09 3 / 2014
In one study, participants were asked to rank the humor in various cartoon captions. Half of the captions had been written by men, and half by women. When not told who wrote what, the participants judged them almost equally funny. In fact, based on the scores given in this experiment, men are just 2.2 percent more likely to be funny than women. Yet 90 percent of the participants agreed with the stereotype that men are funnier. Talk about a mind-bogglingly huge difference in perception versus reality.
And it gets weirder — when the participants were asked which gender they thought wrote a caption, the funnier ones were almost always assumed to be by men and the less funny ones by women. This might be expected, considering their stated bias. Even when told the name and gender of the person who wrote each caption, within a short time the participants started misattributing the funny ones to men. In other words, even when they knew that women had written some of the funniest captions, the bias that men are funnier was so ingrained that it made them misremember who had written what."
09 3 / 2014
The concern for overly exposed young bodies may be well-intentioned. With society fetishizing girls at younger and younger ages, girls are instructed to self-objectify and see themselves as sexual objects, something to be looked at. A laundry list of problems can come from obsessing over one’s appearance: eating disorders, depression, low self-worth. Who wouldn’t want to spare her daughter from these struggles?
But these dress codes fall short of being legitimately helpful. What we fail to consider when enforcing restrictions on skirt-length and the tightness of pants is the girls themselves—not just their clothes, but their thoughts, emotions, budding sexuality and self-image.
Instead, these restrictions are executed with distracted boys in mind, casting girls as inherent sexual threats needing to be tamed. Dress restrictions in schools contribute to the very problem they aim to solve: the objectification of young girls. When you tell a girl what to wear (or force her to cover up with an oversized T-shirt), you control her body. When you control a girl’s body—even if it is ostensibly for her “own good”—you take away her agency. You tell her that her body is not her own.
When you deem a girl’s dress “inappropriate,” you’re also telling her, “Because your body may distract boys, your body is inappropriate. Cover it up.” You recontextualize her body; she now exists through the male gaze."
04 3 / 2014
"You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in."