Stiff resistance »« Evil

Lads

I’m handicapped in thinking about this by the fact that I’ve never seen, let alone read, a lads’ mag. I’ve spent the past few minutes trying to figure out what they are, which has led to my finding out what “lad culture” is, which I’m not sure I wanted to know.

In an ironic, self-conscious fashion, “lads took up an anti-intellectual position, scorning sensitivity and caring in favour of drinking, violence, and a pre-feminist attitude to women as both sex objects and creatures from another species”.

Oh I hate that “ironic” thing. Pretentious jerks in the UK are always telling you they’re doing or saying whatever it is “ironically,” which just means don’t go thinking I’m a jerk merely because I’m acting or talking like one.

That get out of jail free card probably is why we get treated to so much misogynist name-calling, though – it’s “ironic” or “self-conscious” or “rebellion against stifling political correctness” or all of those. Having it both ways – all the fun of vomiting hatred and contempt onto women and feeling hip and witty and “ironic” at the same time.

So, a study by a couple of psychologists finds that rapists and lads’ mags use the same language.

Psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey found that when presented with descriptions of women taken from lads’ mags, and comments about women made by convicted rapists, most people who took part in the study could not distinguish the source of the quotes.

The research due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology also revealed that most men who took part in the study identified themselves more with the language expressed by the convicted rapists.

Psychologists presented men between the ages of 18 and 46 with a range of statements taken from magazines and from convicted rapists in the study, and gave the men different information about the source of the quotes. Men identified more with the comments made by rapists more   than the quotes made in lads’ mags, but men identified more with quotes said to have been drawn from lads’ mags more than those said to have been comments by convicted rapists.

The writing is very muddled in that last para, but if you watch the video it becomes clear: when the test subjects thought the comments came from lads’ mags, they identified with the comments, whereas they didn’t when they thought the comments came from rapists. They also thought the comments they thought were from lads’ mags were “normal” (while the ones they thought were from rapists they considered extreme). That last one, though it’s not even a little bit surprising, is blood-chilling. Yes of course they fucking do – just as all these teeming shits think it’s “normal” to call women bitches and twats and cunts day in and day out. Misogyny has been normalized. That’s what we’re saying; that’s the problem.

Dr Miranda Horvath and Dr Peter Hegarty argue that the findings are consistent with the possibility that lads’ mags normalise hostile sexism, by making it seem more acceptable when its source is a popular magazine.

Exactly. I knew hostile sexism had been normalized, to put it mildly; I just wasn’t very aware of lads’ mags. Lads’ mags are joined by lads’ tv shows, lads’ websites, lads’ facebook pages, no doubt lads’ apps, and so on.

Dr Horvath, lead researcher from Middlesex University, said: “We were surprised that participants identified more with the rapists’ quotes, and we are concerned that the legitimisation strategies that rapists deploy when they talk about women are more familiar to these young men than we had anticipated.”

“These magazines support the legitimisation of sexist attitudes and behaviours and need to be more responsible about their portrayal of women, both in words and images. They give the appearance that sexism is acceptable and normal – when really it should be rejected and challenged. Rapists try to justify their actions, suggesting that women lead men on, or want sex even when they say no, and there is clearly something wrong when people feel the sort of language used in a lads’ mag could have come from a convicted rapist.”

Dr Peter Hegarty, of the University of Surrey’s Psychology Department, added: “There is a fundamental concern that the content of such magazines normalises the treatment of women as sexual objects. We are not killjoys or prudes who think that there should be no sexual information and media for young people.  But are teenage boys and young men best prepared for fulfilling love and sex when they normalise views about women that are disturbingly close to those mirrored in the language of sexual offenders?”

Anna van Heeswijk, Campaigns Manager for OBJECT, a human rights campaign group which campaigns against the objectification of women, said: “This crucial and chilling piece of research lays bare the hateful messages which seep out of lads’ mags and indoctrinate young men’s attitudes towards women and girls. When the content of magazines aimed at teenage boys mirrors the attitudes of convicted rapists, alarm bells must ring.

