Interesting study that looks at the relationship between fictional characters and capacity of self-growth.
In other words, it’s totally fine to
worship admire fictional characters. They are even better than real-life acquaintances!
A general outline of Joan Lindsay’s classic Australian horror story, ’Picnic at Hanging Rock’…done in ironic comic sans and sitting in the dark abyss of my computer’s fandom folder for about 5 weeks.
I’m sorry in advance, but it had to be posted. It also kind of explains my somewhat ambiguous url.
EDIT: My url is no longer “thegayestpicnic” but if you wondering why it WAS the “thegayestpicnic”, this powerpoint will tell you.
This guide is 100% fact. Everyone is gay for Miranda and then she goes up that big rock and never comes back. Is it a metaphor? Probably!
Guide to Joan Crawford
In Johnny Guitar, Joan Crawford plays a woman in a man’s world, which all of the other characters bring up, oh, every three seconds. She’s in love with Johnny Guitar, but practically every conversation anyone has about her in this movie references how “unnatural” she is. Mercedes McCambridge…
No truer words were spoken!
R.I.P. to the legendary Lauren Bacall.
The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has dealt a devastating blow to the notion that men and women are fundamentally different when it comes to how they think and act.
“Although gender differences on average are not under dispute, the idea of consistently and inflexibly gender-typed individuals is,” Bobbi J. Carothers of Washington University in St. Louis and Harry T. Reis of the University of Rochester explained in their study. “That is, there are not two distinct genders, but instead there are linear gradations of variables associated with sex, such as masculinity or intimacy, all of which are continuous.”
Analyzing 122 different characteristics from 13,301 individuals in 13 studies, the researchers concluded that differences between men and women were best seen as dimensional rather than categorical. In other words, the differences between men and women should be viewed as a matter of degree rather than a sign of consistent differences between two distinct groups.
You mean human beings, like everything else, living and mineral, in nature exist on a series of both parallel and intersecting spectrums, and there is no such thing as a definitive binary or black/white divide?
MRAs, RadFems, and EvoPsych people everyone will be horrified to find this out.
The study in question, which can be found here, is not particularly new. This post must have been going around for some time. It’s also an excellent example of how terrible “science” journalism really can be, especially when it comes to contentious topics like this.
If you check out the study, the only real thing at issue is how much overlap exists (or how stark is the divide between) certain sex-typed attributes across the sexes/genders. That’s really it. As the researchers themselves admit, there are still average differences (rather strong average differences) between the sexes, so the only question this research actually answers is how much less predictive power sex has on higher-order psychological phenomena than it does on more primary biological phenomena. The answer amounts to “moderately less.” This is not a surprising result to anyone familiar with most psychological phenomena.
Basically, whenever you deal with living organisms, you cannot deal in the kinds of absolute categories you are likely to find in physics. The question remains, however, as to how reliably certain phenomena tend to cluster together. With sex, the clustering effect of anatomy, hormones, and chromosomes is extremely tight, and the errors (transsexualism, intersex, and intersex-like conditions) in which the cluster is not so tight that knowing one attribute allows you to predict with high reliability the presence of other, related attributes - which describes the basic difference between “taxonic” and “dimensional” as used by these researchers - are exceedingly uncommon. The researchers here were basically just asking whether knowing, say, someone’s (sex-typed) attitudes toward sex allows you to predict with a high degree of reliability their (also sex-typed) intimacy- or empathy-related behaviors/feelings.
In other words, talk of “fundamental” differences or “qualitative” differences or dimensions being “linear” is woefully misleading. As the researchers admit:
Of course, the term sex differences is still completely reasonable. In a dimensional model, differences between men and women reflect all the causal variables known to be associated with sex, including both nature and nurture. But at least with regard to the kinds of variables studied in this research, grouping into “male” and “female” categories indicates overlapping continuous distributions rather than natural kinds.
In other words, sex is still a great predictor for any of the variables analyzed in this research. It’s just that any given variable does not work as an excellent predictor for all other variables. The bulk of each sex is still mostly going to fall where one would expect it to fall on any given measure.
That aside, a close reading of the study also turns up interesting little notes on which “EvoPsych people” (to cite the moron’s commentary in his gross and inappropriate appeal to vagueness) would be most likely to have qualms, given the research in that field, such as mate selection and sexual attitudes.
For instance, on an aggregation of somewhat disparate measures of attitudes toward sex, masturbation, and the link between sex and intimacy, we get this:
The Bayesian distribution appeared slightly U-shaped and sorted men and women with some degree of accuracy, but this was the only evidence that pointed toward taxonicity. Base rate estimates tended to underestimate the sample sex ratio. Thus the latent structure of sexual attitudes and behavior appeared to be dimensional.
Not a very strong conclusion to be sure.
