Morning Ed: Women & Men {2017.04.03.M}

“Women jobs” aren’t just for women anymore. They’re also for disadvantaged men.

An interesting impromptu experiment took place when male and female coworkers swapped email signatures.

Here’s a follow-up to that NYU production with Brenda King and Jonathan Gordon. It quotes some of the feedback, which was interesting.

This is really odd to me because it seems to me like bisexuality is pretty well represented on shows (in part because, in a drama, they have twice the potential love interests). Male bisexuality is less common, but not unheard of (Nolan from Revenge for instance).

If you have pay inequality in Iceland, the government wants you to explain yourself with proof.

This is totally true. We sought out some girl clothes because people kept mistaking Lain for a boy, but they were just glitter-laden and often cheap and crappy.

As the economy improves, men may be opting out of the workplace due to health.

The British Medical Association signs off on sex-selective abortions.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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196 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Women & Men {2017.04.03.M}

  1. I find it odd that the article about falling labor participation among men fails to mention that labor participation rates remain worse among women. It is certainly fine for the article to focus on men, but people might get the impression that women on average are doing better. They are not.

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    • Women’s labor force participation is hard to interpret because so many women choose to be stay-at-home parents. Some men do, but not nearly as many. Stay-at-home fathers account for perhaps 2% of the prime-age (25-54) male population. It’s not necessarily that women’s labor force participation is worse. It’s lower, but only because home production isn’t counted as labor force participation.

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      • — We also see things such as higher poverty rates for women, such as here.

        Likewise, there are far more poor women raising a child alone than poor men raising a child alone. Also men continue to out-earn women, regardless of race/class controls.

        The point is, it is not a rosy picture. However you parse the data, when you look at direct material privation, women tend to do worse than men.

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  2. In re: the e-mail signatures one. I guess I’ve been pretty lucky on-the-job, but I will say there have been customer-service instances (where I was the one seeking customer service – where I was PAYING for some product/service) where I walked away going, “That went really badly; I wonder if I were 6′ tall with a full beard and a set of balls if they’d have treated me like that” and in some cases my suspicion is the answer would be “no.” I’m single and don’t have any male friends close enough that I’d feel comfortable asking them, for example, to deal with the electrician for me.

    In some cases I’ve been able to go, “Okay, not using that company any more” but sometimes you can’t, when you live in a small town….

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    • The only thing I found surprising in that article was the idea of a company that was based on telecommuting being located in center city Philly, with an employee in New York. Isn’t this sort of business why God gave us Omaha? Maybe that New York employee was in Elmira, I suppose.

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    • filly,
      I know a guy who doesn’t speak to customer service folk on the phone unless they’re female (he’ll just call back).

      We got one of the best electricians in town to fix our wiring (he was creating a house for a google exec at the time) — something upwards of $200 an hour, but totally worth it! (someone who wasn’t being paid like you respect him would have told us to rewire the house, instead of just taking the ground from the cladding.)

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      • Yeah, the plumber I use is one of the more expensive ones in town but he talks to me like I have a brain in my head and understand what the problem is (also he usually comes when he says I can expect him – once in a while there are emergencies and I understand but I don’t like the “I’ll be out between 8 and 4, maybe” attitude of some workmen in this town)

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    • My wife has a lot of those experiences working in tech, but one of her friends actually did the experiment and gathered data. She felt like her ideas were shot down in the team design meetings at an incredible rate so she started “laundering” her ideas through a male colleague and found that the acceptance rate went up something like 3x. The email signature thing made me think of that the moment I read the headline.

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  3. Bisexuality: The key phrase is that bisexuals face stigma within the heterosexual community. Shows that have bisexual characters might be seen as aimed towards a heterosexual audience for than an LGBT audience. The prevalence of female over male bisexuals is good evidence for it. They mainly existence to provide some spice for the male audience.

    Iceland: Its one way to solve the problem.

    Sex-selective abortions: They should be allowed simply because people who want a sex selective abortion are going to do it anyway even if they are illegal.

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    • WRT sex-selective abortions, I’m really pretty vehement about the pro-choice thing.

      The idea that I’m going to be particularly dismayed by people exercising something I regard as a fundamental right in a way I disapprove of… has never really seemed to make sense.

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        • Huh. That *IS* a kind of disjoint.

          I’ve heard all kinds of ethical discussions over sex-selective family planning. Like over whether or not we should allow it.

          When it comes to sex-selective abortion, however… the debate gets really, really weird.

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          • I don’t get it. I mean, set aside abortion, which opens up a can of not-very-related worms for a lot of people.

            How is this question not just, “Should people be allowed to make decisions about reproduction that I disapprove of?”

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          • Birth control that increases the chances of having one sex over the other, is how I understood the term.

            Beyond the whole “if you happen to ejaculate here vs there” thing (which nobody has a problem with), I’ve seen real debates over the whole thing where you can go to doctors and they’ll centrifuge the X sperm (or Y sperm) out and isolate it.

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            • Huh. I didn’t know that was a thing.

              Now that I do know it’s a thing, I’m somewhat befuddled by the argument. Not so much the, “You shouldn’t do that,” side–after all, it seems like a weird thing to do that might well be associated with unsavory beliefs–but the, “You shouldn’t be allowed to do that,” side.

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                • I spent way too much of the ’90s getting into heated online arguments about abortion.

                  I also thought eggplant-colored hair was a good look for me.

                  So, you know.

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                • The ethical questions are kind of interesting to me, but not in the way most people think. It seems like when we’re talking about the ethics of sex selection, we’re talking about our ethical duties to the unborn. If one of your axioms is “abortion kills a person with rights” then you’re killing people to choose the sex of your baby. Bad stuff.

                  Then some new tech comes along and we do away with the “killing a person” thing. Now it’s something people just think is icky (ignoring the people who think birth control is an affront to their preferred god). Is it that we have a duty to the sperm that would have made it but didn’t? Or is the moral duty being shirked to society as a whole? We know that selecting for boys plants the seeds of a lot of social pain points down the line, so is anything that imbalances that ratio something society should disapprove of? If so, does that mean that people who select for girls in a male-heavy society aren’t doing a bad thing while people who select for boys are?

                  Side note: One of my favorite “how do you think about probability” puzzles is related. In a society where everybody continues to have children until they have one son, what is the equilibrium balance between men and women?

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                  • Side note: One of my favorite “how do you think about probability” puzzles is related. In a society where everybody continues to have children until they have one son, what is the equilibrium balance between men and women?

                    50/50.

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                      • If you count the girls born per each boy and weight by the probability of getting that sequence, you get

                        (1/2)*0 + (1/4) * 1 + (1/8) * 2 + (1/16) * 3 …

                        That series sums to 1, and each sequence ends with a single boy, so it’s 50/50. Of course, if you assume that in a more realistic setting some couples would have to stop having kids for other reasons, you will get more girls than boys.

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                        • Here’s how I was thinking about it: The largest ratio of boys to girls for any family is 1:0, whereas the largest ratio for any family of girls to boys – if they’re Catholic – is 13+:0, and the “girl first” families are 50% of the population.

                          Another way to say it: You can never have a 2 boy:1 girl family, but you can have a 2 girl:1 boy family.

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                    • That’s it. But it confuses a lot of peoples’ intuitions, probably because of what looks like an “edge effect” with the last iteration.

                      My first instinct was to say, “This sounds like we’re going to play blackjack until we win and then walk away slightly ahead,” or some other “beat the house” strategy that clearly doesn’t work because you can’t beat the house. Like, if it was possible to disrupt the 50/50 balance with an algorithm like this, Las Vegas would shrivel up and die.