“If we are serious about wanting an end to discrimination and violence against women and girls, we must tackle the associated attitudes and behaviours. This means tackling the publications which peddle them. The Leveson Inquiry is currently looking into the culture and ethics of the press. These disturbing findings unequivocally demonstrate the need for the portrayal of women to be included in the remit of this inquiry. Now is the time for action.”

Men call us things.

Comments

  1. says

    Those magazine are one of THE MOST unpleasant things about going back home now., They seem to get more and more extreme with every visit, as if there is a constant increase in misogyny occurring which I observe in snippets during holiday breaks. It’s disturbing.

  2. says

    Ophelia: “Men call us things.”

    A bit sweeping there. I would recommend it be amended to say “some men call us some things, with intent to demean us, disqualify us, and dismiss us.”

    Legalistic perhaps, and not as brief or pithy, but no slip into misandry.

    Similarly, a nationalist can easily move on to become an imperialist, and lose the plot entirely.

  3. Patrick says

    Ok, I’m confused as hell about that study. It seems like it proves (nor even suggests) any of the conclusions being drawn from it. There seems to be an unconscious assumption that rapists describe women in odious ways that men ought to recoil from, but nothing in the study indicates that at all.

    I’ll admit, I’m only reading the written text, not listening to the video because I’m at work.

    But what the heck. This looks like junk science.

    Suppose I replace the statements by the rapists with neutral statements, and run the study again. But like the original study, I lie and say that the neutral statements are by rapists. Wouldn’t we expect to get EXACTLY the same results the study got with statements from actual rapists? Lad mags would register as more offensive in the absence of information, but once they were (mis)informed that some statements came from rapists, wouldn’t we expect men to identify with them less?

    I mean, yeah, lad mags are terrible. But… from the written description, this does NOT look like science journalism.

    If there’s something in the video that indicates that I’m not fully informed about the methodology, let me know.

  4. says

    Thanks for that, James – I wasn’t sure if they were specific to the UK, but what you say indicates that they are.

    Ian – that’s just a slight re-do of the hashtag #mencallmethings – I think most people get that it doesn’t mean all men.

  5. Patrick says

    But that’s just the thing, isn’t it? If we’re just going to look at the quotes and conclude that there’s a problem, then what does the study add?

    I’m not against literary analysis of this sort of thing, its just that I can’t get what this study is supposed to do except exploit the word “rapist” for emotional effect.

  6. interrobang says

    Well, from a discourse analytics perspective, if you cannot distinguish between the discourses of allegedly “normal” young men and sex offenders in terms of how they talk about girls and women, then that says something very bad about the semantic pollution in the rhetorical environment. It also indicates that there is an extreme level of misogyny operating within the broader culture, of which the lad mags are a particular type of (memetic) transmitter.

    All of which adds up to an if not exactly quantifiable, more accurate barometer of the environment in which British girls and women must function.

  7. julian says

    If we’re just going to look at the quotes and conclude that there’s a problem, then what does the study add?

    To me it says pretty obviously that none of the people reading these magazines would know misogyny if it were staring them in the face.

    They are willing to agree that statements made by rapists and sex offenders about women are extreme but only because they are coming from sex offenders and not because of anything they themselves see in the statements (almost as if they were searching for reasons to disagree). When the comments are coming from a member of their group they become ok (almost as if they were searching for reasons to agree with them).

    Which I find troubling because of what it might imply about their personal lives if they are unable to hold a single standard for what constitutes sexual harassment. They may look for reasons to disregard cases of them committing sexual harassment (or sexist and predatory behavior among friends) just as easily.

  8. julian says

    if you cannot distinguish between the discourses of allegedly “normal” young men and sex offenders in terms of how they talk about girls and women,

    You really are fucked, aren’t you?

    They talk the same, treat you the same and are equally dismissive of the harm their words and attitudes do to you. You don’t see the difference until one of them is on top of you holding your mouth shut while you try to scream. Scary.

