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Dr. Helen

I Thought This Was a Parody from the Onion

November 7th, 2014 - 10:33 am

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is. The Washington Post has a story from a professor of social work entitled “We should stop putting women in jail. For anything” (Hat tip: Terry Brennan):

It sounds like a radical idea: Stop incarcerating women, and close down women’s prisons. But in Britain, there is a growing movement, sponsored by a peer in the House of Lords, to do just that.

The argument is actually quite straightforward: There are far fewer women in prison than men to start with — women make up just 7 percent of the prison population. This means that these women are disproportionately affected by a system designed for men.

But could women’s prisons actually be eliminated in the United States, where the rate of women’s incarceration has risen by 646 percent in the past 30 years? The context is different, but many of the arguments are the same.

Essentially, the case for closing women’s prisons is the same as the case for imprisoning fewer men. It is the case against the prison industrial complex and for community-based treatment where it works better than incarceration. But there is evidence that prison harms women more than men, so why not start there?

Seriously? Women already get a pass in a number of crimes and often don’t go to prison for similar crimes or they are let off so a man can go instead. When women commit crimes, society views it as a mental health issue. When men commit crimes, it is because they are nasty, brutish thugs. I agree that there are some crimes for which neither men or women should be jailed but to act as if women should get off scott free because of their gender is hardly the answer and encourages women to engage in more criminal acts, not less. Men already pay a higher price for their crimes than women (as the article points out, only 7% of prisoners are women), so why should women continue to get a pass?

Paperback Edition of “Men on Strike”

November 6th, 2014 - 5:00 am

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Men on Strike has a new cover and preface and is coming out in paperback soon. Thanks to everyone who bought the book and made it successful enough to come out in paperback.

Election Thoughts?

November 5th, 2014 - 4:23 am

I woke up this morning feeling hopeful and at first couldn’t figure out why. “Oh yeah,” I thought, “the election.” “Do you have a little more faith in humanity today?” I asked my husband. “A little bit,” he joked.

What about readers out there. What are your feelings about the election: good, bad or indifferent?

I was reading Dalrock’s blog and saw a post from a mom blog about a woman who is upset because she is treated by others like a child:

When I was a little girl, adults would often brush aside my viewpoint or do things for me because of my age. I couldn’t wait to grow up and take control over my own life. Fast forward a couple decades later. I’m a mom in my 30′s, but I still find myself being treated like a child by other adults and I can’t figure out how to stop it from happening without being rude.

I should start by saying that I’m not a particularly small or helpless person. Sure, I’m 5’4″ in sneakers, but I’ve always been athletic and loud, by no means a shrinking violet. My peers have never felt the need to baby me, in fact, when I was in college and on vacation with my sorority sisters, they once told me that in the event of a burglary, I was the one they would turn to for protection and a plan of attack. But those older than me treat me like I wander through life with my shoes untied and a teddy bear dangling from one arm, and I can’t seem to get them to stop.

The author of the piece goes on to complain that people do too much for her and provide with help and assistance:

Bosses have refused to let me walk a city block alone at night to the parking garage, even though my coworkers go without being questioned. I’ve been passed over for assignments involving incarcerated individuals lest I get hurt and given assistance I didn’t ask for with boxes or files. Whenever I have voice my distaste for being treated like I’m an incompetent toddler, people get offended and tell me they are just trying to be nice, and I feel like an evil witch.

I have always had the opposite problem. People have always treated me like adult as long as I can remember. I am not that tall or large –around five foot six and 120 pounds, but people always think I am taller and much larger than I am. I have rarely been given assistance for much, walked alone in NYC without so much as an escort, and usually was the one people asked for help, not the other way around. I have worked with incarcerated individuals for years and lifted my own boxes and files without assistance (unless I asked my wonderful husband!). In short, I have been treated as a competent adult for most of my life–and maybe it’s because I acted like one or maybe it has to do with one’s facial appearance or a combination of physical and psychological attributes.

The mom blogger might pick up some tips from trial consultants who try to determine how people stereotype others based on facial features:

Several stereotypical or automatic evaluations of people are based on facial appearance. One prominent example is the so-called “baby face” stereotype. People with babyish facial features (large eyes, thin eyebrows, large head, curved face) tend to be evaluated as less mature, more innocent, but also as less responsible (Zebrowitz & Montepare, 1992). In the defendant, these features are beneficial, but they are detrimental to the witness. High competence, on the other hand, is associated with an angular jaw and close eyes and eyebrows (Olivola & Todorov, 2010).

