Msnowe's Blog

Reports of Lady Business

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on February 1, 2011

Every morning, msnowe sweeps through the “papers” (i.e. the online newspapers) to catch at least the bare minimum of the day’s headlines. Today was no exception, except, well, within 15 minutes, between stories of revolt in various Middle Eastern/African countries, there were four different stories, from the NYTimes & NYMag, that she couldn’t help but become obsessed with. In no particular order:

1. Gridiron Girls

2. Wikipedia’s Gender Gap

3. More Conflict in Childcare Equality

4. Porn and Men, But Really How Porn Affects Women

Let me break it down for you.

#1 Gridiron Girls

Article Summary: OMG, women are watching football, and they enjoy it! Even despite the rapists, dog fighters, and reports of brain damage, women represent at least 34% of viewers!

Why is this? Because the NFL is actually filled with “stories.” And women LOVE the “soap-opera aspect of the NFL.” The women loving on football also all watch Real Housewives, Intervention and Jersey Shore, which is basically the same thing. Oh, and they all look like these models.

Analysis: Clearly, it’s those clever marketers tricking women into liking football, the manliest of all manly sports. msnowe won’t underestimate the power of marketing here–perhaps, just perhaps, there are a few women who fit the description this article lays out before us like a play book. But I’ll tell you one thing–you can bring Febreeze and Pink Ribbons to just about anything–but that doesn’t translate into women sitting down and enjoying the damn thing you’re sponsoring. msnowe may only be able to speak for herself, but she watched baseball way before there were any sparkly pink hats available for purchase, and now she still doesn’t want one. The “crude archetypes” of females as clueless twits aren’t really overcome by this article–we’re still treated as though there must be some other hook, some hook other than the pure enjoyment of the thing itself. It’s like the age-old question about the G-spot–it just keeps shifting around to best suit those who need to find it (or it disappears).

#2 Wikipedia’s Gender Gap:

Article Summary: Only about 13% of Wikipedia’s thousands of article authors are women. Isn’t that horrible! No wonder it’s always HIStory–women don’t even bother to contribute, so you can’t say companies, etc., are just being biased–they’re “running up against the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men** and, some say, uncomfortable for women.” Of course!

Analysis: msnowe actually perused the report, and let’s remember, folks–this was a sample of the Wikipedia population–a little over 176,000 people responded to the voluntary survey. (msnowe would like to compare this to a survey on how many people of either sex usually respond to surveys). 126,701 men responded to the survey, reporting themselves to be either readers or writers of Wikipedia. Only 42,191 women answered the survey. (904 people did not tick a gender and responded as “Other.”) So right off the bat, you’re starting with a skewed sample. Oh, and this was a world-wide sample. As much as msnowe would like to say that everywhere women are freer and just as educated and able to contribute to Wikipedia in their spare time, they’re not. The leading country that had respondents for this survey? Russia.

But no matter what the article gets wrong, it does say one good thing–more women should write about what they care about on the site.

**”The obsessive fact-loving realm” dominated by men? Sounds a lot like how men describe the NFL in order to exclude women, if you ask msnowe…

#3 More Conflict in Childcare Equality:

Article Summary: This article basically debunks its own premise. You just have to read it carefully.

“Despite those crazy media headlines, Dr. Schoppe-Sullivan explains that the study did not examine the quality of the couples’ relationships or their parenting beyond the two staged videotape periods, or anything about the children’s development; it also did not distinguish between men who took on childcare duties from day one and those who started to do so just prior to the study. But what it does do is add powerful evidence to the idea that childcare task sharing alone does not necessarily correlate with a harmonious co-parenting partnership.”

Analysis: Basically, it means we’re at square one–anyone’s guess. You can be just as un-harmonious if only one parent is taking on the brunt of the childcare grunt work. It’s about finding that compromise between parents, and what works best for your own family. One route doesn’t necessarily lead to martial bliss. The author’s emphasis on “power-sharing” was, well, powerful.

#4 Porn and Men, But Really How Porn Affects Women:

Article Summary: This about sums it up–

“And so a conundrum emerges. Men, over-saturated by porn, secretly hunger for the variety that porn offers. Women, noticing a decline in their partners’ libidos, try to reenact the kinds of scenes that men watch on their computer screens. Men, as a result, get really freaked out. They don’t want their real women and their fantasy women to inhabit the same body.”

Analysis: Ah, the eternal problem: Men objectify women, look at shit-tons of porn. Men lose interest in banging real women who don’t have hydraulic tits. Women scared and worried that men are totes over them, and try to compensate for their flaccid breasts and thighs by throwing in some dirty talk. Chaos ensues. I’m pretty sure Aeschylus wrote about that, a lot.

A. This report is highly anecdotal.

B. msnowe needs to barf.

C. This report assumes that most women don’t watch porn, but then assumes that they can “mimic” porn stars.

D. This report also assumes that women are just objects of your imagination, trying harder and harder to be your fantasy.

E. The whole concept of the article is based on one sexuality counselor/blogger’s notion that more men were complaining of “delayed ejaculation,” on how the author “read about a University of Kansas study that found that 25 percent of college-age men said they’d faked orgasms” (he didn’t even read the actual study it was based on!). Then the author made the intellectual leap that somehow this was connected with porn (because he looks at porn), and then he interviewed…wait for it…DOZENS(!) of porn consumers. Wow, dozens!

F. msnowe would run out of alphabet if she kept going.

G. Oh yeah, and the report is really, really offensive to men, too.



All these articles were written in the hope of high page views and “most emailed” rankings. And in effect, msnowe is helping that along. In itself, there is nothing wrong with using a snappy title to hook people. But there is something wrong when data is skewed in favor of some imaginary claim that the title makes.

Each of these articles (perhaps with the exception of the childcare equality piece) describes how women are clearly just reacting to something that men are causing them to do–whether it is learning to love football because men decided to give them NFL apparel and pink ribbons, working extra hard to care about the “facts realm” that really only men know how to navigate,  or women noticing men have lost interest and therefore getting raunchy and porn-tastic in the bedroom. msnowe calls bullshit. These are all viewed from what big strong hetero men want or expect from women, or reinforce how men want women to view them. For whatever reason, women who do something that is culturally “male” are encroaching, and no one, especially journalists, will stop from letting us know that this is highly unattractive, or at least try and explain it away.