  9. Patrick says

    No, of course it doesn’t.

    interrobang wrote: “Well, from a discourse analytics perspective, if you cannot distinguish between the discourses of allegedly “normal” young men and sex offenders in terms of how they talk about girls and women, then that says something very bad about the semantic pollution in the rhetorical environment. ”

    Or it could tell you that rapist do not demonstrate their proclivity for rape in the quoted discourse. And the thing is, that remains true EVEN IF the quoted material is sexist.

    The argument that lads mags are sexist (and generally badly written) is unassailable. You just have to read one to know that.

    But this study is pseudoscience, or at least, what’s presented is pseudoscience.

    julian has the right of it in comment 8. What this study probably shows is that people are motivated to find fault with the words of those they find morally repulsive.

  10. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    What this study probably shows is that people are motivated to find fault with the words of those they find morally repulsive.

    It also shows that these subjects don’t understand that misogyny is morally repulsive.

    There have been studies linking acceptance of misogynist language to greater acceptance of violence against women. I’m searching for the link, but I’m tired and headachey. Perhaps someone else knows what I’m talking about. This isn’t the first time this link has been detected.

  11. James says

    Patrick – you’re right that the study could be suggesting that “rapist[s] do not demonstrate their proclivity for rape in the quoted discourse”. But this is irrelevant.

    Firstly, it’s not about their “proclivity for rape”. It’s about whether their discourse shows respect for women. I shouldn’t even have to point out that rapists, by definition, don’t respect women and are violent towards them.

    Secondly, the “quoted discourse” is descriptions of women. It’s pretty safe to assume that the way that someone describes something will indicate how much respect they hold for that thing.

    So what that means is that verbatim descriptions of women by rapists are less hateful and derogatory than the descriptions of women used in lads’ magazines. You don’t see anything wrong with that? You don’t think that’s a finding worth talking about?

    I mean, really, your criticism in its best light is “well all this shows is that lads’ mags describe women in worse terms than an imprisoned rapist would”. That’s fairly significant no matter how you look at it.

  12. julian says

    Or it could tell you that rapist do not demonstrate their proclivity for rape in the quoted discourse. -Patrick

    Um… so?

    I really don’t think the study was trying to suggest there was a link between sexist attitudes and rape. (although, such a link would seem obvious to me. From what I’ve seen it’s the most openly sexist groups that have the biggest issues with rape. Evangelical groups, the military ectectect.)

    What this study probably shows is that people are motivated to find fault with the words of those they find morally repulsive. -Patrick

    And like SallyStrange pointed out, they clearly have no idea what constitutes morally repulsive language. It seems as if they have shifting goalposts for themselves and everyone else, with a predisposition towards viewing their sentiments as acceptable no matter what.

    I think an experiment where instead of words and sentiments they’re presented with scenarios. Sorta like the recent Meet the Predators where they excluded the word rape from their questions and found that 10% of male participants admitted to raping someone when the word rape was absent. Except in this one present situations of sexual harassment (pinching, catcalls, sexually explicit messages) and gauge how more likely they’re to dismiss the harassment if it is an ingroup member performing it.

    The obvious question about the study is, “where are the negative controls?” -AndrewG

    I’m not the most science literate person around. I have a very vague idea of how controls are set up. So I’m having a bit of a hard time seeing why a negative control would be important (or even how you would implement one here.) Do you mean you want a group of non Lad magazine readers or a group that isn’t given any quotes and is just asked their opinion? How would that affect the results?

  13. Amy Clare says

    *A psychology graduate writes*

    This research seems pretty sound to me (disclaimer: I haven’t read the paper itself!).

    The first experiment is very straightforward, subjects guessing the source of a quote from two given options. They’re testing whether the words themselves are enough information for human beings to identify where they came from. Obviously in this case they’re not because the subjects only performed at chance level. (There could have been a third more neutral source added I guess, just to be sure of the subjects’ general ability to discern the source of quotes.)

    In the second experiment they’re testing whether attribution affects attitude. In the first condition the attribution of the quotes was correct, in the second it was absent, and in the third it was incorrect (this is explained in the video). The second one is the control condition (i.e. there is no attribution, they are just testing attitude).

