Skepchick Quickies, 1.9


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Hmmmmm, don’t know that I’d trust one article published in PLoS ONE. I don’t really trust any journal that asks the author to pay for publication. Not to say the results aren’t valid – I’ll just believe it more when it’s published in Social Psychology Quarterly or Psychological Review.

    1. Yeah, maybe not even then. There is a habit of some people to do “just so” stories in some sub-disciplines, including evolutionary science, and psychology. They usually involve dumbly small samples sizes, projections about the cause, without mechanism, or substance to the argument, and exclude any possible recognition of cultural bias, or the distortions that can happen, if the whole society is pushing you to a specific direction. The last clueless twit doing that sort of thing was babbling about the near ubiquitous use of pink in girls toys, and referencing some similarly absurd “study”, which was nothing more than a group of people imagining, having apparently never noticed that its not even the case, that every sort of fruit, berry, or, I suppose, grain, grass, root, etc. got “red” as it ripened, therefor it made some sort of sense that the “gatherers” would have a stronger attraction to the color… Someone immediately asked, “What blood green, or blue or something back then, or the ‘hunters’ all made perfect one shot kills?” lol

      I’ll believe this sort of study when someone figures out there are other cultures on the planet, and, more to the point, they can show that any bias that exist isn’t a result of the fact that nearly all of them are male centric, to the point where the most defining feature is usually to tell either women, or both men and women, exactly how they *should* think, act, what to talk about, what to value, and how much, etc., to be “proper” even if they don’t personally feel those things should have such value.

    2. “I don’t really trust any journal that asks the author to pay for publication.”

      Sorry, but that means you don’t really trust almost the entirety of science. Very few scientific journals do not ask the author to pay for publication.

      PLoS ONE asks for a bit more average because it is open access, so they don’t make much on subscriptions. But anyone on the internet can read their articles for free, rather than only people belong to a large institution which has paid big money to the publisher for access.

      Don’t get me started on the commercial science journals, which typically charge the author for the paper, get the work of the reviewers and academic editors for free, and then charge thousands of dollars subscription to libraries for the results.

  2. I remember Rebecca saying once that when she first started attending skeptic events the reaction was often: “Oh god, it’s a girl! Wh wha what do we do?”

    1. Welcome her into our midst with open arms. We could use more woman like her.
      But I guess that wasn’t the answer.

  3. That Marco Del Guidice c.s. research is flawed.
    The supposedly huge differences between men and women are a result of calculations that are designed by Del Guidice c.s. to exaggerate those differences. Furthermore the researchers used the flawed 16pf questionnaire.
    In short, the research is as valuable as that into the supposedly anti-social behaviour of meat eaters. :}

  4. The Marysue discussion on the girl in a comic store is quite interesting. There’s one particularly mansplainy douchwad there that I’d quite happily perform violent shouty rage on.

    My own personal experience as a sci-fi geek/gamer/collector of classic doctor who target books has been varied. Sometimes, I don’t get a reaction, sometimes I do. One of the most awkward was the time I went to one of the earlier cons in NZ and was lucky enough to meet Colin Baker and Katy Manning (and get photos and sigs!). I remember I was arse deep in the target novelizations, trying to get hold of some I hadn’t yet collected (I got an excellent 10th planet hardcover novelization!), and I turned around, and there were all these guys STARING at me. And then my boyfriend turned up, and they all scurried away. It was almost as bad as the video linked above. I’ve also had the, “buying comics for your boyfriend, love?”, etc, etc. Nope. Buying them for myself, mister!

    1. This sort of thing used to happen to me when I was younger, but now I live in a city with a fantastic comic book store. They are super woman- and family-friendly. There is usually a woman working, and the male employees there are very approachable. I regularly take my daughter there, and she is a favorite with them. I’ve even had times there where the female customers far outnumbered the male.

      That said, I appreciate it so much because when I was a shy, awkward teenager buying comics, I did not have a place like that and I always felt very uncomfortable when people acted like I didn’t really belong there.

