Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 7.10

Amanda

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

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  1. Not that it makes up for anything, but I thought it was hilarious how, after the backlash to Anita Sarkeesian’s project started, the donations to her kickstarter suddenly skyrocketed. I could not help but feel glee, and a little bit of schadenfreude at the assholes.

  2. The documented abortion is really great and eye-opening. It’s hard, though, to discern from the author’s page what exactly is happening in each picture. Maybe it just points to how accustomed I am to fear-mongering gory images of dead fetuses and the like, but I was looking at her photos thinking, “That’s *it*?”

  3. I have been thinking about what could be the possible motivation for this misogyny, and I think I figured it out.

    What is the classic marketing strategy if you have such a lousy product that no one wants to buy it and you can’t compete in a free, open and transparent market?

    You lie, you misrepresent the product you have, you falsely denigrate products that are better than your’s, you make it impossible for customers to determine which products actually meet their needs, what ever those needs are. You try to make it extremely difficult for customers to determine the quality of the products they are looking to purchase.

    What is the effect of all this misogyny? It makes women’s misogyny pattern recognition hypersensitive to misogyny, so they start making more false positive errors. The number of false positives may still be small compared to the number of true positives put out by the misogynists, but it still increases the noise-to-signal ratio.

    It makes it harder for women to distinguish between misogynists who are pretending to be non-misogynists from non-misogynists who are socially inept. Since there are a great many non-misogynists who are socially inept, this greatly reduces the competition the misogynists have. Since most misogynists are not socially inept, they can fake being non-misogynist much more easily than a non-misogynist can fake being socially non-inept (virtually impossible).

    What is needed is a reliable way to distinguish non-misogynists who are socially inept from misogynists who are socially non-inept. As a non-misogynist who is socially inept, I don’t know how to do it.

    Oh, also, this is July, so the OP should read 7.10…

    1. That is an interesting way of looking at it.

      I never thought to see the concepts of sensitivity, specificity and predictive value being applied to a test for misogyny!

      I’m sure there is a lot of truth in what you say, although I guess you were talking generally and not about this specific example?

      For instance, the reaction to the misogyny in this case was hardly hypersensitive, was it?

    2. I don’t know if that’s true, I think misogyny is coded into our society still, so most people (men and women) don’t even recognize it.

      And I think this is why men react with such piss and vinegar whenever it’s called out. Because they’ve been socialized to think certain misogyny is OK and when it’s called out, it’s chalked up to “oh stop complaining about a joke/it’s just marketing/etc.”

      Also, conscientious misogynists aren’t the only ones capable of sexism. Many nice guys act sexist sometimes and don’t even realize why what they’ve said or done is sexist.

    3. What is the classic marketing strategy if you have such a lousy product that no one wants to buy it and you can’t compete in a free, open and transparent market?

      Put tits on it.

      Incidentally, this is part of why I don’t play video games and, despite four years serving in the gaming club at college, it has only occurred to me quite recently that maybe some of them might be fun.

      It makes it harder for women to distinguish between misogynists who are pretending to be non-misogynists from non-misogynists who are socially inept. Since there are a great many non-misogynists who are socially inept, this greatly reduces the competition the misogynists have. Since most misogynists are not socially inept, they can fake being non-misogynist much more easily than a non-misogynist can fake being socially non-inept (virtually impossible).

      This might make sense if everyone fit neatly into two binary categories of being either misogynists or non-misogynists. This is a popular misconception, since binary thinking is easy and human brains love it and also it makes it much easier for the thinker to sort themselves into the “not misogynist” box just as long as some people are more misogynist than they are. However, it really isn’t how it works. Some people are more misogynist than others, and some people are more committed to it than others, but it’s still more like “different people fall at different points along a ‘How Misogynist Are You?’ spectrum” than being able to assign everyone a 1 or 0.

      Do you have a citation for the assertion that “most misogynists aren’t socially inept”? Maybe I’m just a freak magnet, but I know quite a lot of socially inept misogynists. Many of the socially inept men I know actually become increasingly misogynistic over time, as their social ineptness causes them to (a) be unable to talk to women without insulting them, thus resulting in them not getting laid and becoming bitter and (b) being unable to see why their behavior is blatantly insulting, thus leading them to conclude that the problem is that bitchez is picky/crazy/ineffable rather than that we don’t like being insulted.

      1. I don’t have a citation. My reasoning is that because some societies are inherently misogynist (for example societies that practice FGM), then if social ineptness was necessary or was highly correlated with misogyny, then the majority of people in such societies would have to be socially inept.

        I am also thinking about myself. I have made a conscious decision to not be misogynist, and I actively work at not doing things that might be, or perceived to be misogynist. I am actively trying to make myself a zero on the misogynist scale. The only reason I will do something misogynist is through ignorance or social ineptness. In spite of my conscious actions to not be misogynist, and to apologize and change my behavior if anyone lets me know if it is misogynistic in any way, some women do perceive me to be misogynist.

        It is frustrating to me to be perceived that way, but I know that all communication requires two parties, and to some extent, like beauty, misogyny is in the eye of the beholder. If you perceive someone to be misogynist, it is difficult to change your perception. This comes back to the hyperactive misogyny detection.