    They found that attribution affects attitude to a significant level. This finding is not going to surprise anyone who has studied social psychology – people usually react more positively to anything they perceive comes from their in-group, or a trusted authority – but it is scary in context. It raises questions about why young men are identifying so much with lad’s mags, why they feel the magazines represent them.

    Or could it just be that the subjects perceive the magazines as neutral or harmless and that affected their attitude towards the quotes? The magazines are popular, they’re not seen as problematic in society generally. Maybe the quotes were neutralised or excused in the subjects’ minds because of their perceived source. Generally speaking ‘convicted rapist’ is seen as unequivocally bad whereas ‘lad’s mag’ is not.

    OR… maybe it was the other way round, maybe they agreed with *all* the quotes but just didn’t want to look bad by agreeing with something apparently said by a convicted rapist. Again, a scary thought.

    It all begs the question of course of why couldn’t the subjects see what was wrong with the quotes per se. Would be interesting to see the results of the control condition.

    (And yeah there are always going to be people who automatically label psychology as ‘pseudoscience’ but those people have more than likely never studied it.)

  14. dirigible says

    What this study probably shows is that people are motivated to find fault with the words of those they find morally repulsive.

    And studies of drowning show that water is wet.

    Explaining that the subjects of the study do not find the mags’ authors morally repulsive simply illustrates the problem.

  15. Dunc says

    “Lads mags” are basically soft porn for those who find Playboy and Penthouse too upmarket and intellectually intimidating, but are too embarrassed to buy Razzle.

  16. julian says

    It raises questions about why young men are identifying so much with lad’s mags, why they feel the magazines represent them.

    This is what worries me the most. I suppose they may just be rebelling against the perceived controlling nature of PC and feminism and are more readily identifying with positions and ideas that run contrary to their perception of feminism.

    But they still do not wish to identify with a ‘bad’ group so they’ll strongly condemn them in order to exonerate themselves. Which is natural, of course. So is rebelling against a perceived oppressive philosophy or group (at least in this day and age among ‘free’ thinkers). Except they don’t know what makes those words, attitudes or ideas bad.

    So how far can (or would) this group go with their rebellion before they do something ‘bad’ or have they already crossed that line? If nothing else this should give the participants in this study reason to examine their thinking and why they so readily identify with those ideas and attitudes.

  17. Bruce Gorton says

    My personal view of lad mags has always been thus:

    The magazines are essentially cowards’ porn – none of the nudity, but twice the misogyny. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least that their writing is pretty indistinguishable from that of rapists, particularly if the rapists are illiterate.

    That said, without reading the study in question – I can’t tell whether the results are meaningful or not. The PR could at the very least have included some quotes so we could see what was being said.

  18. Ewan Macdonald says

    I haven’t touched a lad’s mag since I was a teenager. (I used to get Loaded every month. Tagline: “For men who should know better.”) I don’t recall overt hostility to women from Loaded editions of ten years ago. I might need to pick one up and see what it’s like these days…

  19. Fin says

    I think it stems ultimately from the anti-intellectualism. Reading through all the above comments, Ewan’s quote of the Loaded tagline, “For men who should know better” seems to almost directly state what the problem is. The audience of these magazines are actively discouraged from thinking, beyond the Jeremy Clarkson-esque pattern of thoughts, namely: me, sex, cars, sports and sex again. (And not sex in the normal sense, but rather the style Greer described decades ago: A thing that fucks, and a thing that gets fucked)

    If you’re influenced by what I hesitate to call literature that is so actively hostile to critical thinking, it doesn’t surprise me that things like misogyny and violence and selfishness rise out of it – even discounting the fact that those things are encouraged in tandem. I think they would arise in such an environment even if NOT actively encouraged. None of those things can really survive outside of that environment (largely because they’re consistently attacked by people who DO know better).

  20. says

    Patrick – you seem to be saying that rape is bad but rapey words are not bad, or not bad enough to be worth a study or attention or worry. You seem to be saying that merely verbal misogyny doesn’t matter, that it’s only actions (other than verbal actions) that matter.

    If that is what you’re saying, please think about it more carefully.

