Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

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Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Maistra » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:42 am

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2013/01/mous ... fferences/

I saw this on my facebook newsfeed from my alma mater, read the article, and was extremely frustrated by the blatant promotion of sexist stereotypes.

Am I overreacting?
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby SubMor » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:55 am

Ah yes, let's take a hormone study on how mice react to smells and extrapolate that into speculation that the way children select their toys is because of biology rather than socialization. Because, of course, children always select their toys from the moment they're born. Nobody ever gives children toys in a way that is influenced by gender roles. Nobody ever contributes to a social narrative that says certain activities (and toys) belong only to one of two binary genders. Nope, even if any of that ever happened, it wouldn't matter. Because biotruths. (What? Social science can't be "real" science!) And besides, everyone knows that all boys act like boys and all girls act like girls, and "the two sexes" are neatly divided along the line of XX/XY with no other genetic overlap, so there's clearly not even any kind of problem there.

This is why evo psych has a bad reputation.

Maistra wrote:Am I overreacting?

No.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Maistra » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:03 am

Thank you for the reply.

Here's the real problem... I knew I wasn't overreacting. Yet, the moment I shared my annoyance on facebook, I had doubts. I thought, surely people are going to reply that I'm seeing things, that I'm being overly negative and ignoring all the great SCIENCE that's being done.

And they did.

Even though I KNEW I wasn't overreacting, they still influenced me enough to make me think, maybe I was right, but I took my annoyance too far. I mean, I can't be that right and still face that much negativity, can I?
Can I?

I can.
We do.
Every day.

I hate it.

And I was one of those people that's always been a feminist and called myself an equalist for years, because feminist was a dirty word. Those crazy bra burning feminists. I just wish I could talk to past me.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby SubMor » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:12 am

There must be a biological cause to your changing impression of feminism, you know. Maybe Vanderbilt should study fish to find it. :sarcasm:
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby joz » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:29 am

SubMor wrote:This is why evo psych has a bad reputation.

Evolutionary Psychology gets a bad reputation because people who are absolutely awful at reading scientific papers -and their often delicate terminology- interpret 'proof' (rather than experimental evidence supporting an hypothesis), as being agenda-based, then turn it into a journalistic endeavor to decry science's supposed efforts to excuse rape, greed, misogyny, domestic abuse, and all other range of crime and unfavorable social elements to somehow support sex and gender-centric philosophy and rhetoric.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby joz » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:38 am

Maistra wrote:Am I overreacting?


You must have been a penguin in your past life

I honestly see nothing to be upset about in this article.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Sylvia Sybil » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:37 am

And here I thought evolutionary psychology had a bad reputation precisely because many of its more infamous offerings aren't science-based.

Joz, would you care to explain the penguin description, particularly as it relates to "over-reacting"?
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Onamission5 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:50 am

joz wrote:
Maistra wrote:Am I overreacting?


You must have been a penguin in your past life

I honestly see nothing to be upset about in this article.


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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Rhikat » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:12 am

Maistra wrote:... blatant promotion of sexist stereotypes.


Blatant though as they might be, all stereotypes are rooted in some kind of truth. They found a gene that affected the female rodents and made a hypothesis based upon that data. Here are presented some evidence why people might gravitate towards the 'neat' gender division of male and female, because it just might be coded into our genes. That being said, just because you're predisposed genetically e.g. to have an heart attack, doesn't mean that you'll ever have one.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Cipher » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:16 am

Blatant though as they might be, all stereotypes are rooted in some kind of truth.

I'm going to have to ask you for some evidence for this facile bullshit generalization. For some reason, I find it unlikely you'll be able to provide it.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Rhikat » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:32 am

Cipher wrote:I'm going to have to ask you for some evidence for this facile bullshit generalization. For some reason, I find it unlikely you'll be able to provide it.


Oh, where do you think that stereotypes come from then? It's part of the society around us, what the majority of the people in one location think is something akin to standard. I did not say that the stereotypes are in anyway correct or that it isn't worth trying to change how the populations views a certain demographic, but that it is rooted in what people have grown up with and are used to. Or are you seriously saying that the stereotypical woman in her apron in the kitchen smiling like nothing was wrong, didn't have to do anything with society's expectations during the 50's? Keep your vitriol to yourself and stop trying to read between the lines for something I did not write.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Cipher » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:34 am

I did not say that the stereotypes are in anyway correct

all stereotypes are rooted in some kind of truth

Uh-huh.


