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Paper: feminists are authoritarians with a hyper-male ratio of finger lengths

A study indicates that feminists shouldn't be clumped together with women

Every sane adult has been able to notice that there exist profound biological differences between men and women that go well beyond the "obvious shape of some organs" and affect pretty much everything, including very fine correlations describing the behavioral patterns. The feminist movement is partly based on the denial of these basic facts. Why are they doing these things?

They often say that they are fighting to improve the conditions for women. However, as the paper below states, only a minority of women in modern societies count themselves as feminists. Certain folks think that this is paradoxical – it's been named the feminist paradox. Why do most women think that feminists suck if feminists claim to fight for women's conditions?

A Swedish-Belgian paper in Frontiers of Psychology gives a rather clear potential answer (thanks to Doug K. for the URL):

Feminist activist women are masculinized in terms of digit-ratio and social dominance: a possible explanation for the feminist paradox (by Guy Madison, Babe Ulrika, John, and Michael)
The answer is that the feminists mean something else by the word "women" because the members of the feminist movement have significant differences from the true, typical, feminine women. In some sense, the paper is a somewhat more rigorous description of the well-known observation that feminists are ugly yelling men-like bitches.

Some of the methods of psychology are not terribly quantitative or rigorous from a hard scientist's viewpoint, of course, so you shouldn't expect particle physics here. The authoritarian character of the feminist activists was measured using the "directiveness scale" – i.e. calculated from answers to a collection of questions such as "Do you like to boss people around?". The answers "Yes" were significantly more represented among the feminist activists in comparison with the women in the strict sense. It can't be surprising. You could even claim that many if not all activists, and not just the feminist ones, are likely to tend to boss people around.

But there was another measurement in the paper that looks more science-like or rooted in biology. It's about the digit ratio. Look at the length of your #2 index finger \(L_2\) and the #4 ring finger \(L_4\) and compute the ratio \(L_2/L_4\) (it will probably be similar for both hands).

What will you get? There exists an increasing number of papers that this ratio is correlated not just with the sex but with many other biological and behavioral characteristics of the humans. Many graphs I saw on the Internet indicated that the differences are so small that they are hardly measurable. But the paper claims a significant 4-sigma deviation of the feminists' ratio from the female one. Look at the money graph:

Males are the blue dashed curve in the middle with the ratio equal to \(0.97\pm 0.04\) or something like that. But while the mean value for normal women is higher, \(0.99\) or so, the mean value of the feminist activists is lower, \(0.95\) or so. These are half-a-sigma deviations but this half-a-sigma becomes visible with a sufficiently large sample that they claim to have measured (although, of course, I would stress that psychologists are more likely to make errors in basic statistics than hard scientists).

Because the feminist curve is actually located on the opposite side of the men's curve than the women's curve, the difference between the women and the feminists is larger than the difference between men and any other group, comparable to 1 sigma. That's analogous to the difference of 15 points between the Ashkenazi Jews' IQ and the IQ of the general population.

I think that my digit ratio is above one, perhaps \(1.02\), so it's on the opposite extreme side than the feminists' mean value. This high value should lower the risk of a certain serious disease. If the curves above were right, \(1.02\) is plausible, perhaps 95% percentile, among males, but the probability that a feminist would have this high value is virtually zero.

It's likely that the lower digit ratio you get, the more authoritarian you are; yes, I am submissive by these counts. This rule-of-thumb doesn't have to be totally universal but the correlation may be strong.

But back to the article we are discussing. If that's true, that's quite a biological difference that looks almost comparable to the difference between the two sexes. In this sense, when people like to introduce "many new sexes" aside from the "two major ones", it would make sense to define yet another sex, a "feminist", which differs both from men and women. Needless to say, these feminists are not fighting to improve women's conditions; they are only fighting to improve their own conditions (sometimes in the sense of the feminists' collective conditions, always in the individual sense) which is something very, very different. And that's one obvious reason why most women don't think that the feminists are improving the world.

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snail feedback (28) :

reader Shannon said...

I agree with you that feminists could be considered as a third sex. What I hate the most about feminists is their way they like to, individually, humiliate men. I saw this even in some young girls. Bullies. They like to attack men in precisely what makes them men. Only women can fight feminists (a bit like only jews can fight their unethical and "non-mistic" religion). ;-)

reader Luboš Motl said...

Is the verb "humiliate" really right, Shannon? How does such humiliation look? Didn't you mean "demonization"?

reader Shannon said...

