Aug 22 2008

Women to blame for own oppression – scientific FACT

More anti-woman propaganda from our friends at the Daily Mail, same story here (“Women are too shy to break through the glass ceiling, says female scientist”). The important word in the Daily Mail’s headline is “says female scientist”. It can’t be sexist or biased because a woman said it! And she’s a scientist! This is a regular trick by the Daily Mail, similar to a comment piece from a few years ago about India being rubbish since the British left – written by an Indian. So not racist at all then?

Despite this basic anti-intellectual point (women can indeed be misogynistic, people of colour can be racist, etc), what about the ‘scientist’ word. Hmmm, not a lot of evidence for that. Shannon Goodson proudly announces that she not only has a bachelors degree, but a Masters too! While still reeling from this academic achievement, I noticed that her Masters was in Organizational Psychology. Now, I’m not one to poo-poo psychology (well, OK I am) but I think it is a stretch to call her a ‘scientist’.

Her notable qualifications have included being a guest on The Dr Pat Show, and presenting her research to “professional associations all over the globe”. Again, the devil is in the detail. Goodson has presented to Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, European Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and both the Southwestern and Southeastern (of the USA) Psychological Associations.

Now, I’m not trying to suggest that this individual is a charlatan, I’m sure she is a very nice human being. Just that her scientific qualifications are limited and her book (non-peer reviewed) is being used to blame women for the structural discrimination they suffer – a point that she should not have been unaware of when writing it.

Psychology is an interesting and controversial discipline, which has historically had an anti-woman streak running through it. It has given us Freud and evolutionary psychology (not to mention the Bell Curve). So we should, at the very least, be demanding of the application of the scientific method when it comes to sweeping statements about half the World’s population.

Again, the book does refer to differences in female achievement between countries and is probably more rigourous than the papers present it. But researchers must be conscious of the way their research will be presented and communicated. This research has been presented in some of the UK press as ‘proof’ that women aren’t cut out for business. Obviously, journalists with their arts degrees are largely to blame, but so are the researchers for the misuse of their research.

Aug 15 2008

Some Gays Have Children, Get Over It

Oh the Daily Mail like nothing more than when the mighty fall. They particularly like it when the individual’s involved fit the characteristics on their hate list of moral crimes. Which is why they are so delighted that Euroderm Research is in liquidation. Because the founders are not only a gay couple, they really flaunt their gayness, in a massively gay way.

Their crimes (and why its wrong)

  • Being homosexuals (well, goes without saying right?)
  • Being in a long term stable relationship (goes against promiscuous stereotype, dammit)
  • Getting married (makes homosexuality normal, they also had an ‘extravagant civil ceremony’ the swines, unlike all the modest, tasteful, unvile weddings that heterosexuals have all the time)
  • Having children (makes it seem like children need loving parents regardless of gender)
  • Being rich (being all of the above AND rich is just, well unfair)
  • Being vulgar (they are new money and they spend it on stuff – ooo the Mail hate that – and have called their children silly names)

The article also makes reference to them “provoking anger” by “posting pictures of their children on a gay dating website”. Sigh. Right, so what’s the story here? They have a profile on Gaydar and were looking for friends and in order to pictorially demonstrate their lives together they include family pictures of them with their kids. What the nasty right-wing want to get across is that gay men are paedophiles, that same-sex couples shouldn’t have children and that children can in some way be hurt by appropriate pictures of them being posted to a site where on other profiles there *may * be an explicit picture of a man. The leap of logic there is too wide for me even to comprehend.

But the vicious myth that gay men are paedophiles lives on, without evidence, without analysis but based purely on homophobia. So let’s look at some of the facts about paedophilia:

  • 1% of children experienced sexual abuse by a parent or carer and another 3% by another relative during childhood. (NSPCC)
  • 11% of children experienced sexual abuse by people known but unrelated to them. 5% of children experienced sexual abuse by an adult stranger or someone they had just met’. (NSPCC)
  • The vast majority of children who are sexually abused are girls (UN)
  • The vast majority of people who sexually abuse children are men. (Royal College of Psychiatrists)

So, does being ‘heterosexual’ make you more prone to paedophilia? Should gay men be encouraged to be parents given that they are less likely to be sexually abusive? I await the Daily Mail’s campaign on that one.

Why is this a feminist issue? Because at root homophobia is sexist, gay men are ‘like women’ therefore wrong and gay women are ‘not proper women’ and therefore wrong. I presume this will be a common theme, I shall expand upon it in future.