"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Links - 5th December 2013

Believe the victim: a recipe for injustice - "The outraged reactions to newspaper reports of a recent debate at the London School of Economics entitled ‘Is Rape Different?’, at which I spoke, proved the point of my talk there about the prevailing ideology of victimisation. This ideology dominates official thinking about rape and sexual abuse to a point where the police actively solicit allegations with the promise, ‘You will be believed’. This militates against the idea that allegations need to be investigated. The ‘you will be believed’ mantra also fosters an unreal expectation on the part of complainants, and the victim lobby, that their accounts should not be challenged or questioned robustly. The government is now piloting a scheme of ‘pre-trial’ cross-examination, in an attempt to shield complainants from the rigours of a criminal trial, ostensibly so as not to ‘re-traumatise victims’. This is dangerous, for two reasons. First, it creates an ideal climate in which those who have not been abused can claim that they have been. Second, it ignores the ease with which false memories of abuse can be created, whether by self-persuasion, interaction with victim/survivor groups, or influence by third parties with axes to grind. Those third parties may include therapists, policemen, injury lawyers, campaign groups, and journalists avid for scandal. All these players espouse the ideology of victimisation... Even those who deny prior experience of victimisation are seen as candidates for conversion. Best quotes the comedienne Roseanne Barr from the early Nineties: ‘When someone asks you, “Were you sexually abused as a child?”, there’s only two answers. One of them is, “Yes”, and one of them is “I don’t know”. You can’t say no’... It refuses to countenance the possibility that a denial means there is nothing to disclose. According to researchers, there is no clinical evidence to support the theory of gradual disclosure... Exhortations to ‘believe the victim’ miss the point. A legal system that shrinks from testing witness credibility robustly is not an authentic system of justice"

We must be free to question rape laws - "such is the hysteria around the discussion of rape and rape laws that the outrage of the Twittersphere has been allowed to spill into the world of academia. The journal Feminists at Law, based at Kent Law School, has launched a petition for the LSE to ‘ensure that the ideas disseminated [at the debate] do not feed dangerous stereotypes about women being responsible for the sexual violence perpetuated against them’. The petition has been signed by around 85 people. Another journal published something similar, criticising the decision of the LSE to host the debate and saying it was symptomatic of a neoliberal impact agenda in higher education. What this reaction reveals is a desire to restrict discussion around rape. We are seeing the cult-like elevation of one inalienable ‘truth’ above all others. This ‘truth’ is that we live in an age where rape is part of everyday culture, and where those in power are doing nothing to stop it. Anyone who dares question this prevailing orthodoxy on rape is guilty of a chauvinistic heresy, attributable to their immersion in a controlling patriarchal society."

A Facial Attractiveness Account of Gender Asymmetries in Interracial Marriage - "In the US and UK, more Black men are married to White women than vice versa and there are more White men married to Asian women than vice versa. Models of interracial marriage, based on the exchange of racial status for other capital, cannot explain these asymmetries. A new explanation is offered based on the relative perceived facial attractiveness of the different race-by-gender groups. This explanation was tested using a survey of perceived facial attractiveness... Incorporating these attractiveness patterns into the model of marriage decisions produces asymmetries in interracial marriage similar to those in the observed data in terms of direction and relative size. This model does not require differences in status between races nor different strategies based on gender... It has been proposed that the gender asymmetries in interracial marriage can be attributed to differences in average heights... Although this is an elegant explanation, there are limitations to how well it can explain the gender asymmetry in terms of height alone. There is little difference in the height of Black and White males or Black and White females and even the difference between heights between White and Asian people cannot explain all of the asymmetry. This can be demonstrated using Monte Carlo style analysis of population patterns... Among males, Black faces were rated as the most attractive followed by White faces and then Asian faces. For the females, Asian faces were seen as the most attractive followed by White and then Black faces. The same pattern was found regardless of the ethnicity of the person doing the ratings."

Men Prefer Less 'Feminine' Looking Women For Long-Term Relationships - "men rated women with more feminine features more highly for a fling. The preference was especially high among men who were already in a steady relationship. "When a man has secured a mate, the potential cost of being discovered may increase his choosiness regarding short-term partners relative to unpartnered men, who can better increase their short-term mating success by relaxing their standards," wrote the study authors. But in making long-term choices, men "may actually prefer less attractive/feminine women," they added. Previous research has found that attractive women are likelier to be unfaithful, particularly if their partner is ugly."

