Quickies

Quickies: Aggressive men, anti-vaxxers, mascara, and sanitary pads

  • If he’s sexually aggressive in bars, it’s not because he’s drunk – “Young women are often the targets of aggression when they’re out in bars, but the problem isn’t that guys are too drunk to know better. Instead, men are preying on women who have had too much to drink.”
  • Study: You can’t change antivaxxer’s minds – The study used four pro-vaccine messages, modeled on what the CDC uses. “Not a single one of the messages was successful when it came to increasing parents’ professed intent to vaccinate their children. And in several cases the messages actually backfired, either increasing the ill-founded belief that vaccines cause autism or even, in one case, apparently reducing parents’ intent to vaccinate.”
  • Science says you should throw away your old, crusty mascara – 86% of the women in this study admitted to using expired mascara. Yep, sounds about right. Excuse me while I go toss all of mine.
  • The Indian sanitary pad revolution – “A school dropout from a poor family in southern India has revolutionised menstrual health for rural women in developing countries by inventing a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads.” From Janina.
Amanda

Amanda

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

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26 Comments

  1. March 4, 2014 at 9:55 am —

    Is the sexual aggression study published and available somewhere? I am curious what definition of “sexual aggression” they used. The one example given in the article is clearly sexual aggression by any measure – grabbing a woman’s breast uninvited. However, there must be other conduct that was observed by the 140 observers out at bars.

    I have never seen a situation like a man just grabbing a woman’s body and running off. I’m sure it happens, because there are news reports about it, but I’ve never seen it. However, I can’t believe that the bulk of the conduct observed by the 140 observers was to that degree. I’m not saying it wasn’t. I’m just skeptical of it. I’d like to read the study and see what they were doing specifically.

    • March 4, 2014 at 10:04 am —

      It is linked in the article. The abstract says that the majority of aggression was non-consensual touching.

      • March 4, 2014 at 5:06 pm —

        “However, I can’t believe that the bulk of the conduct observed by the 140 observers was to that degree”

        Because groping women isn’t all that aggressive, am I right, contemplative? It’s just groping, jeez!

        That’s how you’re coming off.

        What is your system of “degrees”? Can you define that?

        • March 5, 2014 at 11:24 am —

          I didn’t say that groping women wasn’t aggressive. I said I thought it was. I said I didn’t think the bulk of the incidents reported by the observers would rise to that level. Essentially, I’m interested in knowing the universe of types of conduct that was considered aggressive behavior in the study. If all the observed incidents involved groping, then by all means, all of that would be considered aggressive. However, a man doesn’t have to grope in order to engage in aggressive behavior, so I doubt that the definition was limited exclusively to gropes.

          There will also be an area of conduct which might be described as aggressive by some, but where there might be reasonable disagreement. It would be a weak study if they sent out 140 observers each applying their own definition of the term.

          But, to be clear “groping” is not “just” groping in my view. A woman being groped by a stranger in a bar is sexual assault, and a crime and should be punished as such. I just want to be clear on that. I am not defending groping, and all people have a right not to be groped against their will.

          • March 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

            Did you read the same article I read? Sigh.

      • March 5, 2014 at 11:19 am —

        Thanks, I missed the link at first. But, after clicking it, it is short on details. More’s the pity.

    • March 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm —

      The article doesn’t say “running off”, it says “disappearing into the crowd”. I’ve never been groped in a bar but I’ve been groped on the street more than once, and it’s always just “guy passing – grope – guy passed”, as if it were casual. I expect they’re talking of the same thing, except there’s a crowd so once someone passes you by they’re gone. Disappeared into the crowd.

    • March 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm —

      I’ve got a number of female friends who like to get dressed up and go to the bar dancing. Guys try to grope them endlessly, it seems. Typically, it’s not so much “grabbed on the way by and disappeared” but more grinding up from behind on the dance floor or some such. Luckily, there’s several bars in the area that are safer and have minimal amounts of this.

      In any case, what I really would like to know if anyone gets a look at the article beyond the abstract is how they judged the intoxication level of those they observed. Tbh, from their methodology it sounds like they eyeballed it.

      • March 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm —

        I don’t even dress up (jeans and a t-shirt here) and *I* have been groped at bars. And at bus stops. And on buses.

        But hey, comptemplative1 has never seen it! So it can’t be THAT bad. Surely we’re all just overreacting. We totally don’t get groped all the time — contemplative just hasn’t seen it, so why would it be true?

