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I am a 16-year old student and I'm really angry at somethings my dad and family doctor have said. Firstly, I told my doctor that I was doing poorly in my math class. He said that the reason was probably because men seem to be better at math and sciences than women. Do I have the right to be angry, or am I overreacting? Also, my dad and I had an argument about whether a woman would be capable of being a garbage collector. He thinks that "men are built differently than women" and that I'd never be able to be a garbage collector. I told him that if a woman built herself up and was strong and healthy, then she'd probably be able to perform any job that a man could. What do you think? Am I again overreacting? Sincerely, Lisa

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. And you are certainly justified in your frustration and your anger. Historically, because people didn't want to believe that women could be good at math and sciene, they were shut out from these fields and thus, men did do better in math and science. However, now we are beginning to see more equality in these areas--just as more men are being encouraged in English and the arts (areas that women have traditionally been encouraged in). So I think that time will tell, that given equal access and equal encouragement--women and men are equally capable in math and science.

And as for women being garbage collectors--my measure is that if you can find one exception to every rule, then you can begin to disprove this presummed assumption. For instance, as with the above, women haven't been told they could be garbage collectors, so they don't think that they can be. I would imagine that they are a few female garbage collectors (just as there are a few female body builders) and thus - women are capable of it, it's just that they aren't told this is something that they can do, so getting them to do it is a huge leap forward.

I hope that helps--and I hope that your anger and frustration fuel you enough to pursue whatever you want in the face of your father and your family doctor's limited vision - good luck.


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