Thursday, 26 February 2009

Mine's a Pint

I love geeks. I love them because they know stuff. I may accuse the press wildly of sexism and I pick easy targets (although bear in mind that A LOT of people take most stuff in the press at face value). However, there are those that can methodically and mathematically tear apart sexist science reporting, such as this blog on women and alcohol. Story in the press here, and here.

After such expert and rational analysis - now for the feminist dogma.... There are repeated stories and commentary in the press about women drinking and this being; Britain Going To Hell In A Handcart, Feminism Going Too Far, Ladette Culture Going Too Far etc etc. Fact is, men still beat women when it comes to alcoholism, alcohol related deaths, and many indeed beat them when drunk.

I am not saying 'Yay, women should drink till they get cancer!', I am saying that research into women drinking is suspiciously over-reported, regularly misinterpreted and uniformly accompanied with moralising about wimmin and how awful they are.

Declared Interest
I drink. A Lot.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

I Can Smell Your Brains

Now of course I'm the first to criticise men. Horrid, despicable men. And I agree that there is a huge problem with the sexual objectification of women which feeds inequality, discrimination and ultimately violence. Yawn, heard it.

However, even I'm not convinced that a brain scan can show that men think of women in the same way as "tools, like spanners and screwdrivers" (note confusion in above pic). Bad science, possibly but definitely badly reported.

Now I've criticised psychologists before. And we must remember that a psychologist is neither a radiologist nor a neuroscientist. But it does seem that they are making the fairly unremarkable claim that "When there are sexualised images in the workplace, it's hard for people not to think about their female colleagues in those terms."

So yes, girly calendars in the office are inappropriate and are a key signifier of a sexist culture. But there being a "screwdriver" part of a man's brain? Even I wouldn't go that far.

Monday, 2 February 2009

WOMEN: Don't know you're limitless

Here we go again. Everything that is wrong with the world is women's fault. Here, Children's Society blames working women for family breakdown, under-achieving children and getting themselves into poverty.

I'd first like to declare an interest, my parents divorced when I was 7. I have two degrees, a successful career and an ability to make friends. You know why? Partly, yes I'm fabulous, but I'm also middle class.

What angers me about these kind of stories is not that the data is wrong, although sometimes it is (links to a comment I made on another blog but haven't got round to blogging on here, tut). Its the inference it makes and the information is leaves out.

So if economic independence is allowing women to leave unsatisfactory relationships. So what do you suggest? Making women more dependent on men? Make them stay in unsatisfactory relationships?

The information that is missing here is about men. Men and women get divorced, why then to men disappear? Why is it divorced women that largely have sole responsibility for bringing up children? Because our society puts more responsibility on women for childcare than on fathers. Women being economically independent is the problem rather than men not being able to adapt to their changing role in society and in the family. Relationship breakdown is the problem rather than adults not being able to break up without turning into sadists intent on harming their previous loved one and often using the children to do that.

The genie is out of the bottle. Women are not going to stop working because they have a right to do so. Couples are not going to stop splitting up, because it is unhealthy for people to be trapped in a loveless relationship. The key here is the information buried deep in the article:
Figures published by Unicef in 2007 showed that children in Scandinavian countries – where rates of family break-up are similar to the UK – are happier than British children.

Why? Its the Economy, stupid. "Broken" families end up in poverty because (and bear with me this is quite mathematically complicated) two incomes are better than one. Childcare is expensive, before women were working they were doing the childcare for free. Only around 12.5% of absentee parents pay child support. Having this 'Men, tuh' attitude is letting them off the hook and blaming women for not putting up with it.

And I'm not even going to start on the often implicit 'children being brought up solely by women are crap because women are crap' argument, I'm sure I'll return to that another day. See picture above instead.