there’s no point in trying to make someone match the average (or mere stereotype) of the female-human cluster if you already have access to more detailed information about her than that.
I would say that there’s little to no point in trying to make someone match the average/stereotype about someone even if you don’t have access to more detailed information about her than that. Or, at the very least, people should be capable of maintaining awareness of the information that someone is female without their connotations of what “female” means blocking their ability to take in new data about that person.
As an engineer, I’ve come across an unsettling number of assumptions that “engineering needs women because they’re so much better at multitasking and working in groups”—e.g., my presence in engineering is welcomed on the basis of supposed “positives” that I don’t actually provide. So while patting themselves on the back for earning Diversity Points, some folks are simultaneously holding female engineers responsible for providing the Wanted Stereotypical Ability. And meanwhile, the real (and useful) abilities that J. Random Engineer Who Happens To Be Female might provide get ignored, or not believed to exist until the engineer in question performs a sufficient number of Extraordinary Superhero Feats to get branded “The Exception”.
What you’re objecting to isn’t so much the shortcut, it seems to me, as the way-too-short, much-shorter-than-necessary cut. “Playing with spaceship Lego” isn’t an atomically detailed description of you either, but it’s more information than “female (human)”.
Yes, exactly. I remember always feeling kind of weird as a kid because I tended to identify more with male characters in stories (because I had more in common with them interest-wise and personality-wise), and yet, I knew I supposedly belonged to a category called “female”. Hence, I really liked it when I came across “tomboy” characters or girls who were good at math and science (like Meg Murry from “A Wrinkle In Time”), because reading about those characters gave me a bit of a “cognitive dissonance vacation”. I know some people dismiss the impact of fiction on culture, but since fiction is both a thing that culture both produces and is influenced by, I have always appreciated it when authors can successfully manage to realistically portray a character that subverts particular stereotypes—such works can have the curious effect of reassuring particular segments of the population that yes, they do, in fact, exist.
Also, this post makes me think of this entry in the TV Tropes wiki: “You Know What They Say About X” (a corollary of which could be Positive Discrimination)