Ask Surly Amy: Victim Blaming

Dear Surly Amy,

At uni today I got into a discussion about victim blaming, and someone did the stock thing of saying ‘If a woman gets so bladdered she can’t think, it’s her fault. Especially if she’s not wearing much’. How can you respond to this and attempt to make some sort of impression? The only other person involved supported him and in an engineering department, it’s hard to find back-up or anyone who can even see a problem. He claims to want equality, but in the same breath will claim that the only use of women in an office is decoration and has unashamedly harassed women before.


Dear Liz,

Your schoolmate is an asshole.

A person who says that it was the woman’s fault in assault cases because she was dressed in a certain way, or for being intoxicated, beersis essentially saying that he believes that all men are so weak in character that they are incapable of controlling themselves in even the most simplistic of social situations and are ready and willing to break the law at a moment’s notice. He is projecting his own character flaws and perceived lack of control onto the culture at large. By saying, “she was asking for it” he is telling you that he is the type of guy that has a lack of respect for women as human beings and that he is ruled by his own sexual desires and apparent violent tendencies. He is saying that he can not control himself when women are present. He is saying women are to be interpreted primarily as sexual objects and that women should be responsible for predetermining violent or unwanted sexual attention and should somehow find ways to control that behavior in men through their daily wardrobe choices. It is indeed, a classic example of the victim blaming you said you were discussing.

Is your friend so overwhelmed by the clothing choices of certain women that he can’t help but whip out his penis if they are dressed a certain way? If the answer is yes, as he alludes, then he should seek therapy before he hurts someone or gets his penis stuck in a fence. stop victim blamingIt is stunning that he even makes it to his school on warm spring days, when ladies on the street remove their coats. Surely, a summer breeze would have us all asking for it in his eyes.

The excuse of “she was asking for it” is just so goddamn tired and old. It is an embarrassment to good men everywhere, the majority of whom are not sexual-predator-asswhipes. If just the very thought of sex or a sexual innuendo turns you into a raging, rape-machine that can’t be stopped, you should politely remove yourself from our grand society until you can learn to control yourself like a regular person. And telling women that they can not participate in social situations or alcohol consumption or dress how they please for fear of being raped or assaulted because you have deemed that they have shown up or left a social situation “asking for it” makes you a gigantic, raging-asshole and part of the problem of rape culture. martini

Women are not accessories for your office or your penis regardless of their attire. And focussing the blame on victims who are characterized as “asking for it” is the main way abusers avoid responsibility for their actions and find an excuses to continue on with hurtful and dangerous behavior.

If this guy is immediately being overwhelmed by hemlines and sheer blouses, as he insinuates, when he refers to the clothing choices of women as a trigger for assault, then he should stop socializing and probably stop drinking too. He is the problem, not a shot of Jack Daniels or the hint of a bare shoulder in a bar-room.

And last time I checked, even six-inch patent leather stiletto heels can’t magically whip a penis out of a pair of pants. shoesBut if you would like to present me with evidence of this accouterment witchcraft, feel free to send magic shoes and other supernatural clothing accessories or apparel to Skepchick.org. The women and men here at Skepchick would be more than happy to test them out. We do love shoes.

Let’s not forget that regardless of how modest or provocative fashion has been through the ages, there has still been rape.

This meme was floating around twitter last week and sums it up rather well:

Remember when women dressed modestly and there was no rape? Yeah, that was the best imaginary time ever.

I hope this helps you with future interactions with this person though I would try my best to steer clear of a person who considers a woman an object first and a human being second and I hope other men will start calling out people like this as the embarrassment and threat that they are.


Photos ©Amy Davis Roth

Got a question you would like some Surly-Skepchick advice on? Send it in! We won’t publish your real name, unless you want us to and creative pseudonyms get bonus points! Just use the contact link on the top left of the page.