                      The simplest analytical way of looking at it was similar to the way you did it below. Stage 0: No children. Stage 1: Half of all couples have a boy, half have a girl. It’s 50/50. Stage 2: Half of the couples stop and the remaining half try again. Half have boys, half have girls. The girl couples drop out. 75% of couples are finished and it’s still 50/50. this continues forever but never disrupts the actual balance.

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                      • You’re determining a population distribution based on the probability of a child’s sex being strictly 50/50. But in the real world, we know that sometimes the probabilities aren’t strictly followed and strange things occur: like, for example, my wife’s (Catholic) family having 6 daughters and no sons. Hence, while the theory may indicate equal distribution, the reality is that while you’d necessarily never have more males than females you’d almost certainly end up with more females than males.

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                        • Accounting for such things–like a probability that a family will give up or be unable to have a boy after a certain number of girls–changes things, but on the other hand there’s a slightly higher number of boys born than girls (51/49 in the US, IIRC.)

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                          • Ahh. Maybe I found the mathematically compelling answer: there is a girls-only birth-series extending to infinity. No such luck for boys. Does that work to make the case?

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                            • Assuming our “spherical horse” universe, the fact that each girl you add to the sequence reduces the probability of getting that sequence by half means things balance out. One way to look at it is that each time you have a new kid, it’s got a 50/50 shot of being a girl or a boy, and that isn’t changed by what happens with the kid after that one, if there is one.

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                              • I’ll go back to what I said above: According to the parameters of the game (no mo’ bebbies after the first son and assuming a 50% likelihood for each sex) it’s impossible for there to be more boys than girls, but it’s entirely possible for there to be more girls than boys, and in the normal course of events (menopause, infinity) that result is almost a certainty.

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                                    • I was trying not to be too wordy and specific, because I’d never used the spoiler tag before. According to the game, if the first child is a boy, there won’t be any more children. So for 50% of families there will only be one child, a boy. Every subsequent possibility has half the probability, and only increases the number of girls by 1. The expected payout of an event is the sum of (the probability of each outcome times the payout of each outcome). So we have: (50% 1 boy) + (25% 1 girl 1 boy) + (12.5% 2 girls 1 boy) + (6.25% 3 girls 1 boy) etc. and .25*1 girl + .125*2 girls + .0625*3 girls … = 1 girl

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                                      • And then the spoiler didn’t work right – sorry – I had my comment in a few paragraphs, but the spoiler tag only applied to the first one, so I had to edit it, turning it into a run-on with formulas. What a mess.

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                                      • Or we could do it this way. Go into Excel. In A1, type in .5. In B1, type in 0. In C1, type in +A1*B1. In A2, type in +(above)/2. In B2, type in +(above)+1. In C2, type in +A2*B2. Copy line 2 and paste it for the next dozen lines. At the bottom, sum column C. I don’t know it that makes sense but it’s more visual.

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                                      • Ahh, so what you’re saying is that this puzzle is like a (patriachal) Xeno paradox of girl’s birth distributions: summing the iterated probabilities down to the level of infinitesimals they never quite achieve equality with the boys. Never quite get to 1. They’re always slightly less. :)

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                                • It can be modeled as a negative binomial with a very large parameter r. Here: https://en.wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_binomial_distribution#Sum_of_geometric_distributions

                                  Roughly, the result of Y sampled from Neg_Binomial will be the average number of girls versus boys. Since the mean is pr/(1-p), if we assume p = 0.5, and furthermore we assume a million families trying to have kids, then we would have about a million times as many women as men.

                                  Which would be a rather awkward situation for non-lesbian/bi women, and pretty much all men.

                                  I suggest we not adopt this strategy.

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                      • “My first instinct was to say, “This sounds like we’re going to play blackjack until we win and then walk away slightly ahead,” or some other “beat the house” strategy that clearly doesn’t work because you can’t beat the house. Like, if it was possible to disrupt the 50/50 balance with an algorithm like this, Las Vegas would shrivel up and die.”

                        This is known as the martingale system and it is countered by table limits and limited wealth.

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                        • Mo,
                          Lord. You beat the Drunks, not the House. And it’s really hard work. No fun. Less fun than the worst job at google (and for less pay too I suspect).

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                        • It’s close, but not exactly since there’s no way to double your bet on a childbirth. If you have three girls in the bank already, you can only even it up with three boys, not one big bet on triplets. So saying you can win with the childbirth strategy is more like suggesting that you can skew the odds at infinity by betting the same amount below the table limit over and over again. That’s clearly not a way to win, and it’s basically just normal play with the exception of the last hand, so at infinity it just converges to the overall expected payout.

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                      • probably because of what looks like an “edge effect” with the last iteration.

                        But that edge effect is real, yes? Either in practice or mathematically. In practice, son-bearers are outa the game, whereas the last iteration of a daughter-bearer is prevented from occurring. Mathematically, there is an infinite daughter-only birth series which the son-bearer series can only chase but never quite catch. So necessarily not more sons than daughters, yes? We agree on that?

                        If so, then we’re quibbling (well, not quibbling, of course…) about whether the rules of the game allow for more daughters than sons. Ie., is it consistent with the rules of the game that there are more daughters than sons?

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                        • But that edge effect is real, yes? Either in practice or mathematically.

                          Not exactly. Yes, only a boy can terminate the sequence, but people forget that for every boy that terminates one family’s sequence, another family has a girl and continues the sequence.

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                          • Is the assumption in your initial question that people have to keep procreating until they have a boy? Looking back upthread to your initial question I think that’s what you were suggesting. Which may, or may not, explain some of the confusion. The choice to have more bebbies isn’t like the distribution of flipping a perfect coin, tho I now think that’s all you were getting at with the question.

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                            • True, I hadn’t considered any algorithm other than “continue until you have a boy” but it still doesn’t make a difference. The easiest way to think about it is to imagine a group of N couples all performing this algorithm in lock step rather than kids coming in at random points in time. Assuming the “continue until you have a boy” algorithm, N/2 of the couples will stop after stage 0. That population is about 50/50 boys and girls. So now we have a group of N/2 parents who will try again, and their results will be added to the existing 50/50 pool. That generation is also 50/50, leaving N/4 parents to try yet again. You can run this as many times as you want, but you still get a 50/50 population going in followed by another pool of babies that’s distributed 50/50.


                              In fact, whether N/2 parents continue or we follow some more complex rule that gets us a different ratio, the number of iterations and the rule doesn’t really matter. All the stopping algorithm does is control the size of the subsequent generation. Every successive generation regardless of its size is still just going to be adding a 50/50 population.

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                              • Exactly. It will be roughly 50/50, with a standard deviation of sqrt(2n), where n is the number of families. The number of iterations will be O(log_2(n)). There will always be n boys. The number of girls will be n plus or minus 2 * sqrt(2n). Anyway, it’s a fun problem.

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                              • True, I hadn’t considered any algorithm other than “continue until you have a boy” but it still doesn’t make a difference.

                                Yes, I agree. I was initially of a mind that the restriction of no mo bebbies after a boy coupled with (say) exhaustion would permit (tho not require) the possibility of girls outnumbering boys. But I agree that in the end it doesn’t matter. Or stated differently, it would permit more girl bebbies than boy bebbies, but at the same probability that it permits more boys than girls. So I’m on board, not only with your main point here but also Pinky’s earlier comment effectively saying the same thing. And thanks for throwing that little probability puzzle out there. It was fun.

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      • The issue is that mainly girls to be get aborted and they tend to get aborted by some very patriarchal cultures. When you see abortion about a woman’s right to control her body and combine this with the common set of facts about sex-selective abortion then you get the question if the woman is really choosing in a free will sense to abort her would be daughter or is merely following the dictates of her patriarchal husband, family, or culture. The mother might really want a daughter.

