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Rampant sexism in Friday’s MX (10 September 2010)


Colour me surprised and everything… who thought I’d find rampant sexism and plain bad journalism in the Herald Sun’s tabloid afternoon news paper… but I did and I thought, why not blog about it with my OODLES of spare time (hah!).  For what it is worth, one of their journalists wrote an opinion piece dismissing the article discussing gender roles being linked to biology (thank you so much Amelia Grevis-James).

So onto the articles which upset me. I’ll find equivalent links to either news.com.au articles on the same topic, or other relevant news sources as I discuss each article that offended me.

Sin? Your biology made you do it  (Maria Bervanakis)

This article is so NOT newsworthy that it was not run by news.com.au nor any other actual news source (I cannot find it on google news at all).  Instead, the best source I can find for it is Newswise from August this year.  Maria tells us that:

A study by a church-backed uni found that biology has a major role in sinful behaviour.

US Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Matthew Stanford, of the Baylor University in Texas, examined years of research into people that commit the seven deadly sins and discovered their actions could be explained by their physical make-up.

What the article in the MX doesn’t say, which is reported in Newswise, is that Professor Stanford himself is religiously aligned, which is evident in the use of “sin” if you think about it.  The Newswire also doesn’t report of Professor Stanford actually has any qualifications in biology other than his qualifications in Neuroscience, and indeed where he obtained the qualifications he holds.

Newswire reports:

Stanford said all of the behaviors outlined in the book violate, in some way, the creative order that God has established, yet something biologically occurs in us that causes the behavior. However, biology is not destiny, Stanford said, and when we fully understand the effects of sin on our physical bodies, it becomes clear that “broken biology” can never be used as an excuse for sinful behavior.

As Stanford studied the data, he also noticed that, on average, men and women sin differently. Stanford said men tend to be outwardly manifested and focused on obtaining immediate gratification like aggression or adultery. The sins of women, on the other hand, tend to be more inwardly focused and concern on relational status, privilege or position like envy or pride.

“Because God created men and women physically different, it is understandable that the effect of original sin on our bodies and minds varies between the sexes,” Stanford said. “This is not to say that men and women differ in their degree of sinfulness, but simply that they sin in different ways. Men and women are equally sinful and sin is equally destructive in both.”

Each of these paragraphs should be addressed, although briefly because I don’t want to give this whackjob more time than he’s already had.

  1. Professor Stanford has published a book.  I haven’t read it, I’m not going to read it, and quite frankly am not interested in reading a book regarding what someone views as “sin” when I don’t share his religion.  To suggest that sin has any “effects on our physical bodies” without actually being clearer and providing examples (yes I know this is a summary report) and then saying that “‘broken biology’ can never be used as an excuse for sinful behaviour” comes across more as homosexuality is a sin and even if being gay is biological it is still a sin and you can control your behaviour.
  2. Look, men and women are different so they act differently and sin differently.  Quite frankly Professor Stanford, go fuck yourself and attend some Feminism 101 before ever saying such crap again.
  3. Look sinfulness is destructive (though it all depends on what you view as wrongful behaviour – according to Prof Stanford I’m a terrible sinner and would never get to heaven) and it impacts on women and men differently because they are different.  Seriously Professor Stanford, go and meet some actual real people and find out how similar (apart from societal conditioning) men and women actually are.

Wife’s pay can cost a marriage (unattributed)

This article was also run The Times of India, I can find no other news source in Australia that ran this piece.

Apparently, if a woman in a heterosexual relationship out-earns her male partner, that relationship breaking up is far more likely than in situations where a woman under earns her male partner. From MX:

The finding is the result of a 25-year study of more than 2500 marriages and follows other research showing that house-husbands are prone to affairs.

The US researchers found that women who consistently made more money than their husbands were up to 38 per cent more likely to divorce than others.

Jay Teachman, of Western Washington University, said possible reasons for the statistic were that financial independence makes it easier for women to escape an unhappy marriage, and dented egos – of both sexes.

For a happy marriage, Teachman recommends a 60/40 split in income, with the husband being the higher earner.

Thank you Mr Teachman for suggesting that women continue to earn less money than men and therefore have less money as a safety net to retire on.  Thank you Mr Teachman for proposing that instead of finding a way to solve the problem you’ve identified by having society treat each partner’s contribution to the relationship as valid, that women just take lower paying jobs.  And you know what lower paying jobs typically are Mr Teachman?  Would you do them?

This issue has been covered repeatedly, even on news.com.au.  So here are some good links so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you can just read it yourself.  :)

So it’d be nice Mr Teachman if you actually think beyond “let’s make the wimmenz earnz less” and into whether or not those relationships should have been saved, what societal changes need to be made so that if women out-earn men then nothing negative happens.

Payback for hubby theft (unattributed)

Matching article at the Vancouver Sun.

Now… last I checked if you were going to have an affair with someone, that other person had to be willing – otherwise we’re entering the realm of unconsensual behaviour – and the MX and the Vancouver Sun certainly do not suggest there was any question of consent.  The MX used terms like “theft” and “stolen” in this article, which implies that the husband in this case was an automaton and had no part to play in the affair he clearly was involved in.  So yes, it takes two to tango here and suggesting otherwise removes agency from the now ex-husband and makes him completely blameless.  I note that the Vancouver Sun did not use either “theft” or “stolen”.

I’m not going to debate the strange law that North Carolina has on it’s books here right now.

So thank you MX for continuing the sexism that is prevalent in the world right now.  You had a great opportunity to dispel sexism and make the world a better place, but no you decided to wander the easy path and screw women over again.  I appreciate it, I really do.

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