Thursday, August 25, 2011

Female Gamers

Some demographic on female gamers:

Nielsen breaks down computer players by age and gender, revealing some interesting nuggets. Women in the 25 - 54 year old group made up the largest percentage of computer video game players. Men in the same age bracket came in second. Women age 55 and up came in third.

Mostly, all these groups played Windows Solitaire and other free titles included with the operating system. World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), is the most popular non-card game title, as measured by number of players. Nielsen figures about 1.2 million male players in the US along with 600,000 women played World of Warcraft in December, 2008.

While women showed the strongest numbers in "casual" game areas, young men still dominated in the more "hardcore" games like the latest Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 titles.
-from here

According to a Nielsen Company study last April, almost 50 percent of all PC gamers are female, with hit PC titles like The Sims played primarily by women.

In NPD's Gamer Augmentation 2009 report released today, the industry-tracking group revealed new figures that show 28 percent of all console video gamers are female in 2009, up from 23 percent last year. NPD attributed the five-point rise to the Nintendo Wii, which it believes has attracted a large number of new female gamers. It reports that Wii usage has increased by 19 percent from 2008 for all demographics.

At the 2007 Women in Games Conference, Electronic Arts VP Sharon Knight said that the Wii is attractive to female gamers because of the console's accessibility.

"The Wii levels the playing field," she said. "You don't embarrass yourself--you can grab it and right away start having fun. ... [Wii games] don't require the same investment to learn and to master how to pick up and play [as other consoles' games]."
-from here

It was also a common stereotype that men predominated in video game consumption but the numbers are now evening out as 2 out of 5 gamers are female.

Gamer is broad term so let us look at the breakdown of gender versus console preference. Females just love Nintendo’s Wii with 80% saying that it is their primary console, or console of choice. Just 11% play Microsoft’s Xbox360 and even fewer (9%) play Sony’s Playstation3. Males are more divided in terms of console preference. 41% still play the Wii primarily but fully 38% prefer Xbox and 21% like the Playstation3.
-from here

One of the common statistics often cited by video game industry trade groups is that the average age of a gamer nowadays is around 30 years old. What you might not know, however, is that among game players between the ages of 25 and 34, women far outnumber men, according to a new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (as reported in The New York Times).

The CEA study found that 65 percent of women in the 25-34 age bracket play video games, while only 35 percent of men in that group said that they play video games. Apparently, the key factor involved with these findings is the increasing popularity of casual games, especially among women.

Women were found to be slightly less likely than men in the 25-34 bracket to play traditional console games on systems like the PlayStation 2 or Xbox, while they gravitated more heavily towards simple types of games like Tetris or other puzzle games and card games like solitaire. These casual titles are typically found on web portals like Yahoo!, AOL Games, PopCap Games, EA's and elsewhere.

[...] Of the three hardware makers Nintendo is the only company that has gone out of its way to create unique titles for "non-gamers" and gamers outside of the typical core market — e.g. Nintendogs and Brain Age. With games like these and the simple, intuitive Revolution control scheme, it's clear that Nintendo is looking to leverage the casual market.

[NOTE: That was before the Wii was on the market and called Revolution. And the focus on casual games worked]
-from here

Study 1 found that young German women prefer rich social interactions in computer games, which most available products cannot offer, and also revealed the women's dislike of violent content and heavy gender-stereotyping in the presentation of characters.

[...] Overall, the findings contribute to an explanation of the substantial gender gap in computer game involvement. They also call for further theoretical discussion in entertainment research: Current explanations of why playing video games is fun (e.g., Klimmt, 2003; Vorderer & Bryant, 2006) need extensions to account for gender-specific models of pleasure. If competing, winning, and being a violent superhero do not appeal to women to the extent that they appeal to men, several mechanisms of enjoyment that have been proposed, such as pride in success and identification with attractive role models (e.g., Klimmt, 2003), should be reconsidered. Most importantly, the pleasures of social interaction with game characters, and with other players as well, require more attention in theories about (interactive) entertainment. The studies reported indicate that further gender-specific refinements are needed in entertainment theories and entertainment research in general.

In addition, differences related to frequency of game use among players should be added to the gender comparison. For example, research suggests that males who play games infrequently more closely resemble the stereotypical female game player in their preference for less violence in games (AAUW, 2000; Kafai, 1998).
-from here

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sentencing disparities in child-sex-assault cases point to double standard - The Denver Post

No surprise here:

A Denver Post analysis of sentencing data provided by the Colorado Judicial Branch shows that of the 2,128 men convicted of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust from 2006 through 2010, more than 50 percent were sent to prison.
Of the 79 women convicted of the same felony offense, 38 percent went to prison. A little more than 39 percent of female defendants in that same period — 31 — were put on intensive supervised probation. Less than 35 percent of men were given the same sentence.