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        • Lee,
          Would you rather have a child blessed from birth and always walking in the sun, or one doomed to be wrenched, kidnapped from her family, and forced to work as a slave?

          I’d say that’s an easy choice, and yes, it may come from a paternalistic culture, but I’d have serious questions about a woman in that culture who wanted a girl.

          Capture marriage isn’t all that rare of a custom, after all.

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  4. Boys and Girls clothes. Err “Everyone knows that there are glaring differences between girls’ clothes and boys’ clothes. It’s no secret. ” Yeah, folks who have kids do. The rest of us never gave it a damn minute of our time. This article is awfully “parent centric”, and a whole lot of interpretation and assumptions from the author on why, and not many facts to back it up.

    Email sigs: That’s because there ARE potentially thousands of reasons why. One of them is sexism. Did we control for all other scenarios? Nope. Then there is no evidence.

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    • Some women’s clothing is more shoddily made than the comparable men’s version, so I’m not entirely surprised. (T-shirts, for example). I often hit the men’s department instead if I need a plain boxy t-shirt. And I use my dad’s cast-off (oversized on me) long sleeved dress shirts as an “overshirt” in the field to protect my arms, because the fabric is tougher than what most women’s shirts are made from. (Well, also, because “free” beats “I have to buy it”)

      Though I suspect in general, unless you go to really high price points, all clothing is made worse these days than it once was: engineered obsolescence and the idea of “who keeps clothes past a year or two anyway?” (I have sweaters that date back to the 1980s and I THINK I can still fit into the dress I bought for my grandma’s funeral in 1989)

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      • Undershirts: You can easily pay fifteen or twenty dollars for a plain white T-shirt. Surprisingly, it is totally worth it. I discovered this by accident when I was on a trip and forgot to pack any. The only store nearby was pricier than I usually go to. I was shocked at the price, but sucked it up. I loved those shirts, and I’m not a guy who uses “love” in a clothing context. The fit is much better and the overall feel is of quality. I haven’t had them long enough yet to say for sure, but I strongly suspect that they will pay for themselves in durability. I have been gradually adding to them when I feel flush.

        I generally find that there is a fairly strong correlation between price and durability for men’s clothing. It isn’t perfect, and there is the ever-present danger lurking of some enterprising CEO destroying a long-reliable brand for the sake of a quarterly earnings boost. But in my increasingly advanced youth I find that spending more up front pays off, if only by lowering how often I have to go clothes shopping again.

        This may be different between men’s and women’s clothing. The stereotype is that men hate clothes shopping–I certainly do!–so it makes sense that some of us will be willing to pay to do it less often. Women stereotypically enjoy clothes shopping, making durability less of a priority.

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        • Richard,
          Well, there’s that.
          There’s “fashion”– the ever present demand by men that women look like other women (even if only by changing clothes) every single day.
          And there’s the idea that women are more difficult to fit (we’ve got curves!), and so the current sizes don’t work as well.

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          • IDK but most of the “demands” that I dress like other women have come from women, not from the men around me.

            And I would love it if some slacks manufacturer came up with a sizing method based on waist size, hip size, and inseam. They might also have to add “rise,” though, too: I have no use for jeans that stop at my pubic bone.

            I will say, hats off to Lee for developing a “curvy” line: finally jeans I can buy that fit in the hips but don’t either need aggressive belting or to be taken in at the waist.

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            • Yeah, I’d love it if people would actually mark rise on the freaking clothes. All my t-shirts/blouses are practically from high school (including the ones I wear to work).

              I hate jeans or I’d take a look at those.

              If only people would actually make sizes for people rather than machines.

              Women may demand that women wear “fashion” — but it’s designed for the male eye (including underthings, even granny undies). I highly doubt that any “you’ve got to dress up” women would care if you wore a black dress every time.

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            • most of the “demands” that I dress like other women have come from women, not from the men around me.

              This is my observation as well, especially if we mean keeping up with current fashion as opposed to dressing in women’s clothing in a general sense. How many guys keep up with women’s fashion enough that they would ever notice that you are a bit out of date?

              Similarly with makeup. Back in my dating days I much preferred women with no makeup, or little enough and sufficiently well applied that I didn’t notice it. With girlfriends where the relationship reached the point where I felt entitled to offer my preferences, I encouraged that the makeup be skipped. In several cases I was informed that it wasn’t for my benefit. If it were for her benefit because she enjoyed it, that would be fine. But the sense I got was that it was performance art for other women.

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              • I’ve recently started wearing lipstick (after not wearing it for most of my life) and the only reactions I’ve got have been from other women. I don’t know if it’s that my male co-workers don’t notice or are sufficiently cowed by concerns about “sexual harassment” that they feel that they can’t say anything.

                I THINK the lipstick is an improvement, and the comments some of the women have made lead me to think I’m right there. (I am very, very pale and bright lipstick seems to keep me from fading into the background)

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                • filly,
                  were I a guy, I’d have put “commenting on women’s looks” in the “never do I ever” category.

                  I have dark rose lips that look really weird when any color’s applied.

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                  • Huh. I’ve occasionally had guys tell me stuff like “You look really nice today” (once in grad school, dressed up to give a presentation).

                    Maybe I’m just a Neanderthal but I kind of liked it. I mean, I’d have a problem with “wow, that dress makes your rack look HUGE” but “you look nice today” seems pretty neutral.

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                    • filly,
                      Yeah, nobody minds. That’s the dead honest truth. Thing is? It can be construed as mildly flirtatious.
                      And that’s a risk nobody wants to get into.

                      It’s also one thing when you’ve dressed up, and you know you look good, and someone says something. Half the time that’s just you, not the clothes.

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              • Richard,
                Makeup, properly applied, is a mask that makes you look better.
                Using it every day is appalling.
                It risks you convincing everyone that you’re really better looking than you are.

                Using it during a job interview is one thing — or if you’ve got a black eye, or some other issue that’s temporary.

                I knew a guy who used makeup every day because otherwise people thought he was a zombie (really dark circles under his eyes).

                Most guys SAY they want someone without makeup, but most guys also don’t notice makeup when properly applied (aka not vamped up).

                I have freckles. Makeup’s never looked right with me.

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        • I’ve worked many years in a suit and tie mandatory environment. In my experience, good Italian dress shirts (price point around $100) would last several years, even when used most every week. English shirts (about $60) would last quite long, but not as much.

          American dress shirts typically won’t survive six months of heavy use.

          Saturday and Sunday, it’s surfer T shirt time. Quicksilver rocks. And it feels extremely comfortable next to the skin

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          • My brother made this observation before to. He had a friend that got a new suit at H&M that was bursting at the seams within in a year and not because his friend put on a lot of weight. I also get into arguments with other friends, we are all lawyers, on the merits of paying more for dress shirts, suits, and shoes and having a fewer of them that last longer rather than buying cheaper suits, shirts, and shoes. The common retort is that they are all made in the same factory and I’m not just paying for an illusion. Yet, I have suits and shirts that lasted for years while my friends seem to need to go clothes shopping more often than I do. Some people are just devoted to the idea of buying cheap and getting the most for their money though rather than buying quality.

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            • Quality’s a fine thing if you don’t spill stuff on yourself much.
              (Also note: Quality isn’t in a brand name. Quality is beyond a brand name. Quality is bespoke).

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              • Yes. I know how to sew; I wish I had more time to. (And someone to help me with the fitting part of fitting a pattern – you really need two people for that).

                Several of the dresses in my closet right now are ones I made.

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            • The common retort is that they are all made in the same factory and I’m not just paying for an illusion.