No, humiliate. I remember this horrible tall girl in school who was always trying to scare this shorter boy shouting at him because he needed space to play football, pushing him etc... It hurt me so bad to see that. I hated her, still do. I could kill her for that, no problem.

reader Eelco Hoogendoorn said...

Ok Elliot Rodger...

reader Avraham rosenblum said...

A nice look at this topic I found in the essays of Kelly Ross of the Kant-Fries School of thought. So I think people ought to look there. As for me I think that the origin of their ideas lies in the political ideas of Hegel. Not that I am very well read Hegel but from the little I know it looks like they borrowed the ideas about exploitation and applied them to males relationships. But if that is what they were doing they should have gone into the deeper aspects of Hegelian philosophy and noticed that females can also exploit.

reader CaveScientiam said...

Wow, no, not the infamous digit ratio from outerspace, please. Not here, not you, Lubos!

"Some of the methods of psychology are not terribly quantitative or
rigorous from a hard scientist's viewpoint, of course, so you shouldn't
expect particle physics here."

LOL! You bet. You meant it's plain bullshit in your "reptilian brain", correct?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Hi, I am eager to listen to your key observations and uncertain whether I should believe that this is an important quantity and whether the correlations are genuine.

But aside from screams about outer space, bullšit, and reptiles, do you have any genuine evidence that this is a wrong concept? Because if you don't, I am sure that I will stick to my "probably yes" impression at this point, and ignore your comment as a noise by a troll.

reader andrew said...

I hadn't heard the failure of the femimist movement to secure universal support amongst females described as a paradox before, though the paradox is reminisent of the struggles faced by any class movements. In other words, why aren't members of an oppressed group immediately aware of their collective oppression or their collective power?

The question is well-studied in the cases of say, the working classes, or slaves. The paradox is typically resolved by examining the collosal institutional power, economic and cultural power, of the oppressor. Within this context, the idea of "false consciousness" is helpful; the idea is that one's perceptions, feelings and experiences are distorted and that we are divideded by a dominant oppressive ideology.

I find that a reasonable explanation in the case of feminism. We're bombarded from birth with unequal pictures about how men and women ought to speak, think, dress, look and behave, and fed the stereotype that a female who challenges those norms - a feminist - is an angry, unattractive, irrational outsider. That's why few females identify as feminists.

In contrast, the explanation presented in the paper - that feminists are a freaky biological subset of females with long fingers - is flawed on a scientific and sociological basis. It fails to address the paradox - why don't all females, of all finger lengths, support a movement that advances their interests?

reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, Shannon, I am afraid that observations like that are minority, and this kind of bullying among kids is likely to be in the opposite direction.

Two weeks ago, at the reunion after 32 years of the 7-year-old kids, I was telling them about a very tall girl from the "next class" who was chasing me on "dolina" [vale] and trying to strip me. ;-)

There are various age groups of kids in which girls are equally tall or taller, and they're shorter in the rest.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Comrade, people don't support similar totalitarian ideologies - even people from the supposedly "oppressed" groups - simply because they realize that these ideologies are piles of šit. Workers mostly don't support Marxism even though Marxism claims to defend their rights because they're sensible enough to realize that the Marxist organization of the society is worse for everyone.

Non-Jews mostly don't support anti-Semitism even though anti-Semitism is created to defend the non-Jews' interests simply because they realize that it's inhuman to single out an ethnic group in a similar way, and maybe they even realize that the Jews have contributed many important things to the mankind and their societies.

Similarly, women mostly realize that feminism is a pile of šit that is trying to poison everything, including and especially what the mentally healthy women like a lot.

reader Carbone said...

The stereotypes didn't just appear out of nowhere. Most of them are based on natural tendencies of either gender. Issue lies mostly with outliers - people who think they were born in the wrong body, etc. They're also aware something is amiss from early on. It can be frustrating for these people but social engineering everybody else to fit their outlier standards is ludicrous.

reader andrew said...

I'm not going to be baited or sidetracked by your bringing up unrelated controversial topics or slurs.

I'll address your only germane comment. You suggest that members of oppressed groups reject progressive, collective movements because they reason that they are "piles of shit." As an explanation or an insight into oppression, it's silly, illogical, unsatisfying. Why would e.g. oppressed slaves reason that a movement that advanced their rights was "piles of shit"?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Idiot, when I say that the sane people realize that it is a pile of šit, the word "it" *primarily* means idiotic comments about "oppression" like yours. Women in the bulk of Europe haven't been oppressed for many centuries and we haven't had slaves for an even longer time so everyone who talks about "oppression" of these large groups is either a self-serving liar or propagandist or a hopelessly brainwashed sheep.

reader andrew said...