Another example of stereotypes arising from facial appearance is the “glasses stereotype”. Individuals who are wearing glasses tend to be seen as more intelligent (e.g., Brown, Henriquez, & Groscup, 2008; Hellström & Tekle, 1994), but less attractive (Hasart & Hutchinson, 1993; Lundberg & Sheehan, 1994). In a modified and more modern version one would also call it the “nerd stereotype”.

If the mom blogger wants to be taken more seriously, perhaps glasses and even changing her makeup might help. Speaking and acting in a more competent fashion might also help; for example, lowering her voice and body language can make one appear more competent. She might find though, that people being nice to her wasn’t really all that bad once the niceness stops.

On Men and Catcalling

November 1st, 2014 - 5:36 am

By now, we have all heard (endlessly) about the video depicting a woman being catcalled by men in NYC. I wrote about this phenomenon in the conclusion of Men on Strike. Here is my take:

Many years ago, I lived in New York City for graduate school and I worked as a psychologist for the state. My favorite pastime while walking to work or school was to stop and watch the construction workers building these incredible high structures all across the city. Sometimes, they were just working on old buildings to make sure they were in good repair. I would stand with wonder and watch the men as they balanced on beams, hosed down sidewalks, and handled heavy material like it was nothing. Though you might want to get Freudian here and think that I had some kind of penis envy—the hose and all—my feeling was one of admiration, not envy. I was grateful that these men were willing to build such incredible structures at the risk of their own life so that I, and my fellow New Yorkers, might have a better one.

By the time I got to work or school, however, the sentiment of my fellow New Yorkers about the construction workers was not so positive. Often, women would complain that the men yelled out some kind of compliment or leer such as “looking good” or they would smack their lips. I can understand that this is not welcome for most women who just want to get to work or school without a leering squad. However, this is the only quality that these women remembered about the construction workers or men around the city who were providing services to them on a daily basis; the men’s better qualities and what they were doing escaped them. Many of the women were very angry and wanted something done about the men looking at them on the street. Gathering them up and putting them in jail for simply looking was fair justice for some of these women.

I look around every day at the wonder of men, how many of them are the building blocks of our society, quietly going about their day around my office planting trees and doing the landscaping, or mowing lawns, running businesses that hire people, working as doctors to help people get better, or just making society a better place by their perseverance and abilities. But mainly what our society focuses on now is the negative traits that they perceive men to have. Misandry is so common that no one even questions it. Writer Camille Paglia offers a refreshing exception to this disparagement of men, as pointed out by Christina Hoff Sommers:

For Paglia, male aggressiveness and competitiveness are animating principles of creativity: “Masculinity is aggressive, unstable, and combustible. It is also the most creative cultural force in history.” Speaking of the “fashionable disdain for ‘patriarchal society’ to which nothing good is ever attributed,” she writes, “But it is the patriarchal society that has freed me as a woman. It is capitalism that has given me the leisure to sit at this desk writing this book. Let us stop being small-minded about men and freely acknowledge what treasures their obsessiveness has poured into culture.” “Men,” writes Paglia, “created the world we live in and the luxuries we enjoy”: “When I cross the George Washington Bridge or any of America’s great bridges, I think–men have done this. Construction is a sublime male poetry.”

Our society has become the angry leered-at woman who doesn’t care that men can build buildings or do amazing things like be good dads, husbands and sons. She focuses instead on the small flaws that some men have and extrapolates to all men; they are all dogs, rapists, perverts, deadbeats and worthless. Who needs them?

We do. Our society has forgotten the wonder of men in its quest for retribution against men and boys who often weren’t even alive when women were being discriminated against. Many men understand the war that is going on against them and they are going underground or withdrawing their talents and going on strike in marriage, fatherhood, education and in society in general. They may not speak about it or use a megaphone to let the world know of their pain, frustration, and anger or just plain apathy, but it is there—raw and just underneath the surface. We as a society must wake up to what we are doing to men before it is too late and we live in a world that has left male potential in a wasteland.

Our society is made better by men who are productive, happy and treated with fairness. We have only ourselves to blame if we do not turn the tide of the war on men, for without half the human experience, our society can crumble, just as surely as those New York buildings would if they no longer had men to work their sublime male poetry on them. Is that the world you want to live in? I don’t.

Women and their Uncle Tims have declared a war on men — believe it. This catcall business, along with the focus on getting rid of sports, videogames and unsupervised sex for college men, is just another weapon in their arsenal for soon making it illegal to exhibit any stereotypical male traits. Fight back and don’t let them make typical male traits illegal or at least undesirable and questionable enough to warrant federal or state intervention. It is fine to let young men know the boundaries for interacting with women in a more appropriate way than catcalling or bothering women on the street. But to make typical male behavior an aberration is to give up not only men’s autonomy in what should be a free society but the “most creative cultural force in history.”