And on mate selectivity, we have the following:
Bayesian probabilities showed a large proportion of the sample with a high probability of taxon membership made up mostly of women, but an even distribution of the sample throughout the rest of the probabilities. Base rate estimates were inconsistent with each other and the sample sex ratio. Thus the general pattern for Mate Selectivity appeared dimensional, with a cautionary note that the data might not have been appropriate for analyses, given the similarity of their taxonic and dimensional simulations.
In other words, the data were ambiguous. So what did they do? Ran another trial to get results more congenial to their hypothesis. This is not strictly speaking an example of intellectual dishonesty. Having worked in a few psychology labs, I am aware of the difficulties which can be encountered in attempting to properly conduct an experiment and get clear data. And if, as the authors say, the the data were possibly inappropriate for analysis, then it might easily have been necessary to run subsequent trials in an attempt to detect a rather fine distinction between the two possibilities (but the fact that a fine distinction is needed says a lot all on its own). Then again, by being charitable, I also have to discount things like the authors’ own stated purpose:
We sought to establish that gender differences are better represented as dimensional than as taxonic constructs in a more definitive way than prior research has done.
Finally, when we get to the discussion of this section, we get this:
Constructs dealing with sexual behaviors and mating appeared generally dimensional with all three taxometric methods, although the Bayesian membership probabilities tended to sort men and women into separate groups with fair accuracy in the expected directions—the high end of sociosexuality and low end of mate selectivity were more likely to contain men, and the opposite ends more likely to contain women. Recall that a taxonic-looking Bayesian distribution does not necessarily indicate taxonicity, though the accurate sex sorting is difficult to ignore.
The meaning of dimensional sexuality is interesting when interpreted along the lines of mating behavior as explained by evolutionary psychology. Given the qualitatively different reproductive structures and functions of men and women as identified by evolutionary psychologists, qualitatively different mating strategies would seem reasonable. Inded, the effect sizes for sex on these variables were the largest of all the variables examined in this study (with the exception of the validation variables). However, the dimensional findings suggest that those large mean differences were not consistent within each person; that is, scoring in a masculine way on one variable did not guarantee doing so on the others. Indeed, qualitative differences may apply only in minimal parental investment situations, in which the consequences of a poor mate choice are far more costly for females than for males, resulting in females being more selective than males, and where competition among males for access to females is more intense (Trivers, 1972). Of course in humans, both parents typically devote long periods to raising their offspring; thus the standards that men and women have in choosing long-term mates tend to be equally high on many characteristics (Kenrick et al., 1990). The SOI does lend itself to a great deal of skew, particularly in college populations, with most people at low to moderate levels, and a few with very high levels. Additionally, the Run 1 of the SOI should be interpreted with caution, as this was a sample of couples who in restricting their sexual activities to their current partner underrepresent those who are particularly high in sociosexuality and would not limit themselves to one person for long enough to be considered part of a couple. The addition of the Midwestern Sample did lend more credence to the possibility of a small-n taxon of men who are very willing to have sex without any commitment. Although taxometric analyses generally require large samples, the detection of small-n taxa is particularly demanding in this regard. Further study with these constructs using much larger samples would shed further light on their latent structures.
In other words, evolutionary psychology is hardly in danger of being violently overthrown. And the final sentence of that excerpt might well stand as the overall assessment of this whole paper, but then people always get more excited about the broad, sweeping statements made in the discussion section at the end of such articles, wherein, if the results are at all favorable to the researchers’ hypothesis, the authors often tend to state the case in the strongest permissible terms.
However, anyone looking for evidence that there are no gender differences or that many attributes are not sex-typed or that there are just as many “feminine” men as “masculine” ones or any other such social justice nonsense would do well to look elsewhere. This study lends no support whatsoever to that kind of folderol.
Another great case of making ridiculous claims based on headlines. Even the little snippet they posted holds a pretty damning piece of evidence in the source. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology is not a magazine that’s about the science of neurology and brain chemistry and biology.
Psychology and Sociology are soft sciences, meaning that they come with a big ol’ fucking asterisk next to them that says “Nothing we say can be objectively true and a lot of this is just biased observation and supposition because we’ve been wrong for centuries now and we don’t seem to be getting any better at this.”
Interesting study. More interesting because I’m finishing up my MSc in Evolutionary Psychology and would like to point out that just because this one particular study states that gender is on a dimension does not mean it is. It just means that there is more evidence to support that point of view.
’The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology is not a magazine that’s about the science of neurology and brain chemistry and biology.’
Well, no. If you read the abstract it mentions something called ‘The Big Five’ which is to do with personality, hence why it was submitted into the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and not in something like the Journal of Neurology.
Psychology is not a hard science but the world would be a less interesting place without observational studies and so called supposition.
Mildred Pierce (1945) - One of my favourite scenes out of any film.
Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit has a body count. - Heathers (1988)