The Vitals health blog at MSNBC reported earlier this week on a new study out of Williams College which shows that straight men tend to overestimate their chances of pairing up with women, and their estimates become less realistic the more conventionally attractive the woman is. Interestingly, more conventionally attractive men have a more realistic view of their chances than less attractive men. At the same time, women across the board tended to underestimate how much the men in the study were interested in them.
It’s an interesting study that says a lot about our social interactions and how we perceive flirtatious behavior. But the authors of the study go way off track in their interpretations of the results. As is the fashion in behavioral research these days, the scientists invoke the almighty evolutionary explanation to explain behavior that is much more likely to be socially constructed. And it’s the kind of explanation that reinforces slut-shaming and rape culture.
“It’s Okay to be Neither,” By Melissa Bollow Tempel
Alie arrived at our 1st-grade classroom wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. I asked her to take off her hood, and she refused. I thought she was just being difficult and ignored it. After breakfast we got…
“We know that each of our experiences of the sex trades are unique, and there are no one-size fits all solutions. We are members of families and communities struggling to survive and make the best possible choices given the options available to us. For many of us, the truth about the sex trade is somewhere between a completely empowered experience of the sex trade, which requires only decriminalization to eliminate harms, and a completely harmful experience of the sex trade which negatively presumes all of us to be victims in need of ‘rescue.’”
Trying to put myself first really just feels like screwing other people over/letting them down. I try not to make plans I’m not sure I can keep, but recently I’m needing to back out of even sparse/minimal commitments. It is relieving to carve out those little bits of space/time for myself, but also i feel like a big jerk. At least am at a point in my life where I feel pretty sure that my friends will forgive me and stay my friends even when I flake out. That itself is a tremendous comfort and relief.
A great response piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates to the infuriating “If I was a poor black kid” post on Forbes (that I’m not going to bother to link to—but kudos to Forbes editors for providing links to a number of responses, including this one).
“Queer people do not need to offer excuses or defend their own existence. If one could become queer by simply waking up one morning and deciding to become queer, for a day, for an hour, it wouldn’t change the fact that being queer is just as good, as valid, as worthy, as being straight. Providing straight people with reasons or excuses for our queerness simply confirms their suspicions that our sexuality really is their business and that we need to justify our existence to them. This allows heterosexists to continue to believe there is something superior about heterosexuality, and that being queer is a deviation from some kind of normal or default sexuality. There isn’t and it’s not.
We don’t need to justify ourselves to anyone. We don’t need a reason to be queer. Maybe we were born this way, maybe we weren’t. Maybe sexuality is fluid for some people and not for others. It’s totally irrelevant either way. The message we need to send to heterosexists is not that our sexuality was foisted upon us and that they should be “tolerant” and “understanding”. The message is: our sexuality is perfectly valid and none of your business, we offer you no excuses, and we are never going away.”—» Fauxgress Watch: “Born This Way” Social Justice League (via sexisnottheenemy)
“Twenty-two years ago, 14 women in Montreal were murdered. The next morning, when my brother and my dad and I got up and started our days, my mum stayed in bed. She stayed home for three days total, alternately crying and making the point that the attack was an attack on all women, and reflected a wider culture of violence. Meanwhile at school, our French teacher dropped the entire year’s curriculum when she realized how ignorant we were about gender and violence, and from then until June we read and wrote exclusively about feminism. I think about these women, their anger and their intelligence, and the debt I owe them, every December 6 when I remember the 14 murdered women.”— Dave Tough on the École Polytechnique Massacre. (via garconniere)