Also read: 

Feminists Don’t Want Privacy, They Want Approval

The Trials and Tribulations of the Gifted

October 30th, 2014 - 1:18 pm

I have to take CE credits for my license as a psychologist each year and decided today to take an e-course on gifted children and adults. Usually, these CE credits are a real chore where the professional goes through the motions to get enough information to answer a series of questions in order to get a certificate. However, I was pleasantly surprised to actually read a few things about gifted children and adults that was actually helpful. I thought my readers might find some of the information about gifted kids and adults helpful too.

The article I read was by James T. Webb,PhD, one of the authors of Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers. I looked the book up and read the the description:

Gifted children have unique social and emotional concerns. Their characteristics, combined with current educational practices, often put them at risk for problems.

This award-winning book contains chapters on motivation, discipline, peer relationships, sibling relationships, stress management, depression, and many other issues that parents and teachers encounter daily with these children.

It has been called “The Dr. Spock book for parents of gifted children.”

According to the article, people do not understand kids who are gifted and see them as immature emotionally because they may seem overly excitable or sensitive. A gifted kid can often see in his “mind’s eye” what he wants to do or construct but his motor skills don’t allow him to do it. He or she becomes frustrated and has a meltdown or emotional outburst and people think he/she is immature. Judgement also lags intellect as gifted kids often feel stressed because they attempt to deal with emotions and social concepts beyond their capacity. Sometimes experience is the only teacher and gifted kids are still just…kids.

Gifted kids also tend towards perfectionism and might avoid taking risks. They expect much of themselves and others. They can see possibilities, but at the same time, they see potential problems and “consider alternatives and outcomes to such a degree that taking action is hindered.”

If you want to read more about gifted kids and adults, you can go the website Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted here.

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)

Are You Safe?

October 29th, 2014 - 5:53 am

The Telegraph: “Sex with 21 women lowers risk of prostate cancer, academics find”:

Sleeping with more than 20 women protects men against prostate cancer, a study has suggested.
Men who had slept with more than 20 women lowered their risk of developing cancer by almost one third, and were 19 per cent less likely to develop the most aggressive form.

In contrast, men who slept with 20 men doubled their risk of developing prostate cancer compared with men who have never had sex with another man.

Researchers at the University of Montreal believe that intercourse protects men, and men who are more promiscuous have more sex than those in monogamous relationships.

However, for homosexual men the benefit is lost because of the increased risk of picking up a sexually transmitted disease, and the damage to their bodies from intercourse. However gay men with just one partner are at no greater risk.

Is Marriage Worth Saving?

October 28th, 2014 - 12:27 pm

The American Enterprise Institute has a new study that looks at the benefits of marriage:

This study documents five key findings about the relationships between family patterns and economic well-being in America.

The retreat from marriage—a retreat that has been concentrated among lower-income Americans—plays a key role in the changing economic fortunes of American family life. We estimate that the growth in median income of families with children would be 44 percent higher if the United States enjoyed 1980 levels of married parenthood today. Further, at least 32 percent of the growth in family-income inequality since 1979 among families with children and 37 percent of the decline in men’s employment rates during that time can be linked to the decreasing number of Americans who form and maintain stable, married families.

Growing up with both parents (in an intact family) is strongly associated with more education, work, and income among today’s young men and women. Young men and women from intact families enjoy an annual “intact-family premium” that amounts to $6,500 and $4,700, respectively, over the incomes of their peers from single-parent families.

Men obtain a substantial “marriage premium” and women bear no marriage penalty in their individual incomes, and both men and women enjoy substantially higher family incomes, compared to peers with otherwise similar characteristics. For instance, men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $15,900 per year in their individual income compared to their single peers.

The study announces some public policy changes to encourage marriage such as launching a national campaign to pursue school, work, marriage and parenthood, in that order; doing away with the marriage penalty, adding childcare credits, improving vocational programs and expanding the maximum earned income tax credit for single, childless adults to $1,000, increasing their marriageability.

The study seems to miss the point; marriage is a liability for men (and for some women, though the law is on their side). The extra income might be nice but when it gets you stuck with extra child support, alimony or just plain half your stuff taken, what’s the point of making the extra dough?

Public policy should include making the marriage arena a more fair and equitable place for men. How about doing away with or reducing alimony, giving more equal access to children, more fair domestic violence laws, doing away with jail time in child support cases and making them more fair and at least some civic education for men and boys on their limited rights so they can make an informed decision.

But the real question is, is marriage worth saving?

The Factual Feminist

October 28th, 2014 - 7:16 am

Christina Hoff Sommers: What Critics of Gamergate Get Wrong.

October 26th, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Vox Day: The impotence of the mind police.