Monday, July 30, 2012

Males and women....

Somewhat experimental post. Starting point is a discussion on SRSD - the topic "Phrases that annoy you as a Social Justice Person". The comments in question:

Poster 1:
"Homosexual" instead of gay/lesbian, especially when used as a noun. "Female" as a noun as well. Basically anytime overly clinical/detached/"scientific" language is used to describe marginalized groups.

Poster 2:
"Female" alone doesn't bother me so much as "females and men". Or even the rare "males and women", though that doesn't come up often at all.

Well, so let us find out how often those are used, compared with the "males and women" equivalent.

                        Google    Topsy All Time
"females and men"    2.280.000             4,096 
"men and females"   16.500.000             3,370

"males and women"   38.200.000               477
"women and males"    1.520.000               279

Apparently there are huge differences depending on the community. I did try searching reddit but did get too few results. Maybe not even the best way too search for those terms.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Baby Fever

Something I found interesting. Is baby fever real? Is there maybe a biological component? Some sources:

a new study in the psychological journal Emotion claims that "baby fever" -- that sudden, visceral, and almost irresistible urge to have a baby -- not only exists, it can be found in both men and women.

"Women reported that it happened more frequently and more strongly but it's there for both men and women," says Gary Brase, associate professor of psychology at Kansas State University who along with his wife Sandra Brase, spent nearly 10 years studying the phenomenon.

The researchers, who have two children, first looked at three theoretical viewpoints as to why baby fever might exist and where it could come from. One theory had to do with gender roles, i.e., women think they should have kids because that's what they're taught women are supposed to do. A second theory had to do with nurturing.

"Humans are biological organisms, we have a sex drive and we nurture once a child is born," says Brase. "We looked at whether baby fever was due to people looking at someone else's child and then having that trigger misplaced nurturance. But it wasn't that either."

A third theory had to do with timing -- the brain delivering a signal that this could be a good time to have a child. But when they talked to their test subjects (a total of 337 undergrad students and 853 general population participants gathered via the Web), none of these theories seemed to hold up.

Instead, three factors consistently predicted how much a person wanted to have a baby.

"The first two had to do with the visual sensory things," says Brase. "Seeing a baby, hearing a baby, smelling a baby led some people to want to have a baby." [...] A third factor had to do with trade-offs that come with having children. - Source

Anna Rotkirch, the director of the Population Research Institute in Finland, says studies have shown “the urge appears to be strongest in the late 20s.” [...] Rotkirch reported in a paper in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology that her Finnish interview subjects described the phenomenon in terms of “a painful longing in my whole being” or an “unbelievable aching,” sometimes accompanied by the sensation of having “empty arms” or breasts that “became sensitive and hard.” In a related survey, she found that 58 percent of male respondents and 78 percent of female respondents reported having “experienced a strong desire to have a child of [their] own” — although this seems less a measure of sudden, acute longing than of a general desire to reproduce at some time. [...] “All existing studies use written texts or questionnaires,” she says, which tell us more about how women perceive their “baby lust” rather than the actual origins. Still, Rotkirch has found evidence of a “hormonal underpinning,” she says, with “little influence” of social factors like education or income.

In her paper, she pointed out that, in terms of evolutionary biology, “the ‘default mode’ of the female body is to have experienced both nurturing and pregnancies by the early 20s.” Rotkirch suggested that “longing for a baby can develop as a by-product of hormonal changes that evolved to prepare the woman for motherhood,” she wrote. “Such changes could be induced by falling in love; the ‘nesting behavior’ related to settling down and starting to live with a partner; exposure to infants; and/or by the processes of aging.”

If evolutionary theories are too caveman-y for your taste, there is the undeniable fact that women’s fertility begins to decline in their late 20s, right around the average time that baby panic sets in. She says, “My informed guess is that baby fever is one mechanism for reproductive timing” — or, in other words, a way to urge that “now is a good time to have a baby.” It seems to make intuitive sense, but the science on exactly how this mechanism might work is just not there.

[...] In an exhaustive study surveying the potential causes of the phenomenon, Gary Brase, an associate professor of psychology at Kansas State University, found that men experience it, just to a lesser degree than women do.

[...] Brase, who has studied the issue for nearly a decade, found that beliefs about gender roles — for example, a woman’s conviction that her proper place is in the home — were not strong predictors of baby fever. “Desire for a baby is not strongly connected to people’s gender roles,” he told me.- Source

The study linked from the above:


Abstract. The article discusses the existence and outlook of an evolved desire to have children. Twin studies have found a genetic basis for conscious attempts to get pregnant. This heritable disposition increasingly affects societies of wide female reproductive choice (KOHLERet al 1999). Based on 106 stories written by Finnish women in2006, I analyse the symptoms, triggers and behaviour related to longing for babies. I suggest that a strong longing for first or subsequent children is an affective incentive of growing importance in low-fertility societies. Female desire for babies appears in two main forms: as part of a generally care-oriented personality and as a sudden, surprising and largely physical longing. The first type conforms to previous research on nurturing (MILLER1986; FOSTER2000) while the second type has not been much studied yet. For both types, a desire to have children is often related to physical age, falling in love, previous pregnancies and to exposure to babies of kin and peers. I discuss evolutionary explanations and suggest that longing for babies may have evolved not only as a by-product of finding care pleasurable, but also as part of mate selection and as a consequence of hormonal changes induced by couple formation and ageing.

