Stereotype threat

Men who are secure in their masculinity are both great lovers and don’t waste their time trying to make themselves feel like real men by putting down women on the internet.  It is well known, and has been scientifically shown*, that men who spend large amounts of times posting about women’s genetic and nature-born inferiority have tiny penises and are trying to compensate for being lousy in bed.

Now, whether that’s true or not, such a statement may cause these loser-“men” to subconsciously doubt their virility and indeed perform poorly in bed (even worse than they already are!).

Stereotype threat occurs when people are aware or are made aware of a stereotype regarding their group.  When presented with this stereotype, their measured performance moves closer to the perceived mean for their group.  This effect has been shown over and over, for minorities, for women, for lower-caste Indians in India, in testing situations and in real situations.  It is a real phenomenon.  You tell someone that their group is bad at something or worse at something than another group, and their performance will suffer.  These negative stereotypes become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Stereotype threat is malicious and malignant.  When men post bogus studies about women and minorities’ supposed natural-born inferiority and complain about poor Larry Summers (who, incidentally, was pushed out of Harvard for problems with micromanagement, his abrasive administrative style, and his general disdain for any humanity/social science field that is not economics, and not for anything to do with his ignorant remarks at NBER), they are feeding stereotype threat.  On Chronicle forums, they are making academic women feel like they should and can achieve less.  On gifted forums, they’re implicitly encouraging housewives to stay home with their children, and to not expect as much from their daughters as from their sons.  Their unchecked general acceptance that people who aren’t white (or occasionally Asian) men are inferior can spread to other people who read their comments and “proofs” who then spread the contagion to people IRL.  And such comments push out those who would argue against them by creating and promoting an unwelcoming and hostile environment for women who aren’t willing to be bullied.

Why so Slow by Virginia Valian is a must read.  It’s a fantastic literature review and well-reasoned argument of exactly how many of these differences that some ascribe to genetics are actually the product of our culture.  If you are a nature-only person, this book provides convincing evidence of nurture.

by Virginia Valian

Even if there are strong genetic differences in ability or whatever by gender  (which there probably aren’t), that does not say much about individual people.  Imagine two normal curves overlapping normal curves, in which one is slightly shifted:

Now compare the area under the curve that is shared to the area that is not.  Individual differences will always outweigh differences between groups.   Or if you believe Pinker (and many experts do not agree with his conclusions or his methods), the two groups may have the same means, but one curve is fatter and the other taller.  Almost nobody is in the parts of the tail that aren’t shared.  Again, individual differences are always greater than differences between groups.

So, to summarize, if you have a tiny penis stop being an ass on the internet.  If you have to harm people by telling them that their entire group is inferior, you’re doing real harm and you’re a loser.  Real men don’t need to put women down in order to feel masculine, because they already are.

*using small-penis-man definitions of “scientifically,” not standard definitions from people who understand statistics, though no doubt there is actually a correlation.  Someone should study that.

Disclaimer:  Penis length is not a direct indicator of female satisfaction, nor does it actually have any bearing on a person’s value as a person. However, we choose this example because we believe it to be most insulting to men who constantly post negative “proof” of women’s innate inferiority (which is stupid of them).  Additionally, it is well known that ability in bed increases with one’s valuation of one’s partner ;).

18 Responses to “Stereotype threat”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    Hilarious and sad but true.

    With dating, it’s always been the men that have been most insecure about themselves who had issues with my height or major or assertiveness. Why do you care about how I do things? If you’re going to obsess about someone changing, then look in the mirror and change yourself.

    Of course it’s easier to try to change another person or rationalize why other people are worse than you vs actually trying to better yourself.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t understand why such men are so obsessed with their tiny penises and their terrible performance in bed that they let those insecurities bleed out on their other interactions. ;)

      If they didn’t, their performance in bed would totally improve.

  2. Linda Says:

    Looks like a good read! I’m putting a hold on that book through the library.