[...]Several studies show that males molested by female caregivers run a huge risk of becoming sex offenders in adulthood. Also, 80 percent of male victims of female sexual abuse have been divorced, according to a study done by Stephanie Reidlinger, a law student at Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Va.
Her study says that women who molest boys are most likely victims of abuse themselves. Reidlinger also says that many cases of woman-on- boy crimes are not reported at all, due in part to the media.

Survey: Women get more value out of college than men do | Reuters

Some interesting findings:

Some 77 percent of respondents in a Pew Research Center survey said it was necessary for a woman to go to college to get ahead in life, while only 68 percent said the same for men. [...] Pew said women surpassed men in educational attainment in 1992, and the gap has continued to grow. In 2010, a record 36 percent of women ages 25-29 had earned a bachelor's degree while only 28 percent of their male counterparts had done the same, Pew said.

The same gender pattern was found across racial and ethnic groups, Pew said, with the widest gap within the black community. [...] Half of all women who have graduated from a four-year institution say it was money well spent, while just 37 percent of male graduates would agree. [...] Large majorities of both women and men said college was not affordable for most people, according to the survey. When it came to footing the bill, some 40 percent of women said their parents wrote the check to cover college expenses compared to 29 percent of men.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Actor and the Observed, Man and Woman

Kudos to Typhonblue on that one who linked to this article and started an interesting discussion:

A recent study by Marisa Bortolussi, Peter Dixon, and Paul Sopčák (2010) was about the effects of gender on reading fiction in Canada and Germany, but the results are best explained in terms of actor-observer differences.

The influence of gender on reading is a perennial question because it’s invariably found that more women than men read literary fiction. In the most recent large US survey by the National Endowment for the Arts (2009), which had 18,000 respondents, it was found that 58% of women had read a play, poetry, short-story or novel during the previous year, as compared 42% of men.

Bortolussi et al. selected four passages, each of about 1000 words, from contemporary novels, two with male protagonists, and two with female protagonists. For each passage with a male protagonist, they wrote a version of the same passage with a female protagonist, and for each passage with a female protagonist, they wrote a version with a male protagonist. They prepared versions in English (for the Canadian readers) and in German (for the German readers). Previous research has tended to find that males tended to prefer male protagonists and females to prefer female protagonists. With their clever manipulation of assigning people to the same stories but with different-sexed protagonists, Bortolussi and her colleagues found both male and female readers—in Canada and Germany—preferred male protagonists. That is to say: both males and female readers agreed more strongly with an item that stated, "I feel I can understand and appreciate the main character and situation of he story," and one that stated, "I would like to continue reading to find out what happens next in the story," when the protagonist was male as compared with being female.

The researchers explain this effect in terms of the actor-observer bias. In general, say Bortolussi and her colleagues, men in Western societies tend to be seen as acting in response to circumstances ("he did what he had to") whereas women tend more often to be seen in terms of their personality ("she behaved emotionally"). Thus, for both men and women, our social stereotypes make it easier in stories to understand and to identify with a male protagonist, the kind of character who acts in response to the situation he is in, than with a female protagonist, the kind of character who acts because of her personality.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Men seek beauty, women want wealth - Telegraph

Men seek beauty, women want wealth - Telegraph:

The new research confirms that, while humans may pride themselves on being highly evolved, men really do go for an attractive mate - though will make do with someone who falls somewhat short of this ideal - while women - apparently understanding this - adjust their desire for a "high-quality" mate according to how attractive they perceive themselves to be. In other words, beautiful women want rich men.

That is the conclusion of research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Peter Todd, of Indiana University, Lars Penke, of Humboldt University, Berlin, Barbara Fasolo, of the London School of Economics, and Alison Lenton, of the University of Edinburgh.

Mr Todd said the problem with earlier work that suggested that likes attract was that the scientists had simply asked people about preferences while today's work showed what they actually did in a real world setting - a commercial speed dating operation with 46 people in Munich.

[...] "We found that what men and women say they want is not the same as what they actually choose and that the actual choices made by men and women accord with a rough evolutionary-predicted trade-off, in this case between men's overall mate value [combining their wealth and status, family commitment and health] and women's self-perceived attractiveness," said Mr Todd.
Women dominate this trade-off, he said, because "men are much less discriminating".