P.S.
The characterization of what I posted as "vitriol" is merely amusing to me. I assure you, you haven't met my "vitriol" yet.
Last edited by Cipher on Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Sylvia Sybil » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:36 am

Rhikat wrote:They found a gene that affected the female rodents and made a hypothesis based upon that data. Here are presented some evidence why people might gravitate towards the 'neat' gender division of male and female, because it just might be coded into our genes.


Female rodents are affected by a certain smell -------> humans divide toys for their children by gender.

And you don't see any gaps in that chain?
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Rhikat » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:47 am

Sylvia Sybil wrote:Female rodents are affected by a certain smell -------> humans divide toys for their children by gender.

And you don't see any gaps in that chain?


Thus the word hypothesis. The science itself wasn't sexist, but the conclusions they drew based on the study are indeed a bit iffy.

Cipher wrote:
all stereotypes are rooted in some kind of truth

Uh-huh.


P.S.
The characterization of what I posted as "vitriol" is merely amusing to me. I assure you, you haven't met my "vitriol" yet.


*sigh*

I said that stereotypes are rooted in truths, not that they are correct and should be used. Try to be a good sport and stop biting people's heads off, just because eloquence doesn't come easy when using one's third language. And is it really worth to be so hostile, you know what they say about flies and honey (though shit seems to work just fine too)...
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Cipher » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:52 am

You might want to review the rules on tone-policing, Rhikat. Oh, and just for reference, this is nothing like "hostile," so you can
go ahead and stop with that nonsense now.

You said that all stereotypes are rooted in truths, and I asked for evidence that this is the case. So far you have not provided it. If you mean "stereotypes are rooted in what people think is true," rather than "stereotypes are rooted in what is true," then a.) it would be better to say the former than what you said, and b.) I wonder what the point is of saying that.
Last edited by Cipher on Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby SubMor » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:53 am

"Stereotypes are rooted in truths?" No. Stereotypes are rooted in cognitive biases and fallacious reasoning.

Rhikat wrote: And is it really worth to be so hostile, you know what they say about flies and honey (though shit seems to work just fine too)...

Mod note: Knock this shit off immediately. Tone policing is against the rules here. Do not do it. Do not even hint at at. Please reread the newbie basket of links, including the forum rules. Contained therein is an article on tone policing. Read it.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Sylvia Sybil » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:03 am

Rhikat wrote:Thus the word hypothesis. The science itself wasn't sexist, but the conclusions they drew based on the study are indeed a bit iffy.


The article was about the conclusions drawn. The OP's question was about the sexist stereotypes. Pointing out that what they learned about lab rat biology does indeed apply to lab rat biology is not the issue here; it's how it does or does not apply to human culture.

If you want to claim "humans' sexist stereotypes are rooted in genetics" as a serious scientific hypothesis, you're going to need a hell of a lot more than "lab rats react differently to smells based on their sex". For starters, you're going to need to prove that humans' sexist stereotypes are universal or have a universal component. You can't point to one behavior in one culture at one time and claim that's part of the human condition, which is what the article did.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Rhikat » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:10 am

Cipher wrote:You said that all stereotypes are rooted in truths, and I asked for evidence that this is the case. So far you have not provided it. If you mean "stereotypes are rooted in what people think is true," rather than "stereotypes are rooted in what is true," then a.) it would be better to say the former than what you said, and b.) I wonder what the point is of saying that.


For instance, a very typical stereotype is this:
Mod edit: Huge image goes behind the hiddentext wall. [ Show ]
Image

Is it rooted in what women during the 50's looked like and behaved like? Yes. Does it mean that everyone who feels like she is a woman should conform to it? No. And your phrasing is indeed better, but as I said, unfortunately I was not born with an eloquent tongue (well, in this case fingers).

SubMor wrote:"Stereotypes are rooted in truths?" No. Stereotypes are rooted in cognitive biases and fallacious reasoning.


Or perhaps even a better way to say it.

Mod note: Knock this shit off immediately. Tone policing is against the rules here. Do not do it. Do not even hint at at. Please reread the newbie basket of links, including the forum rules. Contained therein is an article on tone policing. Read it.


