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Invisible Women - it's all going swimmingly 🤪

Invisible Women
Invisible Women - it's all going swimmingly 🤪
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #28 • View online
Good morning GFPs, damn, everything’s a trash-fire isn’t it? But fear not! Here at IW towers aka my sofa, we are READY to turn lockdown lemons into lemonade. So, since those of you not already locked down are about to be intimately reacquainted with your homes: let’s talk hoovers!
This weekend, the A[merican]B[eefcake] turned around brandishing the Saturday Times magazine at me, saying “it u.” Seeing a big picture of Caitlin Moran, I felt flattered but confused – until I saw the headline: “I’ve fallen in love. With my hoover.”
Reader: it me. Ok, not actually me, because CM is very nice and loving to her hoover, whereas my hoover isn’t even my hoover. It’s the AB’s, which I only just discovered he owned when, fed up with walking on a crunchy floor in his flat, I released it from its dusty corner and OH MY GOD. I have never experienced hoovering like it. Naturally, the hoover is left over from a previous relationship, because when has a man ever spent that much on a hoover (tbf neither have I but still). If I’d known about his hoover I’d have moved in with him ages ago. Anyway, obvs it’s a miele hoover and TL;DR reader I married him*.
*I’m working on it.

While we’re on Caitlin Moran, I’ve been meaning to say something about her new book for a while, which I cackled my way through, pausing only to read half of it out to the AB – not just because it’s funny, but because, as Homer Simpson once said, it’s true. Which is something I really admire about CM: she smuggles her feminism into just extremely funny writing, so you don’t even realise you’re being radicalised.
Anyway, if you fancy a funny, generous, woman-affirming memoir-cum-polemic, I can recommend. I’ve been a bit baffled by some of the detractors on this – it’s not claiming to be Das Kapital. It’s much more readable for a start yeah I said it bite me. Anyway Marx had zero gender analysis so bite me there too.
A friend writes:
So my mum has read your book and she was just telling me that for years when she uses the hoover her hand slips up the handle which keeps hitting the off switch. It’s only after reading your book she realises it’s because her had can’t get all the way the handle because it’s designed for a mans hand. She will never see the world the same again. Result!!! #feministTakeover 👊🏻👊🏻🌟🌟
The hoover mentioned is a Vax Blade 2 Max, which unlike the AB’s hoover I now cannot in good faith recommend. Srsly tho in what world is a man’s hand the sensible default for a hoover handle? Because I want to live in that world amirite ladies.
Gender Data Gap of the Week
OK! Onto the serious business of the day.
So as some of you will remember from a few newsletters ago, I’m currently working on a follow-up to IW, in which I attempt to answer the question I am most commonly asked: “OK, so how do we fix this?”. No biggie, it’s totally doable, just trying to solve millennia of default male bias, i don’t even know why you’re asking
ANYWAY. One of the things I want to look at is what exactly are the messages that manage to get through and why? What makes a successful campaign or movement? So I thought I’d check back in on what SCIENCE had to say, and, well, science is being his usual self and yes that generic male is deliberate do you know who you’re talking to.
I’ve been revisiting some old behavioural science papers and it’s striking how many of them don’t sex-disaggregate their data or do any gender analysis. Somehow I didn’t notice this when I first read them about eight years ago – but I sure am noticing now.
For eg Cass Sunstein (yes, he of Nudge fame), who in 1999 wrote the highly-cited paper “The Law of Group Polarisation.” It’s a great paper, extremely prescient about social media (“It is therefore plausible to speculate that the Internet may be serving, for many, as a breeding group for extremism” – ya don’t say, Cass), but something that really struck me was how easily Sunstein slips from “men” to “people” when describing classic experiments that were exclusively conducted on men – that is when he mentions the sex of participants at all (I checked those studies and they were still all male).
Still, for the most part, the classic studies were conducted in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, when famously there were no women, so we can be a bit more lenient here perhaps.
NB: Do any GFPs work in behavioural science? Please do hmu if so I’d love to talk to you about behavioural science and sex/gender!
Default Male of the Week
Blah blah blah best man for the job blah blah merit blah blah blah why do you have to make everything about gender blah.
Gender quotas increase the equality and effectiveness of climate policy interventions | Nature Climate Change
Still. You do you, UK. After all, it’s all going so swimmingly isn’t it.
The UK: gone swimming
The UK: gone swimming
Data in a Time of Corona
Still, I am glad that the Guardian is covering it. It would be even better though if instead of doing these kind of one-off pieces about sex-disaggregated data they would instead interrogate every study press release they get instead of just blindly reporting the results as gender-neutral. Apart from anything else, it would really help me out a lot, ta vm.
Poppy Pic of the Week
That’s it, GFPs! Until next time, and happy hoovering! xoxoxo
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Caroline Criado Perez

Keeping up with the gender data gap (and whatever else takes my fancy). Like the Kardashians, but with more feminist rage. Plus, toilet queue of the week.

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