Although people may claim otherwise, beauty is the key for men, since it signifies "good genes", while women, the choosier of the sexes, leverage their looks for security, fitness and commitment.

"Ancestral individuals who made their mate choices in this way - women trading off their attractiveness for higher quality men and men looking for any attractive women who would accept them - would have had an evolutionary advantage in greater numbers of successful offspring."

Smell and social behaviour

Two interesting studies:

Gender differences and similarity in personality and social behaviour Ros Barnett (2004)

Over a wide range of personality and social variables, there is much evidence of gender similarities. For the Big Five personality dimensions, there is no gender difference in openness to experience (d=.03) and small differences in conscientiousness (-.13), extraversion or gregariousness (-.14), and neuroticism (-.25); there is, however, a large difference in one aspect of agreeableness, termed tendermindedness or nurturance (-.97). The gender difference in self-esteem is small (.21). Likewise, there are many gender similarities in the realm of social behavior. The direction of the gender difference in helping behavior depends largely on the situation. In small groups, men and women are similar in their instrumental and expressive behaviors. The gender difference in democratic vs. autocratic leadership style is small (-.22 for democratic style). The research evidence does not support popular media claims about enormous gender differences in language use. The gender difference in self-disclosure is small (-.18). There are several exceptions to this pattern of gender similarities. Gender differences are moderately large for aggression (.50), smiling (-.63), and sensitivity to nonverbal cues (-.52).


Scent of a Woman: Men’s Testosterone Responses to Olfactory Ovulation Cues

Women around the world spend billions of dollars each year on exotic smelling perfumes and lotions in the hopes of attracting a mate. However, according to a new study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, going "au natural" may be the best way to capture a potential mate's attention.

Smells are known to be critical to animal mating habits: Animal studies have shown that male testosterone levels are influenced by odor signals emitted by females, particularly when they are ovulating (that is, when they are the most fertile). Psychological scientists Saul L. Miller and Jon K. Maner from Florida State University wanted to see if a similar response occurs in humans. In two studies, women wore tee shirts for 3 nights during various phases of their menstrual cycles. Male volunteers smelled one of the tee shirts that had been worn by a female participant. In addition, some of the male volunteers smelled control tee shirts that had not been worn by anyone. Saliva samples for testosterone analysis were collected before and after the men smelled the shirts.

Results revealed that men who smelled tee shirts of ovulating women subsequently had higher levels of testosterone than men who smelled tee shirts worn by non-ovulating women or men who smelled the control shirts. In addition, after smelling the shirts, the men rated the odors on pleasantness and rated the shirts worn by ovulating women as the most pleasant smelling.

The authors note that "the present research is the first to provide direct evidence that olfactory cues to female ovulation influence biological responses in men." In other words, this study suggests that testosterone levels may be responsive to smells indicating when a woman is fertile. The authors conclude that this biological response may promote mating-related behavior by males.

College Rape Accusations and the Presumption of Male Guilt

The important part:

OCR requires universities to render judgment using "a preponderance of the evidence" standard. This means that in a rape case, a campus disciplinary board of faculty, administrators and perhaps students serves as both judge and jury. Few if any of these judges are likely to have professional competence in fact-gathering, evidence analysis or judicial procedure. Yet to deliver a verdict of guilty, they need only believe that the accused is more likely than not to have committed the crime.

This is the lowest standard. It is much less demanding than "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is used in the criminal justice system, and the intermediate standard of "clear and convincing proof." Yale, Stanford and many other universities have rushed to comply with OCR's directives.

On campus, where casual sex is celebrated and is frequently fueled by alcohol, the ambiguity that often attends sexual encounters is heightened and the risk of error in rape cases is increased. The consequences for a wrongly convicted student are devastating: Not only is he likely to be expelled, but he may well be barred from graduate or professional school and certain government agencies, suffer irreparable damage to his reputation, and still be exposed to criminal prosecution.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some NOMAS citations

As recently seen on reddit, some citations from their site:

NOMAS joined an amicus curiae brief prepared by the California Women’s Law Center, Queens’ Bench Bar Association of the San Francisco Bay Area, California Alliance Against Domestic Violence and several other California organizations in support of the shelters that addresses why it is important for women’s physical and psychological well-being that they have available domestic violence shelters that do not permit adult men.
-from here

There is a disturbing national trend toward laws mandating joint custody [...] Furthermore, court mandated joint custody is not in the best interests of mothers.
-from here

