Monthly Archives

April 2016

personal

7 Questions I Have About Tinder

April 20, 2016

Hi lovelies ♥

Do you guys use Tinder? I have a bit of a love-hate-relationship with it, much like
with online shopping. On the one hand, they rarely ever run out of stock. On
the other hand, free returns are a lot more awkward.

But in the end, it’s a fast way to meet lots of people, and
being the sucker for efficiency that I am, I’ve gotten used to it. Well,
almost. There are a few things that still confuse me.

Can you swipe your way to Prince Charming? 

1. Do some parents just hate their children and give
them the worst name they can think of on purpose? Names need vowels. Someone should
do a public service announcement to inform people of that.
2. Whatever happened to razors and why doesn’t
anyone shave anymore? I realize some girls like beards. That’s fine. To each
their own. But why has EVERYONE stopped shaving? Is my wedding picture just
going to be me, a pair of eyes and a hipster beard?
3. Why do people use profile pictures of themselves
rock-climbing
, or mountain biking? Those are so intimidating I always swipe
left. Because what if he expects me to join in?? Then I might have to move. And
I’m really not into that. Except maybe during running. Or when I’m on top.
4.  Is it acceptable to swipe right and then text “You’re
really not my type, but the cat/dog/baby in your picture is adorable. Can I
hang out with them?” ?

5. Why has every man between the ages of 25 and 32
at some point in his life given a speech in a suit? Is that some secret rite of
passage I don’t know about? Why have I never given a speech in a suit?

6. What do people hope to achieve when they add offensive
quotes to their profiles? Like the other day I read “If you don’t look like
your profile picture, you’re paying for the drinks until you do.” I can only
assume that guy is really thirsty by now.
7. Why do men on Tinder have profile pictures
showing
themselves and a pretty girl? Like, hello? Why are you here? Go hang
out with the girl in your picture and leave Tinder to us socially awkward /
overly busy / completely desperate people!
Despite its quirks, though, Tinder can be a fun place. A few
weeks back I found a guy whose profile description said “Time flies like an
arrow, fruit flies like a banana.”

I bet he gets laid like crazy.

Love,

Damita
food for thought

Statistics 101 or What I Wish People Understood About Gender

April 2, 2016
In December of last year,
the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science published a study by
researchers at Tel Aviv University, catchily entitled “The human brain mosaic”.
The great thing about it is
that in one single piece of research, it sums up everything that I have ever
wanted to scream at people.
To quote the abstract, “Brains with features that are consistently at one end of the
“maleness-femaleness” continuum are rare. Rather, most brains are comprised of
unique “mosaics” of features, some more common in females compared with males,
some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both
females and males. (…) These findings are corroborated by a similar analysis of
personality traits, attitudes, interests, and behaviors of more than 5,500
individuals, which reveals that internal consistency is extremely rare.“
In other words, we are all individuals with unique brains and
personalities
.
So why is this so difficult for us to wrap our heads around? Why
do we believe books that tell us “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” and
raise our children differently because “boys will be boys”? 
Probably because
humans love simplicity, and they have a deep-seated need to categorize most
anything they come across. We have to, in order to make sense of the immense
amounts of data our brains take in every day. And gender is a very obvious
category to resort to, even more so because it is immediately apparent in most
people we meet: we are taught to dress, speak and behave a certain way
according to our biological gender, firmly pigeonholing ourselves into one
category or the other.
We’re just now coming to realize that the category is
problematic and harmful to many people’s identities as well as their mental
health. And here is why: The importance of gender as an explanation for our
personalities and our behavior is vastly overestimated by most people.
Gender,
no doubt, in part influences our behavior and women and men, on average, differ
on certain traits and characteristics.
But there are two important caveats to that.
1.)  
Generalizations Are About Means But We Deal
With Individuals
It is true that women, on average, are more religious and
more risk-averse. First of all, though, these effect sizes tend to be small and
unlikely to be noticeable in the interactions you have in everyday life.
Secondly, “on average” means that someone added up a bunch of religiosity
scores, divided them by the number of scores, and then had a look at the result
for men vs. women. Mean differences tell you nothing about individual
people.
They summarize statistical data and are useful for calculating gambling
odds, but they are useless in personal, real-life interactions. So, when you
assume someone that you are interacting with in real life “must be X” because
of their gender, without bothering to get to know them and find out if they really are
X, you are stripping them of their individuality and refusing to acknowledge
and appreciate their uniqueness as a human being.
2.)  Variance
Explained, or Why Gender Explains Very Little
Bear with me while I explain the statistical concept of variance explained to you in the simplest,
most unscientific way I can think of.

I love chocolate. I really do. On a dessert menu, I will always pick the most
chocolatey thing, I will always pick chocolate over a burger or a steak, and
even on a diet I sneak in a piece or two every day.

Is that because I’m a woman? The stereotype is that women
like sweet things whereas men are more likely to go for a burger or a steak.
And it’s true that women experience a different physiological response to chocolate! So maybe
part of the reason that I enjoy chocolate too much is my gender.
But there are a million other things that could be
contributing to my love of chocolate: the sugar content of my mother’s diet
during pregnancy, how strongly my brain responds to sugar as an addictive
substance in general, my number of positive childhood memories involving
chocolate, the fact that chocolate is readily available in the culture I grew
up in, the fact that my mother would never let me eat it and now I’m
overcompensating…
It’s just that these factors are not nearly as visible as my
gender is. So it’s much easier to think “Of course she loves chocolate, all
women love chocolate” than “This person seems to really enjoy chocolate, maybe
her brain exhibits a particularly strong response to sugary foods”.
If we generalize that, there are a million potential reasons
why people’s liking of chocolate varies. Some of that variance may be due to
variance in brain responses. Some of the variance may be due to variance in
cultural background and upbringing. Some of it may be due to differences in
diet during our mothers’ pregnancies, and so forth.
Only a tiny portion of the variance in our liking for
chocolate is explained by gender differences. And yet, in chocolate and in
life, we tend to focus on that explanation because it’s so easy and so readily
available.
If you are more the visual type, please enjoy this angry feminist Venn diagram (my scanner cut off the grumpy smiley in the lower right corner).
So let’s stop resorting to the easiest explanation! Let’s recognize
and appreciate each other in all our complexity and understand that there are
various reasons for why people behave the way they do. Gender is one small part
of people’s identities and not one that we can reduce human beings to.