Sexism, Part 2

Who’s taking the red pill? Debunking sexist evolutionary psychology, sexism in science, menstruation, sexual assault victim blaming, women in refrigerators, the Bechdel test plus Star Trek! With Dr Jenna, Deanna and Jarrah. Part 2 of 2.

Music: “Never Trust A Woman” by Red Foley

Charity O’ The Week: International Planned Parenthood Federation



22 Responses

  1. Rather enjoyed this one especially the pop culture section.

    As ever it provokes some strange ideas.
    I loved the list of menstration attributed super powers!
    Killing swarms of bees with a glance? If that worked on wasps you’ve got yourself a all lady extermination company right there. Granted you could only work a few days each month but when you did you could really pile through the jobs.
    Also how terrifying must Pilny the Elders wife have been where he believed she could blunt steel with her mere presence.

    Is it at all possible that the myth of ruining jam and the sympathetic magic practise of smuggling menstration into your beloved food could be at all related?

    I remember the Angle One episode.
    I recall it was none to kind to the men folk of that angle planet either all of them being protrayed as short, slim and effeminate.
    Theres a scene where one of them is shown applying perfume and make up.
    Then, despite the fact that they are living in a female dominated society where this kind of behaviour is presumably expected of them, the moment some big strapping alpha males show up the ladies quickly fawn over them and shun their own men folk in favour of real men.

    Not sure I entirely agree with the assessment of V for Vendetta.
    As I recall V very much had a reason to want to change the world having been interred in a concentration came, tortured and experimented on.
    He was quite certainly motivated.

    Oh and below is my favourite response to the “women in refrigerators” meme

  2. Best 9-to-5 gif:

    This was a majorly caustic episode. It was hard to listen to In The News all in one go, it was so depressing.

    Great job as always!

  3. I have to say, I thought the sexual-psychology studies did make a lot of sense… why are you guys so dismissive about them? Men and women *do* have different psychological make-up. We know that to a certain extent without needing to do any behavioural studies – just look at the different hormone levels we have cycling through our bodies (and if you don’t think estrogen and testosterone affect behaviour, try taking heavy-duty birth control pills for a couple months…). I wish I could remember what it was called, but one of the studies illustrated how men focus primarily on visual stimulus for attraction, whereas women focus more on behavioural cues – body language, dress sense, interactions. It found that this applied to homosexual people, too – gay men still react best to the same visual, look-at-that-ass type stimulus as straight men, just in a different direction. It’s why men prefer to watch porn, but women prefer to read it. Now, aside from the ever-necessary footnote when discussing psychology*, I do find that seems to be pretty true in real-life observations… do you disagree?

    Also, a note to the guys… the day Caustic Soda gives in to political correctness will be a sad day indeed. And I think the “take the red pill” line works just fine, grammatically speaking (I’ve written a fair bit of rhyming poetry in my day ;P). Maybe I’m just too nerdy – I’d never heard of this mens’-rights group, but Morpheus’ visage is firmly emblazoned into my memory-banks…

    *Psychology deals in generalizations. There are exceptions to every rule – yes, probably including this one, I’m sure there is a rule with no exceptions to it somewhere ;P

    1. Here’s the problem with those studies – they are loaded down with confirmation bias. In Victorian times, “everyone knew” that women were delicate little flowers who suffered through sex in order to have those babies they desperately wanted. In Medieval times, “everyone knew” that women were raunchy horndogs who needed regular sexing or else all hell would break loose. (Seriously, read the Canterbury Tales, holy carp.) And anyone who thinks women just like to read their porn has never seen me watching the Magic Mike XXL trailer. UNF. 😉 Cross-podcast promotion: listen to the Savage Lovecast, and you’ll hear a TON of ladies wondering why their manz don’t want to sex em up 6 times a day, and how to distract themselves from that fine tight booty on the guy in Accounting.

      Also, you’re conflating psychological makeup with physiological makeup. Men and women both have estrogen and testosterone, and the differing levels don’t really do all -that- much. One thing I always tell people is to check the studies’ location. The accuracy of a study’s information is inversely proportional to the number of ads surrounding it. If you actually delve into the dry scientific data, you will invariably find that the “differences” between men and women are marginal at best, but people LOVE to hear how OOOOO we are SO DIFFERENT, so the +/-1% margin of error is played up as +/-95%, because Men’s Health and Livestrong and National Geographic and Cosmo want to sell sell sell. We have this crazily desperate urge to self-segregate, and that hasn’t always been the case. The notion of more than two genders has been around since humans became human (read The Prehistory of Sex, it’s amazing. Side note: it’s also amazing how many dildos are hiding out in archaeological collections!!), and even today we understand that some people are XX, some are XY, and then there’s XXY, XYY, and all kinds of other effects our chromosomes like to throw out now and then. Biology is not destiny, and we need to stop falling back on that lazy excuse. And it is laziness. Humans managed to teach themselves to make fire, tools, and wheels; do not tell me it is THAT hard to put the toilet seat down now and then. Ha! 😉

      1. Hah, and as always, the only way to really know these answers for sure would be to perform a series of extremely unethical experiments raising human babies in meticulously controlled research environments…. so we shall probably never know 😉

        By the time we reach adolescence, I’m sure it’s true that we’ve consumed more than enough societal conditioning and subversive messaging to account for our naturally “slotting into” our assigned gender niches… but I think it’s most likely a bit of column A, a bit of column B. I guess I’m used to thinking about human psychology the same way I’d think about psychology in other mammals, and we’re certainly not surprised to find these sorts of gender and role differences among other pack-minded animals like us, so it seems natural that we should have some of the same under-wiring too.

