Research: new study finds girls view sexual violence as normal

Citation: Hlavka, H. (2014). Normalizing Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse. Gender & Society, 28(3), pp.337-358.

Abstract:

Despite high rates of gendered violence among youth, very few young women report these incidents to authority figures. This study moves the discussion from the question of why young women do not report them toward how violence is produced, maintained, and normalized among youth. The girls in this study often did not name what law, researchers, and educators commonly identify as sexual harassment and abuse. How then, do girls name and make sense of victimization? Exploring violence via the lens of compulsory heterosexuality highlights the relational dynamics at play in this naming process. Forensic interviews with youth revealed patterns of heteronormative scripts appropriated to make sense of everyday harassment, violence, coercion, and consent. Findings inform discussions about the links between dominant discourses and sexual subjectivities as we try to better understand why many regard violence a normal part of life.

Link to full article page on Sage.

HT to lipmag:

A new study titled ‘Normalising Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harrassment and Abuse’, published in Gender & Society, has found that girls and young women will rarely report incidents of sexual violence because they view them as ‘normal.’

The study analysed interviews conducted by the Children’s Advocacy Center with 100 young women between the ages of three and seventeen, who may have been sexually assaulted.

According to the findings of the research, it was common for the young women to trivialise their experiences of sexual harassment or assault, and that ‘objectification, sexual harassment, and abuse appear to be part of the fabric of young women’s lives.’

Incidences of assault or harassment appeared to be so ingrained into their experiences that they didn’t see them as particularly unacceptable or inappropriate.

The study concludes that ‘young women often held themselves and their peers responsible for acting as gatekeepers of men’s behaviours; they were responsible for being coerced, for accepting gifts and other resources, for not fending off or resisting men’s sexual advances…’

While the results of the study are disgusting and eye opening, they are unfortunately not very surprising for those who continue to speak out about and struggle against the rape culture that exists in Western society. (lip magazine)

Sunday feminist roundup (20th July 2014)

All else on another busy week with work and play.

  • See How This Feminist Artist Brings Women’s Struggles to Life (feminspire): “When I started really getting into my painting and wasn’t doing just simple still lifes, I had no idea that I was a feminist painter or that I was going to become one, even though feminist paintings are exactly what I was creating from the beginning. I had no idea that that’s what was going on, it just kind of happened,” she says, “I mean, like, what percentage of people in the world are women? There are so many of us going through similar situations. Though I want to send a message to everybody, not just women, that these things affect us, and a lot of people don’t fully realize just how difficult certain aspects of being a woman are.
  • 6 Reasons Why We Should Stop Telling Each Other it’s “OK” to Be Single (feminspire): Why aren’t there reasons for why it’s “OK” to be in a relationship as well? The implication is that being in a relationship is some kind of ideal for women, or default. And that’s simply not the case.
  • Many women scientists sexually harassed during fieldwork (nature): Working in the field sounds like a scientist’s dream, but for some, it can turn into a nightmare. The largest survey yet to examine the prevalence of sexual harassment among scientists doing field work suggests that it is an overlooked problem— and that female trainees may be disproportionately vulnerable.
  • | 6 Female Creations Attributed to Dudes by @elizabethethird (aroomofourown): Back in the day when it was pretty much unheard of for women to be recognized as producers of creative or intellectual worth (specifically the 1800s…ish) Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Magie invented a board game called The Landlord’s Game (Monopoly).
  • 6 Tips for Working in Solidarity with Muslim Women (everydayfeminism): For many, due to media portrayals, a Muslim feminist may seem like a contradiction. Media portrayals of Muslim women regularly oppress, fetishize, and politicize our bodies, and it is important to know that these portrayals of the oppressed Muslim women are often in stark contrast to our lived realities.
  • ‘All the worlds a prison’ – 19th century career girls (fwsablog): If Victorian working women are represented at all in today’s culture, it is usually an image of poor women working in factories or mills, struggling to make ends meet. (For example, the recent Channel 4 historical drama The Mill.) As Author Wanda Neff says ‘The mill women have come to stand, in popular opinion, for the Victorian working woman.’ [i] The experiences of upper and middle class women who worked to give themselves financial independence or women who dedicated their lives to philanthropy outside the home, have not been as widely portrayed.
  • Tackling the gender gap is simple: pay women more money. End of story. (theguardian): Here it is: we simply pay women more money. Whether we do this by reducing women’s tax burden, providing them with an income supplement, or allowing women to personally shake down their male colleagues until an appropriate amount of change falls from their pockets, I don’t mind. But it’s clear that sitting around furrowing our brows isn’t working, so it’s time to make some changes.
  • States Prescribe Bad Medicine for Women Seeking Abortions (msmagazine):Days before senators testified on behalf of a bill to protect women’s health services, the National Partnership for Women and Families released a report detailing just how threatened these services are. Aptly titled “Bad Medicine,” the report focuses on a specific threat to women’s healthcare: laws restricting doctors’ professional discretion and mandating how abortions are performed. Such laws require doctors to choose between adhering to a one-size-fits-all law or doing what they know is best for the individual patient.
  • Immigration is a feminist issue (msmagazine): [...] immigration laws are inherently sexist. The way the family visa system is set up, and the fact that men are still likely to earn more and have the “lead career” in a relationship, makes many women immigrants completely dependent on their husbands. This can trap women in poverty and abusive relationships. And of course if you happen to have brown skin, the system only gets more horrifically oppressive.
  • More women in cabinet means better policy but greater conflict, research shows (theconversation): Having more women in cabinet is likely to lead to issues which are important to women being further up the political agenda. Yet commentators have pointed out that many of the females appointed to the cabinet have values and interests which might be considered as antithetical to the interests of women. So perhaps in this instance, the impact will be lessened. However, the government’s opponents might take comfort in another piece of research. A systematic review of the literature shows that Conservative women tend to have more left-leaning economic policies than their male counterparts. The big question now is how this more diverse cabinet will perform, not so much in terms of ideology but as a group able to take the best decisions. We know Conservative cabinets have traditionally been dominated by old white males; what now? Evidence from studies of diverse groups suggest a more diverse cabinet is likely to have more conflict, take longer to come to a decision, but come up with better solutions. Also we should expect members of the cabinet to be less satisfied with the group process.
  • ‘I Don’t Need Feminism Because’: The Women Who Fight Equality (tokenfeminist): I have seen this happen too many times. It is a case of women refusing to acknowledge the significance of other women’s experiences, simply because they have not had similar ones. It is a blatant denial of facts and it takes away from those women any power that they had to begin with. Now, obviously I am not saying that all women need to constantly back each other up and never argue or disagree. Everyone is entitled to their opinions about individual issues, but no one is entitled to belittle the personal experiences of others or to suggest that the violence inflicted on women the world over does not matter simply because they themselves are doing fine.