How can a dad – unemployed or working outside the home – be a good father? Not by fighting for custody or demanding “shared parenting” after divorce or breakup. The best way a dad can be a good father is by providing support to the mother of his children, including both financial and emotional support. [...] If dad wants to make sure his children thrive he must do whatever he can to ensure that their mother is thriving. Stop fighting for “shared parenting” or sole custody if you are in court. [...] So dads, the message is clear. If you want your children to grow up to be happy and healthy adults, the best thing you can do for them is to make sure that their mother is comfortable, healthy, and happy.
-from here

After years of exploring a wide range of batterer program models, the National Council of NOMAS has given its full support to the New York Model for Batterer Programs ( This model was determined to be most in keeping with NOMAS principles and beliefs about sexism, domestic violence and batterer programs.

[From the nymbp site which can also be linked to several NOMAS / Pro-feminists]

Women can be mean, abusive and violent toward their intimate partners. The perspective we share on this issue, however, is systemic and not individual. History and culture point to the pervasiveness of men’s entitlements, across the globe, to control women’s lives. This is the backdrop in which domestic violence became a social norm. This is fully borne out by statistics, no matter what reporting flaws are conceded. Another point is that typically, male domestic violence offenders control, dominate and terrorize their partners. Also typically, women who abuse are defending, fighting back, retaliating and rarely causing fear or disturbing the flow of their partner’s lives. It is noteworthy that the systemic supports of men’s domestic abuse are exposed by the harsh differential in punishment women get when tried for similar crimes.
-from here and here

Talk about disconnect from reality... Also recently from Reddit (hattip to Kill_the_rich), apparently Barry Goldstein who is co-chair of the NOMAS Task Group on Child Custody lost his law degree for lying on a child custody case. Oh my.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Male victims of 'intimate terrorism' can experience damaging psychological effects

I wasn't even sure if I should blog this one as it seems to be common sense. Anyhow....some science:

[R]esearchers looked at two independent sample groups totaling 822 men between the ages of 18 and 59. The first sample was composed of 302 men who had sought professional help after being violently abused by their female partners. The authors called this "intimate terrorism," characterized by much violence and controlling behavior.

The second sample was composed of 520 men randomly recruited to participate in a national phone survey in which they were asked questions about their relationship. Of this general community, 16 percent said they had sustained minor acts of violent and psychological abuse during arguments with their female partners. This type of abuse was referred to in the research as "common couple violence," in which both partners lashed out physically at each other.

The researchers found that in both groups of men, there were associations between abuse and post-traumatic stress symptoms. However, the "intimate terror victims" who had sought professional help were at a much greater risk of developing PTSD than the men from the general community group who said they had engaged in more minor acts of violence with their partners, according to the researchers.

"This is the first study to show that PTSD is a major concern among men who sustain partner violence and seek help," said Hines.

Research has shown severe underreporting of spousal or partner abuse of men, according to Randle. For example, men are not as likely to report serious injuries due to abuse, and psychological or less violent abuse is more likely to go unreported to authorities. In addition, police are less likely to arrest female suspects accused of violence than male suspects, according to another study cited by Randle.

The lack of reliable data has led to some confusion in the literature on domestic violence effects on men, the researchers said. They suggest more rigorous research focusing specifically on male victims.

And there is nothing more to say...

New Paternity Test Can Tell at 12 Weeks

Interesting...yet so expensive:

Manufactured by DDC, a privately held company that offers various genetic tests, the clunkily named Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test analyzes what's known as circulating cell-free fetal DNA in the mother's blood to suss out daddy's identity.

[...]The new test, which costs $1,625, is able to separate fetal DNA from that of the mother and father — and any lingering genetic material from previous babies the mother carried, which can stick around up to 20 years.

[...]The results, says Michael Baird, chief scientific officer for DDC, are 99.9% accurate, according to internal testing and a biostatistican unaffiliated with the company.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Men and breast cancer

An obvious double standard:

So, a patient advocate from the Charleston Cancer Center tried to help. She found a state program, federally funded, that provides medicaid for breast cancer patients and applied. But Raymond was denied.

Why? Because he's a man.

[...] Breast cancer in men may be rare, but it does happen. Statistics show one in 100 men will get it, roughly 2,100 cases a year.

