Washington Post Please

So it has come to this Washington Post. I can’t believe that it has come to this. I have known for a while that your writers have their own agenda to push and I respect that. I’ll still read it every now and again for a chuckle. Kinda like Salon or Slate, but with writers a bit more serious and to the point and not outrageously biased. But now you’ve come to this? Contradicting yourself in your own articles? Let’s take a look at this article. All quote boxes will come from the article unless otherwise stated.

So one thing to note is the title. “Men say they work more than women. Here’s the truth”. Such a title implies that women would work more than men. Otherwise, the title wouldn’t be worded in such a way. Otherwise, the title would be worded “Men work more than women” or something to that effect. So right off the bat, I’m assuming that this article is going to try to tell me that women work more than men. For people with an agenda of equality, such a statement should still pose a problem but whatever.

Since 2003, when government researchers started collecting the data, men have reported devoting more life to paid labor than their female counterparts. In 2015, employed men recorded working an average 42 minutes per day longer than employed women. Women, meanwhile, said they spent more time on housework: 2.6 hours, compared to the men’s 2.1 hours.

Huh. Actually looks like they forgot their agenda. So men do work more per day than women, and women spend more time on housework. However, men still work more overall. There are 60 minutes in an hour, and 42 minutes is 70% of an hour, or 0.7 hours. Women work 0.5 hours more than men on housework. So the net difference is that overall… men work 0.2 hours more than women (12 minutes). Unfortunately I don’t know what the housework totals are for, weekly or daily. I’m assuming it’s per day. So with men working 12 minutes more (on average) per day, over the course of a year men will work 73 more hours than women. That’s over two full work weeks! Oh, but you know that the author needs to push their agenda in the face of facts. So how do they negotiate this obstacle? Part-time employment.

“This difference partly reflects women’s greater likelihood of working part time,” the authors explained. “However, even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women — 8.2 hours compared with 7.8 hours.”

Ouch, do you hear the sound of a crumbling narrative? Part-time jobs are kind of like a double-sided knife. They tend to offer flexible hours but they’re not always a consistent set of hours. So maybe it is better to consider full-time employees. Except when you do that, it seems men still work 24 minutes more per day. Well then it’s open and shut, isn’t it? Oh no, it’s never that simple when it comes to dealing with people pushing an agenda on lies.

Let’s start with a few massive caveats in the Labor Department’s report. First, the researchers asked each respondent to log their own time. Nobody submitted manager-approved work hours, and research tells us one of the sexes generally tends to overestimate. Secondly, the survey didn’t measure productivity or efficiency. Workaholism isn’t necessarily a sign of value.

You know, it’s good that they worded it the way that they did. Otherwise they’d be caught telling a lie. The research they’re referring to suggests that men will overestimate their abilities and performance while women will underestimate their abilities and performance. I have anecdotes which suggest the same; however I believe the implication is that men would lie about how many hours that they worked. But it’s weird. They link to an Atlantic article which doesn’t suggest that men lie about the hours they work, just that men take more chances. Women hold themselves back. Which has pretty much been what the wage gap deniers have been telling people all along but ‘muh wage gap’. Why is the Washington Post trying to imply that men would lie about their hours rather than the more natural conclusion that men just work more? And then it states that the survey didn’t measure productivity or efficiency, which might be true. But that was never the point of the survey. The point was just to get a gauge on how much people work. When the data came out, men worked more. But that runs counter to your narrative, so now you’re stuck in a spot in which you need to find a way around it. So you go to “men lie” and “the quality of goods was never measure, women could be making goods the same quality or with better quality”.

You know, in science when there’s a lack of evidence for a hypothesis, we tend to discard that hypothesis. But not Washington Post. No, they continue to pump out clickbait articles which either try to slither around the truth or just outright lie. And I can’t help but feel that in the war of the sexes in labor, the only person that wins is the employer. With men and women competing harder, they can drive down wages and make promotions more competitive.

In one 2005 study, Carnegie Mellon economist Linda Babcock showed people clips of men and women asking for a raise, following the same script. Male viewers deemed the men’s negotiating style smooth, while women using identical words registered as too demanding.

See, I hate this. They cite ‘studies’ but they don’t cite the study itself, rather someone else reporting on it. They did it with The Atlantic earlier, and now they’re doing it to themselves (oddly enough). When someone tells me the result of a study, I’d kinda like to see the study. Of course the article they cite also just mentions the study, rather than citing the study directly. But it’s actually important that we see the study itself. Which I found here (Bowles, Babcock, and Lai). Though truly, the author of this page should’ve cited it directly if possible.