Seven studies on mansplaining. Conclusion: it definitely exists

Below are summaries of studies into the idea of “mansplaining”, which describes the act of a man speaking to a woman with the assumption that she knows less than he does about the topic being discussed on the basis of her gender. 1

1. Women get interrupted more than men. Both men and women interrupt women more often than they interrupt men, according to a paper published earlier this year in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. In that study, two researchers at George Washington University reported on an experiment where they put 20 women and 20 men in pairs, then recorded and transcribed their conversations. The result: Over the course of each three-minute conversation, women interrupted men just once, on average, but interrupted other women 2.8 times. Men interrupted their male conversation partner twice, on average, and interrupted the woman 2.6 times.

2. Men interrupt women to assert power. Not all interruptions are the same, of course—sometimes we interrupt people to be encouraging about what they’re saying. But a 1998 meta-analysis of 43 studies by two researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz from 1998 found that men were more likely to interrupt women with the intent to assert dominance in the conversation, meaning men were interrupting to take over the conversation floor.  In mixed groups rather than a one-on-one conversation, men interrupted even more frequently.

Rest: Bitch Media.

1 ThinkProgress.

Sunday feminist roundup (13th July 2014)

All else this week.

Research: What Looks Like Sexism and Why? The Effect of Comment Type and Perpetrator Type on Women’s Perceptions of Sexism

Very interesting indeed. We (potentially) grade sexist comments and perceive some comments (hostile and from strangers or bosses) to be more sexist than others (benevolent and from boyfriends).

Abstract:

Sexist comments are not perceived equally in the eyes of women. We extend previous research by examining the degree to which multiple types of potentially sexist comments made by multiple types of men are perceived as sexist. Further, we examine the degree to which three possible mediators—prototypicality, perceived intent, and interdependence—explained these effects. Female undergraduate students (N = 248) were randomly assigned to read a scenario in which a hostile sexist, benevolent sexist, or objectifying comment was made by one of three types of men: a stranger, their boss, or their boyfriend. Results demonstrate that hostile sexism was perceived as more sexist than benevolent sexism or objectification. Comments made by boyfriends were also rated as less sexist than those made by bosses or strangers. Furthermore, perceptions of prototypicality of the comment or perpetrator and perceived intent to harm mediated the effect of study manipulations on perceptions of sexism.