Amy Roth

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics She is the fearless leader of Mad Art Lab and cohost of Makers' Hustle Podcast Support her on Patreon. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+.

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  1. February 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm —

    This is a really good post. I feel like victim-blaming is really entrenched in our culture – when I’m telling a friend about an incident of street harrassment etc, I often add in what I was wearing – eg “and I was just in jeans and a hoodie!” Like what I was wearing makes any difference…

  2. February 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm —

    “When you walked out of the house wearing a short skirt, It obviously was because you wanted me/us, specifically, to stick my/our cock(s) in you. How fortunate that we crossed paths tonight.” Is that a reasonable thing to think? No. No it is not. Now go fuck off with victim blaming.

  3. February 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm —

    Victim blaming is a result of living in a society where most people adhere to the idea that we live in a just world. People go around as if everyone gets what they deserve (good or bad) and nothing bad happens to good people. So when something bad happens to a good or innocent person, it must be because that person did something to deserve whatever it is. I find this to be the core (usually unarticulated) idea behind victim blaming.

    • February 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm —

      It’s also a means of protecting yourself from victimization. If you can identify what the victim did wrong, then you can make sure you’re never a victim. It’s madness, of course, but people participate in all sorts of delusions.

    • February 13, 2013 at 8:11 am —

      Oh wow you are so right, that analysis makes total sense.

  4. February 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm —

    Brava. I want to print out a stack of copies of your response to this letter and hand them out to every asshat who dares say, “she was asking for it.” (slow clap)

  5. February 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm —

    QotW !! (Is that how you ask for something to be nominated for quote of the week?)

    Amy, that’s the best response I’ve ever heard to someone spouting “dressed like that” BS: “Last time I checked, even six-inch patent leather stiletto heels can’t magically whip a penis out of a pair of pants.” You rock.

    • February 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm —

      It’s “Comment of the week” so COTW is the abbreviation, but either way, thank you. I’m glad you liked the post. :)

  6. February 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm —

    “Asking for it” (where “it” is some kind of mistreatment) is inherently victim-blaming, regardless of who is “asking” or what “it” is. Bank robbers will claim that a bank “was just asking to be robbed,” but it won’t reduce the jail term they get if they rob it. As a kid, I was constantly told I was “asking for it” when someone (child or adult) bullied me because didn’t like my expression or how I talked or what i wore or whatever. It’s always, always an excuse for an abuser to deny responsibility for abusing, or for people who could stop the abuse to do nothing.

    The only way “she was asking for it” is an excuse for f***ing someone is if you mean it literally — if she literally (in words — the spoken kind!) asked you to do it, and she wasn’t obviously non compos mentis from drink or something.

  7. February 13, 2013 at 3:10 am —

    Amy, great post!
    “And last time I checked, even six-inch patent leather stiletto heels can’t magically whip a penis out of a pair of pants”
    Hmm, there’s a few foot fetishists out there I may not be so sure about…never understood that one myself.

  8. February 13, 2013 at 4:36 am —

    This is a timely post. I was having a very closely-related conversation last night and would greatly appreciate some input.

    We were discussing this exact thing, and the guys I was talking to agreed with me that “she was wearing a short skirt” does not mean “she deserved it”. So far, so good. But then they raised a (not unrealistic, where I live) scenario, in which a woman (short skirt or no) goes through an area known for its high rate of violent crime, including rape. The question was put to me: did this person not take an avoidable risk?

    Analogies were drawn to extreme sports, and I pointed out that they do not involve another person committing a crime against your person. An analogy was drawn to walking through the same area on your phone – it’s not your fault it got nicked, you weren’t asking for it, but you took an avoidable risk.

    I wasn’t really sure what to say to this except to point out that a larger problem is that culturally, we agonise over how much blame a rape victim should bear, rather than looking at more important issues. We worry about the tiny percentage of false accusations, and we ignore the majority of cases in which the perpetrator and victim know each other, focusing instead on the bad man in the bushes. They accepted this point, but I still am not sure what to say to their claim that we can in a small way blame the victim – for taking a risk. Can anyone help me out here please?

