Chiropteran Underground

Thursday, 17 2008f April, 2008

The roots of my feminism

Filed under: Studies — Tags: , — chiroptera @ 7:30 pm

I was surprised to find Twisty praising Feministing dot com in her recent post.

Not too long ago, I used to read Feministing every day.  I really do not recall how I found it or how I found I Blame the Patriarchy, but I do know that I now look forward to Twisty’s posts and only now and then look at Valenti & Co.’s blog.  I got tired of the Feminism TM approach.  Says Twisty:

It’s only natural that the nascent feminists of tomorrow, just beginning to explore a future separate from being unpopular in high school, would be attracted to Feministing. They’re 18. Their hormones are snap crackle poppin’. They want to be like the hip, self-actualized Feministingers. This is good, because Feministing gets a lot of the basic stuff right. They’re blamin’ the patriarchy left and right, and they’re doing it, not with a bunch of pie-in-the-sky inaccessible revolutionary theory that takes months, if not years, of committed intellectualizing to grasp, but with cogent, cut-to-the-chase commentary on current events.

I thought that I was sort of a rookie feminist because I did not take Women’s Studies courses in college and I have only in the last couple of years read any feminist theory.  I enjoyed reading what the young bloggers have to say, but tired of it quickly.  I wondered how I could advance so quickly from a feminism primer to IBTP when Valenti actually majored in Women’s and Gender Studies and I know so little about it.  But Twisty’s post and the comments after made me realize that I am older than the target audience for Feministing and that my feminist beliefs stem more from the life I have lived than the literature I have read.  Yes, Valenti and the other writers on Feministing probably know a lot more about Women’s Studies than I do, in an academic sense.  When I read Dworkin, I don’t think what a new idea for me–I think I noticed that too but couldn’t say it so well.

Thanks, Twisty, for helping me clarify this for myself.  And, by the way, I am not claiming that Valenti et al. have not had life experiences, too.  I am just saying that I am older (than Jessica Valenti and some other young feminist writers) and have had certain experiences which have brought me to this point.


Sunday, 30 2008f March, 2008

What Women Want and the Men who do not Care

Filed under: Studies — Tags: , — chiroptera @ 9:57 am

According to an article reporting on a study conducted at Indiana University’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, men “find it difficult to tell the difference between women who are being friendly and women who are interested in [sex].”  In the study, male and female undergraduate students viewed pictures of women and “had to categorize each as friendly, sexually interested, sad or rejecting.”  

Apparently only pictures of women were used.  Why not pictures of men?  This suggests that one can tell from the way a woman looks whether she wants it or not.  While presumaby the study used facial expressions and other nonverbal body cues, this promotes the idea that a woman’s appearance–but not a man’s appearance–can be an invitation for sex.   

Nevertheless, that is how the study was conducted.  The findings of the study and their interpretation are noteworthy, too.  While women tended to categorize the pictures correctly, men tended to interpret friendliness as sexual interest.  It would be easy here to stop and say that men have been trained to believe that all women want sex all the time.  But men tended to miscategorize all the pictures.  “When images of [women] meant to show allure flashed onto the screen, male students mistook the allure as amicable signals. ”  So men thought women wanted sex when women were just being friendly, and when women were interested in something sexual, men didn’t recognize that.

So, instead of men having been raised to believe that women are insatiable sex machines, it turns out that men really don’t care what women want.  Perhaps men have been raised to believe that what women want is irrelevant to them.  Their task is to go after what they want.  Something not stated in the article is whether the men and women were asked to rate their own attraction to the women in the pictures.  It would be interesting to know whether men were more likely to categorize the images of women that they found desirable as sexually interested.

Blog at