Monday, August 15, 2011

On the Origins of Gender Roles

Interesting stuff:

The plough was heavier than the tools formerly used by farmers. By demanding significantly more upper-body strength than hoes did, it gave men an advantage over women. According to Mr Braudel, women in ancient Mesopotamia had previously been in charge of the fields and gardens where cereals were grown. With the advent of the plough, however, farming became the work of men. A new paper* by Alberto Alesina and Nathan Nunn of Harvard University and Paola Giuliano of the University of California, Los Angeles, finds striking evidence that ancient agricultural techniques have very long-lasting effects.

Long after most people have stopped tilling the land for a living, the economists find, their views about the economic role of women seem to line up with whether their ancestors ploughed or whether they hoed. Women descended from plough-users are less likely to work outside the home, to be elected to parliament or to run businesses than their counterparts in countries at similar levels of development who happen to be descended from hoe-users. The research reinforces the ideas of Ester Boserup, an economist who argued in the 1970s that cultural norms about the economic roles of the sexes can be traced back to traditional farming practices.

[...] Despite a host of changes over the subsequent centuries—such as industrialisation and higher overall rates of female participation in the workforce—the economists find that variations between countries in the fraction of adult women who work outside the home can be explained rather well by the farming practices of their ancestors. This variation is huge. Only about a quarter of women in the Arab world work outside their homes, but 91% of women in Burundi do. In most industrialised countries the fraction ranges between half and three-fifths. But in countries like Rwanda, Botswana, Madagascar or Kenya, whose people are predominantly descended from hoe-users, women are far more likely to be in the labour force than those in historically plough-using places like India, Syria or Egypt.

[...]The economists were able to use measures of agro-climatic conditions to predict which parts of the world would adopt the plough. The data show that ethnic groups whose ancestors would have been expected to pick ploughs based on climatic conditions have sharply differentiated economic roles for the sexes even today. So it seems reasonable to argue that its use drove attitudes rather than the other way around.

Using data from the World Values Survey, they show that descendants of plough-users are significantly more likely to agree with a statement that men should have first dibs on jobs when unemployment is high. They also tend to agree that men make better political leaders. Such beliefs survive immigration: the authors find that the daughters of immigrants to America are less likely to work if their parents came from a traditionally plough-based society.

These attitudes are not fixed for ever. Many Western countries (which were predominantly, but not exclusively, inhabited by plough-users) became radically more receptive to mothers working full-time thanks to the second world war, which forced many women to take on hitherto “male” jobs. Yet even now, the share of adult women who work outside the home in OECD countries is about 16 percentage points lower than the corresponding share for men. Policies that make it easier for women to balance their family lives with the demands of the workplace are up against attitudes that have their roots deep in ancient history.
-from here

We find that, consistent with existing hypotheses, the descendants of societies that traditionally practiced plough agriculture, today have lower rates of female participation in the workplace, in politics, and in entrepreneurial activities, as well as a greater prevalence of attitudes favoring gender inequality.
-from here

Reasons on not reporting

Take a look at this (found via frs I guess):

Comments from Scott Berkowitz, President & Founder of the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network

More victims may not be reporting their rapes, but the reasoning has changed over the past few decades. "A generation ago," the reasons were things like, "fear of not being believed; fear of being interrogated about and blamed for their own behavior, and what they were wearing. In short, they feared that they would be the one on trial."

Today, "the perception of many victims has evolved." Now they don't report for these reasons: "they don't want their loved ones to know what happened; they're ashamed themselves; they just want to put it all behind them." Today, "fear and shame of how the police wil treat them" has moved down on the list of reasons victims provide for not officially reporting the crime.

Those are good news....I fear though the reasons for male victims to not report are quite different.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Men and women in the same shelter?

Found via from NCFM-LA:

From 1990 to 1998, Patricia directed the Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council in Lancaster, California, also known as the "Valley Oasis" shelter. After realizing male victims had no place to go, she courageously changed her women-only policy by setting aside one of her shelters for male victims and their children, and in rare cases of overflow she would obtain consent from residents in another one of her shelters to mix the sexes, which, she says, never created a problem. Nonetheless, Patricia was mistreated by other shelter directors who insisted services should only be for women. The mistreatment became so severe that she filed a complaint with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, as she explains in her sworn declaration at Patricia later joined NCFM's Advisory Board and the Speaker's Bureau of Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE) and remained closely in touch with battered men's advocates until the date of her death.