              They to some extent have a point. For some industries, price correlates with quality. For others, it doesn’t. Most assuredly for any industry, if the consumer assumes that price correlates with quality, some manufacturers will take advantage of this and foist cheap crap on us at high prices. I am persuaded that in the case of clothing, some brands work to maintain their quality and reputation. I do not assume that all expensive brands do this. Hence the need for either due diligence or willingness to experiment.

              Relatedly, price correlates with quality for single malt scotch, though there is considerable room for individual taste. Vodka? I don’t see it. The whole point is the absence of flavor. Once that zen state is achieved, what is gained by throwing more money at it? (Achieved by the consumer, that is: not the manufacturer.) They can start adding flavorings, but at that point they aren’t selling vodka, but vodka-based liqueur.

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                • Sure. I get that. My everyday drink (inasmuch as I have one) is Evan Williams bourbon, selected on the basis of being the cheapest bourbon whose consumption I consider pleasurable. There is always a floor. The question is the cost-benefit for paying more. For bourbon and scotch the benefit is clear, if only for special occasions. But vodka?

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              • There is a lot of fashion stuff that I find very overpriced. But the big issue with clothing and fashion is not only the quality but also the design. A lot of really high end fashion has a lot of subtle design differences or a unique vision.

                Lots of people think this is unnecessary. I think it is art you can wear.

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              • Clothes fall into a middle ground (for me, at least) – I don’t buy them enough to notice quality in brands, and they’re not expensive enough for me to have to. They might be my biggest expense that reside in that middle ground between soup and cars.

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        • I suspect there’s some of that. Also the idea that women are expected to discard their clothes after a year or two and replace them.

          Like I said: I have sweaters that date back to the Reagan administration so I am apparently an atypical female.

          I will say I’ve found often if you pay a bit more, you get more. The problem is, finding something of that quality around here. I’ve taken to mail-ordering a lot of my clothes of late. That’s fine for dresses; not so great for jeans and certain, um, “underpinnings.”

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        • My immediate family tends to be very into sartorial matters and loves clothes shopping. I like good looking clothing to but tend to be less fashion minded. When I was visiting the family in California a few years ago we visited a boutique clothing store that my family likes. One of the employees made the observation that “I look at clothing differently than other members of my family.”

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      • filly,
        for me it’s socks. (then again, I’m buying my clothes at costco). Costco mens socks actually go above the ankle (they literally don’t have any women’s socks that do). I … somewhat … fit the 8-12 mens, so… eh. No blisters, I’m happy!

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        • The socks I wear (not often, because I usually wear dresses or skirts to work – matter of personal preference) are ones I’ve knit myself….

          no, I’m really NOT a hipster, I’m just fidgety and like to be able to make stuff.

          FWIW, I have hand-knit socks going on 15 years of age now. Yes, some of them you do have to hand-wash, but it’s probably worth it.

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    • E-mail Sigs: “Did we control for all other scenarios? Nope. Then there is no evidence.” Umm, that’s not actually how science works. If evidence was only valid if all other possible factors are controlled…well, that’s an ideal state, but not very common. That kind of rigor is really hard outside a laboratory, certainly, not even all that easy IN a laboratory and damn near impossible when you’re talking about human behavior.

      I’m trying to think of thousands of other reasons…failing to come up with more than “the female or male name had positive or negative associations that had nothing to do with gender.” But maybe that’s a failure of imagination on my part?

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      • Guess no one does real science anymore….wasn’t that a headline about only 1% of studied papers actually followed the guidelines?…color me surprised.

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  5. Bisexuals in television: Captain Jack says hello! If you are hawt!, he says it in a sexy voice. But yeah, female bisexuals are more common because girl-on-girl is hawt!, while boy-on-boy is squicky to a lot of potential viewers.

    Willow on Buffy is an interesting case. In the earlier seasons she had a (mostly) happy and apparently sexually fulfilling relationship with a man. Then in the later seasons she had a (mostly) happy and apparently sexually fulfilling relationship with a woman. The obvious interpretation is that she was bisexual, though probably didn’t realize it earlier on. But the talk around her later on, including from the show’s producers, is “Oh, no. She’s not bisexual. She’s gay.” Huh? This does not compute. My take on it is that the producers wanted to have a gay character, but didn’t want to introduce one. I have read that they had considered making Xander gay before going with Willow. So why would they want a gay character, but not a bisexual one? I can only figure they would have differing political import, and bisexual isn’t what they were going for.

    I predict that over the next decade or so the percentage of the population self-identifying as bi will skyrocket. Up until recently there was strong cultural pressure to identify as hetero. For someone fully gay this presented a choice of poisons: work to present yourself as hetero and be miserable because of this, or present yourself as gay and take the ensuing shit from society. Someone bi could dodge this by presenting as hetero, perhaps with the occasional discreet weekend. As barriers fall, the incentive for discretion goes away. The next step after that is the person nearer to the hetero end of the spectrum who never self-identified, even internally, as bi due to cultural norms. With those norms changing, I expect the self-identification will also.

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    • Richard,
      Bi was a going thing when being gay was the “in thing” It was a way to be “kinda freakish” without going the whole freak.

      Actual results will come out in time (we’re likely to get far better data for bisexuality than trans-sexuality, as trans-sexuality is two “disorders” compounded into one category).

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    • Richard,
      It might say something that one of the few shows that can be mentioned as “supporting bisexuality” was deliberately designed to be awful (Okay, so it’s also hilarious that when given the assignment “try to write bad TV” the author screwed it up.).

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    • The Willow thing — yeah this is a constant ongoing disagreement between bi-advocates and lesbian-advocates (cuz LGBTQ is never a happy family) about Willow’s bi-versus-gay status. My answer: She’s Whedon’s brain fart. We’re wasting our time arguing about it.

      It is this: she was written for serval seasons as a straight character and then suddenly the producers wanted to be all “edgy” so they made her a gay character, but they had little real insight into what “the closet” meant, nor what coming out is really like, nor did they plan for this, etc.

      That said, it was certainly a step forward, during a time when having LGBTQ characters was rare enough.

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      • My guess is that Willow was made gay mainly for commercial purposes as you point out. It shows that they are hip with it and edgy with it but because even if you know your cool with the kids you got to constantly maintain your creed. Status anxiety can be a terrible thing.

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  6. Flashback Alternative Friday!

    Kimmie said:

    If I’m going to bother to criticize the SJW contingent, I’m going to do it in a financial sense.

    Here they go bitching and complaining about how video games are so white (which, um, yeah, they are).

    Then the designers say “you got a point. Here. let us make something neat”

    Then the SJWs take credit for the victory, and go back to what they were doing originally (bitchng about racism,e tc).

    The game devs show up and ask, “Why didn’t you buy our game?”

    “Oh, that’s easy. Turns out we really don’t like video games anyway”

    With that in mind, someone linked to this story in the Guardian.

    I say before and I’ll say again:
    It’s not enough to “support” cultural corners changing and doing things that you approve of by approving of it.

    You actually have to shell out for them.

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      • Speaking of saving souls (and this is very tangential, because it irked me last night):

        Had a young (18-ish) mormon at the door last night at 730 PM. I have a no soliciting sign right above the doorbell button, which I politely pointed too once he was done introducing himself. He then spent 5 minutes trying to get me to talk about God & Jesus (while I held back the large, barking Great Pyrenees mix I have), despite (again, politely) telling him I’m not interested and I’m not a believer, and no, the power of prayer has no effect on me*. Finally, after he got a clue, his parting words to me was to the effect that a No Soliciting sign doesn’t apply to religious proselytizers according to the Supreme Court.