  21. Patrick says

    OB- I’m not saying that at all, nor is it reasonable or fair to interpret anything I’ve said in that manner.

    Amy Clare explained most things pretty well, until the last 4 paragraphs. In those she assumes a calibration of results against baseline that isn’t in evidence, and she assumes that the study participants were wrong not to find all of the quotes offensive, when that does not appear to have been an option available to the study participants.

  22. Aquaria says

    Amy Clare explained most things pretty well, until the last 4 paragraphs. In those she assumes a calibration of results against baseline that isn’t in evidence, and she assumes that the study participants were wrong not to find all of the quotes offensive, when that does not appear to have been an option available to the study participants.</i.

    She's not calibrating anything. She's trying to understand why the subjects of this study responded to stimuli the way they did. That's what psychologists do.

    And men should have enough fucking brain power to recognize misogyny regardless of whoever the fuck is vomiting it up. Men in this study did not do that. You did get the part about the attributions being incorrect, to see if men could recognize misogyny regardless of the source who said it–right? Right?

    Good grief, you’re not only dishonest, but deliberately obtuse.

  23. Patrick says

    Aquaria-

    1. Amy is taller than Patrick.
    2. Therefore, Amy is very tall.

    Do you see the problem with that logic? You can’t reason from comparative data about Patrick vs Amy to a general claim about Amy versus some objective standard of tallness. It could easily be the case that Patrick is very short, and Amy is only slightly less short. The reasoning that’s going in this thread is more like this:

    1. Amy is taller than Patrick.
    2. Patrick is a man so we’ll assume he’s fairly tall.
    3. Therefore, Amy is very tall.

    And that’s only as good as the strength of the assumption in (2).

    That’s the trick the study (or the reporting of the study) is playing. They’re using “quotes from rapists” to conjure in your mind the idea of “quotes known to be horrifically misogynistic.” That way you feel like lad mags are being compared against a known.

  24. says

    Patrick – I really wasn’t deliberately misinterpreting you. I thought that was what you meant by “What this study probably shows is that people are motivated to find fault with the words of those they find morally repulsive.”

  25. says

    You’re right about the press release – and they really should have quoted at least one example.

    I suppose we’re all assuming that when the article is published it won’t turn out that the rapists were talking about their love of ice cream, because that would be self-destructive for the two researchers.

  26. Svlad Cjelli says

    I frequently run into sex products with promising technical specs for which somebody in the PR department apparently decided it best to attach a quip about bitches not speaking at the end of the description.

  27. julian says

    she assumes that the study participants were wrong not to find all of the quotes offensive, when that does not appear to have been an option available to the study participants. -Patrick

    I’d love to see them do a similar experiment where the questions go beyond asking which do you more readily identify with. It could ask them questions like ‘do you feel this view is sexist and why.’ I don’t know how useful that would be to a psychologist or even if they’d find it interesting, but I’d still like to know just how far they take their shifting goal posts.

  28. says

    Er, the quotes were taken from a book of interviews with convicted rapists. There is plenty of research showing that rapists endorse more misogyinist and victim-blaming attitudes. Now, it is possible that the authors managed to leave all of that out of a book about rapists. It’s also possible that the researchers managed to skip all that in pulling the quotes from the book.

    However, it’s hardly the most reasonable go-to interpretation of the study. And if it does turn out to be the case, that itself will get plenty of publicity.

  29. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Er yes, I’d have to say that if the main nit you’re picking vis-a-vis this study is that you doubt whether or not the rapists’ quotes were sufficiently misogynist for the results to warrant concern, you’re really reaching for something to criticize about it.

  30. Grace says

    I made the mistake of looking through a men’s magazine my male roommate left behind after he moved. It was quite disturbing. Advice on different ways to tear down your girlfriend’s self-esteem so she will know her “place.”

    I don’t understand what people mean by “politically correct” exactly, I think it means being decent to your fellow humans regardless of race/gender/orientation? How is that oppressive?

    People say pro-rape things all the time, why is anyone suprised by this? Blaming female victims for provoking male violence is quite common, even among people who think they are decent, wholesome human beings. Facebook even has a rape fan page that they refused to take down after complaints (not sure if anything happened with that).

