Saturday, November 23, 2019

Echidne Thoughts, 11/23/19. On the Online World, Misogyny, Choking And Other Stuff

1.  If nothing else comes out of the impeachment hearings, at least more people have become familiar with the term quid pro quo.

2.  It's great fun to notice how many people in online debates say that something has been rebutted by studies without being able to bring up any of those studies.  Because few people will put their wading boots on to enter the deep waters of research to check on such assertions, those who are most assertive tend to look persuasive.

3.  Though of course giant chunks of political debates are not about facts and evidence in the first place, but about fee-fees and anger and desire for power.  Not that there's anything wrong with those latter things, but facts and evidence should also matter*.  Says she while filing her nails into talons.

4.  One of those Perfect-Hate-Combo professors has been vocal at Indiana University about the inferiority of women, gays and people of color (and those who share more than one of those groups get double- or triple-wammied by him).

He's not worth my attention, of course, but reading about his views reminded me of the way how the explanation for women's inferiority keeps changing over time.  Every time one explanation has been refuted, a new one will be created**.  It's a whack-a-mole game, my sweetings.

5.  Anal cancer cases and deaths from anal cancer are both rising in the US:

Since the 1950s, there have been substantial changes in risk factors for anal cancer, including shifts in sexual behaviors and an increased number of sexual partners, according to the study, both of which increase the likelihood of contracting HPV.
Shifts in sexual behavior may also be contributing to deaths from choking.  A recent Guardian article argues that the so-called "rough sex" defense for killing someone has become more common in court cases in the UK, and speculates about the possible reasons for it:

Prof Susan Edwards, a barrister who teaches law at the University of Buckingham, believes strangulation should be made a stand-alone offence.
“Strangulation is the cause of death in around a third of all spousal homicides,” she said. “Now there’s a burgeoning use of [rough sex excuses] because there’s greater acceptance of BDSM [bondage and sadomasochism] in relationships.”
Thirty years ago, she said, the more common excuse from a violent partner would have been that they were provoked, that it was unintentional or they lost control.
Campaigners partly blame the cultural normalisation of rough sex on the growth of violent online pornography and books such as Fifty Shades of Grey with its themes of sadomasochism.
While studying this topic I found an earlier article with this astonishing bit:

One young man who spoke to the Guardian for this piece said he chokes his girlfriend, and has done for several years, “because she likes it”. Days later, he got in touch again. “I thought about our conversation and asked her about it. She said she doesn’t actually like it; she thought I liked it. But the thing is, I don’t: I thought it’s what she wanted.”
Clearly there should be much better communication between sexual partners, better spread of health information and a strong movement to clarify to young people that online porn*** is not depicting actual sexual counters or teaching young boys and girls what women might like in sex.

6.  And a cat picture

That face reminds me of the face I get when I hear what new horror Trump has tweeted...

* For more on my thoughts about the online debates, see this post from 2018.

**  In this case he retweets a new argument that has been created to try to explain why the presence of women in academia is a bad thing.  The most common earlier argument against women getting educated was that educated women will never be able to find a partner and will live and die alone, surrounded by only multiple cats which will then eat their dead corpses.  But statistics doesn't support that argument, so something else had to be created.

Well, there's always the argument that whatever is good for girls and women must be bad for boys and men, but that doesn't really fly terribly well, either.  Or the nineteenth century argument that educating women withers away their wombs and causes mental illness.

So this time we learn that the academia should have more men than women, because men are much more likely to be geniuses.   We are told that to be a genius requires not only that one has a very high IQ but also that one has a specific personality type which is regarded to be slightly more common in men (based on self-reported surveys, mind you, and not addressing the question to what extent personality types are affected by gender stereotypes). That personality type sounds to me a bit like being an asshole, to be honest.

But I know of no research that would suggest being an asshole correlates with being a genius, and I very much doubt that it does.  Besides, this particular professor probably scores very high on assholery but not on being a genius, as is clear from his arguments.

*** A 2010 study describes the prevalence and the direction of aggression in online porn:
This current study analyzes the content of popular pornographic videos, with the objectives of updating depictions of aggression, degradation, and sexual practices and comparing the study's results to previous content analysis studies.
Findings indicate high levels of aggression in pornography in both verbal and physical forms. Of the 304 scenes analyzed, 88.2% contained physical aggression, principally spanking, gagging, and slapping, while 48.7% of scenes contained verbal aggression, primarily name-calling. Perpetrators of aggression were usually male, whereas targets of aggression were overwhelmingly female. Targets most often showed pleasure or responded neutrally to the aggression.