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Academic Feminists Get the Vapors By: Lisa Makson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) biology Professor Nancy Hopkins recently sparked a media maelstrom that mercilessly hounded Harvard President Lawrence Summers, eventually leading him to multiple mea culpas and Soviet-style gender-sensitivity reeducation. But this isn’t the first time feminist “It” girl and Machiavellian publicity-hound Hopkins has drawn headlines for outing alleged gender bias in the Ivory Tower.

Summers tried in vain to have academia’s feminists check their gender politics at the door during a conference organized by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce. He provocatively offered up three “positive” (free of value judgment) hypotheses for the dearth of women in the “high-end scientific profession,” including that women might choose to eschew 80-hour work weeks so they could have a life outside the office. But when Summers suggested the existence of innate differences between men’s and women’s aptitude in math and science, and called for more research into this possibility, feminist-careerist Hopkins went into full attack mode.


Hopkins, who is no neophyte when it comes to Madonnaesque publicity, gave an apropos quote that guaranteed feminist command and control of the media: “I felt I was going to be sick. My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow,” she said. “I just couldn’t breathe because this kind of bias makes me physically ill.” If she had not bolted from the room, she “would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.”


As a result of this bravura performance by MIT’s feminist drama queen, journalists– many of whom have been lobotomized into a state of credulity and mindlessly mouth the party line of the Feminist Elite–portrayed Hopkins as a feminist heroine and virulently attacked Summers’ politically incorrect premise. Thus, Hopkins successfully shut down further debate, both inside and outside the academe, over intellectual sex differences.


It appears, however, that Summers was actually onto something. Scientists–mostly women, by the way–are demonstrating that there are real cognitive differences between men’s and women’s brains. Harvard Medical School Psychiatrist Jill Goldstein notes that men “have a slight advantage on certain kinds of functions, including ... visual spatial skills” while women “have a slight advantage for certain kinds of verbal skills.” Dr. Noreen Kimura of Simon Fraser University writes, “Sex differences in cognition are not trivial. ... There is compelling evidence that sex hormones are a major influence in the organization, and perhaps the maintenance, of cognitive sex differences. ... One of the most intriguing findings in adults is that cognitive patterns may remain sensitive to hormonal fluctuations throughout life.” In “Sex Differences in Intelligence,” psychologist Diane Halpern writes: “When female-to-male transsexuals were given high doses of testosterone in preparation for sex-change therapy, their visual spatial skills improved dramatically and their verbal fluency skills declined dramatically within three months. The results of these studies and others provide a strong causal link between levels of adult hormones and sex-typical patterns of cognitive performance.”


This totalitarian lockdown against ideas contrary to feminist ideology makes all the more sense in light of Hopkins’ past. Sweeping away the curtain of her carefully crafted media persona, the real Hopkins is a publicity hound who cunningly uses the patina of  feminism to give her a competitive advantage over other scientists–including her mentor, Nobel Prize winner Christiane Nusslein-Volhard–in the übercompetetive world of scientific research funding.


Hopkins’ feminist conversion and meteoric rise to feminist “It” girl status coincides with her mid-life career change. The Harvard grad, who worked with DNA co-discoverer Dr. James Watson, told the Boston Globe she was warned by an administrator that “[i]n three years, you’ll be out of science” because she “would be giving up her [17 years of] seniority in virology” for the new and highly risky field of genetic mapping.


Predictably, Hopkins ran into problems due to her self-imposed demotion. When Hopkins was unable to obtain 200 square feet of additional lab space, she quickly consulted a lawyer. With the threat of a sex discrimination lawsuit looming, MIT hastily granted her the lab space.


Soon afterwards, MIT’s feminist diva vaulted to national notoriety when she accused MIT of “gender bias” against its female scientific faculty. Strangely enough, Hopkins and many of the other women were placed in charge of the MIT investigation. Their report found rampant sex discrimination: “Many tenured women faculty feel marginalized and excluded from a significant role in their departments.” As a result of the study, Hopkins’ career took off. Soon she was being feted by Hillary Clinton at the White House and heralded as the national spokeswoman on academic discrimination. She also received a 5,000-square foot lab, an endowed chair, and financial support to the tune of $2.5 million a year, The Chronicle for Higher Education reports. (The Ford Foundation has even gotten in on the act and made a $1.4 million donation to MIT to help Hopkins and her colleagues.)


But the Hopkins-led “Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT” was a bunch of gender “junk science.” When the Independent Women’s Forum compared the years of service, publishing history, and number of citations of MIT’s senior men and women, the men left the women in the dust. With its “secret data, shrill rhetoric, and shoddy analysis,” University of Alaska Professor Judith Kleinfeld said, the report “amounts to little more than a political manifesto.”


In light of all this, as well as how Summers “has earned a reputation for blunt, sometimes brutal comments,” according to The Washington Post, it is safe to assume that feminist-careerist Hopkins was banking on the Harvard president saying something impolitic. Hopkins’ display of feminine frailty was nothing more than a publicity stunt so she could regain the national spotlight and reap a windfall of funding for her research. Her so-called feminism is a revolting caricature that only perpetuates women’s enslavement to centuries-old stereotypes and has subjugated scientific inquiry to the political agenda of the academic feminists.


“A university does not educate its students by insulating them from well-documented facts that some may find disturbing. ... what male and female students alike need as role models are people who act like real scientists,” says Patricia Hausman of the Virginia Association of Scholars. The “real issue here,” she notes, is “how appalling it is that a scientist would walk out of a meeting over the mere mention of an idea.”

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