  31. says

    Facebook supposedly took that page down after advertisers threatened to walk away from the company. Not because the page was full of hate speech – or because of the plethora of complaints – but because money talked.

    Siri seems to be the tech version of a lad magazine – hey, let’s tell guys how to find hookers and drugs, and where to hide dead bodies! And let’s make sure women can’t find birth control or abortion clinics! And let’s make rape jokes! Because guys think that’s funny! Or something.

    I completely agree with SallyStrange – if the best you’ve got is to nitpick, then you’re desperate to find a way to whitewash this crap.

  32. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    How is that oppressive?

    Everyone–er, well, everyone that matters, which is to say white straight doodz, preferably Christian–has the right to be a complete asshole to anyone they choose. Also, they have the right to be completely free from criticism of their assholishness. It’s in the Constitution somewhere, I’m sure. That, or the Bible. They’re pretty much the same thing anyway, right?

  33. Pierce R. Butler says

    For sheer misogyny in a printed monthly packet in the US, search for True Detective or suchlike “true crime” magazines. Almost every story features a detailed description of a woman’s murder, with heavy emphasis on her pleading & screams, etc; the illustrations follow the same themes.

    These publications make Playboy and its ilk look like Ms. During the peak of feminist anti-porn crusades in the ’80s, I often wondered whether the leaders of same were too naive to know such mags existed.

    The good news is that they have become much rarer over the last few decades, even while other “niche” periodicals have multiplied.

  34. Fin says

    @ Grace. You’re pretty much bang on with your description of “political correctness”. I loathe the term, because it’s a stupidly complicated way of saying “respect other people” and its been deliberately misunderstood by those who want to exercise the privilege of name-calling and call it a right. Which shouldn’t be surprising, really, very few people who have privilege of any sort would ever make the leap to recognising it as such.

  35. julisn says

    Okay, so is there, or is there not, a link between rape-y/abusive language and actual rape-y/abusive behavior?

    Goes beyond the scope of the study?

    Sorry, that was flippant. Stephanie Zvan alluded to studies that showed rapists more readily endorse misogynistic ideas (which I know isn’t what you asked for). Perhaps you should direct your question to her.

  36. julisn says

    I can’t get what this study is supposed to do except exploit the word “rapist” for emotional effect.

    I don’t see any emotional exploitation. To me it’s just making sure you have one group that is indefensibly sexist and misogynistic and expresses these attitudes through their speech (bit of an assumption on my part but one I’m not ashamed to make).

    If the other group were arguably sexist or wildly seen as sexist, what would be the point? We (another assumption, sorry) already see these sorts of magazines as arguably sexist.

  37. says

    A friend of mine posted a link to an article at jezebel.com. They have a list of examples of quotes used in the study. All these examples strike me as extremely misogynistic! There’s also very little that distinguishes the rapist quotes from the magazine quotes.

    There is one thing about the study that slightly bothers me. I haven’t read the original article, but as far as I can tell participants were given pairs of quotes, one from a magazine and one from a rapist, and asked which they most identify with. If I had been asked this about any pair of the example quotes, I would have to pick at random, because I find them all more or less equally offensive. My point is, that I don’t think one can learn much by looking at which of two equally unpalatable options, people choose.

  38. says

    Having referenced the canonical comment #6 –

    I’m not against literary analysis of this sort of thing, its just that I can’t get what this study is supposed to do except exploit the word “rapist” for emotional effect.

    – I’ll reply that if you really can’t, you’re not trying.

    Kitty –

    Okay, so is there, or is there not, a link between rape-y/abusive language and actual rape-y/abusive behavior?

    Rapey abusive language is rapey abusive behavior. It’s not the only rapey abusive behavior, of course, but it’s certainly one kind. Racist language is racist behavior; etc.

  39. julian says

    If I had been asked this about any pair of the example quotes, I would have to pick at random, because I find them all more or less equally offensive.

    True but you aren’t one of the men who belongs to this counter culture.

