Friday, April 20, 2018
Perspective

Column: A study 'inane and phallocentric'

Men have long stood accused being the insidious architects behind "slut shaming": the enforcement of cultural standards of modesty for women. But a recent study suggests this is untrue. It concluded that women themselves are to blame. Gina Barreca asked to join me here, no doubt to apologize on behalf of all feminists for this egregious, decadeslong calumny against an entire gender.

Gina: Tell them how the study was conducted.

Gene: Pairs of college-age women were brought into a room and told they were participating in a discussion about female friendships. The real experiment occurred when another woman, extremely attractive, briefly entered the room, ostensibly to ask directions. Sometimes, this woman had her long blonde hair in a bun and was dressed in pants, a polo shirt and sensible shoes. At other times, her hair was down and she wore high leather boots, a miniskirt and a tight-fitting top that bared oodles of cleavage. Same request for directions. Researchers in the room graded how the test subjects reacted to the visitor. When demurely dressed, the woman elicited no comment at all. When provocatively dressed, she was snidely dissed, particularly after she left. The study's conclusion: Driven by Darwinian instinct to mate, women are ganging up on, and punishing, someone who is a competitive threat.

Gina: Now please disclose the official name of the scale the researchers used to measure the subjects' reactions.

Gene: "Bitchiness."

Gina: Exactly. This is a study begun with a bias against women, carried out with a bias against women, and interpreted with a bias against women. It is extrapolating wildly from the trivial. Describe the behavior that earned "bitchiness" points.

Gene: Sometimes derogatory comments, but mostly body language. Eye-rolling.

Gina: Eye-rolling! The shame of it all! Women are serial eye-rollers! Now look at the photo of the woman, dressed provocatively.

Gene: I am.

Gina: What can you conclude?

Gene: I'm still looking.

Gina: Noted. I'll save you time. What's happening here is that women, once again, are being punished for daring to be "unladylike," violating rules of society set by men. Women are not supposed to express robust negative opinions. We are permitted, perhaps, a single tsk. You know what happened in that room? Women are justifiably indicating disapproval, because the revealing outfit is situationally inappropriate. She is dressed like the Naughty Nurse in a cheap porn video. To imply this is somehow related to a matter of competition for men is inane and phallocentric. Gentlemen, it's not always about you. For example, you yourself have in the past wondered why women go to great lengths to avoid visible panty lines. Why does that seem counterintuitive to you?

Gene: Men love visible panty lines.

Gina: A reasonable point, if women dressed for men. We don't. We dress for other women. And we know that visible panty lines serve as a demarcation for where our butts are supposed to end, but don't. We hate VPL.

Gene: So you are contending that the snideness shown by the subjects in this experiment was unconnected to sexual competition?

Gina: I am. And you?

Gene: I think what happened was exactly what would happen if a group of men were out deer hunting, and a guy showed up with an AK-47.

Gina: (Rolls eyes.)

© 2013 Washington Post Writers Group

Comments
Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition will hope to find a path across Interstate 4 for wildlife

Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition will hope to find a path across Interstate 4 for wildlife

n two expeditions, three friends and trailblazing conservationists have already trekked more than 2,000 miles through wildlands crisscrossing the state to prove the viability of a Florida Wildlife Corridor, a network of the best remaining connected w...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/14/18
PolitiFact: A closer look at attorney-client privilege after raid of Donald Trump’s lawyer

PolitiFact: A closer look at attorney-client privilege after raid of Donald Trump’s lawyer

President Donald Trump lashed out after the FBI seized business records, emails and tax documents belonging to his personal attorney Michael Cohen.Law enforcement executed warrants on Cohen’s Manhattan office, home and hotel room as part of an invest...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Smith: Adam Putnam knows Florida, but that might not be enough today to become governor

Smith: Adam Putnam knows Florida, but that might not be enough today to become governor

Here is a little secret among reporters who regularly interact with Gov. Rick Scott:Reporters know it rarely matters if they happen to miss one of the governor’s periodic and brief question and answer sessions. He almost never says anything.How shou...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Crystals may have helped Vikings sail to Greenland

Crystals may have helped Vikings sail to Greenland

When the Vikings left the familiar fjords of Norway for icy, uncharted territories, they were at the mercy of weather. They had no magnetic compasses and no way to ward off stretches of heavy clouds or fog that made it difficult to navigate by sun. H...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Perspective: A simple two-step plan to solve Florida’s opioid crisis

Even as Florida’s opioid crisis devastates families around the state, there are real, viable solutions that could curb this epidemic, substantially reduce the cascading number of deaths and provide necessary and appropriate treatment for those addict...
Published: 04/02/18
Updated: 04/06/18
PolitiFact: Does the spending bill’s gun research line nullify the Dickey amendment?

PolitiFact: Does the spending bill’s gun research line nullify the Dickey amendment?

One of the hurdles in the gun policy debate is a lack of hard data. Tucked in the just-passed $1.3 trillion spending package is a single sentence that its authors say points the country in a new direction.The guts of the text come down to this: "The ...
Updated one month ago
Maxwell: The MLK paradox

Maxwell: The MLK paradox

Twenty-one Americans have won the Nobel Peace Prize. The first was President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, and the last was Barack Obama in 2009. All but one of the American laureates received the prize for efforts that had an international focus.Mart...
Updated one month ago
Perspective: How genetics is changing our understanding of ‘race’

Perspective: How genetics is changing our understanding of ‘race’

In 1942, the anthropologist Ashley Montagu published Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race, an influential book that argued that race is a social concept with no genetic basis. A classic example often cited is the inconsistent definition of ...
Published: 03/26/18
Updated: 04/06/18