Misandry And The Media, A Case Study-Women Are Smarter Than Men
I wanted to write this article to provide a classic example of how misandry in the media distorts the truth. It cannot be understated how influential the media is in shaping peoples thoughts, attitudes and beliefs about things and people. From terrorism to the global financial crisis, our thinking about things is based in some way on the information we receive from the media. Since the media influences how people think about things, it also has a large influence on our decision making.
There is almost no end to the plethora of misandric articles and reports that have dominated our media for the last two decades. Prof. Jim MacNamara did a research study "Men in the Media", which documentated misandry in the media. He found that men were treated unfavourably in 69% of occasions and favourably only 12% of the time (19% of the time the treatment was neutral). Prof. Paul Nathanson and Prof. Katherine Young, have also documented the widespread prevalence of misandry in the media over the last couple of decades in their book, . Whilst misogynistic news reporting has effectively become a thing of the past in the West, the opposite is not only condoned but encouraged. One cause of this behaviour is the desire to stimulate controversy to make money (rest assured they would still do it to women if they knew they would not face a feminist backlash). But it goes deeper than that. Radical feminism has a substantial direct and indirect influence on media coverage. This makes sense. If you want to secure power over half the population, you do that by manipulating the male and female minds of that population. Suppression by force would be disastrous and highly likely to fail. Knowledge is power. "Spreading Misandry"
So without further delay, I wanted to examine one classic example out of a pile of examples I could discuss, of how misandry, radical feminism and sensationalism in the media distorts information and openly discriminates against men. In July this year (2012), The Telegraph and a number of other newspapers published stories that research had now found that women were smarter than men. The research they were referring to was a recent study conducted on IQ and gender by Professor James Flynn of the University of Otago. Professor Flynn assessed the intelligence quotient (or IQ) of 500 men and 500 women between the ages of 14 and 18 in several modern countries (including Australia, New Zealand, White South Africa, Estonia and Argentina). He used standardised samples to represent as closely as possible the diversity of the general population of each country. Intelligence was evaluated using the Raven's Progressive Matrices Test. This is widely considered in the scientific community, to be our best psychometric instrument of measuring intelligence.
What he found was that in Australia men scored 0.5 IQ points higher than women and in the four other countries women scored between 0.5 and 1.5 IQ points higher than men, in terms of the average of general intelligence. He explained in presenting his research at Cambridge, that the slightly higher recorded IQ of women in the other four countries, was likely to be due to differences in how focused each gender was in the testing room. He later went on to discuss how girls often in school (remember people in the samples Flynn studied were aged between 14 and 18) were more focused than boys and how this was also seen during testing. Thus he concluded that temperamental differences, rather than differences in intelligence, caused the almost non-existent gender difference in IQ. Specifically, differences in the characterlogical trait of focus rather than cognitive factors was at play.
He further went on to describe how two thirds of the students in his classes were women and two thirds of the late essays were from men. Put simply, men do not apply themselves to the same extent women do in the academic environment in modern times. In my opinion as a generation Y male, the classroom environment, curriculum, lack of male role models, culture and socialisation, a self-fulfilling prophecy and the one option male vs the multi-option female in modernity, are the major causes of this motivational gap in education.
What was interesting and rather disturbing, was how the media reported his research. We had titles like:
“Multitasking means women now smarter than men” (Herald Sun)
and statements like,
“One theory for the result is that the demands of juggling family life and building a career have made women more intelligent. Another theory is those women have always had the potential for higher results, but are only now realising it.” (The Telegraph)
“One possible explanation is that women’s lives have become more demanding as they multitask between raising a family and doing a job.” (Herald Sun)
But perhaps the most disturbing published response to Flynn’s research was this:
“Supporting the notion that women are more than capable of taking on the stereotypically-male hunter-gatherer role, is Helena Jamieson, 33, a consultant who studied English literature at Cambridge.
On her marriage to stay-at home father Luke, 37, she said: “We have done the role reversal. I’m definitely the more intellectual person in the relationship and I’m at work full time while he is raising our daughter.
“I think women probably always knew deep down that they were the more intelligent ones – but as the gentler sex we were quiet about it and let men continue to believe they ruled the world.” (The Telegraph)
To begin with, Flynn never said women were smarter than men. So publishing articles with titles stating this, appears to be nothing more than baseless spin in my opinion. Indeed Professor Flynn himself said that his research had been greatly distorted in the news (Psychology Today). Secondly statements suggesting that the 0.5-1.5 IQ point difference is due to multitasking, juggling a more complex lifestyle or due to innate biological differences, is at odds with the explanation he provided in his presentation at Cambridge (already discussed). In Psychology Today where I found much of the truth behind the media spin and upon which I have written this article, Flynn provided an interesting account of what happened to him when he was questioned by the media. Apparently the person interviewing him kept asking him multiple times about women and multitasking and was clearly desiring a certain answer from him. This is the misandric media bias in action. It has now become all too common with media reporting on gender related research and it is destructive. Psychologist Cordelia Fine and author of the book, Delusions of Gender, calls it neurosexism.
What concerns me greatly though, is how much impact such misandric bias in the media is having on people’s attitudes in society. When a 33 year old mother who is highly educated, holds the baseless belief that women are more intelligent than men and that most women think this way, Houston we have a problem! I would have thought someone so educated and intelligent would have the wisdom and critical thinking to know better than that. Yet clearly there is this false but strong myth that women are smarter than men and this is being reinforced by media, TV and the internet. Control the flow of information and you control how people think and act. Anyway, I touched on how this myth is even found among students in primary school in another article and the negative impact that it is having on boy’s academic performance.
If we have people being misinformed in this way and it creates false beliefs in them, we have a serious problem. This will bias their treatment of others in the workplace, in the family and at school. Furthermore we have seen the negative impact myths like these have on our society. Of particular concern, is that this myth women are smarter than men is partly responsible for boy’s lower academic performance in early primary school! (see article about the study). Frankly it is simply not good enough that newspapers and journalists are allowed to get away with this sort of reporting. It does nothing for society, except divide people along the lines of gender. Why we seem to think man-bashing is appropriate in the media and yet we outlaw misogyny is beyond me. Perhaps that is because I am not a hypocrite.
On a closing note, most of the research studies on intelligence have shown no practically significant differences in the average of the general intelligence of the genders. Where sex differences have been observed in the average of general intelligence, most of the time, a male advantage of between 3-5 IQ points has been found. Nonetheless in some studies a small female advantage has been observed. Whichever study you examine, where gender differences in general intelligence are recorded, it is important to realise that it is a small difference in the average and there is enormous overlap in the distributions. Practically speaking when observed, individual differences matter much more than sex differences when it comes to intelligence. So we should be treating people as individuals!
The only really notable difference between the genders in general intelligence is at the tail ends of the bell curve. Men are considerably more likely than women to be in the upper range of IQ and also at the lower range of IQ. This is why there are substantially more male geniuses than female geniuses and also why there are substantially more mentally challenged males than mentally challenged females. Whilst this may have some implications for society, again it does not mean we should not treat people as individuals.
I have provided the three main sources which I used to write this article below. I strongly recommend that people read all of them and compare the truth with the fiction. People need to see how prevalent misandry is in the media and what it looks like.
Psychology Today article- For the truth