    I don’t think its so much an obsession with their tiny penises as it is about their frustration that they can’t just inseminate whomever they want whenever they want. If they could just spray their semen over everything, I’m sure they’d be much more satisfied. Of course, many of these assholes can’t even get an erection, so that makes them more frustrated.

    Ever watched some of the film footage of male chimp’s displaying behavior (Pan troglodytes, not the more laid back Pan paniscus)? I can’t help but think of that.

  3. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    Yesterday I was waiting to cross the street, and some d00dche in a Porsche Boxster leaned on his horn, floored it, and squealed the tires to make it through the just-red light before the cross-traffic entered the intersection, and then slammed on the brakes on the other side of the intersection to stop behind the line of traffic waiting there.

    Some d00ds were waiting on the opposite side of the street to me, and as we crossed past one another, I heard one d00d say to the other, “Small dick; big engine”.

  4. Cloud Says:

    This is an awesome post. I think your choice of example is excellent. (And I agree- I am beyond sick of hearing how much Larry Summers has suffered. Poor man had to go work for the President and everything.)

    Have you ever read Lise Eliot’s books? They aren’t scholarly- they are written for a general parenting audience. But the author is a neuroscientist and summarizes the research to support her hypotheses. I really liked Pink Brain, Blue Brain. It has made me be a little more thoughtful about how I parent, in terms of making sure that I give my kids opportunities to try lots of different things, not just keep doing the things that they have gotten good at. (Her theory is that because brain development is so dependent on experience, our tendency to reinforce things our kids are good at can lead to the development of any gender differences that actually exist. She had discussed some fascinating studies about how parents start treating boys and girls differently from babyhood.)

    I remain convinced that if boys played with Polly Pockets, their fine dexterity would be just as good as girls. Those damn dolls challenge MY dexterity, but my 4 year old loves them.

    So, on the flip side, I need to make sure that my girls get lots of opportunities to practice their spatial reasoning.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My mom made me do a ton of spatial exercises as a kid (“My spatial reasoning is terrible, YOU are going to grow up with good spatial skills”)… as a result my spatial reasoning is better than my partner’s even though he uses it on his job and I don’t.

      Haven’t read Pink Brain, Blue Brain, but we have read a ton of scholarly research on these subjects. There’s some video studies that are particularly interesting where they tell the audience that a newborn baby is one gender or another gender and then ask “Why is (s)he crying?”… and the answers differ by gender. Also grown-ups are more rough with a baby when they think it’s a boy than a girl.

      And OMG, differences at birthday parties. With all due respect to Polly Pockets, girl toys SUCK.

      My job market experience was full of people asking, “So, are you inferior to men because of nature or because of nurture?” And then me not getting a job offer when I explained the strong evidence for nurture. One of my (male) colleagues says that men in our field put blinders on and throw out rationality any time gender comes up. It is striking. Another example: a couple of men did a study showing that at one firm in Italy, absences are cyclical with a period of about 28 days. Therefore they conclude that menstrual cycles keep women from having better labor force outcomes. THEN they get upset at those “hysterical” women when they act like people in our field are supposed to act and ask probing questions about external validity, confounds, etc. I mean, seriously? Larry Summers left because the faculty were sick of his micromanagement, his denying tenure to people who he was supposed to rubber stamp, who should be on the Allston campus etc. etc. etc. *Sigh* But it worked out for me, the only place they didn’t ask me about Summers has turned out to be a really nice position.

  5. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Hm… maybe this post wasn’t deliberately controversial enough?

    Or… *gasp* maybe it silenced men with small penises! How deliciously ironic! I wonder if this power can be used in the future…

    • Tiny penis man who is lousy in bed Says:

      Since you suggested that I might have this “disease”, I came to check it out. First, I really dont care about my penis size, [ed: because it is tiny] all I know is that with so many desperate chicks who got knocked up at 19 looking for a baby daddy, its easy enough to trick them into bed [ed: I can only get dumb teenagers who don’t know any better to sleep with me because grown women won’t have anything to do with me].

