Where do we find, and how do we evaluate, gender-based statistics? Can privilege be defined by data?

Tonight I was thinking about painting the ceiling, but decided to check A|N instead.

One of the dominant topics on A|N regards gender and, more specifically, issues of representation of women on A|N, and on male priviledge. For example, one of The Nerd's posts on the topic has had 29 pages of response, as of this posting - something like 350 responses (When I checked the view did not include a response counter).

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Nerd,

The HuffPost article also has a sequel on the topic of Happiness. While that is the focus of that article, I was more concerned with the issue of whether equality, and privilege, can be measured. The issue is sort of assumed in the article. Our discussion on A|N has been related to privilege and equality per se - happiness in not our focus here. It would be a valid and interesting topic of discussion.

The undercurrent of the article is, that in this case, loss of privilege seems to be making men happier, and more importantly gaining privilege seems to be making women unhappier. I do not beleive that would be the issue with other demographics, such as race, but race is not a focus of that article.

If the researchers showed that women's happiness improved, that is contrary to the article - interesting, to say the least.

Hope you got some rest!
Daniel,
I thought you wanted this to be data driven so lacking any hard data on happiness, I didn't post. Yet I feel the need to point out that one should be careful about accepting terminology and the baggage attached. Using the term "privilege" buys into the whole ideology, an ideology based on the application of the wrong model. The sexes are not separate groups, so a philosophy and dogma based on group conflict analysis, is wrong.

We also need to be careful in interpreting studies based on self-reports. It is well established that women are more willing to seek medical help and acknowledge difficulties, both physical and mental. So surveys that show men as "happier" could be a response bias. A strong reason for that caution is that objective measures, such as life expectancy and suicide rates, suggest men don't have it so good. A fact that feminist dogmatists always seem to ignore as they throw around labels on men as a group, such as "privileged."

I recently sat on a panel reviewing contract proposals for a mental health program aimed at preventing suicide in the elderly. One application went into great detail about the preponderance of male suicides in the elderly, something like 10 times as many male as female. The bizarre thing is that after describing the huge difference between the sexes in suicide rate, the proposed program mentioned nothing about this sex difference in the program itself. No gender specific targeted out reach, no innovative ways of connecting with these old men, and the staff of the proposed program was 90% female. Nice to see that we've made so much progress toward equality.
John, if you read Nerd's blog post on privilege, she has written some good stuff and also provided some links that may help...although I'm still not at all in agreement with the application of the idea to males.
This should help a little.

IG recently had Dr. Warren Blumenfeld who primarily talked about "Christian privilege" but also touched on white, male, hetero privilege etc. Great conversation if you have not had a chance to check it out.

Interview with IG and Dr. Warren Blumenfeld
http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-49897/TS-282548.mp3

Christian privilege article Dr. Blumenfeld wrote
http://www.infidelguy.com/ChristianPrivilegeFINAL.pdf
The fact that white is the default means that white is privileged.

I see a breakdown in logic here, Andrea. The fact that white is the default means that white is the default. Nothing more. A default setting implies nothing about privilege. If you're in a poor neighborhood in Haiti and a kid comes rushing home to tell his mother about a white foreigner that bought him a piece of candy at the store, he mentions specifically that his benefactor was white and that she appeared to be from another place. The default does not always mean privilege.
Yes, privilege is a slippery concept, and doesn't apply equally in every single situation.

So you're backing away from the statment "The fact that white is the default means that white is privileged"?

I think it's important to establish if the default is equal to privilege. It's central to this and any other discussion on the subject.
Not at all. In your example, white wasn't the default, and she didn't have white privilege. I don't see where the issue is, and if you really wish to discuss this further, please make a separate thread before Daniel gives us the evil eye.

The issue is that this statment is unsupported by fact:

The fact that white is the default means that white is privileged.

The example I gave was only intended as an illustration. The default position is not by necessity one of privilege.

I'll leave the thread when Daniel asks me to. I'm hardly off-topic.
Daniel: I am hoping to have a data-based conversation if there is any possibility of that.

Just sayin'.


I'm simply pointing out what I perceive to be an important defect in logic in a point that you made:

The fact that white is the default means that white is privileged.

You made the statement in this discussion because you felt it had something to do with Daniel's topic. When I respectfully challenge it, you dismissively tell me that I'm off-topic and warn me to desist from further questioning of your statement on this thread.

What part am I missing?
Group hug may be needed now. This topic can't help but generate passions. As long as people hold one another in high esteem, I'm happy. The points of view are valued.

My central question regards measurement. If there is not a way to quantify privilege or equity, then it's like "spirit" or "soul". It may well be that people know it when they see it, but measurement tells us when it's there and when it's not. When I see anecdote, it's not the same as data. In addition, it's possible to get into who has more / less privilege (I keep misspelling the word, forgive me if it's wrong) and the concept becomes really complicated. Does a white woman have more privilege than a Hispanic or Black man? What if he's gay? What if she's Lesbian? How do we define without data - even if the data are flawed or have biases? What if one of them is a veteran, a situation that both adds opportunity and removes it. What if one has a chronic illness? There may also be "wellness privilege".

A possibly poor analogy is that I've known people with diabetes. They feel that they "know" when their blood sugar is too high or too low, without measuring it. Then they over-treat or under-treat, based on how they 'feel', which is dangerous and often wrong.

On race and ethnicity, we can easily measure equity or privilege - income data, home ownership data, illness burden, life expectancy, health insurance coverage, even pollution in specific localities, can be matched to demographics. On GLBT issues, the dollar costs of denial of marriage rights represent a burden (thread in Gay Atheists forum), violence statistics are available, but I don't know about income equity and jobs.

What I am looking for here is a benchmark, so we can say something to the effect of "there is is/not income equity" - so we need to concentrate on THAT issue; there is is/not equity or equal opportunity in jobs, so we need to concentrate on THAT issue; or home ownership, or violence, or health care (which, if we look at measurable outcomes, some may regard as a situation of women's privilege - utilization, life expectency, disease burden, suicidality, all point that direction. Health insurance coverage Im not sure about).

I'm probably not expressing it well, but I'm trying in some way to de-emotionalize the topic a little too, but also get some focus on where to concentrate efforts for communication and social change.
Oh stop trying to be reasonable and FIGHT damn it. Yell at people, call them stupid....say they're just.like.theists

Ok, I'm better now. Couldn't resist jumping on the rant-mobile.
Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Lets not bicker and argue over who killed who. - King of Swamp Castle.

But seriously, I think you made your self quite clear. To me, you're approaching this as any skeptic should approach something under investigation. Ex: new age alternate medicine. Sure someone might say they feel better after 'treatment' but that could just be placebo effect.

but I'm trying in some way to de-emotionalize the topic a little
Make perfect sense.
As remarkable as the USA having a black president.

Maybe it's just me, but when I hear 'Obama', I think 'multiracial' (or 'mulatto') instead of 'black'. How much 'white' heritage does one need to not be 'black'?

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