Ah, I loves me some insidious sexism.

A commenter pointed out to me an “scientific” article claiming the bold title “Scientists say genetic variations show that men think differently“. They used this as “scientific” proof of how women are naturally more passive and cooperative than males, which of course has the implication that some jobs are better suited for females and that the traditional role of the woman in the house taking care of the children is not so out of place.

This kind of thing annoys me immensely, especially since when I actually took the time to read that article, it quickly became apparent that Science proves no such thing. In fact, the best the article could point out was that

While the two sexes have the same basic genes, many of these are more active in the brains of only one sex. These gender-specific patterns of gene expression could affect many aspects of behaviour, the researchers said.

That’s it. That’s the great evidence of what “Scientists say”. A mild discovery and a weak correlation.

However, since most people will barely bother to read more than the title of the headline, the idea of what “Scientists say” will stay in their brain, and they may link others to the same dubious claims as proof of how feminists are going against female nature or some other nonsense.

Why does mainstream media do this? More importantly, why have they not been taken to task for this nonsense? How can such a misleading article stay online? It’s like reading an article which boldly claims that Scientists say that “Skin colour affects intelligence”. How come insidious sexism gets a free pass while people have wizened up enough to counter insidious racism?

Of course for me, further annoyment was caused when I linked this article to reddit, assuming that people in /r/feminisms can see the obvious, and immediately I was asked to explain what’s wrong with it. When I did that and pointed out that it’s annoying I had to do it, I am then told that I’m being rude. FFS people! We are allowed to be annoyed when we’re asked to explain the obvious again and again and again. Being annoyed at it gives out a clear signal that people should start using their own head for once, instead of asking for Cliff’s Notes.

18 thoughts on “Ah, I loves me some insidious sexism.

  1. I have gotten really sick of the "science says…" argument for sexism. Even some of my closest friends use it. It's really quite degrading towards men as well as women. Based on various "scientific" articles I've read, men are basically sex-crazed, thoughtless, socially inept, emotionally vacant, verbally stupid creatures with no self-control. But of course, when it comes to "research" that gives a group of people an excuse to be tactless and not take responsibility for their own relationships, that group of people is not going to complain.

    1. This is exactly it. These kind or articles just serve as a handy excuse to keep the status quo. You don't even need to read them, just go with the headline and you're good.

      It's twice as frustrating when MRA scum use the same kind of articles to point out how badly prortrayed the mens are and how feminists are hypocritical for not speaking up for the men in these cases too. Of course they then admit that they don't actually mind those characterizations since they identify with them anyway. I actually had someone make a post about how "objectified" men are in video games and why feminists don't speak up, only to later admit that he doesn't mind being "objectified" like that. Rrrraaaage!

  2. It doesn't surprise me that feminists wouldn't immediately see what you were referring to. One of the main reasons I don't identify as feminist is because of the gender essentialism that has been part of feminism from the very beginning. Pseudo-scientific arguments aside., there is no essential difference between this asshat's argument and that of suffragists who said we should get the right to vote because women are more moral than men.

    1. Yup, never heard of the argument that women are more moral than men, never heard a feminist say that women are better than men. You are swallowing bullshit propaganda.

      1. I think Broadsnak meant the early Suffragettes which iirc did have arguments like those, especially the upper class liberals. Emma Goldman had a lot of not-so-nice things to say about that 🙂

    2. Okay yeah let's just completely paint feminist movement with a broad brush of reactionary bullshit. So let me get this straight? You don't identify as a feminist because you've given into mainstream media's portrayal of feminism? And this is your thought process as a self-identified "anarchist"? LOLOLOLOLOLOL

      YEAH I CANT REALLY IDENTIFY AS AN ANARCHIST BECAUSE YA KNOW ALL THOSE NIHILIST POSEURS WHO GO AROUND CALLING THEMSELVES THAT.

      GREAT LOGIC. WOULD SLANDER WHOLE MOVEMENT AGAIN. A++++++

      1. Please keep things civil and don't troll. I do think you have a point but you do not get it through by alienating the person you're talking to.

        1. Fair enough. I will work on restraining my anger whilst typing out responses in response to reactionary individualistic "anarchists".

          1. Maybe you shouldn't get angry before you estabilish that people are being unreasonable and maybe you should start giving people some chance before you explode at them and start using scare quotes.

          2. I established that Broadsnark was being unreasonable, illogical, and dishonest in the first paragraph. Give people a chance to what? Spew more reactionary propaganda? Because reactionaries don't already have enough of a voice in the public arena?

            I am am all too familiar with Broadsnark's views on feminism. Is there a minimum number of times I have to call someone out before I can denounce them for identifying as an anarchist? And do I have to add citations to all my posts where I use scare quotes? Or am I not allowed to "slander" someone after they've completely misrepresented and further marginalized an already oppressed movement?

          3. I established that Broadsnark was being unreasonable, illogical, and dishonest in the first paragraph.

            No you didn't.You pointed out that they are wrong in their views.

            Give people a chance to what? Spew more reactionary propaganda?

            Oh don't start with the "free speech is oppressive" bullshit again.

          4. Uh.. yes I did. I just didn't do it with your preferred amount of civility to satisfy you and your delicate sensibilities. Sorry.

            And I didn't say a word about "free speech" (although you know my issues with it), nor did I call for her post to be deleted.

            This is your blog and I will do my best to respect and abide by your rules in the future, but if you're going to attack my comments, I'd prefer if you challenged my content rather than my expression. And simply throwing out platitudes because I am challenging someone's rhetoric doesn't really jive with me.

          5. but if you're going to attack my comments, I'd prefer if you challenged my content rather than my expression.

            Your comments are going to be judged by both. In this case I agreed with the content but not with the expression and I stated so.

          6. I am am all too familiar with Broadsnark's views on feminism. Is there a minimum number of times I have to call someone out before I can denounce them for identifying as an anarchist? And do I have to add citations to all my posts where I use scare quotes? Or am I not allowed to "slander" someone after they've completely misrepresented and further marginalized an already oppressed movement?

            Yes. You are supposed to base your arguments if you have a history with someone. You can slander someone for whatever reason you deem worthy, all you want, but do it somewhere else please. I prefer that people try to improve each other here, not start flame wars.

  3. I know this is old but for some hilarious case studies of science gone wrong due to androcentric bias, philosopher of science Kathleen Okruhlik is the person to read. It really is fun (and frightening at the same time) to go through all the major instances of where data was either grossly misinterpreted or just simply rejected in order that scientists could maintain their social preconceptions for instance the idea that males are the "passionate" sex as Darwin put it and females are passive. When it was discovered that sperm don't simply PENETRATE the egg, but instead the egg extend tubules to grab onto and sift through prospected sperm, this idea which now seems totally uncontroversial seemed crazy to many because it disrupted a minor aspect of their theory of total male superiority and aggressiveness.

    Anyways, food for thought and and excellent author and as I say she is actually fun to read because the examples of bias she goes through demonstrate how literally insane socialization can make people, even scientists.

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