Sunday, April 15, 2012

Career Girls. This really needs a line-by-line.

I don't know which to feel sorry for the most - my head or my office wall, for there is no doubt that the two will be making repeated thumping contact over the next half hour or so. The Daily Mail has decided in it's infinite wisdom to explain why women only want careers because they're unable to get themselves a man. Yes, really. So here goes:

"Do girls only want a career because they can't attract a man? Provocative study casts high fliers in a new light

Well lets see shall we? Are there any women who are ALREADY IN A RELATIONSHIP who still want careers? Yes, loads. But what a horrific insultory headline! Implying any woman who works hard at her job is desperate. Fuck off!!

"Forget ambition, financial security and that first-class degree."

I do whenever I see a pair of uncomfortable shoes...

"A controversial study has concluded that the real reason women pursue careers is because they fear they are too unattractive to get married."

Hang on - lets test this hypothesis further: do you know any unattractive married people? Yes, lots right? And are there any attractive people who are unmarried? Again loads. So even the notion that you have to be attractive to get married is absolute crap.

"The research team, made up of three women and two men,"

Well why are we reading this research then? We know the female researchers are only doing it for the chance to date a lab technician.

"said that when men are thin on the ground, 'women are more likely to choose briefcase over baby'."

Personally, I prefer my men both thin and on the ground. But that's another matter. Are we really surprised that women who aren't raising families are more likely to decide to have a serious career? You're not choosing career over family if the option of "family" isn't really there. You're choosing career over daytime TV and having no money.

"And the plainer a woman is, they claim, the more she is driven to succeed in the workplace."

They will have measured this on the official SCIENTIFIC plain-ness scale right? The only possible way to rate attractiveness is to ask others to judge. Everyone will judge differently. Are you asking straight guys to judge? Or other women? And then we will also have to adjust for whether she's trying to make herself look professional for the office or whether she has loads of free time to get her hair and nails done, right?

"Central to their argument was the idea that women have evolved to become homemakers and men, providers."

Yes the parallels between hunting buffalo and being an accountant are overwhelming. Similarly those between building a fire pit and ordering groceries online. And lets look at our nearest relatives the chimps and bonobos. They DON'T HAVE homes!! They just build a new (individual, usually) nest each night. So we're left wondering what evolutionary principles we're working from here.

"They said this means that when men are scarce in a particular area, women, and particularly less attractive ladies, may decide they need to provide for themselves with a well-paid career."

That's not evolution. That's fact - if you haven't got another source of income - you have to get a job. In other news - hungry people tend to congregate around supermarkets and restaurants.

"The researchers carried out several experiments to come up with their startling argument."

Clearly none of these experiments involved looking up the word "startling" in a dictionary.

"The first looked at the number of eligible men in an area, which they called the 'operational sex ratio'."

How exactly are you defining "eligible"? I hope you had a group of sexy young women in the street shouting "Phoar, look at the operational sex ratio on that!"

"After collecting data from across the U.S., they found that as the number of eligible men in a state decreased, the proportion of women in highly paid careers rose."

So with less men around, women had better jobs. Ooops! I think you just discovered workplace gender discrimination.

"In addition, the women who became mothers in those states did so at an older age and had fewer children."

So with less men around, less women got pregnant? Quick ring the press!! Oh, you already did. Seriously?!

"To prove that a lack of men was behind the trend, the researchers then carried out practical experiments."

Removing the men from a series of small towns? Or maybe just rendering them "ineligible"!! Sounds like the sort of thing I used to do in my late teens...

"These involved showing women newspaper articles"

Hmm, well lets hope they weren't Daily Mail articles, since all you guys publish is a load of sexist dross.

"or photos that gave different impressions of the sex ratio in an area"

Photos? Of the queues for local speed-dating events? Stranger and stranger.

"and then quizzing them about which was more important – work or family."

Stand AMAZED at the magic of SCIENCE! Really? Aren't there people working on a cure for cancer out there?

"When they were led to believe that men were scarce, they were more likely to prioritise career over family."