Table 1: “Have you felt a strong wish to
have your own child (‘baby fever’)?”
Finland 2007, by age and gender, N = 1560 (%, n) 

                 Women   Men

No                21.7  42.4

Yes, once         49.8  44.9
or a few times

Yes, often        28.5  12.7

Britain will re-write child laws in first major blow for father's rights

Hm, I skipped a bit on international developments for father's / men's rights. But will do so in the future with the new label of "Success" (and maybe tag along some of my older posts (as usual, maybe here means probably not)).

Children’s Minister Tim Loughton will announce that the Children Act 19879, which states that the child comes first in law courts, will be rewritten.

Henceforth the preferred option for the courts will be “the presumption that a child’s welfare is likely to furthered through safe involvement with both parents.” That is, in the absence of abuse, equal parenting, exactly the template we have been patiently awaiting in Canada, will be the default for splitting couples. Furthermore, mothers who refuse to permit access to the children may lose their passports, their driving licences or even their freedom of movement if they fail to comply.
- Source

Stories of abused men...

A collection of experiences from abused men via reddit. Obvious trigger warning:

Male Redditors who have been abused or assaulted (sexually or otherwise) Did you seek help/support and were you able to find it?, [2], [3]

Another link I had floating around is about men suspected to be pedophiles:

Parents/Adults of reddit, why is a guy an instant pedo on sight?, [2]

IAmA former Rape Crisis Advocate who provided support to Male victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. I worked at one of only two centers nationally who provides shelter to male victims. AMA!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some people almost get it...

This will be the day of tidbit informations. The relationship between feminism and male DV / rape victims has been problematic. In a piece about privilege, rape culture and nice guys:

The stereotypical images of rapists and batterers hurts victims. If a person’s rapist or batterer doesn’t fit the stereotype, why come forward at all? For this reason, feminists have worked for years to tell the truth. Rapists and batterers often present quite well in public, while committing violence in private.

This just describes the experiences of male victims so well, I had to include this. Now this was not an article about male victims / female perpetrators, but I really wish we as society and of course feminists would take female perpetrators more seriously.

Incoming hiatus.....or not?

I rarely talk about myself here, this however is one of the times it is appropriate. This blog, although it does not seem to be that way, is quite a bit of work. On average I have about 30-50 links I check on a daily basis, 200+ unpublished posts and the "Short Fact List" which means also digging through the 600+ posts there already are...enough to keep me busy. You might have noticed that I was not that active recently. Well, the reason, we are having a baby, soon. It is the last month of pregnancy, stress is building up and afterwards I am going to take a month off and take 2 additional "father-months" (3 days at work, 2 at home) after that.

Do I stop posting entirely? Well not sure, it all depends on how stressful the time will actually be. Maybe we are in a good routine soon, maybe things are not going that well. Fact is, blogging is currently not a priority here, so do not be surprised. Going to be back to normal in a few months (I hope).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A woman candidate is not the same thing as a woman’s candidate.

As seen on feministing. This also means that
A male candidate is not the same thing as a man’s candidate.
Just saying...


Stolen straight from reddit (and science daily):

When compared with men, women were 23 percent less likely to be ticketed, 55 percent less likely to be arrested and 76 percent less likely to be searched when stopped by police. Women were more likely to only receive a warning or have no outcome when stopped by police during a traffic stop.

Black and Hispanic drivers were significantly more likely to be searched, ticketed and arrested than white drivers when stopped by police. For example, black drivers were more than twice as likely to be searched or arrested when compared with white drivers. Hispanic drivers were almost three times as likely to be searched when compared with white drivers.

By combining data dealing with race and gender, Briggs found the differences between men and women do not hold up for all races. Out of all racial and ethnic categories of male and female drivers, white women were most likely to receive a perceived benefit in a traffic stop, such as receiving only a warning or no outcome at all. But the same is not true for black and Hispanic women, who were just as likely as white men to be ticketed, arrested or searched instead of receiving a warning or no outcome.

Black and Hispanic men were the most likely to be ticketed, arrested or searched during a traffic stop. Black men were 2.5 times as likely as white men to be arrested and twice as likely to be searched. Hispanic men were 1.5 times as likely as white men to receive a ticket and more than three times as likely to be searched.

"We can't make sense of racial differences without also considering sex and gender," Briggs said. "We have to look at sex and gender at the same time as race and ethnicity because they're connected in important ways. What I found in the case of traffic stops was that racial differences are deeply gendered as well. This connection should be a part of the larger racial profiling discussion."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ozy on Objectification

I always struggled a bit with the feminist definition of objectification. Ozy had some thoughts on that term that cleared that up a bit (nice take I think):

1) Sexual desire =/= objectification.
2) Erotic or sexualized imagery =/= objectification.
3) Objectification =/= necessarily bad.
4) Objectification = treating people like objects instead of people.

More on that topic here.