        • March 5, 2014 at 11:29 am —

          That isn’t what I said. I never said anyone was overreacting, and my position is that a woman being groped once is a crime. It is a big deal.

          I mentioned the one example the article gave because, obviously, clearly that would be considered by most everyone as “aggressive” conduct. But, groping isn’t the only conduct that would be considered “aggressive” — so I was inquiring after the methodology used in the study — what’s the definition of the aggressive conduct that the observers were to report? What is the universe of types of conduct that would be included? Or, were the observers sent out only to report conduct each observer deemed to be aggressive based on their own interpretation?

          The article isn’t clear, so a skeptical eye to any study would involve looking at the methodology to the extent available.

          • March 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm

            STOP moving goal-posts. THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU SAID IN YOUR FIRST COMMENT. Not at all.

            THIS is what you said (it’s in black and fucking white):

            **However, I can’t believe that the bulk of the conduct observed by the 140 observers was to that degree. I’m not saying it wasn’t. I’m just skeptical of it. I’d like to read the study and see what they were doing specifically.**

            I responded to exactly what you said.

            Christ.

      • March 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm —

        ” I’m not saying it wasn’t. I’m just skeptical of it.”

        And that’s my favorite fucking part. Of course he’s not saying it wasn’t … he just doesn’t quite believe it.

        You try and be subtle, but I see you, contemplative1. I fucking see right through you.

        ****Can you give me a reason, other than, “Well, I haven’t SEEN it, so I’m skeptical” as to why you’re skeptical of these claims?*****

        This is important.

        Oh, and we’ve heard that shit before: I don’t see it, so it can’t be true! Women, they be lyin’.

        • March 5, 2014 at 11:36 am —

          I neither believe nor disbelieve. I have insufficient information on which to evaluate the study.

          You see right through me? Good for you. Is being skeptical of a study about 140 college observers who were sent out to walk around bars and clubs looking for “aggressive behavior” and making estimates at the level of intoxication of the people involved, a bad thing? Even with the link in the article, no definition of what is meant be “aggressive behavior” is given and no explanation is given for the methodology used to gauge level of intoxication.

          Can I give you a reason other than “I haven’t seen it” that I am skeptical of the claims? Yes. I am skeptical of the study because of the dearth of detail regarding methodology and the questionable methods used (which is apparent on the face of the description of the study). Eyeballing people in bars and making judgments as to their apparent level of intoxication while reporting incidents of “aggressive behavior” without placing the definition of that behavior within reach of the readers raises serious concerns over methodology.

          Also, note that skepticism is not to be equated with “disbelief.” I do not “disbelieve” women who say they were groped, and I do not deny that woman are groped. I do not deny that men are groped, most likely to a lesser degree than women. I have seen women groped. I find it unacceptable, even criminal. That being said, the fact that I know that women are groped doesn’t change the fact that the study at issue may be questionable and that it appears to me that there is insufficient detail provided as to methodology, etc.

    • March 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm —

      You can’t believe it would be to “that degree”? Oh, please. I’m 32 years old. Do you know HOW MANY TIMES I have been groped? Not just at bars? On a crowded bus? What about that one time I was alone at a bus stop, at dusk, in a shady little corner of my city? And some random dude came up and just … started feeling me up? It’s the only way I can explain it. He just came up and started touching me, from top to bottom — he was caressing me, as if we were familiar lovers. He never touched my breasts, or any other “sensitive” area — if he had, I may have actually done something except stand there, totally stunned, and my mouth open.

      Some random dude just came up to me and caressed me, from top to bottom, like he knew me.

      Why?

      Because I was alone and he knew he wouldn’t get shit for it.

      And it’s weird, because I’m not a wallflower and generally I will just dive right in and fuck some shit up, but it was just so weird and awkward, I had no idea how to react. When the bus came, I ran up and to the back.

      And it’s not like I’ m drop-dead gorgeous. I’d say I’m cute, nothing above average, and chubby. I’m just a normal gal gettin’ groped at bus stops.

      So yeah. WOMEN GET GROPED. I don’t give a fuck what you can believe, women get groped, and probably far, far more than you realize — clearly, since you can’t seem to believe what women tell you.

      Oh and I can get more “extreme” if you want. Random groping by men who then just disappear into a bar is pretty gross, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve been through with men I don’t know (and some I do). Hell, even what I described above is fairly tame, all things considering. How fucked up is THAT?

