Skepchick Quickies 2.7


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. I had already seen the article from a facebook post. Someone pointed out the graph at the top of the article on “Men are from mars…” doesn’t have any axis labels and isn’t in the referenced study. Which side is masculinity and which is assertivness and what would either a percentage or linear scale mean in either case?

    1. I agree it’s a lousy graph, but it is interpretable.
      It’s a frequency distribution with raw numbers on the y axis vs % assertiveness on the x axis.
      Assertiveness presumably assigned by some kind of arbitrary scoring system,
      Gender denoted by colour of cross hatching (male and female superimposed)
      Title should really be Assertiveness only. Masculinity is misleading.

      1. Assertiveness probably from survey questions with possible answers rated 1-5 in order of presumed assertiveness. subjectively assigned by the authors.
        I can see a whole load of potential problems with that!

      2. Well, it is Bad Chart Thursday.

        What I found strangest about the graph, as best I can interpret it, is it’s trimodal, for both men and women.

        Often the debates about such characteristics are whether they have a single, bell-shaped curve, with complete overlap and petty arguments about whether the peaks and standard deviations are different for men and women (with error bars and systematic errors much to large to draw any such conclusions), or bimodal, with one peak (the “good” peak, of course) for men and another for women. (For example, claiming that most or all men are in the upper half for aggression and all women are in the lower half, and framed in such a way that aggression sounds like a good, positive attribute.)

        This graph shows a peak (for both men and women) with low aggression (or whatever it is they are actually measuring), a second peak with moderate aggression, and a lot of people off the chart high. All three peaks are substantially similar for both men and women. Without error bars (or even clear labeling of the axes), it’s impossible to be sure the chart is real or just statistical noise, but the fact that both subgroups show an almost identical pattern makes it more likely it is actually measuring something real.

        1. I spent a couple of hours reading the original paper and wow, is it opaque!
          “Assertiveness” is mentioned only in the introduction and is otherwise totally absent from the paper.

          This was a metaanalysis of 122 unique indicators from 13 studies comprising 13,301 individuals.

          The study aims to determine whether gender constructs are taxonic (categorical, discrete and predictable) or dimensional (continuous) in nature.Thus 2 X chromosomes are taxonic in that they predict breasts and ovaries, etc. This takes some thought and I may be missing the subtler implications

          The taxometric methods of mean above minus below a cut, maximum eigenvalue, and latent mode were used. These methods produce some very strange graphs.

          Overwhelmingly the constructs were found to be dimensional in nature.
          Whether that justifies the Slate article is a moot point, whether one agrees with the conclusion or not.

  2. On what level is the ERA ratified in the state?
    Surprised to see Arizona on the list.
    Good to see the petition already passed 25,000.

    I don’t suppose a similar amendment can be drafted in regards to LGBTQ?

    So men and women are Martians, huh? Where’s my space modulator then? :)
    Not too surprised by the study. Lot of similarities seems to be found nowadays.
    So take that, MRAs! Ha!

  3. The ERA petition is stupid, not for MRA reasons, but for procedural issues.

    The President and the White House have no legal role in amending the Constitution, so the best they can do is champion the cause, but otherwise there’s no action to take.

    Besides, the Supreme Court has already ruled that the ERA is dead. In the Congressional Act that proposed the ERA, there was a 7 year deadline for ratification. That deadline was in 1979, and only 35 states had ratified by then. 4 of those states rescinded their ratification. Congress passed a 3-year deadline extension (of dubious procedural legality), and another state rescinded their ratification (also of dubious procedural legality). At the end of the original deadline, 31 states had ratified without rescinding, and at the end of the revised deadline, 30 states had ratified without rescinding. A Federal District Court ruled that the deadline extension was unconstitutional, and the rescinding was OK. On appeal, the Supreme Court in noted that regardless of the legality of the rescinding or the deadline, the ERA wouldn’t have the ratifications necessary, and is dead.

    So asking the White House to support ratification of an amendment which has been dead for 30 years is pointless, at best.

      1. Yes, and maybe it should, but in any event, the “35 states have already ratified” argument is moot. The petition is asking the White House to pursue getting the remaining 3 states necessary to ratify, and that won’t do it.

        Even if this is taken as a “start the process over again” request, this is another petition asking the White House to do something Congress has to do.

  4. Amanda,

    The Black History Month page isn’t working for me either. You should try to fix it.

  5. Oy. Is that climate article also posted on the subreddit /nottheonion? It’s like the Onion can’t even be satirical anymore.

  6. In the immortal words of the great Bonnie Tyler:
    How does it feel to be a woman?
    How does it feel to be a man?
    Are we really that different?
    Tell me where we stand.

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