    • February 13, 2013 at 10:11 am —

      How about this: Last time I checked, even walking alone at night as a woman in a “bad” area can’t force aman to whip his penis out.

      Not to mention, women EXIST and have to work or go to school or maybe they decided to *gasp* go to a party and then they had to go home.

      People take risks ALL THE FUCKING TIME. I take a risk — a pretty decent risk, too, especially compared to “stranger rape”, every time I get into my car — am I asking for it if a drunk hits me and kills me?

  9. February 13, 2013 at 5:17 am —

    This line of thinking reinforces the notion that it is entirely appropriate for men to become angry at women for not ‘putting out’, and that it is appropriate to expect the woman to mollify the man and defuse the situation by offering up sex as an appeasement. If this doesn’t take place, well then of course the angry, horny man will turn to rape. Obviously.


    This mentality annoys me in so many ways – not only does it effectively reduce women to little more than items of potential sexual conques, but it also implies that men are such total slaves of their libidos that women need to tiptoe around us so as not to unleash the Dragon (gratuitous Song of Ice and Fire reference). It’s an old fashioned way of thinking that hearkens back to the bad old days of the ‘rights of the husband’ and ‘duties of the wife’ mode of arranging relationships.

  10. February 13, 2013 at 7:30 am —

    Great post and the meme mentioned at the end is a classic line for sure.

    Another aspect of this simply a lapse of critical thinking. While there’s no doubt men who indeed are projecting their rape-happy mindset, there’s also a lot of men who simply are regurgitating crap they’ve come to absorb form their peers. I’ve sadly heard this line of logic (or lack thereof) from a lot of guys I know would never in a million years take advantage of a woman in that state. But it’s just something they’ve heard in high school or college from their peers and have never been compelled to really think it through. Which is no excuse for it of course. But I do think it’s yet another clear indicator of the giant deficit in critical thinking skills we have in our culture.

    I’ve had a good deal of success in communicating to peers of who had this line of logic how fallacious it was and why. Granted, I have no idea how much of that success had to do with hearing it from a fellow male.

    One of the luxuries of being raised by a feminist is not having the opportunity to swallow this tripe.

    • February 13, 2013 at 10:23 am —

      Yeah, and then when they are in certain situations, they fail to “think critically” and then rape.

      There was a recent study that I will have to find that seemed to indicate that when certain very “rapey” questions were asked a certain way, suddenly men were okay with raping.

      It’s more than just merely “repeating what they learned from classmates”.

      • February 13, 2013 at 11:50 am —

        @Marilove: Some may, sure. Yet, I do know personally of guys who had this dumb attitude and have been the guy stopping women from getting taken advantage of on numerous occasions. Given chances to be the all the rapist they can be, but refuse to have sex with girl at all when they’re intoxicated. Granted my experiences are anecdotal, and it doesn’t excuse having a pig headed attitude.
        I do believe there are plenty of guys that can be reached and appealed to who aren’t rapists or rapey. But are showing symptoms of growing up in a rape-friendly culture. Like most aspects of living in patriarchal society, it never even occurs to them to question it. and then there are also guys who have a great poker face, who talk the talk but are very rapey when in the right circumstances. My girlfriend was raped by one of my best friends and he talked the talk just fine.

        Hey maybe they are all secret rapists when given the chance. I have conflicted experience with this. You could be 100% right. You could be 99% right. Until we get the ability to read people’s minds, I’m going to continue to try pushing critical thinking when I can. It won’t cure someone who is rapey, but it sure has seemed to help a few guys I know to at least stop talking out of their ass about “Well, she shouldn’t have been walking alone dressed like that”.

        • February 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm —

          Hey maybe they are all secret rapists when given the chance.

          And when did I say this?

