In an Afghan village, terrorists throw acid on little girls’ faces, poison their water, and hurl grenades into their classrooms to stop them from going to school. In an American office, some women are a little chilly. For first world radical feminists, the latter issue takes precedence, especially in the scorching summer heat.
Yesterday, Atlantic staff writer Taylor Lorenz tweeted that air-conditioning is “unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist,” bringing attention to a feminist movement against air-conditioning. That’s right, a miraculous wonder of technology that allows people to settle in sweltering climates is now “an engine of the patriarchy.”
In a following tweet, Lorenz linked to an article from The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan that claimed that cool office temperatures hurt women’s productivity. The study found what most people already know: women prefer warmer temperatures and men prefer cooler temperatures. When someone is uncomfortable with the temperature, they perform slightly worse at work. Shocking. The author used the common sense findings as a club to browbeat (male) employers:
For employers, these findings mean that by insisting on the subzero fridges you call cubicles, not only are you making half your employees miserable, you are also sacrificing productivity.
The “air-conditioning is sexist” charade isn’t new; it has been going on for years around summertime. In July of 2015, The Washington Post published an article that asserted “air conditioning is another big, sexist plot.” The conspiracy theory was supported by CNN, The Telegraph, The New Republic, Today, The New Yorker, The Cut, Vox,The New York Times, Jezebel, The Independent, NPR, and the list goes on. The theory made a resurgence the following summer in 2016 when Time published an article that stated “standard office air-conditioning is indeed sexist.” Another ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) article in 2017 linked sexist air-conditioning to the glass ceiling -- “where women are less likely to get promoted regardless of their qualifications. Boo the patriarchy.” The conspiracy theory made waves again last year when Cynthia Nixon called air-conditioning “notoriously sexist.”
Ironically, The New York Times article attached to Lorenz’s original tweet presented incriminating arguments against the war on air-conditioning. The article noted that many offices set their thermostats between 74 to 76 degrees, but the differences between the sexes’ “perfect temperature” is minute. According to the article, some studies suggest that men are happier at 70 degrees while women prefer only 2.5 degrees higher. A survey from Roast found that the differences in thermal comfort between female and male staffers were insignificant.
In fact, according to a study by the Center for the Built Environment at the University of California, Berkeley, thermal comfort has much less to do with sex than it does with age, activity level, weight, height, and even relative wealth. David Lehrer, a Berkeley researcher, found that people in countries with lower GDPs are more comfortable with a wider range of temperatures -- a reminder that air-conditioning is a first-world luxury.
Thus we get to the heart of the issue: since western civilization has done such an amazing job promoting justice for all, western feminists have run out of things to complain about, so they turn to minor inconveniences (manspreading, mansplaining, microaggressions, etc.).
Perhaps the most privileged people on Earth are not straight white men, but rather people that can afford to complain about the A/C.