        Oh son, way to miss the point. I know the sign doesn’t present a legal barrier. It’s a social signal that I’m not interested in whatever you are selling if you have to come to my door to sell it. It’s there so neither of us is wasting our time on fruitless endeavours. The last two mormon missionaries in the neighborhood understood that, and I got along fine with them (we’d chat on the sidewalk when they were in the area, etc.).

        Sigh…

        *Seriously, it doesn’t. I know some people find that their faith resonates within them in some fashion. Despite having grown up with a pretty protestant family, and having been exposed to a wide range of religions as a child, the closest any faith has come to “resonating” with me is Buddhism, and even that is a very weak resonance. I tried explaining it to devout people that convincing me of the beauty of religion is like trying to convince a person who was born blind of the beauty of the blue tones in the drapes you are selling. I’m not sure how many could grok that.

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        • Oscar,
          The classic way to get the Mormons (or other religious folks) to go away is to masturbate to whatever they’re saying. The more they talk, the more you get off.
          (granted, that’s maybe difficult with the dog. Pretend the dog likes it? A lot? Play red rocket while the guy’s speaking and aim for him?).

          we’ve never had a religious guy come by. never.

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        • Wow. I’ve had persistent Baptists (who ask the v. uncomfortable question of, “If you died tonight, do you know where your soul would end up?” Well, I know where I hope it would, but as for *knowing for sure* – well). But the few Mormons who’ve walked up to my door have simply thanked me and left when I said, “I have a faith path, thanks”

          sometimes I offer them a bottle of water for the road, if I have some on hand and it’s summer and it’s hot.

          usually, I don’t answer the door when someone knocks, unless I’m pretty sure it’s the friendly UPS guy.

          Mostly here I get political canvassers, which is a group I can do without.

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          • There is a local Independent Baptist church in town that goes around door to door every few years. I tell them thank you, but I belong to a church in Baltimore. This has the benefit of being both true, and lowering the likelihood of their asking me which one (since they won’t know anything about it) followed by an exposition on why their church is better. The thing is, they often proceed to the exposition without knowing what church I already go to. I have a real “fuck you too” urge in response.

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      • While Disney is second to none at using lawfare to maintain rents from their decades old (soon approaching century old) intellectual property, they’re not really sitting on their existing revenue streams. They’ve been pretty good in the 21st century at identifying decent properties, buying them up – and *making them better*

        I mean, does anyone think that Marvel isn’t still doing a bang up job right now across a broad spectrum? Does anyone believe Star Wars is *much* better in the past 3 years than it was between 15 and 20 years ago?

        And isn’t everyone involved making a metric stuff-ton of money?

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    • I think I’m with Movie Bob on this trend.

      It’s nice if the Marvel comics division makes a little money, but it’s not at all necessary.

      What’s important is that the comics division serves as a effective R&D lab so that the movie & tv divisons continue making the big bucks that pay everyone’s bills.

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      • While I can totally see that perspective (and it explains why Disney pushed the Avengers so hard and kicked the X-Men (Sony) to the curb), is there an ability to say “okay, we struck gold!” vs. “okay, this clanked” in the R&D lab?

        If we look at sales going down and going down hard and saying “well, it’s nice if the Marvel comics division makes a little money, but…”, how will we tell if we accidentally write a g-darn *AWESOME* story?

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        • Jay,
          Welp, we wont’ be able to tell. Then again, they put my friend on writing superheros, and he didn’t even know the origin story of the guy he was writing for. “He’s sarcastic and quippy! you’ll do great!”

          They’ve stopped caring.

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        • I gonna assume (and you know how that goes) that Marvel execs can look at the raw data of their comic sales, then do statistical whiz bang analysis to seperate out secular trends of fewer people buying comics and the median comic buyer birth year being stuck at 1980 (my swag) for the past 10 years. Then take that ‘unskewed’ data plus other market research to figure out which new titles will sell on media where the median buyer’s birth year is currently 1994 (again, my swag) & moves to the right reliably every year.

          (Eta- and that’s just the business side. The artistic side is even better served by Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom / Throw Everything At The Wall And See What Sticks)

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          • Well, seems like they did that and found that the recent batch of comics that everyone approved of in theory (but didn’t buy/read) weren’t as rich a vein as the ones that everybody might disapprove of but, for some reason, somebody out there buys/reads them anyway.

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            • Jay,
              Personally, not having read any American comics, I figure they just badly misunderstood how many people wanted a new version of Hunter X Hunter, without all the American politics. Just punch people, dudes!
              (and probably didn’t care who was doing the punching.)

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      • Some day when the movie Superhero trend reaches its inevitable conclusion, the Marvel brain trust will be burned in effigy for squandering this opportunity to cross-market to a new generation of fans interested in the classic characters they saw in the movies, only to find them missing, either cast out in disgrace, killed or turned into villains.

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        • It unclear that a new generation of fans can actually be brought into the comics world in the size seen in previously generations.

          Changes in tech that have in turn changed the distribution and consumption habits of print media may have permanently altered the market for comic books going forward.

          Plus, I’m curious how the market numbers (in terms of total sales and the ages of the customers) stack up for Japanese style/origin comics sold in the US.

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          • The market for new superhero comic books is the comic book shop. They order the product from Marvel sight unseen months before it’s shipped based upon promotional materials, and continue to buy subsequent issues before the customers have even passed judgment. Given the time lag, Marvel doesn’t know from its orders how many copies are actually sold; one can infer from the rapidity of orders of subsequent issues how poorly the shop owner feels about the series.

            What this sounds like is kind of the worst of both worlds, a major change to a character gets media attention and a lot of new people come into the store; the owners may have kicked themselves for under-ordering; they order more going forward assuming a success, but two things happen: the traditional customer doesn’t like the new character and stops buying, and the new customer either lost interest or is not coming in very much.

            The background here is that most comic shops are apparently highly-leveraged, and the role of the mainstream superhero comic book is to provide monthly if not weekly foot traffic. They are the base product with wide audiences around which the owner is able to make payroll and sell niche products. That is what has the shop owners anxious, Marvel took its most popular characters around which financial stability is maintained, and made them niche products.

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            • E.g., imagine if a movie studio tried to do a remake of Ghost in the Shell, and decided to recast the character to appeal to a wider audience. Its a thin line to walk, risking alienating longtime fans for new viewers that may not show.

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              • They’re doing a remake of Death Note too. (not sure if that was why I was watching it last year). You can not make Death Note worse, i’m pretty sure.

                Ghost in the Shell remake is supposed to be at least decent. For as much as I’ve loved Ghost in the Shell Standalone Complex, I’ve never actually seen the original movie.

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                • The original movie was… not great, IMO, and the manga that inspired it was worse. Stand Alone Complex is the best iteration I’ve seen by a fair margin.

                  I will admit I’m not tremendously eager to see the ScarJo version.

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              • re: the comic book dealers

                certainly, they’re in a real dilemma, being at the intersection of all the negative trends in brick & mortar retail and dead tree bookselling.

                But as we saw in the auto industry, the interests of the retailers don’t always align with the interests of the manufacturers – and in a declining market, are often in active opposition. (another problem for the comic book dealers is that they don’t have state legislatures in their pocket)

                What is good for Marvel and Disney certainly could be very harmful for the independent comic store owner. And worst for those independents, the product they depend on the manufacturer for is not at all their main product line.

                re: GitS – haven’t seen it, but have seen that gist often from the reviews. But just because a thing wasn’t don’t well, doesn’t at all mean a thing can’t be done. The Magnificent Seven (Yul Brenner version) did fine with Seven Samurai. Ditto with Star Wars (the 70s version) and the Hidden Fortress.