In 2004 Patricia encouraged NCFM to file a lawsuit to end the discrimination against male victims and their children. NCFM filed the lawsuit in 2005 and in 2008 won a landmark appellate victory that held it is unconstitutional for the State of California to exclude male victims from the state laws that fund domestic violence services. The case is David Woods v. Horton (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 658 and can be read at
Certainly a pioneer. An approach that could work elsewhere? Has somebody even tried?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

About quotas

Not ever sure anymore where I found this. Some citations:

A new study by Dittmar and Ross School colleague Kenneth Ahern, assistant professor of finance, analyzes the impact of a 2003 Norwegian law requiring all public-limited firms to have at least 40 percent representation of women on their boards of directors by 2005. At the time, only 9 percent of board seats in Norway were held by women. After voluntary compliance failed, the law became effective Jan. 1, 2006, with a two-year transition period. Firms that did not comply by January 2008 would be forced to dissolve.

Using a panel of 130 publicly listed Norwegian firms from 2001 to 2007, the researchers found a negative impact of the mandated board changes on firm value—a result that may be applicable to the United States and Britain since Norway's system of governance is similar.

[...]Dittmar and Ahern found that the stock price of an average firm dropped 2.6 percent in the three days following the first announcement of the new law and 5 percent for firms that had no women on their boards at the time of the February 2002 announcement.

The researchers also used a common market-based measure of corporate governance to determine firm value: Tobin's Q, a ratio of a company's market capitalization to the replacement cost of its assets (the sum of total assets and market equity less common equity divided by total assets).

They found that when a firm experienced at least a 10-percent increase in the proportion of women on its board, Tobin's Q dropped 18 percent.

"The negative effect of the regime shift supports the hypothesis that board structure affects value," Ahern says. "Firms that were required to make the most drastic change to their boards also suffered the largest negative returns. Our results indicate that boards do matter and that constraining the selection of board members has a large negative impact on value."

Dittmar and Ahern are quick to point out, however, that a loss in firm value was not caused by the gender of the new board members, but rather by their young age and lack of high-level work experience. In fact, gender effect is not significant once you account for these other experience-related differences, they say.

"The constraint imposed by the 40-percent women quota led firms to recruit women board members that were younger and had different career experiences than the existing directors," Dittmar says. "It is reasonable to suggest that these changes led to decreases in firm value because new directors did not have the same monitoring or advising capabilities of the other directors before the imposed change.

"When firms were free to choose directors before the rule, they tended to choose women that were similar to men directors. This is consistent with the idea that the large demand and small supply for women directors after the adoption of the 40-percent quota forced firms to choose directors that they would not have chosen otherwise."
-from here, study here

Another one:

Unfortunately, there is no consensus on the critical question of whether board diversity improves firm performance. Whereas some studies find evidence consistent with the theory that board diversity positively affects firm performance, others find no support or even contradictory evidence.

[...]More successful firms could have greater resources to dedicate to the pursuit of board diversity. Or more successful firms could be under greater public scrutiny and pressure to diversify their boards. Or female and minority directors could be scarce commodities who can choose to serve only on the boards of more successful firms.

Study cited in there:

Over the last generation, the concept of diversity has become commonplace and taken-for-granted in discourses ranging from law to education to business. In higher education, for example, it is hard to imagine a faculty job search or a student admissions discussion that was not heavily laden with talk of diversity, in the sense of the representative inclusion of women and racial and ethnic minorities in a group or organization. In this paper we present the results of an interview-based study of the discourse of diversity in a particular business setting: the corporate boardroom. Our principal observation is that - thirty-one years after the Supreme Court's Bakke decision introduced the term into public discourse - corporate insiders appear not to have arrived at a master narrative to explain the pursuit of diversity on boards of directors. Instead, their accounts stress a variety of factors and feature few concrete examples.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On othering of male victims

As seen here, comment by Tamen:

Framing rape as a pre-dominately male-on-female thing to the point that all other forms of rape is an statistical abberation very much stops men from recognizing what happened to them as rape – not necessarily pathologizing them as victims, but to give them understanding and tools to process what happened in a healthy way. [...] In addition I believe that only talking about male-on-female rape and only barely and grudgingly acknowledge female-on-male rape as an statistical aberration place women at higher risk of being a perpetrator – increasingly so now when they’re rightfully getting more and more sexually assertive.

Applies to DV as well as lesbian rape, too.

Female rapists in war time

A shorty from here:

One consequence of the neglect of male victims not mentioned in this article is that it perpetuates a false dichotomy that if women are the victims men must be the perpetrators. While I have no problem believing this is true in probabilistic terms, it is hard to know how strong that probability is given that analysts rarely consider the prevalence of female-perpetrated sexual violence in conflict zones.

