Friday, March 7, 2008

Oh, The New York Post

From the publication that brought you Ike "Beats" Tina to Death, comes this charming and poignant "article", Miss-Leading: The truth about gal's serial fibbing.

Now strictly speaking this is not an article, it's a sub par book review. And if the New York Post had characterized it as such, I might not find it worth writing about. However, they are presenting the findings in this book as factual news rather than the results of an extremely small and flawed study.
Deceit, thy name is woman.
Most females lie "more cleverly and successfully than men" about everything from infidelity and facelifts to barhopping and shopping binges, according to a new book.

Susan Shapiro Barash, author of "Little White Lies, Deep Dark Secrets: The Truth About Why Women Lie," claims to have done a study encompassing 500 women nationwide. The NY Post does disclose that Barash obtained the subjects of her study through an ad on Craigslist where she solicited women who wanted to confess fibs they had told in the past. I'll say it again, she put out an ad asking for liars, and is now claiming the fact that liars have lied is scientific proof that women lie more than men. In addition to the flawed method of gathering subjects, The NY Post did not seem to think it was important that there was not a male group involved in the study for comparison purposes.

The mainstream media portrayal of women as inherently stupid, or inherently deceitful is not only offensive, it's dangerous. These stereotypes are often used by batterers in domestic violence situations to justify the on-going abuse, or used as a vehicle to deny to the public that abuse ever took place. It's this type of thinking that leads to women’s disclosures of violence not being taken seriously by clergy, family, law enforcement, etc. If you're doubtful that these portrayals are in line with mainstream attitudes about women, just ask yourself how a piece this offensive and this deeply flawed got through an editorial board and into a newspaper, and remained there with little public protest?

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