Riemer, A., Chaudoir, S. and Earnshaw, V. (2014). What Looks Like Sexism and Why? The Effect of Comment Type and Perpetrator Type on Women’s Perceptions of Sexism. The Journal of General Psychology, [online] 141(3), pp.263-279. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221309.2014.907769 [Accessed 11 Jul. 2014]. Full PDF (Taylor and Francis Online)

Sunday feminist roundup (6th July 2014)

All else on my radar this week.

- Income is a Poor Measure of American Inequality (thesocietypages)

- Newsflash: Facebook has Always Manipulated Your Emotions (thesocietypages)

- Yarl’s Wood women win chance to have their voices heard (downsizingcriminaljustice)

- The horror of Tuam’s missing babies is not diminished by misreported details (theguardian)

- Rape and reputation (thefword)

- The “Magaluf Girl”: Consent, Alcohol and Coercion (elegantgatheringofwhitesnows)

- ‘Lads Mags’ Now Less Sexist Than Newspapers (tokenfeminist)

- Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me: The Scourge of Mansplaining (newrepublic)

- Magaluf Girl: Consent and Sexuality (everydayvictimblaming)

- “Papa Don’t Preach”: TED-like Talks at Malmo Nordic Women’s Forum May 2014 (feminismandreligion)

- Men’s Rights Activists are at It Again, This Time at an International Conference on Men’s Issues (bust)

- Why “like a girl” shouldn’t be an insult (feministing)

- Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me: The Scourge of Mansplaining (newrepublic)

- Magaluf Girl: Consent and Sexuality (everydayvictimblaming)

We’re back to Loaded-style ironic sexism, then. Only without the irony.

Sexism clearly hasn’t gone away, and – guess what? – it never will. Sexism is when a woman is videoed giving what tabloids call “sexual favours” to men in a bar in a Magaluf and she is called “a slag” but the men are called “lads”, as happened this week (and as happened to a woman who went to an Eminem concert near Dublin last year, and as will happen again). We all know this is sexist – hell, even the Daily Mail admitted it knows this is A Bit Off. Awareness of what sexism is has never been greater, thanks to the return of feminism and call-outs of sexist acts on social media.

Ironic sexism is when someone deliberately exploits this awareness for attention. (You think you trolled Thicke on Twitter this week with the #AskThicke hashtag? He trolled you, my friends.) They believe a vague awareness of that offensive nature means anyone who finds their antics pathetic, stupid and indeed sexist is Just Not Getting the Joke. We saw this before, in the 90s with idiotic laddish culture, and we are seeing it again now. Back then, it was treated as a kind of release; now it is attention-seeking lechery dressed up as art (Bugg claims that his video is “a reference to the Electric Ladyland cover”, as though cultural referencing is some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card as opposed to an admission of a total lack of originality.)

The biggest irony about ironic sexism is that it’s not ironic at all. Irony is the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think. Like it’s bro-in-arms, hipster racism, ironic sexism isn’t the opposite of sexism; it’s an open admission of sexism, with the bonus confession of being quite thick. Or, indeed, Thicke.

Hadley Freeman on We’re back to Loaded-style ironic sexism, then. Only without the irony.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about Loaded’s new plans.

Related:

The demise of lads’ mags, the rise of feminism
Loaded relaunches with ‘zero-nipple’ policy – and unveils Julie Burchill as a columnist

A Map of Woman’s Heart: Appalling Victorian Gender Stereotypes, in Illustrated Cartography

love of admiration, on A Map of Woman’s Heart: Appalling Victorian Gender Stereotypes, in Illustrated Cartography – Brain Pickings

A Map of the Open Country of a Woman’s Heart was a map created by D. W. Kellogg circa 1833–1842, in the tradition of these maps of the human condition you might recall, subtitled “Exhibiting its internal communications, and the facilities and dangers to Travellers therein.” Though it mostly depicts Woman as a sentimental, selfish, and superficial being driven by vanity, it places Love at the center of her heart, with Good Sense, Patience, and Prudence at its tip — or bottom, depending on the interpretation.

Loaded relaunches with ‘zero-nipple’ policy – and unveils Julie Burchill as a columnist

Kat Banyard, a spokesperson for the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign, said: “Since Lose the Lads’ Mags was launched by UK Feminista and Object, Nuts and Front have folded, Zoo’s sales have plummeted by a third, Stuff has dropped sexist covers and Loaded has announced it is ditching sexually objectifying content.

“This hugely significant sea-change in the magazine sector didn’t ‘just happen’. It was the thousands of people that stood up and demanded action who forced the hand of lads’ mag editors.”