One researcher who has - Dara Cohen – has found a significant number of female perpetrators – nearly a third – in her study of Sierra Leone (see the working paper linked to this site). And a study on the Congo published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found survey respondents reported women perpetrating rape in 41% of cases where the victim was female, and 10% of the cases where the victim was male.

Data from one of the survey cited:

Association of Sexual Violence and Human Rights Violations With Physical and Mental Health in Territories of the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kirsten Johnson, MD, MPH; Jennifer Scott, MD; Bigy Rughita, MSc; Michael Kisielewski, MA; Jana Asher, MSc; Ricardo Ong, MD; Lynn Lawry, MD, MSPH, MSc

Of the 1005 households surveyed 998 households participated, yielding a response rate of 98.9%. Rates of reported sexual violence were 39.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 32.2%-47.2%; n = 224/586) among women and 23.6% (95% CI, 17.3%-29.9%; n = 107/399) among men. Women reported to have perpetrated conflict-related sexual violence in 41.1% (95% CI, 25.6%-56.6%; n = 54/148) of female cases and 10.0% (95% CI, 1.5%-18.4%; n = 8/66) of male cases. Sixty-seven percent (95% CI, 59.0%-74.5%; n = 615/998) of households reported incidents of conflict-related human rights abuses. Forty-one percent (95% CI, 35.3%-45.8%; n = 374/991) of the represented adult population met symptom criteria for MDD and 50.1% (95% CI, 43.8%-56.3%; n = 470/989) for PTSD.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The ugliness penalty - worse for men

Hattip to reddit. Looks affect your earning potential. I have certainly heard that one before, apparently it affects men even more so. Consider me surprised. An article about Daniel S. Hamermesh book Beauty Pays:

[Beauty Pays] attempts to explain why attractive people make more money than unattractive people. A lot more money, in fact: $230,000 over the course of a lifetime, which holds true even in professions where looks wouldn’t seem to matter. Hamermesh found that fetching professors, for example, earn 6 percent more than their average-looking peers, while unattractive quarterbacks earn 12 percent less than their hunkier counterparts. Men, in fact, suffer the greater repulsiveness penalty in general: Unattractive women earn 3 percent less than average-looking women, while unattractive men’s take-home is reduced a whopping 22 percent.

But wait—how can something as subjective as beauty hold any value in an economic context? Therein lies the cold truth at the heart of these findings: A common standard of beauty does exist. Based on an attractiveness scale of one to five, most people surveyed will come to near agreement on a test subject’s looks, a finding that holds true across all cultures. And while extreme beauty and extreme ugliness are rare, 10 to 15 percent or so of the population falls into the “below-average attractiveness” category, where they will endure their pronounced asymmetries as long as they live. Beauty is not only scarce, it turns out, but unobtainable to those born without it: Studies show that homeliness is approximately as easy to change as race, which is to say, it’s not.

Interesting. Also an older study by Hamermesh google dug out.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Prenatal testosterone and gender-related behaviour

Thanks to "Alles Evolution" again, another study:

Testosterone plays an important role in mammalian brain development. In neural regions with appropriate receptors testosterone, or its metabolites, influences patterns of cell death and survival, neural connectivity and neurochemical characterization. Consequently, testosterone exposure during critical periods of early development produces permanent behavioural changes. In humans, affected behaviours include childhood play behaviour, sexual orientation, core gender identity and other characteristics that show sex differences (i.e. differ on average between males and females). These influences have been demonstrated primarily in individuals who experienced marked prenatal hormone abnormalities and associated ambiguities of genital development (e.g. congenital adrenal hyperplasia). However, there is also evidence that testosterone works within the normal range to make some individuals within each sex more sex-typical than others. The size of testosterone-related influences, and perhaps even their existence, varies from one sex-typed characteristic to another. For instance: prenatal exposure to high levels of testosterone has a substantial influence on sex-typical play behaviour, including sex-typed toy preferences, whereas influences on core gender identify and sexual orientation are less dramatic. In addition: there appears to be little or no influence of prenatal testosterone on mental rotations ability, although mental rotations ability shows a marked sex difference. These findings have implications for basic understanding of the role of testosterone in normative gender development, as well as for the clinical management of individuals with disorders of sex development (formerly called intersex syndromes).

He says he said no to sex, now says no to child support - St. Petersburg Times

Another one from reddit:

Around the country there are plenty of cases of underage boys who got a woman pregnant and then tried to avoid paying child support. The 15-year-old in California who was seduced by the 34-year-old mom next door. The 13-year-old boy in Kansas who had sex with his 17-year-old baby­sitter. The 15-year-old boy in Florida who impregnated a 20-year-old.

