressing room I've ever seen.

3. Assuming two to a room, the worst that could happen in a coed orchestra is that there is one person of each gender left over with a room of their own.

Are these significant problems?

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quote:

Originally posted by Cedar:

if this is such a good idea how come we haven't been doing it before. Considering that pretty much every variation in relationships has been throughly explored, time and again for thousands of years, I am somewhat leery of believing that our society has come up with some radical new improvement. In relationships that just isn't much new under the sun.

Well, except that you and I have no idea what every relationship has been in every human society around the world for the past 50,000 years. Nor how well they have worked. Perhaps the current revolutions are not revolutions at all. Perhaps equality for women is revolutionary for just the patriarchally based societies we know from the last 3000 years. Or not even for those, since those societies are not monolithic, and have had periods of enlightenment and reform mixed with periods of backlash.

I've never gone along with the old, "it's always done this way. If it had been better to do it another way our ancestors would have tried that" routine. Because that is simply not true. There are better ways of doing many things than our ancestors had.

For example, slavery is a type of relationship. Even if slavery were known for thousands of years, that doesn't make it right. I have seen early 19th century articles saying slavery has been known in every civilized society since Biblical times, and therefore must be okay [paraphrasing, obviously].

I weigh in with lwl on this one for sure. I, too, have seen all kinds of workplaces and groups end up with interesting romantic entanglements that cause problems (both straight and gay, by the way). So? I've more often seen non-romantic alliances and disagreements cause problems and damage to group structures. If you have people, there will be reasons for problems. It is my firm belief that when people say women should not join a male workplace because of potential romances, it is a lame excuse to keep women down.

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There were originally all-boy and all-girl schools because there were utterly different reasons for educating boys and girls. The two could be expected to be educated together until a certain age, in many eras -- and then if there was further education to be had, the boys would get it. Later on, girls went to finishing schools of various sorts that weren't particularly oriented around academic subjects. That did not change, really, until the 20th century. (Separation of the sexes occurred well before the age of puberty, in any event, so the argument of romantic distraction doesn't hold weight there anyway.)

As far as Cedar's argument on "if it's such a good idea, why haven't we done it before" goes, my answer is simple: Human relationships have ultimately been about the dynamics of power and economic reality. Certainly this has been true about the relationships between the sexes. In a primitive society, the physically stronger male has a certain role (to be the hunter, warrior, etc.) whereas the woman has a more domestic role (and often a not-insignificant degree of power as a result). As society advances technology, the economics of power alter themselves. In an industrialized society, men and women take on increasingly equal roles.

A significant amount of societal change can be traced back to World War II, when the shortage of available men meant that it became an economic necessity for women to take on what had traditionally been male professions. The post-war economy, and the subsequent development of an information-based society, made more and more work a labor of the mind rather than a labor of the body, thus placing women in a position to be able to compete effectively with men for those jobs (the "average woman" likely to be just as good as the "average man" in them).

By the way, you can make the same argument about slavery: it was the foundation of entire economies. Slavery didn't just end because people eventually decided it was wrong -- slavery ended because it became increasingly economically unattractive on a long-term basis.

Also, technology creates luxury -- and luxury enables human beings to pursue ideals rather than struggling to survive upon a hostile planet. People with leisure time get to spend more time thinking about what's *right*, rather than just caving in to what's practical.

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quote:

Originally posted by Candace:

Well, except that you and I have no idea what every relationship has been in every human society around the world for the past 50,000 years. Nor how well they have worked. Perhaps the current revolutions are not revolutions at all. Perhaps equality for women is revolutionary for just the patriarchally based societies we know from the last 3000 years. Or not even for those, since those societies are not monolithic, and have had periods of enlightenment and reform mixed with periods of backlash.

.

This is why we read history books, observe the world around us and ask questions. I'm fairly certain that at some point in your life you've seen someone doing something and said to yourself, thats stupid and isn't working and vow to never do the something, with the converse also being true of repeating productive activities. By such a mechanism are "good" activities preserved and propogated.

quote:

I've never gone along with the old, "it's always done this way. If it had been better to do it another way our ancestors would have tried that" routine. Because that is simply not true. There are better ways of doing many things than our ancestors had.