          You could be 99% right. Until we get the ability to read people’s minds, I’m going to continue to try pushing critical thinking when I can

          The thing about RAPE CULTURE is that it provides cover for rapists. The thing about rape cutlure is that it gives approval to many rapists and their behavior. The thing with rape culture is that it perpeptuates rapists.

          I was only trying to explain that it’s not just simply “men not thinking critically when they speak”. It’s FAR more complicated than that. And otherwise “good guys” may rape because society has told them that it’s perfectly acceptable (oh, she’s drunk and didn’t say no? that means yes!). Not ALL men, but some men.

          Until we get the ability to read people’s minds, I’m going to continue to try pushing critical thinking when I can

          And, you know, as a woman who can’t read people’s minds, that may not be so safe for me. I don’t assume that all men are rapists, but I do sometimes decide that some men in certain situations MIGHT be rapists.

          You’re on our side and I totally get that, but it’s really not as simple as “men just don’t think critically”.

        • February 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm —



          I believe there may have been another, more recent study, but I’m not positive. i’m at work so I can only look so hard.

          Questions like these are bound to lead to underreporting—what guy is going to admit to forcing a girl to give him head? As it turns out, a lot of guys will admit to this, 120 to be exact: That’s six percent of the survey’s respondents who copped to either rape or attempted rape. Importantly, Thomas notes, the survey does not actually ask these guys if they’ve ever exactly “raped” anyone:

          If a survey asks men, for example, if they ever “had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances,” some of them will say yes, as long as the questions don’t use the “R” word.

          The situation is far more than men just “repeating what they hear” and “not thinking critically when among their peers”. It’s about men not understanding what is and what is not rape.

          • February 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

            Men know what rape is. There’s a difference between not understanding rape and the fact that men will answer a question differently if the word “rape” is used. “Rape” is an emotionally charged word with legal ramifications, so it’s not surprising it effects how they answer. I would be interested in learning if anybody has done a “Is this rape?” questionnaire using fictional scenarios and comparing the number of men who think something is rape and those who will admit to if asked without using the word “rape”.

          • February 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm

            I think the study proves that (some) men don’t know what rape is if it’s not actually specifically called rape.

            There’s a difference between not understanding rape and the fact that men will answer a question differently if the word “rape” is used

            Are you sure about that? Because men suddenly are okay with rape as long as it’s not called rape.

          • February 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm

            Seriously, though, these men were asked if they would rape women, with the word “rape” in the question, and they said, “no, of course not!’ but then THE SAME MEN admitted to raping women when the SAME QUESTION was rephrased, without the word “rape.

            That’s what the study IS. How can you say that men know what rape is when clearly they don’t? They were not okay with rape if the word rape was in the question; but as soon as the word rape was removed, they were fine with the SAME EXACT scenerio. This seems to indicate that, no, men don’t really know what rape is if it doesn’t actually includ the word rape. (Please note I mean some men, not all.)

        • February 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm —

          Also, I think it’s pretty navie to say that you don’t know any men personally who have raped/would rape (in certain situations). Especially when you later say that you can’t read their minds. The study I provided seems to indicate that some men, even those men you think are great guys, may rape more often than you think.

          Again, no, I don’t think most men are rapists, but I do believe more men rape than we realize because, well, society fucking condones it.

          And I have personal experience.

          Also, just as a disclaimer, I love men. Men are awesome. My best friend is a dude!

      • February 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm —


        “Thomas looks at a study of 1882 college students who were asked four questions to determine if they had ever raped (or attempted to rape) anyone:
        1) Have you ever attempted unsuccessfully to have intercourse with an adult by force or threat of force?
        2) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone who did not want you to because they were too intoxicated to resist?
        3) Have you ever had intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?
        4) Have you ever had oral intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?

