Minor Mix Up With Major Consequences
Define That Term #12


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I have yet to see a male blow up doll, so that equalizes things in that regard. Sort of.

Nicole Black

Deep thoughts by wdegraw...;)

Good point. Now I feel a *lot* better about the situation.


I would have thought that weight and height would be the operative factors, rather than sex. (A 5'5" 150 lb man is going to fly through the windsheild with the same velocity as a 5'5" 150 lb woman.) A short, thin man should test like a female dummy, and a tall beefy woman should test like a male dummy. Maybe this is just a meaningless money-maker for car safety experts. Means double the testing, so double the income from their client car manufacturers.

Nicole Black

Richard, I might be inclined to agree with you but for the fact that men are always considered the "norm" in any number of culturally prevalent scenarios including:

1) the use of "he" rather than "she" when the gender is unknown

2) up until very recently, the male form alone was used in medical schools in anatomy and phsyiology class to the exclusion of the female form

3) drug tests are generally run on men only

4) the very recent reports that the "typical" heart attack symptoms that all patients are advised to be on the look out for(chest pain, pain shooting up left arm) are typical only for men--women exhibit a host of different signs

5) the fact that, if I recall correctly, most car seats are deisgned with the male form in mind, and

6) the situation in this post, wherein there are, as of yet, no crash test dummies based on the female form, and as the article mentioned, women *do* in fact react to the stresses of crashes differently than men.

These are just a few examples that I thought of offhand. I am constantly amazed and annoyed by the examples of this bias that I encounter. It's as if half of the population is a mere afterthought. And, if you can't already tell, I resent that I am part of this "afterthought" simply by virtue of my anatomy. I curse the day that I decided to enroll in a psychology class my senior year in college that focused on gender bias in our culture. Up until that point, I was blissfully unaware of, or at least, not fully able to comprehend and articulate, the bias that I encountered in all aspects of my life.

The good news, Richard, is that this is not the focus of my blog and you're not married to me, so you won't be hearing me rant about this all that often. I bet that you can sympathize with my husband, though, who is subjected to my tirades on this issue on at least a weekly basis;)


Maybe I can help your husband out a bit ;)

“… men are always considered the ‘norm’ in any number of culturally prevalent scenarios …”

It depends where one looks. I’ve phrased the items below as a woman might phrase them if she were trying to convince of female cultural bias.

*** Studies have shown that clothing stores are bias against men. In downtown Pittsburgh, for instance, department stores have 3-4 floors of women’s clothing, and only 1 floor of men’s.

*** Common courtesies are bias against men. People are more likely to hold doors open for women. Men get them swung in their faces. Women get to place their orders first in a restaurant, and get served first. Men are second-class citizens.

*** Courts are bias against men in child custody matters despite the official line that the sex of the parent cannot be considered in a decision. Women are always granted temporary restraining orders, men have to convince and cajole for one.

*** Courts are bias against men in the criminal justice system. Women are often given plea deals that a similarly situated man could only dream of. (Consider the female schoolteacher recently who got probation only for having sex with a male student.)

*** Charities show girls and women in their advertising as the only people worth saving. Very rarely will they use boys or men as “poster people”.

These are just off the top of my head. I’m sure I could match you item for item and it would no doubt go one forever. My point is that women who claim gender bias are only looking for the female variety, and seem far more interested generally than men in even searching it out. You’re right I think to curse your gender bias studies in college, as such courses usually have an underlying policy agenda, and end up producing students with unnecessary chips on their shoulders.

p.s. Oh, and I found this from John Hopkins School of Public Health, April 30, 2001 that deals with one of your items:

“Study Estimates Gender Bias in U.S. Clinical Trials, Finds Men–Not Women–Underrepresented in Most Research”

“Contrary to longstanding public perception, women do not appear to be under represented or understudied in scientific clinical research trials in the United States, according to a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings were most pronounced among cancer related clinical trials. The researchers concluded that women are represented in twice as many cancer trials compared to men, even though men die more frequently from the disease and often die at an earlier age. The study is the first to quantify gender bias in clinical research. Researchers measured the levels of bias by comparing male-only and female-only trials with death rates for each sex from heart disease, malignant cancer, and other causes. The findings appear in the April 30, 2001 edition of Statistics in Medicine.”


Nicole Black

Well, Richard, one could argue that the examples of "prevalance" of bias against men that you set forth are further evidence that our society is paternalistic, and that women have their place: ie. the home, and they'd better look cute while they're there.

Arguably, the fashion issue is driven by market factors which are in turn driven by cultural beliefs that women must look beautiful and dress nicely, since many judge women by their looks as opposed to their intelligence and accomplishements.

As for youre 2d, 4th and 5th examples, I see them as evidence that women are viewed as weaker and helpless, and are treated as such.

As for your 3d example, custody issues, I do think it is the truest example of an arena where there is bias in favor of women, but I again believe it is driven by the cultural beliefs grounded in part in gender bias, that women are more nurturing and that women belong at home with their children.

Finally, as for your last example, it appears from what I've seen that it depends on who you ask and how the study and findings are framed.

The study that you referenced skewed the results a bit, in my mind, by factoring in death rates, which are not necessarily tied into the results of a study and could be caused by lifestyle decisions, etc.

However, the studies that I read that came to the opposite conclusion as the study that you cited also seemed to skew the results by focusing on one aspect of the study or interpreting results in a certain way.

So, I think that we can call a truce on the issue of gender bias in medical research for now, since the results are still out on that one.

However, I do think that gender bias is alive and well, but that our society is gradually changing. Things ae better today than they were 20 years ago, but these types of things can't change overnight. So, I'm hopeful.

And, my husband thanks you for your efforts;)

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