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    • My sense is that this is a bit like smoking in bars. Back in the day when banning smoking in bars was first being talked about, the owners swore that a ban would put them out of business. After all, look at their customers puffing away! It turns out that a whole lot of people had been staying away because they couldn’t stand the smoke, and the bars did just fine with this added customer base. I’m sure some former customers started drinking at home where they could smoke, but the numbers worked out in the end.

      The thing is, back at the time, the free marketers were also lecturing us about how if there were a demand for smoke-free bars some enterprising entrepreneurs would have taken advantage of the existing market inefficiency. This is exhibit 5,687 for “We don’t live in an Econ 101 world.” The smoke-intolerant population had been thoroughly trained that time spent in a bar would be excruciating. It took more than a random entrepreneur’s marketing resources to retrain them.

      So is there a potential market for non-sexist non-racist video games? My guess is yes, but there is a lot of path dependency leading to the existing gaming community. Tossing a game out there and seeing what happens doesn’t change the existing community.

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      • My take on the Marvel Diversity thing is that it isn’t about the introduction of diversity as such, but rather they way in which it was done. Basically, it was clumsy and obvious as hell that it was being done solely to satisfy the squeaky wheels.

        It is quite possible that the unsubtle approach was taken intentionally, because Marvel does know their audience, quite well.

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        • Really awesome essay here. Read the whole thing but here’s the part that I’m going to focus on:

          STUFF THAT IS ENTIRELY AVOIDABLE:

          1. This is a personal opinion, but IMO launching a legacy character by killing off or humiliating the original character sets the legacy character up for failure. Who wants a legacy if the legacy is shitty?

          2. Diversity as a form of performative guilt doesn’t work. Let’s scrap the word diversity entirely and replace it with authenticity and realism. This is not a new world. This is *the world.*

          3. Never try to be the next whoever. Be the first and only you. People smell BS a mile away.

          4. The direct market and the book market have diverged. Never the twain shall meet. We need to accept this and move on, and market accordingly.

          5. Not for nothing, but there is a direct correlation between the quote unquote “diverse” Big 2 properties that have done well (Luke Cage, Black Panther, Ms Marvel, Batgirl) and properties that have A STRONG SENSE OF PLACE. It’s not “diversity” that draws those elusive untapped audiences, it’s *particularity.* This is a vital distinction nobody seems to make. This goes back to authenticity and realism.

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          • I think… people would really like a comic made out of Old Man Henderson.

            That’s about the only thought I’ve got from all this.

            Well, that and: If you don’t have the old guy killed off, then he’s around, and you have to answer why he’s not helping. Heroic Journey starts with someone with agency, and without much parental guidance/supervision

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      • Comparing the people who go to bars to the video and comic book audience seems stretching. The number of people who go to bars is much larger than the number of people who play video games or read comics, especially when bars were transitioning between smoke filled places to smokeless places. Since bars are more mass market, you can make big changes without hurting your money line that much. Video games and comics have another problem in that a lot of them are produced outside the United States and trying to get a Japanese company to adopt to the norms of Americanism social justice isn’t going to happen.

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        • Lee,
          Rather hard to put social justice into a game when you can’t even see the protagonist’s face.
          And if you think that the Japanese don’t know how to make money, well, I assure you Stack 0verflow was quite the exception.

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    • I wonder how much of this is a reaction to changing the gender or race of an existing character like Thor or Spider-Man versus just creating a new character.

      In the latter case it’s almost certainly true that most brand new characters never really take off. In the former maybe it feels like trying too hard solely for the sake of diversity.

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      • A good story is a good story is a good story.

        There are a bunch of jerks out there who will refuse to buy a comic if it has someone who is not a traditional white guy on the cover, sure.

        But, as G Willow Wilson says above:

        Diversity as a form of performative guilt doesn’t work. Let’s scrap the word diversity entirely and replace it with authenticity and realism. This is not a new world. This is *the world.*

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        • Jay,
          I think most of those guys would like Hunter X Hunter. I think most of them watched Inuyasha and liked it (Or Kenshin, or half a dozen other simple shows).

          I think the whole “I’m Diverse! Like Me For That!” may be missing the “I just like Punching!” folks.

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  7. Jobs: isn’t this an issue of automation? Jobs that require a lot of strength are the easiest to automate, jobs that require “softer” skills are not so easy to automate.

    But a lot of people got huge self-esteem boosts from their manly men jobs.

    Clothing: Guys as a general matter are stereotypically not into clothes. It wouldn’t surprise me if this started young and boy clothes were designed to withstand rough and tumble play more.

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    • Maybe on the boy clothes, but I know an awful lot of girls who are into rough-and-tumble play.

      (I was, sort of, though my bigger concern was mud and dirt – I remember my mom hosing me off a few times before she’d let me back in the house. Then again, I grew up in the 1970s and few people cared if I wore a “boy’s” or a “girl’s” t-shirt)

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    • More like he said that the Women’s March protesters were saying that Trump didn’t win the election. Daily Caller articles are sometimes right, but their headlines hardly ever are.

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    • He’s going off the deep end with his Trump Derangement Syndrome.

      I haven’t seen any evidence – at all, ever, over the entire history of Trump’s public life – that he isn’t deranged. His behavior as a candidate and now POTUS reaffirms the view.

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      • I haven’t seen much evidence that Trump talks with voices in his head (Karzai), or that Trump is irrevocably and implausibly paranoid(Stalin/Nixon), or that his narcissism is big enough to cause a serious problem (Ryan/Edwards).

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        • I think I’m going to have to disagree with #3 and probably #2. And if I grant you #2, I’m not sure that one can be as narcissistic and unprepared for politics as he is and not end up at a dangerous level of paranoia after a couple of years in politics. I mean, there really are a lot of people out to get you. It seems like the only thing that tempers his paranoia is the fact that he seems to completely trust people who flatter him.

          My issue with him is that he’s clearly a terrible, self-centered person with the erroneous belief that he can get away with anything he wants because his actions will never have consequences. That’s a super dangerous thing for an executive of any sort to be.

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          • tf,
            Paranoia is rather rare in politicians, considering how often they’re actually blackmailed (and that starts early, well before most gain a healthy streak of paranoia).

            Edwards and Ryan were both vulnerable to blackmail because of their narcissism (and Edwards figured he could never be found out, which was stupid, because apparently everyone knew about it.)

            Trump is what a Libertarian would aspire to characterize the Supreme Dictator as. As such, we have a brief opportunity for Congress and other people to pull back on the Unitary Executive. 50/50 that happens, mind. (50/50 Trump lasts 4 years, too… and getting worse. Google ain’t exactly pleased with him)

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  8. Interesting normative description in the boys/girls clothing article:

    Once you reach a certain size in many brands (…), clothing intended for boys and the same clothing intended for girls are wildly different sizes. (…) This means, of course, that if you’re buying clothes according to the chart and according to your child’s gender, your little girls will constantly be in clothing that’s just a little bit too snug.

    The girls will certainly be in clothing that’s more snug. But why exactly is the default loose fit of the boys’ clothing the ‘correct’ one, and that of the girls’ clothing ‘incorrect’?

    I could try that on my daughter – buying looser clothing for her – but it would just mean it would she would refuse to wear it and it would sit in her drawer until she grew enough for it to fit her more tightly. She very much dislikes loose clothing.

    I’d love it if she were happy with less snug clothes, her pants would last her twice as long. But she’s not.

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    • Kids’ clothes fit right for about a week. You’ve got to buy everything when it’s still baggy, then have them wear it until it’s splitting at the seams. Then pass it down to your friends or save it for the next one. It’ll be like new, because it basically will be new.