        …As it turns out, a lot of guys will admit to this, 120 to be exact: That’s six percent of the survey’s respondents who copped to either rape or attempted rape. Importantly, Thomas notes, the survey does not actually ask these guys if they’ve ever exactly “raped” anyone:

        …Of the 120 rapists in the sample, 44 reported only one assault. The remaining 76 were repeat offenders. These 76 men, 63% of the rapists, committed 439 rapes or attempted rapes, an average of 5.8 each (median of 3, so there were some super-repeat offenders in this group). Just 4% of the men surveyed committed over 400 attempted or completed rapes.”

        • February 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm —

          Sorry, later comments didn’t show until after I’d replied with redundant info. Oops.

        • February 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm —

          The repeating is necessary, clearly! I mean this was in the link I provided and yet… UGH PEOPLE.

  11. February 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm —

    Ok you’re seeing a lot of things that I never said and are obviously armed for troll battle.

    I never said or meant to imply that this all boils down to men not thinking critically. Only that in some anecdotal cases I’ve had limited success in simply talking through the logic with some guys. That it had seemed apparent they had never given the matter much thought. That’s not saying there’s an excuse for anyone to say or think this way. It’s not to say rape is a lapse in critical thinking. Jesus. It’s not to make any bold proclamations or any general statements about victim blaming on the whole. Just simply, I’ve seemed to have marginal success in explaining the fallaciousness and “rape-friendlyness” of this logic to certain men.

    Of course this situation is more than men repeating what they hear. And yes much of it comes down to men not understanding what rape really means and boiler plate misogyny. All I’m saying, is that for some of the men I have known it’s a matter of never giving the subject any thought, Because they’ve never been in an environment (it appeared) that prompted them to. and for some of them all it really took to shift their attitude (at least around me and in public) was to carefully explain how stupid it was and more importantly how it’s essentially condoning rape.

    In assuming a large part of this problem is cultural – I am simply stating how I have (in my own stupid way) have being trying to shift the culture.
    I was raised by a feminist lesbian. I’ve been active in gay/feminist activism, charity work and politics since I was in grade school. I understand rape culture, misogyny and patriarchy. I’m not a misogynist parading as a humanist coming here to flame. Just came here to try and have a conversation. But I can’t help but feel like anything I say is going to be put through a filter in the worst light. The irony being, we probably agree on much of this outside of semantics.

    So… I’ll just back away slowly from this conversation.
    Love the site, I share it often. I hope the writers keep up the good work.

    • February 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm —

      Which, personally, I think is bullshit, although I understand what you’re *trying* to say. It is just not working for me.

      Just simply, I’ve seemed to have marginal success in explaining the fallaciousness and “rape-friendlyness” of this logic to certain men.”

      That is fantastic. No, truly, keep doing what you’re doing. I personally don’t know if it’s doing as much good as you think it is (“marginal success”) but every little bit helps. So keep on doin’ what you’re doin’. I approve.

      So… I’ll just back away slowly from this conversation.

      But this is bullshit, and I would appreciate it if poeple (mostly men, it seems) would stop doing this shit. What, am I making you uncomfortable or something? I’m not being evena little bit agressive. But becuase I’m not fully, 100% agreeing with you and patting you on the back, you must “back away” from me like I’m some sort of hysterical woman. “OH dear, she disagrees with me! She’s clearly nuts and is about ready to bite. I must back away … slowly … so as not to disturb the crazy, hysterical feminist and cause her to bite me!”

      Highly problematic and sexist, even if that wasn’t your intention.

      You’re an ally, and you’re doing good things, and that’s awesome, but that doesn’t mean you can just stop listening to women and then “back away slowly” from them when they try to add to your discussion.

    • February 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm —

      Also, way to ignore the article I linked, and this point:

      Also, I think it’s pretty navie to say that you don’t know any men personally who have raped/would rape (in certain situations). Especially when you later say that you can’t read their minds. The study I provided seems to indicate that some men, even those men you think are great guys, may rape more often than you think.

