Two Quick Links

In an NPR interview, Geena David reminds us why numerical representation by itself is already so important:

And let’s think about – in different segments of society, 17 percent of cardiac surgeons are women; 17 percent of tenured professors are women. It just goes on and on. And isn’t that strange that that’s also the percentage of women in crowd scenes, in movies? What if we’re actually training people to see that ratio as normal so that when you’re an adult, you don’t notice?

We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study, where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.

What we’re, in effect, doing is training children to see that women and girls are less important than men and boys. We’re training them to perceive that women take up only 17 percent of the space in the world.

via feitclub. It almost seems like men are threatened by equal shares of women in groups. Gotta hold on to that dominance…

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German Magazine Der Spiegel reports on a book that reveals that the US soldiers who liberated France were not examples of morality, far from it:

By the late summer of 1944, large numbers of women in Normandy were complaining about rapes by US soldiers. Fear spread among the population, as did a bitter joke: “Our men had to disguise themselves under the Germans. But when the Americans came, we had to hide the women.”

American propaganda did not sell the war to soldiers as a struggle for freedom, writes Roberts, but as a “sexual adventure.” France was “a tremendous brothel,” the magazine Life fantasized at the time, “inhabited by 40,000,000 hedonists who spend all their time eating, drinking (and) making love.” The Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the US armed forces, taught soldiers German phrases like: “Waffen niederlegen!” (“Throw down your arms!”). But the French phrases it recommended to soldiers were different: “You have charming eyes,” “I am not married” and “Are your parents at home?”

After their victory, the soldiers felt it was time for a reward. And when they enjoyed themselves with French women, they were not only validating their own masculinity, but also, in a metaphorical sense, the new status of the United States as a superpower, writes Roberts.

The military authorities generally took the complaints about rape seriously. However, the soldiers who were convicted were almost exclusively African-American, some of them apparently on the basis of false accusations, because racism was also deeply entrenched in French society.

A café owner from Le Havre expressed the deep French disillusionment over the Americans’ behavior when he said: “We expected friends who would not make us ashamed of our defeat. Instead, there came incomprehension, arrogance, incredibly bad manners and the swagger of conquerors.”

Read the story here for more details.

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