        And maybe I’m partly biased by my strong dislike of the implied undercurrent of “different = bad.” I was glad to hear the girls mention in the show that it’s ok to have different relationship roles, just so long as no-one thinks one role is “better” than the other; I think the same is true of the sexes (and sexual preferences, and race, etc). If men and women do have innate differences in their psychological make-up, then it’s because evolution has shaped us that way, to work together as a team – and whether or not modern humans still retain any of those primitive thought-structures, I still think the team-player model is a nice way to go about a relationship. Each partner being equally necessary for the success as a whole, and the strengths of one making up for the weaknesses of the other, all that cheesy stuff ;P

        I’ll keep an eye out for that book – thanks! Psychology and sex, my two favourite subjects 😉

      2. I was just listening to a recent episode of Skeptoid on transgender people and of course it got me thinking about this again. If it were true that male and female minds are more or less the same, then how would it be possible to be TG? Since TG people (I guess I should say “gender dysmorphic” – I think I remembered that right…) have all the physical attributes, including hormones, of one sex, but feel that the part of them that is “them” is of a different sex… wouldn’t that imply that there must be a pretty substantial difference between the sexes, psychologically, in order for such a phenomenon to be not only possible, but noticeable?

        (Sorry for derailing the comments, haha – I’ll shut up now XD Just wanted to share some interesting food for thought!)

        1. I won’t presume to speak for trans* folks, but again, you’re conflating a) the mechanical processes of our sentient meatbags and b) internal Theory of Mind stuff. The point of “We’re all basically the same” is to specifically counter the notions of “Men are good at engineering because Men™, and women are good at nursing because Women™.” The notion of performed gender is immaterial to that end. Are you flooded with testosterone, the manliest man in existence? You are nevertheless allowed to be an interior decorator or kindergarten teacher. Are you absolutely swimming in estrogen, the womanliest woman ever? You are nevertheless allowed to be a welder or bricklayer. Women were overwhelmingly the gender who did craft brewing in medieval times, and nowadays you have beardy hipsters taking that role. Honestly, history history history – read enough of it and you realize how pointless a lot of today’s gender-related arguments are. Are there tendencies within groups? Maybe. But the ultimate point is that no matter how many “ironclad” arguments one can find to support Theory X or Theory Y, the end result *cannot* be to craft laws and social institutions to cement down vague tendencies (at best) that will prevent humans from realizing their full potential. We are marvelously fluid and adaptable meatbags. And it absolutely breaks my heart to think how much beautiful potential throughout history was utterly wasted simply because the body that brain was housed in was the wrong shape. : That’s caustic.
          Whippin’ out the hippie: we’re all just humans, yo. We gotta, like, love one another, ya dig? *toke*
          Suggested reading:
          1) The Prehistory of Sex [Timothy L. Taylor];
          2) Sex At Dawn [Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha];
          3) A History of the Wife [Marilyn Yalom] (omfg the wedding-industrial complex, don’t get me started on their WHOLESALE B.S.);
          4) The Mismeasure of Woman [Carol Tavris] (’93, but depressingly still relevant),
          5) Misogyny: the World’s Oldest Prejudice [Jack Holland].

          Almost wish I could have been a guest speaker for this ep. 😉 But alas, zero $$ to get that Kickstarter reward! 😀

      3. Now *this* is what I wanted to hear while listening to the segment on evolutionary psych, so thanks for putting it here, Amanda. EP tells us, eg, men like boobs. The hosts say this has been debunked as confirmation-biased rubbish, which is fine, but then didn’t really explain why it had been debunked, leaving it either as bleedingly obvious or as an exercise for listener to figure out. I’m all for intuitive-sounding ideas to be shown up as crap, but explanations are still needed, and probably more so than for non-controversial (for want of a better word) ideas to get over the intuitive angle.

  4. I am a retired male RN. I know all about sexdism….from women. I remember my 3 year old daughter telling me that I could not be an RN because I am a man. Female RN’s generally divide into the one’s who are frank enough to tell you to your face that you threaten their job security. and those who are too chicken to be up front.

    The truth is that a man brings capabilities … such as relating to male MD’s … that they can’t match. They never forgive us for that, but the bottom line is that it helps deliver better patient care.

    Finally, if you try to treat women like soft boys (Thank God) it isn’t going to work…(Thank God). You have to take them like you find them.