        Projecting a certain mind state is a large part of what it takes to be not socially inept. Being socially inept means being unable to get people to understand what your mind state is. When people don’t understand someone’s mind state, they feel creeped-out and impute creepyness and (in the limit) express xenophobia. (I have a blog post about how that works).

        As a hypothetical example, some may feel that if a man does not open a door for a woman, he is being misogynist (to some degree), while others may feel that a man opening a door for a woman is inherently misogynist because it presumes she can’t open the door for herself. The action (opening a door) is neutral, but the mind state imputed to the man doing the opening makes it misogynist or not.

        A man who is socially inept and who opens a door for a woman may be giving off “creepy vibes” (due to his social ineptness) which the woman interprets as misogyny. If he wasn’t so socially inept, or if she hadn’t been treated to a barrage of misogyny her whole adult life, her interpretation might have been different. If she does impute misogyny, then this becomes another example in the barrage of misogyny she has been inflicted with. If she doesn’t impute misogyny, and it turns out the guy is an actual misogynist, then she has let her guard down and put herself in harms way.

        Also, the “real misogynists” (people who are, know they are, and want to be misogynist) are a lost cause. If someone is and wants to remain a misogynist, there is nothing that anyone else can do to make them change. The only way I know how to deal with such people is to avoid interacting with them because such interactions will only be harmful to women, and especially to vote them (and their allies) out of office so they cannot use government power to hurt women.

          1. Can you name me a society that isn’t inherently misogynist, as a point of reference?/blockquote>

            Well, there’s…I mean, there is…uh, what’s the name of that island that Wonder Woman came from?

        1. I can’t help but think as I read through this whole comment that what you really mean is “sexist” and not “misogynist.” Do you really have to work diligently at not hating women? I fail to see how holding a door open demonstrates misogyny. On the other hand, I could see how holding a door open could be interpreted as sexist (if it’s only done for women, for example).

          1. I think in the context of this discussion on SC, where sexism has been argued to death again and again and again. The only reason for someone to not be paying attention is misogyny.

            There are degrees, but if you do something that harms a woman, and you do it knowing that it is going to harm her, and you do it anyway, how is that not misogyny?

            If we go back to the incident that started a lot of this latest round of discussion, asking a woman to have coffee can be an innocent request, but not at 4:30 AM, alone, in an enclosed space where she can’t escape and you haven’t talked to her before.

            In the examples at the link, how can the woman tell which is sexism, chauvinism or misogyny? She can’t without being able to read the mind of the guy (which we know has never been demonstrated, or Randi’s million would be history). What is legitimate for her to impute is the guy’s motivation?

            If a woman is exposed to more misogyny, then she will be more ready to impute misogyny in cases that are indeterminant.

            The only way for an ambiguous action to be not interpreted as misogynistic is for the woman to know the guy well enough for her to understand how to impute what he is doing to be maybe clueless but not misogynist. In the elevator example, RW didn’t impute misogyny to EG, but she did appreciate that a woman who was perhaps less worldly wise, someone who didn’t have her mad cold-reading skilz could interpret it differently.

            As I remember (and I didn’t follow it that closely), what made the controversy go thermonuclear was when someone who was less worldly wise and without RW’s mad cold-reading skilz (and without her experience of years of explicit and murderous email hate mail) said she was wrong.

  4. Quite a read about that course for the Marine officers.

    It will be interesting to see how the experiment pans out.

    I just hope that the women that pass it are respected by their subordinates.
    I know I did when it came to my LPO. She was tougher than some guys I knew.

    1. Yeah, I’d hope they would be, but I’m almost certain they won’t be respected.

      For one, most infantry marines (I was one, a while back…) don’t respect officers to begin with (and, IMO, with good reason), also, the Marine Corps is a pretty misogynistic culture. I can remember being told never to salute a female officer, because: (insert stupid misogynistic bullshit here, I can’t remember the details, I didn’t pay attention at the time, I just avoided drawing attention to myself(yeah, not the bravest or most moral ground…))

      I can remember during boot camp going through the rifle range with some female recruits (yeah, Parris Island…), and our range coach (alright, I’m an idiot, I forget what we called them in bootcamp…) first told us (the male recruits) that females couldn’t shoot (in much cruder terms), and then later, I distinctly remember him giving the female recruits false information while ‘coaching’ them.

      Really disturbed me. frequently throughout boot camp, various instructors liked to point out to us how important camaraderie was, and that regardless of what our MOS(specific job/duty) was, there was always the chance that any other individual in the Corps could end up in a position where they were directly responsible for saving our lives (and vice-versa). So this person was so misogynistic, that not only were they willing to sacrifice their personal track-record (having less recruits on their lane qualify, etc.), they were (in theory) willing to risk endangering every other Marine’s life (including their own), as well as engage in just general douce-baggery, in order to possibly provide a few more anecdotes for why “bitches can’t shoot”.

      On the upside, at least one of the women recruits who I shared a lane with earned the expert badge, despite all the bad advice and sabotage. As a boot-camp pizza-box, (and budding feminist), I had a lot of respect for her achievement.