I don't believe this in all cases either, obviously if we only followed this rule we'd still be shivering in caves. What I do believe is that people come up with an idea that they think is new but isn't and has failed in the past and will fail again. You really have to be creative to come up with some new variation on human interpersonal relationships that hasn't been tried many times before. Sure we've come a way in dealing with the external environment but we still have the same old problems between people.

quote:

For example, slavery is a type of relationship. Even if slavery were known for thousands of years, that doesn't make it right. I have seen early 19th century articles saying slavery has been known in every civilized society since Biblical times, and therefore must be okay [paraphrasing, obviously].

I concur that slavery was a long standing but fundamentally wrong institution. I might quibble about calling slavery a interpersonal relationship. I see if more as a economic relationship. How to extract maximum work with minimal compensation which is different than romantic entanglements and child-rearing.

quote:

I weigh in with lwl on this one for sure. I, too, have seen all kinds of workplaces and groups end up with interesting romantic entanglements that cause problems (both straight and gay, by the way). So? I've more often seen non-romantic alliances and disagreements cause problems and damage to group structures. If you have people, there will be reasons for problems. It is my firm belief that when people say women should not join a male workplace because of potential romances, it is a lame excuse to keep women down.

As I read through this thread the thought that keeps popping into my head are the rights on inclusion and exclusion a bundle or can you separate them? To elaborate if a person is available and I may hire or include them do I also have the right to not hire or exclude them. Some of what I am reading here is that they are not. I can include anyone but can not exclude someone.

I believe that I have the right to say I want to form an all guy orchestra which is different than saying I want to form an orchestra and just not hiring any women.

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quote:

Originally posted by Cedar:

I believe that I have the right to say I want to form an all guy orchestra which is different than saying I want to form an orchestra and just not hiring any women.

In fact, you don't have such a right, at least not in this country, at least not if your all guy orchestra is going to be supported by public funds. And even if you don't have direct public support, you will have a hard time finding a performance venue, notwithstanding the specious distinction you have attempted to make.

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Very interesting discussion.

Last time I saw the NY phil, the concertmistress was a woman( don`t remember the name), and it was absolutely perfect.

When I was very young, I remember of an excellent german choir that sang in a music festival. After the concert, me and some friends came backstage to talk to them, and we saw men and women all together in a large room, everybody changing clothes and chatting comfortably... some half-naked people in the moment we went in. No problem with that, no hurry, and no sexual activity going on. It was natural to them. So, there`s probably a cultural thing also.

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There are all-boys choirs and all-male and all-female choirs, I might point out -- for the very good reason that the voices have their own distinct timbres that directly and incontroversially result in a particular sound. Consequently, these can be legally supported by public funds, I believe.

I believe that all-female, all-black, etc. orchestras are permissible and can be publicly funded, on what I would guess is the justification of "providing greater opportunities which would otherwise be less accessible to a group that has traditionally been discriminated against".

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I totally support the idea that all of one gender orchestras, bands, or whatever be allowed to exist. If I want to form an all women chamber group, I feel that is my right. Thus, for the most part, I don't have a problem with things that are all men, or want to stay that way. I guess I don't understand why this type of thing is such a problem when there's so many other opportunities to go after without disrupting what a group may have done for generations. What about the Rockettes? Should men be allowed to get out there and kick up their hairy legs? No one wants to see that. I don't think the girl who joined that all male military school was right either. This is a school that has a wonderful rich history in our country and these cadets pay a very high price to attend if they're accepted. I think she saw it as an opportunity to win a case in this law-suit happy society, and overly sensitive politically correct time we live in. There are many other equally reputable schools that are co-ed that she could have attended. I just feel that some things should stick with tradition and not be viewed as a threat, but more as something "sacred" to our society. So, no I don't feel that moving forward in making everything equal for everyone is ALWAYS correct. There are some things that I think should stay the way they are.

Look at the new string "pop" group, Bond. They are obviously all girl, and that's what the attraction is for some. That's what sets them apart. That's "their" thing. I know this is taking this discussion in yet a different direction, but do you feel that if a male gets a hankering to join that group, that he would have the right to sue for not even getting called for an audition?

As far as schools Lydia, parents that can afford it today, sometimes still choose an all one-gender school for their adolescent teen to hold down the distractions that the opposite sex brings. The thought is that if you lesson these distractions, they will concentrate more on education. You will also see this "required" by law sometimes for troubled preteens and teenagers.

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quote:

Originally posted by crystal:

I don't think the girl who joined that all male military school was right either. This is a school that has a wonderful rich history in our country and these cadets pay a very high price to attend if they're accepted. There are many other equally reputable schools that are co-ed that she could have attended.

