Gender

Political and/or empirical engagement therewith


The difficulty of getting along when we believe that configurations of genitalia are involved.

Statistics of gender

Do Men \(A\)? Are Women More Prone to \(B\)?

I am loath to touch this one. Not because I feel there is some risk of saying something controversial, but because there is so much work to do in disambiguating the vocabulary here, as with many arguments, that once we have identified what we are saying it often turns out we are saying nothing at all.

A pet peeve in this area is the problem of trying to address the basic statistics of binary flag (gender according to census, or hormone level over some threshhold, or possession of a penis, or possession of a penis at birth, or whatever) and the coupling of that binary flag to complicated multidimensional distributions over other noisily-measured traits we claim to care about but are also not very good at identifying and hoping to get a simple prescription. There is surely stuff going on with hormones and DNA and socialisation and social construction and fashion and power and economics and the intersection of these factors with other non-gender related ones etc, but it does not seem especially likely to generate instruction manuals for social relations.

Still! All those caveats aside, there is some interesting stuff going on with humans and gender. I will come back here at some point if something nifty comes up.

Public discourse

The manosphere

There are as many flavours of Men’s Rights Activism as there are feminisms now. OK, I do not know that for sure. But there are lots of each.

Exemplary incident

Women in STEM, the 2017 Awkward Google James Damore Memo of a public incident of Great Tedium. I’m not going to comment on the memo because that discussion is saturated and I can get better versions of the arguments if I want them. It has some, IMO, good points and bad points. (e.g. I think it straw-mans, or at least weak-mans, diversity arguments – is it in fact true that the consensus amongst advocates for diversity is for 50/50 gender split in software development, or rather claiming that it would be closer to 50/50 after redressing historical biases? And the a non-stereotypical notion of what psychological safety is could have done with some better non-anecdote-based development, if the argument was to lean on research, which is a point that it advocates for. etc.) Maybe that helped it get traction? Certainly the usual suspects were triggered. However! I do recommend reading it because there is an interesting phenomenon whereby a lot of the excerpts and quotes circulating are not actually from the document, or at least not the notional final version. (I do not care enough to check earlier versions myself, but one should do that if justice in this matter were a real concern.) Which means that some fun parody I had linked here is not actually parodying the guy correctly. Accordingly I have deleted that.

Some research

There are some lightly-inspected social psychology papers here. Wait for replication before assuming they mean much.

A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology (Moreno-Domínguez, Raposo, and Elipe 2019) explored the impact of body image on sexual satisfaction in heterosexual, bisexual, and lesbian women. While the three groups of women reported similar levels of body dissatisfaction, lesbian women uniquely showed no significant impact of body image on sexual satisfaction.

Women are 15 hours practice away from mentally rotating objects like men. Huh.

The web without male content is a ghost town. With certain exceptions.

Jacob Putanumonit did a survey on “dating assholes” and the results are entertaining and counterintuitive for most easy narratives.

Moreno-Domínguez, Silvia, Tania Raposo, and Paz Elipe. 2019. “Body Image and Sexual Dissatisfaction: Differences Among Heterosexual, Bisexual, and Lesbian Women.” Frontiers in Psychology 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00903.

Schiebinger, Londa. 1996. “The Loves of the Plants.” Scientific American 274 (2): 110–15. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24989402.