      Welcome to the world of being a woman. Hope you actually start listening to us rather than nit-picking everything and then trying to tell us how you think we’re wrong or “just not quite correct”. \

      • March 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm —

        This is progress, though. At least you didn’t get “Men get groped, too, and we think it’s great.” or “What do you expect in a bar?” It would have been a great segue into power differentials, socialization and personal space expectations.
        Disbelief is one level above justification … probably.

      • March 5, 2014 at 11:40 am —

        Once again, I never said women don’t get groped. I never said I couldn’t believe that it happens.

        Where have I said you are wrong? Whether the study was methodologically sound or whether there is enough information to make that determination says nothing about you being right or wrong. I haven’t adopted an opposing position here — I’ve only adopted in inquiring position. I thought more information would be helpful. If you have enough information regarding the study to satisfy you, then that’s great.

    • March 5, 2014 at 5:16 am —

      Did anyone else see you being skeptical of this, or are we just supposed to take your word for it? The very idea that there is someone that has only heard of these interactions from news reports and not from female relatives or friends seems implausible to me. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but do you have any evidence that it did?

      • March 5, 2014 at 11:42 am —

        Ugh. Where did I say this never happens? I asked for the definition of what was considered “aggressive conduct” in the study, because I did not think it plausible that all of the observations were limited to groping incidents. There were likely other kinds of conduct that were included in the expansive term “aggressive behavior.”

        Somehow, this gets translated into the accusation that I don’t believe that groping happens. Weird.

  2. March 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm —

    “However, I can’t believe that the bulk of the conduct observed by the 140 observers was to that degree.”
    That’s how a lot of this stuff works out, though: it happens; women are socialized to accept it; they don’t complain; so men like us don’t believe it happens much. In my experience, however, everything I used to think didn’t happen much actually happens rather a lot. So I’ve learned to believe things like this when I hear them.

    • March 5, 2014 at 11:45 am —

      Fair enough, and I may well be underestimating the frequency of this behavior. That doesn’t change the fact that the article and the link in the article did not provide a definition of “aggressive behavior.” The study wasn’t limited to groping.

      For what it’s worth, which will be probably nothing at this point, I do believe that groping happens.

  3. March 4, 2014 at 4:24 pm —

    You haven’t ‘seen’ it much, contemplative, because the perps know to be quick and sneaky. And after a few times being scoffed at, disbelieved, or told we should enjoy it by men we thought were alright, we keep it to ourselves.
    You know, people like yourself.

    • March 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm —

      (damn no edit)
      *people like yourself are the bigger problem for us, because at least the gropers know enough to get us alone or in a crowd – they know they’re wrong. Your attitude is the reason nothing gets done about them, and you’ll just go on contributing to problems you refuse to acknowledge.

      • March 5, 2014 at 11:52 am —

        People like myself? You mean someone who deplores groping and any such conduct against women? Someone who considers it the crime that it is?

        Recall – all I asked for was some additional information — what’s the methodology here? What sorts of conduct were considered in the study to be “aggressive conduct” – how is that defined? How were the observations made? How was drunkenness estimated? You know… skeptical stuff….

        Just because groping is wrong times a million doesn’t mean the study is good.

    • March 5, 2014 at 11:49 am —

      Does this mean that the 140 observers in the study limited “aggressive behavior” incidents used in the study to only and exclusively groping incidents?

      Maybe, maybe not. My supposition is that there are probably LOTS of non-groping activities that would still be considered aggressive behavior. So, I wanted to know what the study used as a definition of “aggressive behavior.” The thing I “couldn’t believe” was that the bulk of the observed incidents were groping incidents. I am speculating that more than just groping was involved.

      And, we don’t know either way — because neither the article, nor the link in the article, defines “aggressive behavior” for us, except by giving us one example. That one example is not given as the only example. Do you think all of the incidents observed in the study were likely groping incidents? If you aren’t sure, then we agree. If you are sure, then I can’t see where you get that certainty from, since neither the article nor the link in the article told us.

      • March 6, 2014 at 7:16 pm —

        I do, in fact, believe that this was about groping. DID YOU READ THE SAME ARTICLE I DID?

  4. March 4, 2014 at 6:37 pm —

    No big surprise wrt: antivaxers. There’s a certain mentality of digging your heels in when confronted with evidence that you’re wrong. I actually think American culture encourages this.

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