She added: “For years the publishers of lads’ mags have peddled sexist, dehumanising images of women in order to turn a profit – but it is women and girls who have paid the price.

“Magazines like Loaded, Front, Nuts and Zoo have fueled attitudes that underpin violence against women – and that violence is at crisis levels. The changes we are seeing were hard fought for and long overdue.”

Kay Banyard on Loaded relaunches with ‘zero-nipple’ policy – and unveils Julie Burchill as a columnist.

Poll: One in four British women think their main role is in home

Unexpected statistic here. Also, some interesting international comparisons.

Almost one in four British women believe their main role in life is to be a good wife and mother, an international study has found.

Women in the UK are almost as likely as men to hold a traditional view on the role of the sexes, it shows.

New global polling by Ipsos MORI found that British people are less traditionalist overall on the issue of gender than Americans, Germans or Australians but substantially more so than those in many other European countries including France, Spain, Italy and Sweden.

British women are just as likely to see their role in traditional terms as their counterparts in Turkey.

More than 16,000 people in 20 countries were polled as part of a survey of attitudes to a range of social issues to be published later this year.

On the Telegraph.

Sunday feminist roundup (29th June 2014)

I say this every week but that’s because it’s true. Another packed week at work so there’s been very little keeping up. Here’s a catch up.

- Call Robin Thicke’s #GetHerBack Campaign What It Is: Stalking (msmagazine)

- Johns are now an oppressed sexual minority (feministcurrent)

- Lana Del Rey’s “Ultra-Violence”: An Indictment of Post-Feminism (newrepublic)

- In Solidarity with Egyptian Feminists – The Feminist Wire (thefeministwire)

- It’s divisive to talk about rebranding the F word (feministtimes)

- Meet the Chinese women standing up to inequality (theguardian)

- Vulvas, gender and the real price of being female (elegantgatheringofwhitesnows)

- India’s Sexual Assult Epidemic- Indian PM says: “Rape… Sometimes it’s Right” (aroomofourown)

- Decapitated naked women golf tees (feministphilosophers)

- A lack of respect for women (feministphilosophers)

- 46 Plays By Women You SHOULD Be Seeing (msmagazine)

- 45 Years After Stonewall, the LGBT Movement Has a Transphobia Problem (prospect)

What Makes a Slut? Apparently, Just Being a Woman

Criteria hazy.

On Alternet: Sandra Fluke heard it when she talked about insurance coverage for birth control. Sara Brown from Boston told me she was first called it at a pool party in the fifth grade because she was wearing a bikini. Courtney Caldwell in Dallas said she was tagged with it after being sexually assaulted as a freshman in high school.

Many women I asked even said that it was not having sex that inspired a young man to start rumors that they were one.

And this is what is so confounding about the word “slut”: it’s arguably the most ubiquitous slur used against women, and yet it’s nearly impossible to define.

The one thing we do know about “slut” is that it’s the last thing a woman should want to be. Society is so concerned over women and girls’ potential for promiscuity that we create  dress codesschool curricula,even legislation around protecting women’s  supposed purity. Conservative columnists opine that women having sex is tantamount to a “mental health crisis”, and magazine stories wonder if we’re raising  a generation of “prosti-tots”.

Rest on Alternet.

Sexists and racists are resorting to online sabotage. But they still won’t win

On theguardian.com: This week, sexist and racist trolls have borrowed the tactics of the CIA and Scotland Yard and sent in agents provocateurs to spread disharmony among online activists. Using stock photos and the stolen information of real activists, users of sites such as 4chan started hashtags including #Endfathersday and #whitescantberaped that are deliberately designed to provoke sections of the social justice left into internal arguments.

Most of these trolls have posed as women of colour, whom they call “black bitches”. Other users have falsified racist tweets from prominent feminists and leftists, and created sock-puppet accounts to make sure the fake tweets are seen and condemned. Users including Shafiqah Hudson picked up on the scam, and identified at least 200 such accounts. Someone has gone to considerable effort to pull off a swindle intended to exploit the “weaknesses” of a movement that, despite a tendency to turn on itself, is growing in strength.

Rest: theguardian.com.