Study finds education and money attract a mate; chastity sinks in importance - "In the 1930s male respondents were seeking a dependable, kind lady who had skills in the kitchen. Chastity was more important than intelligence. Now, guys look for love, brains and beauty -- and a sizable salary certainly sweetens the deal. Men ranked "good financial prospect" No. 12 in 2008, a significant climb from No. 17 in 1939 and No. 18 in 1967. "These results are consistent with the rise in educational and career opportunities for women, and men's increasing desire to share the financial burdens with a future spouse," Whelan said. Chastity -- which men ranked at No. 10 in 1939 -- fell to dead last in 2008. "When we administered the survey, several female students snickered at the idea that we even included the chastity item," Whelan said. "This is consistent with the widespread hook-up culture on college campuses." For women of the 1930s, emotional stability, dependable character and ambition ranked as the top three characteristics they wanted in a man. Attraction and love didn't come in until No. 5. Today, women, like men, put love at the top of the list, with dependability and emotional stability rounding out the top three characteristics in Mr. Right. Women rate desire for home and children much higher in importance than men do. In 2008, women rated desire for home and children fourth men ranked it ninth. Women ranked "pleasing disposition" as significantly less important in 2008 than they have ever before. Pleasing disposition -- presumably interpreted to mean being a nice guy -- fell from a steady ranking of No. 4 throughout the second half of the 20th Century to a significantly lower rank of No. 7 in 2008."

Keith E Rice - Cross-Cultural Mate Preferences - "37 samples were acquired from 33 countries covering 6 continents. Countries with culturally-distinctive sub-populations - eg: Israel, Canada and South Africa - had separate samples taken from each group. Eg: separate samples were used of English- and French-speaking Canadians... Overall the results supported Evolutionary theory - but support was not absolute in every instance... Buss’ study was seminal - the first of its kind. It was also impressively large-scale, with over 1,000 participants from 33 countries representing every inhabited continent and a wide range of cultures. The use of 2 questionnaires about factors affecting mate preference is also considered a strength of the study, as it enables the researcher to look for consistency on 2 different instruments. Some sociologists and social psychologists regard questionnaires like these as better measures than (‘real life’) marriage records which may measure mate selection, rather than mate preference or, in cultures where arranged marriages are the norm, the preferences of the marital partners’ families."

B&B owners' right to bar gay couple crushed by 'need to fight discrimination' - "The Bulls had accepted an £80-a-night double room booking, believing Steven Preddy, 38, would be staying with his wife. But when Mr Preddy arrived with his 46-year-old civil partner Martyn Hall, the men, from Bristol, were told they would not be able to share one room and instead had to sleep separately. The Bulls denied that they had discriminated against the couple, arguing that their policy of only allowing married couples to sleep in a double bed, in accordance with their religious beliefs, was applied to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. They said they had also prevented unmarried heterosexual couples from sharing double rooms since they opened 25 years ago... They suffered a drop in bookings following the controversy, which led to negative reviews online, their website being hacked, property vandalised and receiving death threats"
Given that they discriminated against non-married straight couples too, how is this anti-gay discrimination?
Amused by how defenders of gay rights hack, vandalise and issue death threats

Stepping Out of the Caveman’s Shadow - "gender differences in mate preferences with presumed evolutionary roots decline proportionally to increases in nations’ gender parity"
Some call this a "blow" for evolutionary psychology as if magnitudes of differences are supposed to be immune to a cultural context

Taylor & Francis Online :: Does the sexual double standard still exist? Perceptions of university women - "The normative belief that men are rewarded for having a high number of sexual partners, whereas women are penalized for similar behavior is one major component of the sexual double standard that was studied. The most striking finding was the discrepancy between the women's perception of the sexual double standard at the societal level and their own personal rejection of the double standard. Most respondents believed other women were more likely to enforce the double standard than were men. Women who had many previous sexual partners were more accepting of men who had many partners."

Female tourists and beach boys: Romance or Sex Tourism? - "Previous studies of female tourists and beach boys in the Caribbean have defined these relationships as involving either sex or romance tourism. The objective of this study was to determine which of these definitions was more applicable to relationships in the Dominican Republic. Male and female tourists as well as beach boys and female sex workers were interviewed. Romance and sex tourism were conceptualized as the two ends of a continuum of motivations rather than as distinct categories. Although there was some gender overlap in the continuum of romance/sex motivations, more of the female tourists were located toward the romance end and more of the male tourists toward the sex end of the continuum."
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