Amanda Marcotte

Do Women Talk More Than Men?

No.

For every study showing women talk more, there’s another showing men talk more. After a while, it becomes difficult to deny that individual preference and environmental pressures have more influence than gender on how much talking people do.

Amanda Marcotte suggests that we continue to believe this trope because of confirmation bias; conventional wisdom tells us women talk more, so we keep noticing anecdotal evidence in support of this belief.

"False Accusations" v. "False Reports"

On Monday I posted an infographic purporting to show the ratio of false rape accusations to actual rapes. Yesterday, Amanda Marcotte of XX Factor debunked several of its claims and the rationale by which its creators arrived at their conclusions.

I agree with her reasoning, so it does seem like the infographic is misleading and could be greatly improved. But, as Marcotte says, the fundamental message remains true:

It is true that most rapes go unreported, that the public believes false accusations are exponentially more common than they actually are, and that a man’s chances of being falsely accused of rape are incredibly small. All these things are important to convey, and an infographic is a great way to do it. Just fix the graphic, and the public will learn a lot.

Todd Akin Doubles Down

Two days ago I linked to this story about Todd Akin saying something wrong back in 2008. Apparently I needn’t have worried that the age of the incident might impact its relevance, because Akin has decided to stand by his remarks:

In defense of his assertion, Akin’s campaign released a statement Tuesday from Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who quit in 2009 and now speaks against abortion.

“I can attest that when I served as director of Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas, we often scared women into getting services they did not need including abortion so we could collect the fees. This included women who were not pregnant and women who were in the process of miscarrying.”

Read for details of how Johnson has been caught in the past lying about this sort of thing. One thing I think Amanda Marcotte gets wrong, though, is her assertion that conservative evangelicals don’t care about the truth:

Part of the problem here is that, within the conservative evangelical circles that are the backbone of the anti-choice movement, “truth” is not the truth, but simply “stories that dramatically illustrate the rightness of our belief system.”

From the outside this probably seems true, but it actually runs counter to the strong Enlightenment mindset of the evangelical movement. Evangelicals love the truth… but they’re also suckers for conspiracy theories, which is why contradicting them with facts rarely works—a conspiracy theorist can always rationalize your “facts” as part of the conspiracy.

It’s a subtle distinction, but the real problem isn’t that evangelicals don’t care about the truth; it’s that we care even more about being “right”.

Ann Romney Acknowledges, Embraces Sexism

Not the reactionary sniping I was expecting:

So how does Ann Romney get away with this? Because she framed it not as a problem to be fixed but a trial that women have to endure. She put a positive spin on it, claiming that these extra struggles make us women extra good. Instead of demanding equality, she encouraged her female audience instead to take their payment in martyrdom.

I’m not sure I agree with Amanda Marcotte’s characterization of this message as “refreshing”, but I’m at least happy to see some part of the Republican Party not engaging in denialism.