I have read them through, but you have a lot of rules, so I beg your pardon if I occasionally forget some of those. Though, I try to keep my opinions in the boundaries set by the staff on this forum, but is it really such a misdemeanor to ask to be treated politely?
Last edited by SubMor on Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby SubMor » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:14 am

Rhikat wrote:I have read them through, but you have a lot of rules, so I beg your pardon if I occasionally forget some of those. Though, I try to keep my opinions in the boundaries set by the staff on this forum, but is it really such a misdemeanor to ask to be treated politely?

No. You get no pardon for not following the rules. Take the time to understand them before you post again.

Your responding to "don't tone police" with "but can't I please tone police?" demonstrates that you appear unmotivated to review the rules on your own, so here's a 24 hour ban to give you time to do so. If, next time you post, you are still not familiar with the rules, you will be given a much longer break.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby ibbica » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:46 am

Rhikat wrote:For instance, a very typical stereotype is this:
Mod edit: Huge image goes behind the hiddentext wall. [ Show ]
Image

Is it rooted in what women during the 50's looked like and behaved like? Yes.


What the...? No, "women" living in the 1950's did not look or behave "like that". A few women might have come close, but the majority certainly did not. I'd be willing to lay odds that the majority of even the specific subpopulation of women who were thin, white, apparently able-bodied, and living in middle-class suburban homes in the USA didn't look or behave like that :roll:
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Maistra » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:56 am

Sylvia Sybil wrote:Joz, would you care to explain the penguin description, particularly as it relates to "over-reacting"?


I second this. Quite curious what this bizarre insult actually meant.

Does anyone remember 4 year old Riley and her rant about "girl" toys? She seemed to have grasped this concept better than some commenters in this thread.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby SubMor » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:13 am

Maistra wrote:
Sylvia Sybil wrote:Joz, would you care to explain the penguin description, particularly as it relates to "over-reacting"?


I second this. Quite curious what this bizarre insult actually meant.

I'm really sorry, Sylvia and Maistra, but even though I share your inquisitiveness, I don't think we're ever going to find out. I'm not really interested in entertaining xir any longer. Dismissing the concerns other people have already pointed out with "I honestly see nothing to be upset about" is a giant asshole move (and, I should note, present within Arguments to Avoid as "I don't think X is a problem." "I don't see why you're so upset about X." "I don't think we should be talking about X because it isn't that big a deal." etc.), and in light of the fact that xe's already been on the receiving end of two other temp bans for asshattery, I'm not optimistic that xe's here to do anything but piss people off. Sooo, yeah. Xe's not here anymore and won't be coming back.

My sincerest apologies for the disappointment of knowing you'll never see an answer to that question. I hope in time you'll grow to forgive me.
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Catherine » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:29 am

This SMBC comic from a few days ago I think is apt for most evopsych bullshit such as this:

Comic [ Show ]
Image

Comic Text [ Show ]
1st Panel: Event Idea: Festival of Ad Hoc Biological Adaptation Hypotheses
2nd Panel: "Babies are shaped like footballs and have more bendable bones than adults."
3rd Panel: "This is because primitive man would have wanted to spread his genes as far as possible"
4th: "We Believe this was accomplished by punting the child from village to village until it arrived in a different population"
5th:"This also explains why babies have ample fat, which protected their organs during punting. It explains why Babies must be bupred often, because in nature that gas would've been expelled by the dropkick. And it explains their smooth skin and hairlessness, which make for good aerodynamics"
6th: "Thank you." "Bravo! Bravo!"
7th: "Congratulation Professor. First prize. We award you this gold statue of Darwin looking doubtful"
Last edited by Catherine on Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: I don't know what you mean Setar I certainly didn't just edit this...
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Setar » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:26 am

correction for Catherine [ Show ]
That's Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, not XKCD. lrn2webcomic :P
"...authoritarian followers feel empowered to isolate and segregate, to humiliate, to persecute, to beat, and to kill in the middle of the night, because in their heads they can almost hear the loudspeakers announcing, “Now batting for God’s team, his designated hitter, (their name).”" -Bob Altemeyer, The Authoritarians
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Re: Is this 'scientific' article sexist?

Postby Sylvia Sybil » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:17 pm

I assumed "penguin" was an insult, but wanted to give them a chance to clarify before I said anything about it.
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