Under a strict interpretation of the law, these boys, by virtue of their age, were raped. But family courts have seen these incidents for what they were: consensual sexual encounters. And as a result, they have ordered the boys to pay child support.

Victim blaming in an extreme form. Playing reverse the genders here (as one poster on reddit did):

The 15-year-old girl in California who was seduced by the 34-year-old Dad next door.

Seduced? Really?

There are statutes addressing child support if a man rapes a woman, said O'Connor, Kris' lawyer. But not if a woman rapes a man.

No surprise here...about the case in question (having to pay child support when you were raped):

"The crux of the tension here," said Ruth Jones, a professor of law at McGeorge Law School in Sacramento, Calif., "is if . . . he is a victim of forcible rape, is that sufficient to alleviate him from the responsibility of child support?"

There is a case that deals with this. It's not exactly like Kris' case, but similar. It involves a 34-year-old man from Alabama who passed out at a party. A woman had sex with him while he was unconscious and she got pregnant. The court ordered him to pay child support.

[...] He says he knows it sounds harsh, but he doesn't want anything to do with Joshua. Ever.

"He was the result of something traumatic in my life, and I don't think I could bring myself to be a parent," Kris said. "It's not fair to him. It's not his fault."
Another case:
A US couple and their son are fighting for custody of a baby born to a woman charged with sexually abusing their son, who was 15 at the time of conception. A paternity test shows that the teen is the father of the baby born April 7 to Jane C. Crane, who was 19 when she became pregnant. Now, a judge has ordered him to pay $50 a month in child support and set visitation at seven hours a week. Crane, meanwhile, faces criminal charges. A Fairfield County grand jury indicted her last month on two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony. Conviction carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a requirement to register as a sex offender for 25 years. Crane is living with the baby and her family in Lancaster.

Eating disorders in men

As usual, there is a quite large stack of links to go through after the here we start. Hattip to reddit for that one:

For years, eating disorders have been viewed as a “white woman’s disease.” And estimates of male eating disorders told a similar story: while the majority of women suffered from eating disorders, only about 10 percent of men did.

Recent research, however, paints a different, bigger picture: more men are suffering from eating disorders than previously thought. Out of 3,000 people with anorexia and bulimia, 25 percent were men (and 40 percent had binge eating disorder), according to a Harvard study.

[...] The diagnostic criteria for anorexia, for instance, focus on women, which is evident in its hallmark symptoms of amenorrhea (the absence of menstruation) and fear of fatness. Though some men do exhibit a fear of fat, others typically want to be muscular (particularly their chest and arms), obsess over attaining a low body fat percentage and focus their efforts on excelling at a sport (which prompts some to abuse steroids and exercise excessively).

Instead of engaging in traditional compensatory behaviors like vomiting or abusing laxatives, men instead are more likely to exercise compulsively (as cited in Weltzin, Weisensel, Franczyk, Burnett, Klitz & Bean, 2005).

[...] men are also feeling the pressure for physical perfection, surrounded by unattainable images of muscular physiques, six-pack abs, bulging biceps and lean bodies.

But, in contrast to women, where the images are one size fits all (thin is always in), men have a variety of images to emulate, psychiatrist Arnold Andersen, M.D., told The Wall Street Journal:

“Some want to be wiry like Mick Jagger; some want to be lean like David Beckham, and some want to be really buff and bulked, like Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

[...] Men might diet for different reasons than women, including (as cited in Greenberg & Schoen, 2008):

- to prevent weight gain (many eating disordered men were overweight as kids).
- excel in sports. (jockeys, wrestlers, distance runners, gymnasts)
- avoid health complications.
- improve appearance after childhood teasing.
- for their jobs (military)

Not surprisingly, these differences make it harder for professionals to diagnose eating disorders in men. And, oftentimes men are unaware that they’re suffering from an eating disorder in the first place.

[..] Eating disorders are more prevalent in gay and bisexual men than in heterosexual men (Feldman & Meyer, 2007), though one expert attributes the higher prevalence to a greater likelihood to seek treatment.

And as usual:

Since eating disorders are known as a woman’s disease, men might be embarrassed to seek treatment, worried that they’d be seen as less of a man. Because male eating disorders have only recently received attention, many treatment centers don’t have separate services that treat men.

Reminds me so much of the DV situation....really.