Women in college quizbowl

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Women in college quizbowl

Post by theMoMA » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:10 pm

With Selene's departure, it looks like there will be no women on this list for the first time in a while. In fact, it appears that only about ten female players were at DI ICT or Nationals in total. One of the first things that the reporter from Slate asked me at Nationals was why there are very few women in quizbowl, and I'm not sure I have a good answer. Any thoughts? (One thing that I've noticed is that our team has traditionally had a decent male/female ratio in our practices, but less so in terms of tournament turnout; I'm not sure what to attribute this to.)
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:15 pm

Any thoughts?
Um, the combination of extreme egotism and unbridled competitiveness that is the essence of both the game itself and its surrounding culture? Is this seriously a question?
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by marnold » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:19 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:
Any thoughts?
Um, the combination of extreme egotism and unbridled competitiveness that is the essence of both the game itself and its surrounding culture? Is this seriously a question?
lulz. Yeah, pretty much this. Also, maybe something of a self-perpetuating lack of role models: I had to explain the career of Susan and Selene to our freshman Victoria to convince here there had ever been notable female players.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:22 pm

Anecdotally, it seems that retention of female players is much stronger where a team already has established female players. MIT back in the day was largely composed of female players, who seemed to have both social and bureaucratic dominance over the team. So the lack of female players may be caused by the lack of female players.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by theMoMA » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:31 pm

marnold wrote:
Tees-Exe Line wrote:
Any thoughts?
Um, the combination of extreme egotism and unbridled competitiveness that is the essence of both the game itself and its surrounding culture? Is this seriously a question?
lulz. Yeah, pretty much this. Also, maybe something of a self-perpetuating lack of role models: I had to explain the career of Susan and Selene to our freshman Victoria to convince here there had ever been notable female players.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't debate have more female participation despite the fact that it's basically quizbowl x10 when it comes to "extreme egotism and unbridled competitiveness"?
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by marnold » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:37 pm

theMoMA wrote:
marnold wrote:
Tees-Exe Line wrote:
Any thoughts?
Um, the combination of extreme egotism and unbridled competitiveness that is the essence of both the game itself and its surrounding culture? Is this seriously a question?
lulz. Yeah, pretty much this. Also, maybe something of a self-perpetuating lack of role models: I had to explain the career of Susan and Selene to our freshman Victoria to convince here there had ever been notable female players.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't debate have more female participation despite the fact that it's basically quizbowl x10 when it comes to "extreme egotism and unbridled competitiveness"?
There are more girls at the higher levels, yes, though not really that much more. However, there is also significantly more hand-wringing about it and more of a concerted effort to correct it throughout the community: there have been female-only tournaments, lots of outreach programs, cases being run about being female in debate, biannual threads about girls in debate on their equivalent of HSQB etc.

Also, speaking of egotism: I realize I did this to myself by being modest by ranking him higher than me on my own ballot, but the number of people ranking Rafael higher than me (by a lot) is starting to grate on me.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Susan » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:44 pm

marnold wrote:
Tees-Exe Line wrote:
Any thoughts?
Um, the combination of extreme egotism and unbridled competitiveness that is the essence of both the game itself and its surrounding culture? Is this seriously a question?
lulz. Yeah, pretty much this. Also, maybe something of a self-perpetuating lack of role models: I had to explain the career of Susan and Selene to our freshman Victoria to convince here there had ever been notable female players.
Yeah, if there are women on your team there will keep being women on your team. Chicago has had women on its team continuously since 1989 (some "notable female players"--there's been at least one female national champion on the Chicago team since 1999--some less notable).

It's worth noting that there are considerably more women in quizbowl at lower levels. At ICT DII, I think there were 21 female players (that's a quick count and I may have missed some gender-ambiguous names) out of 131 total. The top female player came twelfth. (At DI, I count 7 women of 121 players, best placement 77th). The four DII teams at ACF Nats had four female players (out of 10 total); ACF Nats overall had 9 female players out of 101 total (best placement 28th).
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:59 pm

theMoMA wrote:Any thoughts?
One female friend of mine within quizbowl (although not anybody from my own team or general distant corner of the circuit) has suggested that the paucity of female quizbowl players has to do with the fact that some male quizbowl players have an unfortunate tendency to hit on women who play in unwelcome and persistent ways. I think that as a group, it might help if we think carefully about how we treat other community members, and work to respect each other's boundaries.