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  9. The swapped email signatures article is very interesting to me. I don’t doubt for a second that the anecdotal evidence suggests a general pattern verifiable by traditional “scientific” methods, but what’s interesting to me is a potentially alternative account for the dickishness from dudes: the role resistance-to-dickishness plays in constraining that behavior. Start with the premise that no one likes being criticized. Move on to something a bit controversial but probably descriptively accurate: that ambitious males don’t like being criticized more than ambitious females. From there move to the conclusion: men will aggressively respond to negative critiques or challenges more frequently when the critiquer is female than male because they know females are generally conflict averse. Those dickish men can ram thru their own ego identification and reaffirm their self-concept when the advise comes from women, to their own short- or long-term detriment.

    Now, of course, the issue my little theory hinges on is whether conflict aversion is a patriarchal construct imposed on women, one men take advantage of. I’d suggest that it isn’t, or at least not entirely. And for the sake of feminists all over the world, I hope they agree with me.

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    • This is a good point, and it’s why diversity training that doesn’t focus on outcomes is typically a waste of time. You have a bunch of men who genuinely think “I’m not sexist, but if someone gives me an opening – male or female – I’m going to assert my dominance. That’s how I get ahead”. And then, lo’ and behold, they’re domineering over way more women then men because the women tend not to push back. At some point this evolves into an a priori assumption that women can be domineered which is functionally no different from a sexist workplace.

      You see a similar pattern with racial policing. Some cops are more likely to throw their weight around with people who won’t lawyer up – regardless of race. If they’re working in a poor minority community they will come to associate skin color with lack of legal representation (which may even be statistically accurate, though not always). Eventually you’ll see race-based policing (same stop, same probably cause, different outcome if black) But more importantly, you’ll see as much of it by black cops as by white cops … because black cops are also making the causal assumption that IF black THEN no lawyer. What’s worse, demonstrating the disparate outcome alone won’t fix it because — hey, even the black cops are doing it so it can’t be racist (and who are you to call me a racist anyway when I put my life on the line every day, etc. etc.)!

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    • I agree. The procedural filibuster is an artifact of a bygone era when there were behavioral norms in addition to rules that kept the Senate working properly. Over time, the behavioral norms have worn away and will probably continue to do so, so we’ll be left with only the rules. That’s a terrible way for a place to run, but it’s what we’re stuck with. Given that, the rules have to be written in such a way that they don’t require compromise, ethics, good behavior, or anything else for the government to function. A simple set of rules that allows things to get done is what we’re going to be stuck with.

      The Senate needs to stop pretending that it’s a bastion of deliberation and comity simply because they’re not allowed to insult each other. Their operations are soulless and unprincipled and driven entirely by game theory, so operating by a set of rules that pretends otherwise is just gumming up the works.

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      • Better now than later. If the filibuster is effectively dead, make it completely dead. The worst possible scenario is for the Democrats to keep it nominally alive, but for them to be afraid to use it lest it go away; only to keep it alive until they regain a majority, at which point the Republicans will immediately use it and dare the Democrats to nuke it.

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        • This is also true. The filibuster has always been a “fake” power that exists only as long as the people you’re using against are polite enough to let you do so. And they only did that because they wanted the same concession in return. We’re at a point where concessions and fair play aren’t really a thing, so keeping this weird artifact around is pointless. The new rules as I see them are:

          1) If you can stop an appointment and roll the dice that your party will get to steal it, you do so.
          2) Votes for Supreme Court justices will be on partisan lines.
          3) Filibusters are pointless because rules 1 and 2 raise the stakes and mean that compromise is for suckers.
          4) Vacancies will remain for as long as the Senate and White House are held by different parties.

          It’s hard to see how it will go any other way because you don’t want to be the last guy to be “polite” just to be betrayed when the tables have turned. Which is a bummer, because it means that going forward, Supreme Court appointments will be all about ideological purity instead of about being a broadly respected jurist who everybody can live with. In another generator or so, I think we can pretty much count on the Supreme Court’s votes being as predictable as the Senate, just with slower moving changes in majority.

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          • I think it’s worth noting that the Republicans didn’t filibuster Garland, they simply used Senate majority power to block any hearings on the nominee. What the Democrats are proposing now — not holding the Senate but filibustering the nominee of an incoming president — is therefore a pretty substantial escalation and further encourages the Republicans to go nuclear.

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            • Just so I’m clear; filibustering after normal hearings and procedure is an escalation from an unprecedented procedural maneuver of refusing to even schedule hearings or take any stand or vote at all on a duly elected Presidents nominee?

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              • Yes, if the filibuster is meant as retribution for the Garland block. Strictly speaking tit-for-tat would be a Dem majority blocking a Trump nominee in the last year of his term. A slight escalation would be to do it at the start of his term but with the understanding that this is a one-time response for Garland. Doing it at the start of his term after just suffering a catastrophic upset and having no Senate majority (and thus no claim to the will of the people) is an escalation.

                Honestly, the optics on this are just awful for Democrats. Gorsuch is a popular and likeable nominee. People still want Congress to give Trump a chance, and Trump is also so obviously an outsider that taking revenge on him now for something the GOP did then looks petty. They could have waited until they got the Senate back and done tit-for-tat, or they could have waited until another judge was being replaced where at least the “balance of the court” optics would be in their favor. You get one nuclear standoff, at least pick a fight that makes you look good and exposes some friction within the GOP. But this is just squandering the fight because the Democrat base is throwing a tantrum.

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                  • The GOP has a different set of priorities. First and foremost is to oppose Democrats. Second is to piss off liberals. They rarely get to a coherent view of governance.

                    As their recent privacy rights violating legislation reveals.

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                  • We can go back and forth on this, but my definition of a successful party requires turning aspects of the party platform into operating legislation, not just winning elections. The GOP is currently a failed party, and the mounting evidence is that they chose to drag their brand through the gutter in exchange for an administration that will accomplish nothing of substance. Today’s GOP is your deadbeat uncle who won the lottery, spent all the winnings on overpriced booze, and posted videos of himself saying things that can’t be unsaid on YouTube. Not exactly a role model for a functioning party.

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                • I’m not seeing how one unprecedented maneuver is a clear escalation over another.

                  Also, in terms of “people”, I think the people who care about SCOTUS nominees, or (even rarer) Senate procedure, but lack preexisting, overriding partisan preferences, could fill a bus. And not one of those big double-decker buses, either.

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                  • >>Also, in terms of “people”, I think the people who care about SCOTUS nominees, or (even rarer) Senate procedure, but lack preexisting, overriding partisan preferences, could fill a bus.

                    This is true, but it still means that there is good territory and bad territory on which to have the nuclear stand-off if you want to fill that bus. No-contest on Gorsuch followed by an aggressive push against any subsequent nominees would have given us the same functional outcome but looked a whole lot less petty.

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                    • Not seriously contesting Gorsuch will look better to the people on the bus. But it will look terrible to the Democratic partisans who want to see no quarter here. There are a lot more of the latter, and they are much more important to Senate Dems.

                      Either way Gorsuch and a Wingnut to be Named Later end up on the Court.

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                      • I think it’s important to remember that the McConnell gambit on Garland actually failed. I mean, this is pretty deep in the weeds type stuff but I think it actually does resonate with the electorate, but the GOP effectively over-ruled Senate and Presidential SOPs as an incentive to get a GOP candidate elected. They failed. Miserably. Cataclismically. In fact, the guy who won the primary did so by humiliating GOP candidates on their own policy terms. He was elected as the Anti-GOP conservative candidate (which is a crazy thing to think about, really…).

                        That said, the obstruction of Gorsuch as a replacement for Scalia makes no sense politically, even as a form of signaling. I think it’s better to save the filibuster power for the next Trump nominee, myself, and let the whole kerfluffle dissolve.