    Still with you on that though. I hope the test was simply presenting a random quote and then a random attribution shown one at a time. The question would come right under the quote and false attribution asking things like “I agree with this statement” and “This quote accurately describes my opinion.” Jumbled of course, with the quotes portraying the same sentiment but with different sources presented.

    All these examples strike me as extremely misogynistic!

    I’m a guy with a high tolerance for this sort of a stuff (my wife and I like to play those games) but yeah, a lot of those quotes don’t seem woman friendly, to put it mildly. There’s a very predatory vibe from statements like ‘makes a guy wonder what he could do with that.’

    Number 4 makes me want to stab the speaker.

    And surprise to surprise, it comes from a lad magazine. Creeps.

  40. says

    I hope the test was simply presenting a random quote and then a random attribution shown one at a time. The question would come right under the quote and false attribution asking things like “I agree with this statement” and “This quote accurately describes my opinion.” Jumbled of course, with the quotes portraying the same sentiment but with different sources presented.

    Ah, thanks! I didn’t think of that! That would be a much better approach!

  41. Andrew G. says

    Just to clarify my point on negative controls, what I meant is this, from Amy Clare’s comment:

    (There could have been a third more neutral source added I guess, just to be sure of the subjects’ general ability to discern the source of quotes.)

    Imagine you’re a chemist and you have some samples which you need to test for the presence of some specific chemical (call it X) which you believe to be present. Along with your test samples you have some positive control samples containing a known amount of X. You run your test and find that X is present in both your test samples and your positive controls.

    Is that an adequate test? Obviously not; your equipment or reagents might be contaminated, your analysis of your test results might be faulty, or your test might be incorrectly designed, all in a way that gives a positive result regardless of input. This is where the negative controls come in; by testing additional control samples that, ideally, contain everything (reagents, solvents, whatever) used in the preparation of the test samples, and ensuring that these show up negative on the test.

    In a sense it’s part of the “you must not fool yourself” principle. If you expect something (whether it’s a chemical or a psychological effect) to be there, and you test for it successfully, it’s far too easy to overlook the possibility that it’s the test that’s wrong.

  42. julian says

    Just hit me this morning. Kinda in the same spirit as Andrew G’s criticism.

    There’s no guarantee that the sample of lad magazine readers doesn’t contain rapists. We know how many (especially in more ‘macho’ groups) don’t recognize many instances of rape as rape. That and that Meet the Predators piece (where 10% of men admitted to raping someone provided the word rape wasn’t used) has me wondering if there shouldn’t have been a questionnaire at the start of this asking similar questions.

  43. Dunc says

    There’s no guarantee that the sample of lad magazine readers doesn’t contain rapists.

    Given the statistics, any decent-sized sample of men is highly likely to contain rapists. It’s not like they’re vanishingly rare, is it?

  44. Grace says

    I think the issue is that these guys are not afraid to express their blatant contempt for women and the belief that women deserve abuse or to be raped in a national publication. Like the cops who release statements to the public saying if women would stop “dressing like sluts” they wouldn’t get themselves raped. Like the editor in chief who wrote a whole essay blaming women in general and reporter Lara Logan specifically for being gang raped in Egypt because she wore a low cut gown to an awards show once (http://www.broadstreetreview.com/index.php/main/article/male_sex_abuse_and_female_naivete/)
    and Jim Hoft calling her a “true media whore”, not to mention other reporters saying they have trouble feeling sorry for her. Like the jurors letting two cops off for rape even though they believed the victim was assualted (“She was drunk. I don’t believe she would have gotten into this situation if she wasn’t . . . She was blasted.”) Like Dilbert comic creator Scott Adams writing a blog post about how it’s natural for men to want to rape you.

    (Just a note to MRAs, these are the people you need to complain about promoting the idea that “all men are rapists,” not the Evil Feminists.)

    Again, why is anyone suprised by this? Rape apologists say these things in public all the time, totally confident that there is nothing at all wrong with blaming women for being raped. We live in a society where you can feel totally safe and comfortable and not have to worry about your reputation when you say, openly and publicly, that women are “asking for” or deserve to be abused/raped.

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