I think the issue with her (and the Citadel, of which we are speaking) was that there *weren't* comparable schools she could attend. The Citadel offers very low tuition, as a state university, a particular kind of military environment, and an excellent alumni network. It also, to be blunt, doesn't require that much in the way of academic qualifications (consider the average SAT scores and class rank of the previous all-male student body). There's no comparable school in the country that she could have attended. (Of course, she turned out to be a screw-up in plenty of ways, but the candidates who followed her, who I believe were initially ROTC transfers from other schools, turned out to do well.)

Granted it disrupted the existence of what was a unique educational experience for men, but that by itself wasn't a compelling case for a publicly-funded school, in my opinion.

(The Citadel also couldn't make the argument that West Point, for instance, tried to make prior to female integration into its student body. West Point's purpose is to produce officers for the Army. The Citadel aims to develop citizen-leaders through its military environment; the production of officers is a side-effect.)

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quote:

Originally posted by iupviolin:

So, nobody answered my question...If women are equal, why don't they have to get a buzz when they go to Boot Camp?

It's for reasons of public appearance. Men with their hair buzz cut look neat, attractive, and professional. In today's society, though, a woman with her head buzzed is considered to look freakish, unattractive, but most importantly -- not professional. In women, shaven heads are taken as a sign of rebellion (think Sinead O'Connor). Consequently women merely have their hair cut very short. (In fact, I believe regulation hairstyles for women are quite strict -- but different from men, due to different societal standards for what is considered a professional-looking but short haircut. Indeed, I believe that women are actually not *allowed* to get their hair buzzed, for that reason...)

If the norms ever change, I expect that women, too, will have their heads shorn.

[This message has been edited by lwl (edited 11-30-2001).]

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I will also add, that right now, I wouldn't want to think there were mostly women out there searching for Osama. I feel much more comfortable knowing that there are mostly men out there doing a man's job.

Go ahead, bash away.

Actually, this discussion goes into so many areas, I'm not sure it would ever end. But it has been enjoyable.

[This message has been edited by crystal (edited 11-30-2001).]

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quote:

Originally posted by crystal:

I will also add, that right now, I wouldn't want to think there were mostly women out there searching for Osama. I feel much more comfortable knowing that there are mostly men out there doing a man's job.

]

Well I certainly don't feel that way. My experience has not shown me that men are particularly better at finding things or people. It wasn't just men killed at the World Trade Center/Pentagon. It shouldn't just be men out fighting this war. To the extent the marines out there are trained for the job, I don't care about their gender.

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quote:

Originally posted by Candace:

Well I certainly don't feel that way. My experience has not shown me that men are particularly better at finding things or people.

We're not just talking about "finding things or people". We're not talking about searching for lost keys or tv remotes here.

Our guys are out in caves, crawling through lord knows what. And when they "find" what they're looking for, they have to be prepared to blow it's d a m n head off. You want to trust this to women? No thanks.

Women (myself included here) look at a deer and say, "Oooh, look how cute. How can people shoot it?" Most men, on the other hand, can look at a deer and shoot it without thinking because men, by genetic make-up, are the caretakers; the protectors. It's supposed to be this way.

There are differences in men and women. I don't understand how some seriously think that we are equal in all things. The facts are that there are certain things that men do better than women, and likewise, things that women do better than men. I don't have a problem with that.

[This message has been edited by crystal (edited 11-30-2001).]

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quote:

Originally posted by lwl:

It's for reasons of public appearance. Men with their hair buzz cut look neat, attractive, and professional. In today's society, though, a woman with her head buzzed is considered to look freakish, unattractive, but most importantly -- not professional. In women, shaven heads are taken as a sign of rebellion (think Sinead O'Connor). Consequently women merely have their hair cut very short. (In fact, I believe regulation hairstyles for women are quite strict -- but different from men, due to different societal standards for what is considered a professional-looking but short haircut. Indeed, I believe that women are actually not *allowed* to get their hair buzzed, for that reason...)

If the norms ever change, I expect that women, too, will have their heads shorn.

[This message has been edited by lwl (edited 11-30-2001).]

Thank you for proving my point!!!

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I rather think that most women who go into the combat branches of the military are unlikely to be any more hesitant to shoot than the men are. They're not exactly fluffy people, y'know?

My issue is never what the *average* man is better at doing than the *average* woman. My question is, would the overall quality of the person in a particular position be enhanced if the talent pool were widened to include women?

There are plenty of examples of female soldiers in history. Nothing seems to indicate that they were significantly more, if at all, merciful than the men.

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