We also need to see how the negotiations went down. There’s more to communication in requesting a raise than just following a script. We in the educated community often refer to it as ‘acting’. What makes Will Smith a better actor than any arbitrary actor? If you follow the same script, either one of you can get hired for the next big movie, right? Wrong. It’s how you deliver lines. Delivering lines has more to do with tone and body language than it does with the lines themselves. When you look at the study itself, it’s Experiment 3, and the experimenters apparently told the actors to deliver the lines in the same manner.

During the rehearsal for the taping, we coached them to enact the script as similarly as possible to one another (e.g., by providing instruction on tone and pace of voice, etc.) – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

But this apparently had its own host of problems.

For instance, women tend to smile more often than men. […] If the female actors’ behavior differed more between the no ask and ask conditions than did the male actors’ behavior (e.g., they smiled relatively less), then that would suggest an alternative explanation for any findings of interaction effects between the gender of the candidate and the ask manipulation. – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

Just a note, ‘ask’ and ‘no ask’ refer to

Across the negotiation conditions, the candidates either accepted their compensation offers without comment (no ask) or initiated negotiations (ask). – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

What do we find?

both male and female evaluators were less inclined to work with female candidates who initiated negotiations as compared to those who did not – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

Yes. This was observed. However, what they also found that male evaluators were less inclined to work with female candidates initiating negotiations and that female evaluators were less inclined to work with male candidates. Which means there may be more at play here, such as physical attraction. The evaluator likely did not want to feel like they awarded a raise due to physical attraction, which leads to this effect. Which is likely why this was observed:

As shown by the means in Table 7, attempting to negotiate for higher compensation had no significant effect on male evaluators’ willingness to work with male candidates. […] However, the ask manipulation had a significantly negative effect on female evaluators’ willingness to work with male candidates – Bowles, Babcock, and Lai

Precisely. In fact, this effect seems to be higher for female evaluators of male applicants than male evaluators of female applicants! (looking at the table). This effect isn’t drastically higher, however it is higher nonetheless.

The evaluators were asked to evaluate the ‘niceness’, ‘demandingness’, and ‘competence’ of the applicants. They did this on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being ‘extremely’. So a person rated with a niceness of 5 is perceived to be more nice than someone rated with a niceness of 4. And what we do we find? Women were found to be ‘nicer’ to both male and female evaluators for both the ask and no ask situations. This is likely due to that habit women have of smiling more during the interviews, as noted earlier. Men were found to be more ‘demanding’ to both men and women in the no ask situation and in the ask situation. And the ‘competence’ seemed to be rather close with the exception of male applicants where women tend to find men drastically less competent. Weird.

We expected the competence thing (except for that one condition), because male and female applicants were given the same script and a same resume. So strictly speaking, they should be equally competent. The niceness and demandingness would come down to deliver, which, again, comes down to the acting. If we get anything out of this study, I think we should be getting “negotiate with the same sex (if possible)” out of it.

So in short, I don’t buy the fish, at least not wholly. Let’s go back to the Washington Post article

In the United States, women now financially support 40 percent of homes and tend to take on more domestic chores. They typically spend two hours and 12 minutes on daily housework, while men invest about one hour and 21 minutes into the home. – Washington Post

This is odd, because earlier it was stated that in 2015 men do 2.1 hours of housework per day, while women do 2.6 hours of housework per day. So which is it? Are you citing another study or statistic? Because you did not indicate that you were doing so.

It’s strange that in this day and age that I have to ask for quality articles from the Washington Post. I grew up listening to Sousa’s Washington Post March which (I assume) was commissioned for the early days of this organization’s publishing. The Washington Post March is iconic, everyone (well, not really but you know what I mean) can recognize it by its introduction! I’m just really frustrated with the news. I don’t get it all from one place, but what’s happening now is that I’m not looking for where I can get news anymore. I’m looking for where I can’t get news. Because I’m more concerned that the news I read is total BS from some nutter that found an editor to hire them than it being actual news. My time is valuable and even if I waste a lot of it looking at kittens, it doesn’t mean that what’s leftover to read about what’s happening today or what’s happening in science is not important. I’m just really disappointed. Anyway, thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Washington Post Please

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