Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 2.18

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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14 Comments

  1. I wrestled in high school, on one of the first teams to include female wrestlers in my state. Based on that experience, I suspect this dude is using the “religion” dodge as an excuse to avoid getting his ass beat all to Hell. The girls eventually got their own league, but I suspect it was more to protect the boys’ fragile egos than because they couldn’t compete on their own terms. Those girls were tough as shit.

  2. Predictably, the CNN comment thread on the wrestling article is bursting at the seams with misogynistic idiocy. Yes, it’s true that on average women are (on average) not as strong as men. On average! Overlapping bell curves! If a girl has the aptitude and competitive drive to compete with boys in a sport like wrestling, her gender is irrelevant.

    If the kid can’t view it as just a wrestling match and the girl as just a competitor, but instead sees it as sexual or as violence against women, he is not approaching wrestling with the proper attitude of sportsmanship and has no business competing in the first place.

    His real issue is that she is refusing to submit to his religion’s backwards oppressive gender roles, plain and simple.

  3. I train in submission wrestling and think the Iowa wrestler’s objections are absurd. Being that I’m one of the smaller guys in the gym, I end up rolling with the few girls that train there on a fairly regular basis. It never becomes even remotely sexual because that’s not what we’re there for and everyone’s mind is FAR too occupied with making sure they don’t get choked to even have time to worry about it. Sure, every known and then I might accidentally post my hand on a breast or something, but everyone knows things like that are going to happen and we just keep rolling.

    In the entire time I’ve been training I’ve only seen one kid refuse to train with a girl, and he washed out after a few weeks anyways. Some people object because men are generally stronger, but this is not a 180 pound guy and a 120 pound girl…they’re in the same weight class! He might be a little stronger, but certainly not so much so that superior technique couldn’t compensate for it. This is a prime example of someone creating a problem where there is none, just shut up, get on the mat, do what you came to do, shake hands win or lose, and go home slightly better at your sport than when you arrived. It’s not that complicated…

  4. Re the nudity thing: I wonder how the results would look in different cultures. Personally I don’t see myself answering like the women in the interviews, but I wonder if that’s a Swedish thing or if I’m just weird.

  5. @Felicia:
    I was wondering where they did this study exactly. Also, I hope Sly there was not typical of the male nudes, cause seriously – that’s supposed to be sexy? No wonder most women weren’t “lustful”. Maybe if there is a gender difference is perceiving nudes it is that for women it is not enough for the guy to be naked – he also has to be sexy.
    Also, did they control for sexual orientation? It would have been interesting to see what gay men/women would have thought of both sets of pictures too.

  6. @Felicia: Looking at the comments, it seems that many of the posters there also seem to disagree with what the women in the study were saying. Whether it’s culture, an issue of women’s liberation, feminism, self-confidence, or what, there’s something more complicated than “Men = subject, Women = object” going on here.

    Reading up on the study, my first instinct is that the nature of the interviews is a potential problem. The researcher, Beth Eck, did the interviews herself (unless I’m misreading it), and she didn’t know any of the study’s subjects personally. So right there, the responses are what people would say face-to-face with an an unknown woman. Would an anonymous survey, performed through e-mail perhaps, provide different results? You’d have to try it to find out.

    There also seems to be some confirmation bias going on in the study. Eck claims that “Men, as previous researchers have demonstrated, view the female body with a sense of ownership (Berger 1977).” Looking at the specific comments from men she chooses to quote, I see nothing that readily justifies a “sense of ownership”: “I think she’s beautiful physically. Personally I think she is attractive.” “I like that. That’s what we dream about.” From an older man, “She’s a good-lookin’ girl.” One man repeatedly told me that Cindy Crawford is a “professionally sexy, good-looking woman.”

    I should note that, although the Jezebel article doesn’t mention this, the study does point out that there is a minority of women who finds no problem looking at naked men – some with reluctance, some without.

    Maybe this is more common with sociological papers than the physics papers I normally read, but I really would have preferred to see some statistics on the results, in an attempt to take the experimenter’s bias out of the equation. We have to read everything through the lens of Eck’s own biases, making it much more difficult to see everything that’s going on here.

    To sum it up: I don’t doubt that most of the cultural effects here are real, but the comments to the Jezebel article alone provide evidence that we aren’t looking at the whole picture. In the right context, at least a minority of women have no problem treating male nudes as objects of desire. I sincerely doubt the commenters there are somehow all biologically different from the “normal” woman, so things aren’t hopeless. The question is… how to broaden that attitude?

    (Well, that’s my question. I’m sure others would prefer to ask how they can suppress it.)

  7. @Brian G: That misses out on the fun bits.

    Reese’s mom: Well that’s not fair! What do they expect him to do? Beat up a girl?

    Reese: I get to beat up a girl? Cool!

    Girl beats Reese so hard he cries and tries to crawl out of bounds.

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