Sunday, January 6, 2008

Blog Move

This blog has been moved. I still have some history to move over - posts and comments from most of 2007 - but I've imported all the current stuff over there, and it's my new base of operations.

See you there!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

You Were Right, Ampersand

In one of my December 2007 entries, my statements were questioned by Ampersand. He said that "two of the quotes on your list are dishonest -- either fabricated or distorted through out-of-context quoting. Yet you apparently think I should be taking the list seriously. Why should I assume that the rest of the list is an honest representation of anything?" He suggested that my arguments lacked "legitimate evidence".

I wanted to give my answer here, and not in the comments, because Ampersand made a very good point.

You know, you're right, Ampersand. I did go back and verify all of those quotes, including the one that was misquoted, and you know as well as I do that they're accurate. A couple of them were questionable, though, and I don't blame you for not crediting the others as being accurate, or crediting that today's Women's Studies are based on those ideas. You have no reason to do so, because of my sloppy research. I concede the point.

I learned from this experience, and have put in a lot more effort on my blogging homework. You are so right about out-of-context quoting. "If you're incapable of proving your point without out-of-context quoting, then your point is nonsense." I couldn't agree more.

Now that we've established that, though, I do have to wonder about some of the studies I've heard supporting feminism that have been proven to be inaccurate. These are serious propaganda that, if they were true, would certainly prove women to be victims and men to be brutes.

Take, for example Domestic Violence. Here's the quote I've heard any number of times: "According to the FBI, a woman is beaten every XXX seconds." But, according to Richard Gelles,
"First, the FBI does not calculate, tabulate, or track data on domestic violence. The FBI once did estimate that a women is beaten every 15 seconds, but they derived this estimate from Murray Straus, Richard J. Gelles, and Suzanne K. Steinmetz's book, Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family.

Various other fact sheets list various other number of seconds. The number of seconds depends on the study (if there actually was one) and how violence was defined. For example, some versions of this factoid state that a women is beaten every 9 seconds and cite a study done by the Commonwealth Fund in July, 1993. The Commonwealth Fund study used the same measure as was used by Straus and his colleagues. Unlike Straus and his colleagues who defined "abuse" as acts of violence that were likely to cause and injury, the Commonwealth Fund defined "abuse" as every thing from pushing, shoving, and slapping to using a gun or knife."

Keep in mind that the person who wrote that factoid page is one of the authors of the book they all used.

That brings to mind the whole "Increase in Domestic Violence on Superbowl Sunday" myth. This myth is well-known to be a myth, but if you haven't heard of it, here's the link. In fact, this very myth may have had a part to play in the passing of the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) legislation. Here's the first sentence from this article:
"What do you get when you mix equal parts of gender myth, a casual disregard of Constitutional protections, and old fashioned political pork? VAWA – the Violence Against Women Act -- that’s what."
It's an interesting read.

Here are a few more mistaken statistics from the Richard Gelles page:

Sixty-three Percent of Young Men Between the Ages of 11 and 20 Who Are Serving Time for Homicide Have Killed Their Mother's Abuser

This factoid is often used by Sarah Buel in her speeches. It appears to be yet another fact from nowhere. The FBI has published no data that supports this claim. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports has no tables that report on prison populations, let alone a table or figure that breaks down prison populations by age of offender and relationship to victim. There are no Department of Justice reports that report on what number or percentage of young men kill their mother's batterer.

Women Who Leave Their Batterers Are at a 75% Greater Risk of Being Killed by the Batterer than Those Who Stay

Women are more likely to be victims of homicide when they are estranged from their husbands than when they live with their husbands--BUT NOT A 75 % GREATER RISK. The risk of homicide is higher in the first two months after separation.

SOURCE: Wilson, Margo and Martin Daly. (1993) "Spousal homicide risk and estrangement." Violence and Victims, 8, 3-16.

Women Who Kill Their Batterers Receive Longer Prison Sentences than Men Who Kill Their Partners

This factoid is often attributed to someone from Pace University. There is no actual published source for this. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Violence Between Intimates (November, 1994), the average prison sentence for men who killed their wives was 17.5 years; the average sentence for women convicted of killing their husbands was 6.2 years.

So looks like there were some cherrypicked and downright misquoted research. According to your logic, maybe we shouldn't be taking domestic violence, or prison sentences for the same, seriously?

Here is some more interesting information I found:

Women Earn 77¢ For Every $1.00 A Man Earns : Not true. Take into account years of work experience, hours worked per year, full- or part-time schedule, leaves taken, danger of the work, etc, and it's virtually the same. If women worked for less, and men were getting the jobs, then businesses would go out of business, now wouldn't they?

150,000 Young Women Die From Anorexia Nervosa Each Year : Not true. "According to the Center for Disease Control there were 101 deaths from anorexia in 1983, 67 in 1988 and 54 in 1991."

Fathers Seeking Custody Win 70% of Cases: Not true. In 1999, 15% of fathers had custody.

Only 2% of Rape Charges Are False: Not true. 30 - 40% of rape charges are false.

So, Ampersand, which "facts" supporting the oppression of women in our society would you have us believe? I'm not really finding any that haven't been debunked, or aren't completely outdated.