      But hey, instead, you’ll just back away slowly, because clearly I am … totally hysterical! :)

    • February 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm —

      I’m not a misogynist parading as a humanist coming here to flame

      I missed this during my first read through, and you know what? NOW I am angry. Please point to me where I even IMPLIED that you were a misogonyst parading as a humanist coming here to flame, becuase I did no such thing.

      You know, seriously, feminist women can discuss things with male feminist allies — even disagree with certain points you make — and it doesn’t mean we’re trying to able you a misogonyst.

      But now I’m wondering if you just expect feminist women to agree with you 100%, because you’re an ally, a really good ally, so you mean well, of course, and could never, ever, ever be wrong! Is that it? Becuase that’s not much of an ally.

      News flash: You’re still a man who will never fully understand. It might be helpful to remember that, and to listen to feminist women who are trying to have a discussion with you, rather than “backing slowly away” as if I have claws.

  12. February 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm —

    And to clarify, Ryan: Speaking up when men make stupid, sexist comments? AWESOME. Keep doing it. Encourage others to do it. We need more people (particularly men) to do that.

    • February 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm —

      I’m late to this. Back there you were looking for a recent study.
      Punch posted some links relevant to this discussion here
      Hope this helps.

      • February 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm —

        Oh god…don’t remind me of that discussion! HAH! Thanks for the link; I’ll go through it when I get home :)

        • February 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm —

          Skepchick MOH & 1000 Internets!!!

          • February 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm

            Marilove, now I read it again (Link #3 in Punch’s series) your point was not directly addressed in that study, although I think it was implicit. Still useful reading though.

    • February 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm —

      This took forever to find. Where’s the fucking search tool gone?

      • February 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm —

        Ha. I was looking for that today too. Rebecca must have removed it during the debugging of the new design. Hopefully it will be back soon. :)

        • February 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm —

          Amy, thanks for that reply. I see we can now copypasta links to individual comments again by clicking on the date/time – that was missing for a while. Also, once again, may I say, you are awesome!

  13. February 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm —

    @marilove Are you sure about that? Because men suddenly are okay with rape as long as it’s not called rape.

    Pretty sure. one of the biggest issues with self reports is making sure the survey questions don’t influence the results one way or another. You see it all the time with political polling where peoples opinion of various political issues varies depending on how you phrase it. Another thing to remember is that the guys never said they were OK with it, they just admitted to doing it while claiming not to be rapists. Do they not realize they raped somebody? It’s possible, but it’s also possible that the word “rape” made them defensive and more likely to lie. How would they view the same scenario if they weren’t talking about something they did, but a hypothetical situation? Would somebody identify something as rape despite not considering it rape (at least on a survey) when they do it? People have great capacity for self delusion, but that’s different than not knowing what you’re doing is rape.

    • February 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm —

      I’m reading about stereotype threat right now and this actually makes sense to me. People’s performances and reporting on tests and surveys is altered strongly by what words are used and how they identify with stereotypes. I could see some men answering questions very differently depending on the words being used either prior to answering questions or during the questions themselves when relating to the stereotype that men are more aggressive or prone to violence. Women for example have been shown to score lower on math tests just based on whether or not they had to fill out a box where they chose “Male or Female.” When they were forced to identify as “Female” they scored lower on math tests then when they did not have to pick gender because of the stereotype threat that women do bad at math. Seems plausible that men would answer differently or more defensively when similar stereotypes come up. Not justifying any behaviors, just agreeing that words used can have an effect on results.

    • February 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm —

      I think we need to do more of these surveys. I see your point, but the questions asked were pretty basic and clear, at least in my opinion.

      People have great capacity for self delusion, but that’s different than not knowing what you’re doing is rape.

      Maybe it’s a bit of both?