I suspect that we should, as a community, not flippantly dismiss the issue of quizbowl's gender imbalance. Marshall Steinbaum's comment earlier seemed to effectively dismiss the problem on the grounds of some sort of large inherent difference between men and women. I'm not a social scientist, and I'm not sure what sort of measurable behavioral differences there are between men and women as a whole, and to what extent those differences are caused by biologically or socially motivated factors, but I do think that it seems awfully facile to immediately and unthinkingly externalize the problem (and yes, I suspect it is a problem) of quizbowl's gender disparity and avoid taking any responsibility for the issue and have a serious discussion about it.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by mhayes » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:06 pm

The Atom Strikes! wrote:One female friend of mine within quizbowl (although not anybody from my own team or general distant corner of the circuit) has suggested that the paucity of female quizbowl players has to do with the fact that some male quizbowl players have an unfortunate tendency to hit on women who play in unwelcome and persistent ways. I think that as a group, it might help if we think carefully about how we treat other community members, and work to respect each other's boundaries.

I suspect that we should, as a community, not flippantly dismiss the issue of quizbowl's gender imbalance. Marshall Steinbaum's comment earlier seemed to effectively dismiss the problem on the grounds of some sort of large inherent difference between men and women.
Nothing against your friend, but I think Marshall's reasons are more plausible. It's hard for me to believe that the overwhelming majority of women shy away from quiz bowl because male players are overly flirty.

I'm not saying that this isn't a factor, but I can't imagine that it's the major cause of this phenomenon.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:09 pm

Marshall Steinbaum's comment earlier seemed to effectively dismiss the problem on the grounds of some sort of large inherent difference between men and women. I'm not a social scientist, and I'm not sure what sort of measurable behavioral differences there are between men and women as a whole, and to what extent those differences are caused by biologically or socially motivated factors, but I do think that it seems awfully facile to immediately and unthinkingly externalize the problem (and yes, I suspect it is a problem) of quizbowl's gender disparity and avoid taking any responsibility for the issue and have a serious discussion about it.
Speaking not as a social scientist but as a person, I have noticed the following empirical regularity: women are turned off by aggressive, baselessly self-confident men competing in a little world they create, remove from mainstream society, and take super-seriously. That doesn't externalize the problem; it properly blames the flawed human beings (i.e, men) who bring it about through extreme egotism and unbridled competitiveness.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:13 pm

mhayes wrote:
Nothing against your friend, but I think Marshall's reasons are more plausible. It's hard for me to believe that the overwhelming majority of women shy away from quiz bowl because male players are overly flirty.

I'm not saying that this isn't a factor, but I can't imagine that it's the major cause of this phenomenon.
I'm not certain that my friend's explanation is the be-all and end-all of this whole thing either. It just seems like maybe we should think carefully about this and take the subjective experiences of women in the community into account (because if there is some aspect of the quizbowl community that's hostile to women-- and I'm not trying to assert that there is, simply that we should seriously consider the possibility), rather than simply try to mansplain the issue away and deny people's experiences.


@Marshall: Okay, I see. That's an interesting point, which I'll have more time to respond to later.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Fond du lac operon » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:22 pm

Henry, I don't think claiming that a lot of women are turned off by hypercompetitiveness is a necessarily essentialist claim (feminist words!). Girls are, in general, socialized to be a lot less competitive and aggressive than boys.

It's possible -- hell, likely-to-certain -- that some women are turned off by unwelcome attention from male members of the circuit. But I'd bet that similar men exist in debate, or like Model UN or something, so I'm skeptical that it explains all of the gender disparity.


Edit: Oh man, and I got a "honorable mention" mention! Hopefully that doesn't disqualify Matt's ballot as obviously a joke (although maybe it should).
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:23 pm

There are plenty of creepsters in quizbowl. But teams that lack them also have trouble recruiting and keeping female members. It can be a partial explanation at best.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:31 pm

The Atom Strikes! wrote:It just seems like maybe we should think carefully about this and take the subjective experiences of women in the community into account (because if there is some aspect of the quizbowl community that's hostile to women-- and I'm not trying to assert that there is, simply that we should seriously consider the possibility), rather than simply try to mansplain the issue away and deny people's experiences.
A thousand times this. Fortunately, I think quizbowl has largely moved away from the downright awful dudes who used to populate it in the late '90s/early '00s, but that doesn't mean that quizbowl is exactly female-friendly. If your female fellow-players tell you something is problematic, take that seriously.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by I'm a goff (in case you couldn't tell) » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:41 pm

Slightly more meta, but also slightly more relevant: why aren't more women posting in this thread?
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Fond du lac operon » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:43 pm

If you're talking about the player poll, I'd say: because there aren't many women in quizbowl. If you're talking about the "why aren't there women in quizbowl" thread, I'd say because it should probably be spun off as a separate thread so people with an opinion (and you know what they say about opinions and certain parts of anatomies) know they can post in it.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Cheynem » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:46 pm

If you're talking about the player poll, I'd say: because there aren't many women in quizbowl. If you're talking about the "why aren't there women in quizbowl" thread, I'd say because it should probably be spun off as a separate thread so people with an opinion (and you know what they say about opinions and certain parts of anatomies) know they can post in it.
Truly, one wonders why women might not want to play quizbowl.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Fond du lac operon » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:48 pm

EDIT: Ah, bad joke in the wrong thread. Delete this, mods!