      So, despite being in the infantry (all-male at the time (but hoping that changes soon)), I personally witnessed numerous egregious examples of both personal and institutional sexism. I have no doubt that this course will be flooded with highly capable female applicants. Unfortunately, due to rampant misogyny, they will have a very long, hard, uphill battle ahead of them, but at least this represents one less obstacle on their path to that battle.

      anti-climatic after-note: I’ll take as given that it’s a tough course, but with only 6 failures out of nearly 100… well, I think there continues to be sufficient reason for the amount of disdain enlisted Marines have for their boot lieutenants.
      (I think we had about that many people get kicked out of my bootcamp platoon, and that was only about 30-40 individuals, and I’d be surprised if more then 10 of them were actually in the infantry (everyone wants to be a damned JAG and jet-engine mechanic…).

      anyways, props to women Marines, at least one former Marine has some inkling of the crap you’ve had to put up with.

      1. I’ll take as given that it’s a tough course, but with only 6 failures out of nearly 100… well, I think there continues to be sufficient reason for the amount of disdain enlisted Marines have for their boot lieutenants.
        (I think we had about that many people get kicked out of my bootcamp platoon, and that was only about 30-40 individuals, and I’d be surprised if more then 10 of them were actually in the infantry (everyone wants to be a damned JAG and jet-engine mechanic…).

        Sorry, could you please clarify something: Are the people taking the Infantry Officer Course drawn from the Marine Corps or somewhere else? I thought the article was describing an additional “sieve” applied to marines who wanted to become infantry officers, but your statement seems to imply that this course is less difficult than what is expected of enlisted marines.

        1. pciszek- hey, thanks for responding, and apologies for taking so long to get back to you.
          First off, I don’t know much about the course, just what I read in the article, but the article does state that it’s a USMC course. I don’t know much about the officer end of things, but on the enlisted side, there are occasional branch ‘cross-overs’, where someone from one branch will take a course run by another branch (like, say, a Marine attending the Army Ranger school). It’s not terribly common, but it happens, and I have no idea what the numbers/statistics on it are.
          Apologies if I’m wrong, but from what I read of your response, I’m sorta under the impression that you aren’t real familiar with the general structure of the U.S. military. Officers and enlisted have completely different experiences/training/etc. Enlisted pretty much walk into a recruiting station, take a (pretty crappy) standardized test (to determine whether you should be a jet engine mechanic or just sit around pumping diesel into tanks and trucks, or something…), have some sort of police record check, and sign some papers and such. maybe go on a mile jog with your recruiter or something. After that, you get shipped off, where you get a bit of a medical exam (strip down and duckwalk, get your vision/hearing checked, sign a bunch of forms about not ever being a conscientious objector, not ever marrying anyone of the same genetic sex (I can’t remember the actual terms, but they were notably specific in a rather odd way that possibly left loopholes (could I (cis male) marry a FtM trans male, and get them base housing?), and some stuff about the constitution that no-one seems to remember completely.

          So, I’m not sure what all is involved in the officer side of things, but I think they start in/after college (you need a bachelor’s degree to be an officer), if starting in college, they have some training stuff where they dress up in uniforms and attend formations, and go to class in cammies and such. After that, I think they go to OCS – officer candidate(?) school, which I think is sorta their equivalent of bootcamp, in that (I think?) its sorta a screening/indoctrination process, but I assume it’s focused on completely different stuff. I don’t know, I avoided officers like the plague.

          As to my initial post: Granted, that’s not a very good, or even applicable comparison. I think I just wanted to point out the (incredibly) low failure rate. maybe they have an excellent screening process or something, I don’t know.
          I just mentioned boot camp since in my opinion, it wasn’t really that hard (stressful and unpleasant, sure, but not necessarily difficult). But then, I guess boot camp is pretty much the screening process for the Corps.

          Even so, any course/school I can think of that us enlisted attended either had a much higher failure rate, or was a more co-operative type effort (which is still highly competitive, since, well, everything in the USMC is competitive…), but most of those were training courses that whole units went to (as opposed to individuals).

          And admittedly, to this day, I’m just highly prejudiced against officers. -and this isn’t a justification for my prejudice, but I feel it’s an inherently classist system that has relatively little going for it other then tradition.

        1. All our medical personnel were Navy (hell, USMC falls under the Department of the Navy, so…). I think some other things like lawyers or something were too, but I didn’t interact with them. I liked most of the corpsmen (platoon-level medical personnel) assigned to us. They did everything we did, all the training, field exercises, schools, humps, etc. and they usually carried a bigger/heavier pack. (and, well, this is more anecdotal, but the ones I knew seemed to be a little more laid-back/reasonable then my fellow Marines, which is always a plus.

          but, yeah, the culture pretty much sucked. I’ve met a few great individuals, including liberals, feminists, atheists and skeptics, but the overwhelming majority of that institution is well entrenched in racism, misogynism, and homophobia, as well as evangelism. I’ve heard that the Navy has one of the highest rates of female enlisted members, and also is more egalitarian than most branches (heard similar about the Airforce, but from what I’ve seen, they are practically civilians (-that’s envy, not disdain…))

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