      Second, I dont put down women, I put down “quota women”. There is a difference between someone who makes an honest paycheck, someone who steals for a living and finally a professional victim who cons people into parting with their money. That would be quota women…lowest of the low, too dumb even to cheat, playing victim for a living. [ed: who only exist in the imaginations of men like me who have tiny penises and are lousy in bed and need to feel superior to compensate]

      Third, I dont put down quota women to feel masculine, I “put them down” much like I would put down plagiarists, etc. Quotas are a form of scientific dishonesty. For the masculine part, refer back to the airhead chicks who got knocked up at 19 :) [ed: I am delusional and clutching the tenuous fragments of my manhood]

      So, if you are a quota woman, you ought to ask yourself: when was it that you became so frustrated in your own abilities that you went into a state of denial? When you think that the National Academy of Sciences has no idea what they are talking about, you just might be in denial. [ed: I blame all of my problems with my career on women, even though they have to work harder and do more to get to the same level that men do, also I don’t understand science and only misquote studies that support my beliefs rather than reading the much larger volume of research that supports the opposite…I would be a lot smarter if I read say, Lifting a Ton of Feathers]

  6. A. L. Says:

    > Men who are secure in their masculinity are both great lovers and don’t waste their time trying to make themselves feel like real men by putting down women on the internet. < *

    thank you !
    truer words and yes, *lol and *rofl -;)
    ahem, and my-high-five for making your point also about soc. stereotype-threat
    // now forget-about-soc-applied-science/s all you mras aka small-penis-dudes //

    indeedly, i just finished reading Cordelia Fine "Delusions of Gender" and (since i am just a humble-civil-engineer-and-non-blogess-and english-as-not-1st-language) what can i say but // bingo //
    or "turbo-scrolling-into the-past-like" Simone de Beauvoir* (re yours) or-and so-on-and-so-on aka soc. applied-sciences …

    YES : imho stereotype-threat *is real and is to *stay-for-real.
    and YES : it is a soc. two-way-street
    unless …

    these are e.g. "my future role-models" :

    and/or debunking (no, not "the small penis" (hehe) soc. neurosexism :

    p.s. pls let me know of other resources on the www/webz on this in case – i will greatly appreciate everything else you find on the webz

  7. Ponderings on Nature and its misogynistic stance « Grumpy rumblings of the untenured Says:

    […] name every day and this confidential is going to show up.  Therefore we are going to direct you to this post.  We apologize in advance for your clueless response to our post somehow not getting fished out of […]

  8. Language is important: A feminist primer | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured Says:

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  9. TPD Says:

    Stereotype Threat hypothesis doesn’t carry as much weight as it once did. Please see 2 studies by Ming Tsui, Xiao Ying and Edmond Venator:

    “Gender, Stereotype Threat and Mathematics Test Scores” – Journal of Social Sciences 7 (4): p538-549, 2011

    And also…
    Tsui, Ming. “Stereotype Threat and the Academic Performance of Chinese Students” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, Aug 08, 2009 . 2012-12-05

    Side note: I’m not in the habit of looking at another fellows family jewels… But as evidenced by our four daughters, my wife seems satisfied with the tools God provided.

  10. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Sorry– that landed in the spam filter.

    Regardless, I fail to see how one study done in a different country under different circumstances invalidates any previous studies. Stereotype threat is still real, and has been found, as it says in the abstract of that paper and the conference version, in dozens (and more) studies. This one published paper (and accompanying conference paper) in no way makes stereotype threat any less insidious. Nor does it cause stereotype threat not to “carry as much weight.” That makes no sense.

    It would be interesting to see another 19 of these done in China (with larger sample sizes etc.)… that would either ferret out what the important difference is between this study and all the others or it would show that 5% of the time you sometimes don’t find significance even though you should.

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