I honestly do not know where to start with this insanity. Penelope Green at The New York Times asked in a recent article if Americans need an air conditioner.
The Atlantic staff writer Taylor Lorenz jumped onto this notion by declaring air conditioning is sexist because, of course, it is.
Green noted in her article a study performed by Nature.com that stated “how building temperatures, once set to the comfort preferences of 1960s-era men in suits, disregard the ‘thermal comfort’ of female staffers.”
However, Green pointed out that building managers control the temperatures, often relying on industry standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. These standards suggest 67 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
I give Green credit because she shows both sides of the story, including one business in Philadelphia that tried to go a summer without air conditioning, which failed because employees complained about the sweltering summer heat.
Here is a significant portion of Green’s article (emphasis mine):
A byproduct of the experiment was the evolution of the survey process, now a cloud-based app called Roast, that revealed something rather illuminating: While there were slightly more survey responses from female staff, the differences in thermal comfort between sexes were insignificant. (Are women just more inclined to participate in surveys?)
It turns out gender is less a predictor of thermal comfort than other factors, like age, activity level or, tellingly, the relative wealth of the society surveyed, according to studies conducted by researchers at the Center for the Built Environment at the University of California, Berkeley.
People in countries with lower G.D.P.s, said David Lehrer, the communications director and a researcher there, are more comfortable with a wider range of temperatures. It appears that first world discomfort is a learned behavior.
Green wrote that at The Times management keeps the temperature between 72 and 74 degrees, which they based off on suggestions from employees. Men preferred 70 degrees while women wanted it 2 degrees higher.
Is that sexist? Lorenz thinks so.
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) July 7, 2019
Let me provide some reality for Lorenz. Yes, most buildings do have temperatures too low. I often bring a cardigan with me when I go anywhere in the summer.
I also believe too cold is better than too hot. You can always warm up, but if the temperature is too hot, you can strip naked and still not cool off enough.
It is not sexist to have a building set to cold. Are some too cold? Yes. But it’s not sexist or to oppress women.
It’s getting old and frustrating seeing women scream SEXISM whenever they encounter criticism or something that makes them uncomfortable. The patriarchy must want to oppress them and force them to stay at home barefoot in the kitchen. Whatever.
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