It's been moved to the right thread, but it was still a terrible joke. - mgmt
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Re: Women in college quizbowl

Post by dyetman89 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:56 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Speaking not as a social scientist but as a person, I have noticed the following empirical regularity: women are turned off by aggressive, baselessly self-confident men competing in a little world they create, remove from mainstream society, and take super-seriously. That doesn't externalize the problem; it properly blames the flawed human beings (i.e, men) who bring it about through extreme egotism and unbridled competitiveness.
Yes! Marshall, you've explained it all. It's axiomatic that women are just repelled by egotistical men who take themselves more seriously than is ideal. That explains why no women want to go into law or real estate sales. I mean, whenever I glance through the webpages of the associates at a major corporate law firm or poke around my mother's (uh, oops, sarcastic verisimilitude shattered) agency, it's just agonizingly obvious how difficult it is to recruit women in either industry. I mean, honestly, anyone out there know any female college students in 2012 who are going to law school or graduating to first-year-associate-hood? They're all staying home to bake cookies and marry Mitt Romney (domesticity and polygamy are both making a comeback, you know). Naturally this also explains why none of the arrogant pricks who play Div 1 sports can get any chicks - I mean, what girl wants to indulge her carnal appetites with such an arrogant asshole? Sorry, loudmouth fratboys and jock douches of America, you'll have to be content with a placid mattress.

As we all know, there are no women at all attempting to sail into the well-known Hollywood jerk maelstrom, the land of huge egos, "casting couches," lecherous producers, and cuttthroat competition. Who ever heard of persons of the feminine persuasion trying to break into acting? This explains why, as you no doubt obviously recall, all of the female leads in Hollywood films are played by lumpy, prepubescent boys in drag. Too many jerks!

And as to women disdaining competitive nonremunerative activities - truly, what could be more plain? There are certainly no women competing in sports (in enormous numbers) at the intercollegiate level, and if there were, they'd just stand there alternately sobbing and comforting each other at the first outbreak of competitive fervor. Smelling salts would surely be at the ready - I mean, it's not as though female sprinters or volleyball players or what have you would throw themselves into the game with wild abandon, competing relentlessly against their opponents. Right? Guys [only guys, we know you chicks are just a mirage in the qb desert]?

Seriously folks, seriously. The delicate, conciliatory women meme has virtually no basis in reality - Title IX sports flourish, and some of the most competitive and "high-testosterone" fields are clearly of professional and extracurricular interest to many women.

A last bit on which to nibble - I humbly note that science bowl teams, and chess teams, and math teams, all suffer (in my limited experience) from the very estrogen deficit which we have diagnosed in this thread.
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Re: Player Poll 2011-2012 Season

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:01 am

What is it like to be a Bat Falcon? wrote:If you're talking about the player poll, I'd say: because there aren't many women in quizbowl. If you're talking about the "why aren't there women in quizbowl" thread, I'd say because it should probably be spun off as a separate thread so people with an opinion (and you know what they say about opinions and certain parts of anatomies) know they can post in it.
Are you fucking stupid? I don't need a thread title specifically about women to signal me to post in a thread about women. Why the hell would a woman be less likely to read the player poll thread to start with? Are we all the same to you? I've refrained from posting in this thread so far because I've seen several of them in my time, and they're all inevitably full of a bunch of men making stupid generalizations about women. I get tired of the nonsense and I doubt that anyone would listen to me anyway. I applaud Henry and Jerry and Dan and possibly others I've missed for avoiding that trend and actually wondering if women in quizbowl have something to say about why there aren't more of us.

I think it's ridiculous to try to assert that any one thing in particular is to blame for quizbowl's gender disparity. The fact that I've encountered more creeps than other women in my career is probably a factor, and the competitiveness thing may well be too. What I hate, personally, is the assumptions that obnoxious fucking threads like these make so painfully clear: to some of you, at least, women are all the same and thus driven away by the same things. One of the reasons I stuck with quizbowl over basketball in high school is that I generally prefer masculine company. I'm only uncomfortable being the only woman in a room when someone feels compelled to bring that up. STOP FUCKING OTHERING ME. I'm a goddamn quizbowl player like any of the rest of you.

Why aren't there more women in quizbowl? I really don't know. But I feel pretty confident that assholish, generalizing posts on the internet sure as hell aren't going to cause there to be more.
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Re: Women in college quizbowl

Post by Cheynem » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:03 am

Before this thread almost certainly gets locked and sentenced to some terrible place where its stupidity can harm no one, I will say I agree completely with Sarah.
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Re: Women in college quizbowl

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:04 am

Locked because Sarah's post should be the last word on this subject for now.
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