      1. Yeah, I have to say, my limited experience since moving to San Francisco has been largely like yours (e.g. bigger city, more variance in clientele). Before I left NZ, that same con I mentioned above had become WAY more mainstream & family friendly. Progress!

  5. Just out of curiosity, what would be the proper response by one the men in that shop? I’m not trying to excuse guys who alienate women like that, I’m just genuinely looking for protips so that someone as socially awkward as myself knows how to not be an ass. It would seem rude to just ignore her (because it would be rude no matter who it was), and obviously gawking is bad, but any attempt at communication seems like it would come off as equally off-putting. For example, I was in a game shop last week, a girl and her younger sister walked in, and the guy working the register asked “do you need help finding anything?” I figured that was the typical thing for a manager to say to any customer, but they seemed to become very uncomfortable and left shortly thereafter without buying anything. He asked me the same thing when I walked in, but I can see why they was uncomfortable. Some of the comments at themarysue talk about how condescending it is when guy asks “Do you read comics?” to a girl at a shop/con/whatever, and I can agree with that, but I can’t help but think that there is some kind of catch 22 with this. I know I’m missing something, but what is it?

    1. Oops, my derp is showing. That should say “why they *were* uncomfortable,” not “they was.” For shame, self!

      1. Why do you think there’s a catch-22? I’m not seeing it. Why would women be any more put-off by communication attempts than a man?

        I’m confused as to why you would treat them any different than if a guy and his younger brother walked in?

        Unless you’re planning on trying out pick-up lines, it shouldn’t matter. :D

        1. That’s the problem; I’m also fairly confused by it. I can see why they left, because they thought that the clerk was doing the whole “women don’t read comics, this must be a mistake” thing, only that wasn’t what he was doing at all. He was doing his job. I think they misinterpreted it, but I can’t see what else he could have done. They thought he was being presumptuous, but the alternative would have made him seem like the guys in the video. How would one avoid this pitfall?

          1. You have no idea why they left, unless you talked to them. Maybe they hated the music playing over the sound system? Maybe they realized the store was unlikely to have what they were looking for? Maybe the clerk had terrible B.O.? Maybe they were undercover FBI agents looking for aliens? Maybe they’re criminals hiding out in a comic shop until the heat dies down?

            I can think of many reasons that have nothing to do with sexism. It would be projecting on our parts to try to figure out what the issue was, if, indeed, there was an issue.

  6. This study is just another poorly done evopsych justificaiton-of-biases. The statistical method chosen, while valid, is one that deliberately maximizes differences; only Americans subjects were used; and the subjects’ personalities were measured using a self-reported questionairre.

  7. Even if there is rock solid neuroscientific proof of the existence of cognitive differences between men and women, so what!!! Do innate differences lead to inequality? If homosexuality is proven to be completely innate, will gays and lesbians be suddenly treated as inferiors and taken to Nazi death camps?

    There is evidence of innate verbal differences between the genders. Women have superior verbal skills. If that is the case, then shouldn’t all doctors, lawyers, judges and politicians be women? Indeed, men still outnumber women in those areas and that sexism is not based on genetic discrimination.

    If there is one truly innate trait, that is the desire to be treated fairly and equally. Gender inequality is a cultural imposition due to various sexist factors. I truly think that there is a gender gap in many areas but particularly in STEM because of fear. There is an irrational fear that women will actually do well or even better than men in those fields. And then the science is misused/abused to justify an apriori sexism that holds women back.

  8. i’ve heard ‘mansplaining’ doing the rounds. isn’t this just the sort of gendered term we should be doing away with. surely men and women are equally capable of inventing up bullshit to justify there position on something.

  9. also, my belief when tackling issues is to be whiter than white to not give ammunition, however tenuous, to my opponents. you can imagine MRAs going nuts over this sort of language, why give them the opportunity to be right about something?

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