We are making progress, though I daren't say we're being progressive - you've identified sensible reasons why slaves weren't class conscious. Can you think of reasons why other oppressed groups weren't class conscious?

You reason that slaves were uneducated by their masters. Perhaps females, around the world, are forbidden from or lack the opportunity or encouragement to read and learn? I believe that knowledge, education empowers and transforms people. Could this be a factor that helps explain the feminism paradox?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Sorry, I have never used the term "class conscious" or anything that could be interpreted as its synonym of this stinky piece of Marxist ideology.

Some slaves were happy with their lives, some were less happy or very unhappy, but (almost?) none of their ideas could have been directly used as a plan to improve the society.

The only thing I can imagine behind "class conscious" is "ready to be abused as little screws and tools by Marxism or similar shameless ideologies". If I am at least partly right, then sorry, it's much better for a slave to pick cotton and contribute to the wealth of his owner - and indirectly his own well-being - than to be "class conscious". In other words, it's much better for a slave to be used for work that the owner finds useful than to be abused by an ideologue to get powerful.

At any rate, all these discussions are just philosophical interpretations of the distant history. We haven't had slaves for quite some time and pretty much all currently living women in the world (at least mostly white countries) have always lived in societies where they had the same rights as the men.

No woman has been prevented from getting education for well over 50 years - which includes at least "virtually all" women who are not yet senile - so your "explanations" of the feminist paradox are self-evidently wrong. Most women don't like feminism simply because they realize that 1) the starting assumption of the ideology are untrue, and 2) the ideology is meant to lead to a change of the world that they consider undesirable, to say the least.

reader anna v said...

IMO the main flaw in the plots is that it has curves for men, women, and bossy women. There should be a curve for bossy men.

IMO the feminist movement allowed bossy women ( my great grandmother was one of those) to come into their own.

Beware of bosses :). Bossy men could go into the armed forces, various jobs where bosses were needed. Bossy women could boss over their husbands family, daughters inlaw, church flower arrangements. Feminism liberated them .

reader John Archer said...

"You suggest that members of oppressed groups reject progressive, collective movements because they reason that they are "piles of shit.""

It's interesting that you rush to interpret him in this way. It appears you suffer from a language-comprehension deficit disorder.

Here's what he said:

"...people don't support similar totalitarian ideologies - even people from the supposedly "oppressed" groups - simply because they realize that these ideologies are piles of šit." — Luboš

I've highlighted a clue there for you.

"Why would e.g. oppressed slaves reason that a movement that advanced their rights was "piles of shit"?"

They wouldn't. The reason is simple. Anti-slavery wasn't/isn't a totalitarian ideology. Indeed, it's quite the opposite.

Do you see it now?

"I'm not going to be baited or sidetracked your bringing up unrelated controversial topics or slurs."

Oh, I can see that! It seems you're perfectly capable of doing it all by yourself.

Have you heard the one about arguing with a woman — that it's like trying to fold the airmail edition of The Times in a high wind? To be sure, it was coined in the days when that newspaper was a broadsheet. I've found it to be a remarkably accurate on quite a number of occasions. Unfortunately it also applies to arguing with some men too, but then they're probably feminists — at least budding if not already fully signed-up.

I rate you, my dear, as gale force 7 on the Beaufort-Windbag scale, with strong potential to move to hurricane strength 12 if fully unleashed. :)

reader Luboš Motl said...

Maybe the bossy men are missing but maybe their distribution is the same as for general men...

reader anna v said...

the wonders of the internet:

". Statistical analysis found no significant differences among the four
branches of military service but supported our hypothesis of significant
group differences in 2D:4D between Marines and all non-Marines.As expected, members of the Marine Corps demonstrated the lowest digit
ratios, whereas those in the Army showed the highest. The average 2D:4D
was 0.94 (SD = 0.05) for the Marine Corps, 0.95 (SD = 0.07) for the Air Force, 0.96 (SD = 0.06) for the Navy, and 0.97 (SD = 0.06) for the Army."

reader andy said...

The movements don't advance their rights. Your initial assumption is wrong.

reader andrew said...

Your first explanation should be dismissed. The assumption of feminism is that females ought to have equal rights and opportunities. That is true.

The new part of your second explanation echoes ideas about "false consciousness" - that females and oppressed groups don't always recognize their class interests. Bravo.

I believe the feminism paradox is explained by a multifarious factors, all related to the institutional power yielded by patriarchal structures and ideas. Education is one of those factors, dominant internationally. The portrayal of females and feminists in media, society, culture is another, probably dominant in Europe and the USA.