                        And with all that said, I’m not unsympathetic to TFrog’s argument that the filibuster rule for nominees ought to be chucked. In fact, ceteris paribus, I agree with his view. Problem is, of course, no one wants to be in the minority when that happens. Especially with the age of the current courts oldest members and the whack-jobs running the show right now.

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                    • Mmm I think I lean more in the pro force them to nuke direction. The GOP has plainly been seeking a filibuster for me but not for thee strategy for ages. The only reasons the Dems nuked lower court nominee filibustering was because the GOP was doing that only a couple years into Obama’s reelection. It strikes me as better to force the GOP to finish it off than maintain the fiction that if they were replacing, say, RBG, that the GOP would be any more reluctant to wipe out the filibuster. And in that it dispels the illusion of the filibuster for supreme court nominees that strikes me as a good message for the Dems to send for 2018.

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                        • Here’s the wikipage for the 2018 senate elections!

                          23 Democrats
                          9 Republicans
                          2 Independents

                          The 9 Republican are:
                          Alabama (not gonna happen)
                          Arizona (It’s Jeff Flake… not gonna happen)
                          Mississippi (not gonna happen)
                          Nebraska (not gonna happen)
                          Nevada (This one has a real shot… so that’s one)
                          Tennessee (not gonna happen)
                          Texas (not gonna happen)
                          Utah (not gonna happen)
                          Wyoming (not gonna happen)

                          (The two independents are Bernie and some guy in Maine who replaced Snowe so I’m guessing that both those guys already caucus with the Dems so even if they’re replaced with Democrats, it’s not really a net pick-up.)

                          I’m seeing Nevada as the only real shot for a Democratic pick-up here.

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                            • The Democratic seats are more interesting to me, particularly those in states Trump won, because it seems like they are moving all the chips on to the table for Trump to damage the Republican party, as opposed to trying to find strategic points of agreement and disagreement. Maybe there is another explanation, but I start with the assumption that they know their situation better than me. Here is the Hill’s list of ten most vulnerable Senators:

                              Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
                              Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)
                              Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
                              Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
                              Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
                              Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
                              Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
                              Bob Casey (D-Pa.)
                              Joe Manchin (D-WV)
                              Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc)

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                                • I’ll put it this way, if the Republicans don’t gain seats in the Senate I’ll eat a bug, specifically a mudbug. I make this ill-fated gamble, because the map is too favorable to Republicans, and since I think we are in a Jacksonian era, the legislative elections will generally run independent of “the Jackson.”

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                                  • Generally I think you are right. On the face of it, 2018 looks like a hugely favorable year to the GOP.

                                    On the other hand, what if the next two years consist of countless stories on how Trump voters are shocked, shocked by the amount of cutting Trump and co do towards popular programs. The Trump admin seems quite plutocratic and I see no evidence of the GOP being independent of him.

                                    How does this happen in your mind?

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                                    • Basically I see the map as too unfriendly; too many states where Trump won and Trump didn’t have any coottails (the Republican legislative candidate was generally more popular than Trump).

                                      Republican incumbents won’t be hurt because they have room to distance themselves from Trump. (Democrats were able to do this under Jackson)

                                      Centrist Democratic incumbents might be helped by emphasizing their unorthodoxy from the party line and standing up to elite Republican policies. That requires some strategic voting to signal their position, and possibly a weak opponent. I’m surprised McCaskill said she plans to vote against Gorsuch; I don’t think it helps with the messaging on what most people will see as a party issue. It made me think she is preparing for her next job in DC.

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                      • “the GOP has plainly been seeking a filibuster for me but not for thee strategy for ages”

                        Why would you say that? They’ve had opportunities to do so, but they haven’t. The Democrats did when they had an opportunity. This isn’t even a case of both sides do it. This is one side has done it, and you’re accusing the other side of wanting to.

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                        • Filibuster/cloture calls went through the roof in the first years of the O prez. Unprecedented numbers of them. Requiring 60 votes for everything practically became the norm.

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                          • Did abuse of the filibuster compel Dems to change the rules for lower level cabinet and court appointees?

                            Maybe. Maybe. It’s possible.

                            Or stated differently: For conservatives, when the GOP filibusters all lower level appointees and the Dems change the rules, it’s the Dems fault. When the Dems filibuster an SC appointee forcing the GOP to change the rules, it’s the Dems fault.

                            It’s all the Dems fault!

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                        • one side has done it, and you’re accusing the other side of wanting to.

                          Look, if you think the GOP was justified in filibustering Obama admin lower court appointees for pretty much the entirety of his prezintcy and that the Dems were wrong to change the Senate rules, then you should be OK with the Dems filibustering Gorsuch without a change in Senate rules, right? Consistency and all that.

                          Instead, it appears the principle is a different one: because the Dems broke the rules the principle upon which the rules were based doesn’t matter anymore. I mean, you and notme can’t consistently have it both ways, where you get to pick whichever high ground suits your partisan purposes in either case without applying that highground to your own preferences in the other. If blanket obstructionist filibustering was OK for the GOP during Obama, then it ought to be OK now with the Dems, right?

                          Simply saying “Dems did it first” amounts to one of two things: it’s either a race to the partisan-motivated bottom of the barrel (that’s what I think it is, and what you’re doing) or hypocrisy (since you apparently DON’T think the rules should be honored even tho Democrats broke them).

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                        • During the Clinton administration the GOP refused to schedule hearings for so many judicial appointments that Rehnquist write a public letter saying that the judicial system was in danger of not being able to do its job.

                          During the Obama administration the GOP refused to schedule hearings for so many judicial appointments that there is now a vacancy rate well about 10%.

                          The Democrats have never done anything at that scale. Period.

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      • Then Dems will turn around to the public and and play the victim while whining about the bad Republicans using the nuclear option as if they have clean hands.

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        • Ya know, that’d make sense if the GOP actually came out and said that they abused the filibuster during the Obama presidency because they want it gone. Which seems like what a lot of em want. You included. So why all the games about who hit who and when?

          If the GOP ditches it, they own that decision. So why not just own it up front?

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          • The GOP didn’t abuse the filibuster. They thought outside the box and came up with a way of getting what they wanted without using it. The Dems are butt hurt over the Garland and now they are doing this just to get back at the GOP. Why can’t the Dems just admit it? I saw them today on TV giving all sorts of BS reasons for opposing Gorsuch, who is arguable one of the most qualified nominees.

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            • Of course the D’s are getting back for Garland. He was plenty qualified just like Gorsuch. The R’s abused the filibuster in the first years of the O admin by requiring 60 votes for every bit of legislation. I have no problem saying the D’s are po’d over Garland and i’ve seen plenty of D’s say that. It ain’t a secret. Will you admit the R’s broke all existing norms to get what they wanted at any cost? They denied a completely qualified judge a hearing and didn’t allow a sitting prez to fill a seat our of pure partisanship? That R’s would howl just as loud, if not louder, if the D’s ever did a Garland to an R prez?

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            • >>They thought outside the box and came up with a way of getting what they wanted without using it.

              After Trump flames out, the Democrats are going to “think outside the box” and pack the court. That’s how this ends.

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  10. What stands out about the gendered kids clothes things (which isn’t limited to clothes) is the vocabulary often included.

    Quickly looking here, I see phrases like “King of the Field”, “MVP”, “Home Run”, “Rock On”, “Robot Warrior”, and “Super Charged”.

    Looking here, I see phrases like “Cafe”, “You Make Me Happy”, “Love”, “Happiness”, “It’s Cool To Be Nice”, “Ooh La La”, and “Sun Shine Days”.

    If you think about how we convey messages of power/empowerment, agency, and self-determination, the former seems to do that very differently than the latter.

    (Also, I bet dollars to doughnuts you can bet which link goes to which page just based on the phrases.)

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