Sunday feminist roundup (22nd June 2014)

All else this week:

I’m Sorry, but Women Really Need to Stop Apologizing

On Time (Ideas): Here are a few of the dumbest things I’ve apologized for in the last week:

  • To a waiter, when I asked again for water, after he repeatedly forgot to bring it
  • To the dude who bumped into me at a party, spilling his drink down the front of my dress
  • To a friend of a friend of a friend I agreed to give advice to, when she had to change the time

I started thinking about sorry this morning after watching the latest empowerment ad from Pantene (yes, the shampoo brand) titled “Sorry, Not Sorry.” In it, we see women apologize at work (“Sorry, can I ask a stupid question?”), at home (“Sorry,” a mom says, handing her baby over to what appears to be her husband), to strangers (the man who bumps a woman as he spreads out in a seat), and friends. It’s followed by a click moment: “Don’t be sorry,” the ad states, followed by a hashtag sales pitch to “Shine Strong.”

As far as ads go, this one is good — and yet when a shampoo brand is telling us to stop apologizing, it’s fair to say we’ve reached a sorry tipping point.

“I realized my sorry habit was bad when I heard myself apologizing to my boyfriend for a burned dinner that he cooked,” my friend Cristen Conger, the creator of a feminist podcast called Stuff Mom Never Told You, told me.

I forwarded her response to another friend. “What’s up with ladies and ‘I’m sorry’?” I asked.

“Sorry I didn’t reply sooner,” she replied, 45 minutes later.

Rest: I’m Sorry, but Women Really Need to Stop Apologizing

Parliament is sexist, masculine and out of date, say British women

Follow-up poll about who is surprised reveals less striking results.

On the Observer: Outdated, ruthless, rich and male: that is women’s overwhelming and damning view of Westminster, according to a survey by the parenting website Mumsnet.

In a questionnaire that brings home just how disenchanted many female voters are with the current parliament, nine out of 10 of Mumsnet’s members, who are 97% female, say they believe the political culture there to be sexist, while two-thirds believe success in politics is all down to what school or university you went to and the “old boys’ network”.

“It’s quite stark,” said Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts. “Of course I would say, yes, we know a lot of this, but the clarity of these results, the overwhelming strength of feeling, are quite remarkable.”

When asked which characteristics would be advantageous in politics, 94% of respondents said ambition, 92% cited social connections, 86% said ruthlessness, 84% said being well-off, and 78% said being male.

Rest on The Observer.

Beauty companies now want women feel insecure about our insecurities

Ask for more money. Stop with the “up-speak”Love your body! The helpful pieces of very public advice thrown at women sure are starting to sound more like orders than encouragement. And the latest bit of go-get-‘em girl guidance – a commercial from Pantene imploring women to stop apologizing for everything – has just about sent me over the edge. Because instead of just selling us physical insecurity by implying we’re fat or wrinkly, beauty companies are now trying to make us feel insecure about our insecurities – all while giving themselves a pat on the back for “empowering” us to feel better (and collecting our money, of course).

Rest.

Unpopular Opinion: I Don’t Like Jane Austen

And I do understand that she was writing using the cultural expectations of her own era, but she seems to glorify Georgian societal constraints, where her characters are either praised or punished for their respective willingness to comply. The talkative and awkward spinster Ms. Bates (Emma), the vivacious Lydia Bennet (Pride and Prejudice), and the lovesick Maria Bertram (Mansfield Park) are forced to live condemned existences for “breaking the rules,” while Marianne Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility), Harriet Smith (Emma), and Jane Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) live comfortably since they followed the more accepted path, never daring to buck the restrictions placed upon them. She is the 19th century’s version of Stephenie Meyer, condemning anything that does not uphold the traditional, sexist values she was taught. Both Emily and Charlotte Bronte also wrote about women facing the same issues that Jane Austen did – poverty, marriage, social standing, etc. – only they chose to criticize the society that jailed their characters. I can relate to the Charlotte’s Jane Eyre more than I can to Jane’s Lizzy Bennet, even though both are independent-minded and intelligent, because Bennet is still so blinded by her own culture that she doesn’t really seek to change anything about it (e.g. her own reactions after Lydia runs away with Wickham). Honestly, I would probably not done very well in the Regency Age and would have ended up very much like Ms. Bates, at best.

“Unpopular Opinion: I Don’t Like Jane Austen” on feminspire.

Written by Jennifer Trela (A Little More Juju, or you can follow her on Google+ and Twitter).

This is certainly an interesting take on Austen. And I see its point.

Women as Background Decoration – Tropes vs. Women (video)

In this episode we explore the Women as Background Decoration trope which is the subset of largely insignificant non-playable female characters whose sexuality or victimhood is exploited as a way to infuse edgy, gritty or racy flavoring into game worlds. These sexually objectified female bodies are designed to function as environmental texture while titillating presumed straight male players. Sometimes they’re created to be glorified furniture but they are frequently programmed as minimally interactive sex objects to be used and abused.

Rest: Feminist Frequency.