I think when we talk of education, especially education about history and the histories of oppressed groups, it's important to ask, whose education? Whose narrative? Whose interpretations? In a society in which a group is oppressed, the answer is the history, narrative of the oppressor. The education system, the curriculum is part of the apparatus of institutional power.

If your curriculum included Mary Wollstonecraft and Simon Bolivar, say, you'd develop different impressions, a different narrative about the history of oppression and imperialism, than if you'd studied, say, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

reader Gordon said...

I think this sort of research will be in the running for next year's IgNobel award---ie sociological crap. This conclusion has nothing to do with my views on feminism. IMO feminism is fine if it means equality of pay for equal work,equality of opportunity for equal merit and equality of respect for equal accomplishment, the right to be treated decently for being decent. Otherwise, it is toxic bullying by aggressive people who love butting into other peoples' lives...frustrated controlling power freaks.

reader John Archer said...

Good comment. It goes to the heart of the problem. It's not the sex of the person that counts but the degree to which they exhibit bossiness, a highly undesirable trait in any human being.

Indeed both sexes need it slapped out of them. I suggest the women do the wimmin and the men do ... well, the rest of the bastards.

In the case of men though, I suggest there's hardly any need to restrict oneself to the inside of the hand. Thumbs, fists, elbows, knees, teeth, boots and foreheads can all be used with indiscriminate discretion — that is if one feels confident enough of getting away with it.

There's nothing more inflammatory than someone throwing his weight around.

Almost universally these people see themselves as born leaders. They're nothing of the kind. They're shits.

reader Roby 83 said...

These observations suggest the following theory: modern feminism is a mental health issue originated by CAH (Congenital adrenal hyperplasia), a defect in gene P450c21 that leads to too much testosterone, tending to produce rabid bossy lesbians with an anomalous digit ratio. Around 1970-1980 women lost the control of the feminist movement, and were taken over by these man-hating lesbians.

reader Roby 83 said...

Medical research shows that an anomalous high level of testosterone produces serious problems in women (they cannot give birth to children and tend to become lesbian and feminists), while in men it does not give particular problems.

reader John Archer said...

You sound very much like a recidivist blank-slater.

Problems are all down to the social set-up: class, patriarchy, false consciousness, discrimination, running-dog capitalist imperialism, slavers, false history, sexism, racism yak yak yak jabber jabber jabber puff puff puff blow blow blow ... and never down to the inadequacy of some people (or indeed peoples) themselves. It's as if Darwin never got on that boat.

And they can all be solved by people having the correct narrative™* carved deep into their souls with your enlightened hammer and chisel. Right?

Tell me: who supplies you with all your 'oughts' and 'shoulds'? Does a retard discount/wholesale outfit pipe this crap to you, or do you just 'intuit' it from some fcukwit ethereal plane that only suitably enlightened untermenschen can shove a fairy conduit into?

Some people are very quick to invoke moral precepts and 'rights' but they NEVER explain where they get them from, and they ALWAYS take them as absolute and nonnegotiable. There's something extremely childish/mediaeval/superstitious about that. So, where do you get yours from? Do they really exist?

For what it's worth to you, I say the answer to that last question is mostly no they don't. Nothing in this realm exists beyond the deals that men strike freely with each other. That's all there is to it. The rest is bluster.

* AAAARRRRRGGGGHHH! It's that bloody pomo word again. Christ it's irritating! EVERYTHING's a narrative with that lot, even science and mathematics. It's the only thing they know — the 'story'. All is a 'story'!

Are you sitting comfortably, children? Then I'll begin. Once upon a time....

There you go. That's the liberal arts for you.

reader andrew said...

I think you're reaching for the nuclear button - nearing the end of a debate, it's not unusual for one party to turn to nihilism. "What is right and wrong anyway? and what's truth? If you don't have a theory of ethics or truth, your words have no meaning anyway!"

Are there no weak parts of my arguments you could attack? Is the nuclear option the only thing left for you?

If so, let me disarm your nuclear threat, as best as I can. I would say that we can chose our values, our rights, the way in which we organize our society, and the meaning in our lives. We can grant those things value, even if they haven't intrinsic value.

My belief is that we should construct a fair society, in which everyone contributes what they can and takes what they need, in which no one is judged or discriminated against on the grounds of sex, sexuality or race.

reader RAF III said...

The weak points of your argument are your premises, which are both false and irrational. This has been pointed out repeatedly and you have repeatedly failed to notice.
I, for one, don't value or need your contribution, and I would not allow you you to take what you feel you need from anyone else.
Should you attempt to act on your beliefs a forcible response would be the only reasonable option.