Trump Makes Men More Sexist

To be clear, I don’t believe the titular statement is true, nor would anyone else in their right mind. (Hey, I made a pun!) But, there are certain people on the Left who think it’s true, or at the very least would like you to believe it is. Take Vanity Fair, for instance….

As I learned in the current issue of The Weekly Standard, there was a recent study that supposedly demonstrated that the rise of Donald Trump to the Oval Office has resulted in men “acting more aggressively toward women.” How did they determine this? Rather than real-world observations and documentation, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School conducted a social-psychology experiment.

Similar to other such experiments, participants played a standard negotiation game. “A pair of students had to agree to divide up $20, but do so unevenly: One would get $15, the other $5, but who? If the two couldn’t agree, neither would get anything. Played out through the fall, [researchers] found that the young men, when paired with females, were more gentlemanly before the election and more ‘aggressive’ afterwards.”

I have always been a bit suspicious about making too much out of experiments/games like this, whether in labs or classrooms or other environments. For one thing, people don’t always (perhaps rarely) behave completely normally in such circumstances, ‘cuz they know it isn’t “real life”. Secondly, when done repeatedly over long periods, there can be many different factors influencing participants (e.g., stress over classes or work or family life, or maybe freaking out over the fact that the “evil _____ Party” won a major election), which might account for changes in behavior. Plus, I suspect that very few of these experiments have enough data to truly make them statistically significant and, thus, representative of a much larger group. Those reasons for skepticism are just off the top of my head.

The TWS article pointed out that the school’s press release was titled, “How Trump’s Election May Be Making Men More Aggressive”. At least they were honest enough to include “May Be” as a qualifier of doubt. But, that wasn’t strong enough for the feminists at Vanity Fair. When they reported on the experiment, there were no qualifiers, and the word “Aggressive” had changed to the more definitive “Sexist”. Their headline was: “Research Shows Donald Trump Is Making Men More Sexist”. Anything to maintain the party-line and promote an agenda, I suppose.

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