      • February 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm —

        The questions seemed pretty clear to me too. It’s just that I wondered “Why do men who will not admit to raping women admit to engaging in behavior that would be considered rape?” I figured that it’s either that they do not recognize that behavior as rape or that despite understanding that they’ve raped, will shy away from using that word in reference to themselves (at least on a survey). So, I hypothesized that if the former is true (not understanding what rape is), they would not identify a similar hypothetical situation as being rape, but if the latter is true (understand what rape is, but won’t call themselves rapists) they would. Personally, because they answered yes to a question that specially stated that the woman didn’t want to have sex but was unable to fight him off, which seemed pretty unambiguously rape to me, they would answer yes. I’m sure actual social scientists might take issue with my little experiment (I’m a neuroscientist by training) and might propose a better one, but it’s the best I could come with on short notice.

        @Amy. That women would score lower on math tests if they had to identify gender is pretty shocking. I never heard that before. Could you point me to this study?

        • February 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm —

          Sure thing. I’m reading Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine. I will see if I can find links to the actual studies cited in the book but in the meantime here is a link to info on the book which is really fascinating and I highly recommend it: http://www.cordeliafine.com/delusions_of_gender.html

        • February 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm —

          It may seem shocking, but Stereotype Threat has been firmly established:

          Here’s the particular study you were asking about:

          • February 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

            Ha! Thanks! I went and looked in the book. Your google skills way out skilled my page flipping. :)

        • February 13, 2013 at 10:46 pm —

          Here’s one referenced “(1999). When white men can’t do math: Necessary and sufficient factors in stereotype threat. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35(1), 29–46.”

          “Ambady, N., Shih, M., Kim, A., & Pittinsky, T. L. (2001). Stereotype susceptibility in children: Effects of identity activation on quantitative performance. Psychological Science, 12(5), 385–390.”

          “Adams, G., Garcia, D. M., Purdie-Vaughns, V., & Steele, C. M. (2006). The detrimental effects of a suggestion of sexism in an instruction situation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42(5), 602–615.”

          There are others. I recommend getting the book by Cordelia Fine. Interesting stuff.

          • February 13, 2013 at 10:58 pm

            My Google-Fu is strong. :D
            Everyone should read Cordelia Fine. Presenting solid research in a way that’s interesting and engaging is a rare thing.

  14. February 13, 2013 at 5:11 pm —

    The next time someone says rape is a woman’s fault for dressing like a slut, I’m going break thier nose say it’s thier fault for talking like an asshole

  15. February 14, 2013 at 1:20 am —

    Since reading some of the linked papers in previous weeks, such as the Men are from Mars Quickie, I had already been thinking about how one answers a survey. I think anybody with any nous is used to these headshrink surveys and can tell fairly quickly which way it is going. One then has a choice to tell the truth or to lie, to be consistent or inconsistent.

    Then there is always the option to be an asshole. There are people who lie blatantly on census forms for instance, filling in the dogs as family members and so on. I am in fact rather fond of these types.

  16. February 14, 2013 at 3:53 am —

    My response to this sort of comment is something like “Really? Is there any other situation in which you feel you couldn’t avoid raping someone? It seems like something I should know if I have to work with you”.

    • February 14, 2013 at 4:34 am —

      What the? I was talking in general about the options available – not what I personally would do. The point being that it would take a very clever experimental design to exclude possibilities other than the truth.

    • February 14, 2013 at 9:50 am —

      Love it, I’m totally using that in the future. :)

  17. February 14, 2013 at 7:44 am —

    I was referring to the initial question that Surly Amy was asked, that is, how does one respond to ‘she asked for it’ type statements. I’m sorry I didn’t make that clear.

    • February 14, 2013 at 7:54 am —

      My fault-the white part of your avatar made it look to me as if it was offset. Optical illusion! Sorry!

  18. February 21, 2013 at 12:26 am —


    Not all engineery types are like that. Some of us know that no means no, and what informed consent is, and that if there isn’t a yes in there somewhere, that it’s no.
    Your schoolmate is an asshole.

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