    People would ask me how I got along working with women all my life. The truth is they all basically hate and envy each other. I got along just as well as they got along with themselves.

    1. The irony, of course, is that male participators in traditionally female-dominated fields are STILL paid more:
      Likewise, maybe the male MDs that you’re relating to so well should stop being sexist jerks and relate just as well to the female nurses. You’re not helping your argument by detailing exactly what is creating the sexism and thinking it’s OK. A person justifiably angry at an institutional power imbalance isn’t -ist. (Whether racist, sexist, or etc.)
      And when your daughter says “men can’t be nurses!” I hope your response was, “of course they can, sweetie! Boys can grow up to be whatever they want, just as girls like you can!”

  5. Great show. One of the best lines I’ve ever heard: “this stuff makes me crazy, I go hysterical. I’m going to need an orgy people!”

    I definitely feel the negative effects of sexism – particularly when it comes to my role as father and caregiver! I remember being told by prenatal nurses that my job as a father is just to support my wife, who instinctively knows how to care for a child (BTW, neither of us had any idea at the time). BOOO sexism!

  6. In the news (just because this article’s headline is so good):

    There is a renewed push in Australia to get the Goods and Services Tax (GST, 10%) removed from tampons and pads as “essential health items” like the condoms and Viagra already in this category (negotiated over ten years ago), and these protestors are dancing in the lawns of Parliament House dressed as tampons offering free hugs to tax repealers. It’ll cost $30m in lost revenue, so, in the scheme of things you’d think it’d be a slam dunk PR win, but our Prime Minister Tony Abbott immediately dismissed the idea the day after the Treasurer said he’d do what he could to fix the problem. Abbott’s argument is that adding exceptions (which have to be negotiated with all the states anyway) are a Bad Thing (TM) (despite the fact that there are already plenty of things that are exempt).

  7. BTW, am I the only one who hasn’t ever caught the lyric about the Red Pill? I vote to leave it unchanged, too.

  8. I was happy to hear all the intersectionality present in these episodes, but I must say I was a little disappointed when menstruation was declared as decidedly for women when there are very clearly men who menstruate. Earlier in the episode, even, it was pointed out that afab trans men and trans women face sexism and cissexism. So, I was a little bummed about that.

    Some more sexism joy for everyone:

    Women are cited less in scientific research

    (analysis of about five and a half million papers)
    “We find that in the most productive countries, all articles with women in dominant author positions receive fewer citations than those with men in the same positions. And this citation disadvantage is accentuated by the fact that women’s publication portfolios are more domestic than their male colleagues — they profit less from the extra citations that international collaborations accrue. Given that citations now play a central part in the evaluation of researchers, this situation can only worsen gender disparities.”

    And in the Cambridge Journal, this analysis of publications over a 26-year period ending in 2006 shows this bias holds controlling for tons of factors;jsessionid=FB7DC3E5C4E62422E6495B325E283888.journals?aid=9038606&fileId=S0020818313000209
    “Using data from the Teaching, Research, and International Policy project on peer-reviewed publications between 1980 and 2006, we show that women are systematically cited less than men after controlling for a large number of variables including year of publication, venue of publication, substantive focus, theoretical perspective, methodology, tenure status, and institutional affiliation.”

    Men and women talk about the same amount (except, depending on who’s listening, men will talk a lot more)

    From the BBC:
    “Not all types of conversations are the same of course. Perhaps what matters is who else is listening. An analysis of a hundred public meetings carried out by Janet Holmes of the Victoria University of Wellington , New Zealand, showed that men asked, on average, three quarters of the questions, while making up only two thirds of the audience. Even when the audiences were equally split gender-wise, men still asked almost two thirds of the questions.”

  9. I was very interested in the evolutionary psychology part of this podcast. I work as a zookeeper of great apes – I look after 43 apes – bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas. Without exception, the most popular and most frequently mated females are the ‘old ladies’ – the ones who have previously birthed offspring and proven themselves fertile. If humans evolutionarily prefer younger females for breeding purposes, they may be alone amongst the great apes in this preference. (Yes, a small sample size, but interesting.)

  10. For a callback to Jehova, the bible only bans men having sex with men. God is apparently okay with women getting it on, but is creeped out by two dudes getting it on. This is a sin equivalent to eating shellfish, eating pork, and wearing clothing of blended fibers. That’s right, everyone who wears cotton/whatever blends are being just as bad as two dudes getting it on.

    On top of that there are further things in Leviticus. Any surface a menstruating woman has sat upon, men are not allowed to sit upon without becoming unclean. More critter sacrifices are required if a man sits upon the same chair as a menstruating woman. Animal sacrifice is also required after a woman gives birth because of how women are unclean.

    If any woman would like to contradict me, allow me to present a teaching of Jesus: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

  11. I’m kind of wondering if maybe all the menstruation super powers were actually just women going “I have cramps, I am bleeding, I’m sore, I don’t want to make jam damnit!” Not because women were unclean or evil but because it’s a rough week, let us have a rest.