Wow amazing. Of course there's no way guys would be less interested in their work when there was a sexy woman around. No way.

"However, when questioned, the women didn't believe the shortage of men would lead to more job openings for women. Instead they thought there would be more competition to find a husband."

Was there a tick box for "both"?

"The final experiment tested the researchers' suspicion that less attractive women would be more interested in careers because they might find it difficult to secure a partner."

So they had a suspicion about a correlation AND they had already pre-decided what the causality between the two would be? When is this research up for peer review exactly?

"The 87 young women were given mocked-up newspaper articles describing the sex ratio in nearby university campuses and were asked about their views on family and career."

87 young women? No room for statistical error here then? And remember statistically we would expect 8-9 of these women to be lesbians. So that might slightly skew the husband-seeking activity spectrum?

"They were also asked how attractive they believed themselves to be to men."

Oh THAT totally objective measure. Was Samantha Brick surveyed?

"Those women who saw themselves as being less desirable than average were highly likely to be career-orientated."

So women tended not to say "I'm great at work and totally gorgeous", almost as if they didn't want to come across like Samantha Brick. Or maybe smart women don't see such big advantages in beauty and prefer to play it down? And maybe less educated women lacking job prospects are more likely to feel their looks are important and have built their self esteem on them?

"Researcher Kristina Durante, from the University of Texas at San Antonio, said: 'Does the ratio of men to women in a local population influence women's career aspirations? Real-world archival data and a series of laboratory experiments suggest that the answer is yes.'"

Yes of course it does. More shagging equals less working. I hardly think this is a gender issue.

"In Britain, there are slightly more younger men than women. However, females aged 36 or older are in the majority. And at universities, female undergraduates now outnumber males."

Is this one of those fake newspaper articles intended to trick me into wanting a family? What impact can we expect this "slight" imbalance to have? Maybe a "sight" one. One not worth ringing the papers about. Call me when there's an international man shortage, I have heard the Daily Male suggest this a million times and yet somehow despite it all, I am still getting laid. Who knew?

"Economist Ruth Lea said that on a basic level it made sense that women would have to support themselves if the odds of being supported were low."

Yes on a basic level, it does. I can't help thinking that men will have to support themselves if others don't do it too. That's rather the cruel nature of our free market economy, no? Unless this is a sneaky trick to show Daily Fail readers how important it is to a generous welfare state in place.

"However, she said many factors, from aptitude to ambition, played a much larger part in a woman's career path."

So a better, less misleading, headline would have been: Availability of hot men doesn't have much impact on women's career choices.

"And agony aunt Pam Spurr said:"

Oooh here comes the next bit of science - an anecdote from an "agony aunt". Dear Pam, I've got these strange pimples on my frou-frou and I'm worried I caught them from sleeping with my teddy between my legs after he fell down the loo. Also I can't find anything else to write in my stupid misogynist article and it's only half a page long so far. Love Fiona xxx

"'I often find that women who were getting on well in the workplace will in private conversations with me, express wanting to settle down.'"

Women who have one thing also want another? It's like they're HUMAN! Alert! Alert! Conclusion of article contravenes Daily Mail's official editorial policy! Alert! Alert!

"The study, which was carried out by U.S. and Dutch researchers, is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology."

I must subscribe. It sounds great. In next months issue: People with ear wax problems buy more of those sticky cotton buds things that you're really not supposed to stick in your ears but it feels really fucking good when you do EXCLUSIVE.

There is honestly not a single iota of newsworthiness in this whole article. It is just the Daily Mail randomly deciding to attack women by suggesting that successful, ambitious ones are ugly. Well Fiona MacRae - you wrote it and lookie lookie, your name is up there in big letters in a big national newspaper. Don't go getting too near any mirrors huh?


Anonymous said...

Kinda depressing the way they think about women..

Unknown said...

I don't... I can't even fathom how this person's brain works. It's degrading and humiliating and, honestly, embarrasing for the rest of us. I drive to be both a mother and a teacher. So what's that supposed to say about me, huh? I have a man and I want a career? Unbelievable...