The Oppression Olympics: A Poll

January 11, 2010

You may have noticed that Dr. Isis of the On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess blog ran a reader demographic poll over the weekend. I became curious about the Dear Readership here at the DM blog and thought I would run a similar poll.
Please check all that apply.

I identify most closely with the following oppression categories(polls)

Okay, now that I’ve had my fun, on to the real polling.
First, what gender do you most-closely identify with?

Which Gender Do You Identify With?(survey)

Second, which racial or ethnic group do you identify with? In this I am following the logic of Dr. Isis:

To give you a bit of background, these are the ethnic/classifications I report when using NIH dollars to study human research participants (more info can be found here), with two exceptions. First, I have distinguished between white and Hispanic and white and non-Hispanic to make the poll simpler. Also, I have allowed the possibility of a multiracial selection. If you choose “multiracial” as an option, would you kindly also choose the racial/ethnic groups that compose your multiracial-ness?

I have added an additional option for my nonUS readers.

Which Racial/Ethnic Group Do You Identify With?(trends)

No Responses Yet to “The Oppression Olympics: A Poll”

  1. I’ll be interested to see how your poll turns out, Brother Drug.


  2. Oops, didn’t see the “Non-US” option on the last one because I was looking for “White, Not Hispanic”. Does that make me mixed race?


  3. PalMD Says:

    You may need a box for “Despised ethic group NOS”


  4. JohnV Says:

    Look at all your oppressed post-docs! Clearly we need you to lead us to salvation.


  5. Where is the “grad student” category for the oppressed groups. IME, I was far more oppressed as a grad student than as a post-doc. I’m not even joking.


  6. I agree with AA, could you please add the “broke ass grad student” field to the survey so that we can be fairly oppressed/represented.


  7. anonymous Says:

    I think that you forgot a critical category for all the **F**, I mean FAKERS.


  8. JohnV Says:

    If you think you’re oppressed as a grad student, wait til you get a post doc that pays you like you’re less than a technician and you get to start paying off student loans :p


  9. Alex Says:

    Did you get IRB approval for this? 🙂
    Also, as a latte-sipper, do you have any data on how addictive that caffeine might be? Should I be concerned?


  10. D. C. Sessions Says:

    Too bad the first one wasn’t “all that apply.” Nice-guy Volvo-driving Linux users like Greg with pitbulls in flyover country feel left out.


  11. DrugMonkey Says:

    Since I either can’t figure out how to do it or the free PollDaddy doesn’t permit showing the comments, here are the current ones for the first poll.

    Old Agnostic
    Boutique bicycle owner
    Trance Fan
    Bourbon drinker
    Goat Fucker
    ‘old’ atheist


  12. DrugMonkey Says:

    Too bad the first one wasn’t “all that apply.” Nice-guy Volvo-driving Linux users like Greg with pitbulls in flyover country feel left out.
    It IS, dude.
    Did you get IRB approval for this? 🙂
    I take this question entirely seriously and the answer is “yes” in the sense that my IRB is of the opinion that this sort of thing does not require IRB consideration. See (the footnote)
    Also, as a latte-sipper, do you have any data on how addictive that caffeine might be?
    The field does, yes. If you’ve been reading along on my substance-abuse related posts, you know the answer to “how addictive” is “by what measure do you mean?”. It causes withdrawal, leads to tolerance, people have trouble discontinuing, blah, blah. The whole nine yards to meet criteria for dependence under DSM criteria.
    Should I be concerned?
    The fact that it is currently a highly socially-encouraged activity with essentially zero effort to minimize use makes it a special case when it comes to the real-life detriment criteria. A good case for pondering the difference between drug dependence and a drug problem in case my usual example of the independently wealthy, non-dependent-having smack addict seems too far fetched for the point to hold water.


  13. Isabel Says:

    Shouldn’t the percentages in the results of first poll be of voters, not votes?


  14. becca Says:

    WOOO! Yay for non-heteronormative being an option!


  15. Shhhh JohnV!!! I am a newly-minted post-doc. The salary still sucks, though better than student stipend…at least until the grace period for my student loans kicks in. Don’t disabuse me of my delusions – six months of living the post-doctoral high life is better than none.


  16. DrugMonkey Says:

    Yep Isabel, that seems to be a flaw with PollDaddy’s service. I have been looking at the N for the gender one here and at Isis’ as a closer estimate of the real sample size.


  17. dumb poles

    What’s wrong with being Polish?


  18. Funky Fresh Says:

    Do you at least want to offer us some insight into this obtuse rant so that we can all be outraged together?


  19. becca Says:

    Cath@VWXYNot?- we all know Poles are mutant freakish demon accordion playing squid. But they get us a day off on Casimir Pulaski day, so we tolerate them.
    S. Rivlin- where is the citation proving that Poles increase traffic? Are you sure they didn’t mean *cause traffic jams* with their damn hippie accordion songs and donkey carts?
    NOTE: WIKIFUN”FACT” The official name of Caismir Pulaski day is “MOO!”
    /extreme sarcasm
    No actual Poles were harmed in the making of this comment. Void where prohibited by law, or good taste.


  20. DrugMonkey Says:

    more comments from the first poll,

    not a scientist
    Science-Fiction Reader
    Pickup truck owner/driver
    Decaf-drinking, Prius-driving Liberal Elite
    Pigmentally deprived Native American wannabee
    Grad student
    Female homo web developer (seriously!)
    social scientist

    and the second

    somewhere in between
    I don’t.
    Lesbian trapped in a man’s body

    and the third

    Only because others see ‘white’ when they look at me.
    ashamed of other white people
    other ethnic white
    Human, and think this is a really dumb question every time I encounter it..


  21. ginger Says:

    I used to hear that “lesbian trapped in a man’s body thing” a lot. I puzzled over it and came up with two interpretations: a despondent trans lesbian who hasn’t transitioned, or a lesbian who cut open some dude to spend the night in his fresh, warm carcass (like Luke Skywalker and the Tauntaun) but somehow got stuck (possibly fluids or a tight fit.)


  22. ginger Says:

    That is awesome, and so you are awesome. (Also, what should I call you? I know “El Picador” means “The Lanceman”, loosely, but I don’t know squat about Spanish, so I don’t know how to turn that into a respectful second-person address. Senor Picador? Senor El Picador?)


  23. anonymous Says:

    There you are rebellious teenager !.


  24. Samia Says:

    Wow. The gender choices are male, female, or transgendered. WOW.


  25. DrugMonkey Says:

    …and I didn’t include every possible ethnic or racial classification, either Samia. What’s your point?
    What data are you interested in knowing about my readership, why and do you expect that meaningful numbers within small categories will be observed given my comparatively tiny sample?


  26. Samia Says:

    Your choices assume that transgender people are neither male or female. And it implies that only cisgender people can lay claim to the identities of “male” and “female.” This is offensive.


  27. DrugMonkey Says:

    ah, my apologies. If I had made that one multi-choice would it have sufficed or should there have been additional subcategories added?


  28. Samia Says:

    It seems like you squished together two separate questions. You could ask one question: “Do you identify as cisgender, transgender, or something else?” And another: “Do you identify as male, female, genderqueer, or as none of these?” Or something along those lines, anyway. In addition to being more accurate/less demeaning, this type of wording will give you more useful information.
    I’m not trying to be an ass here, but it might be beneficial to think about why you posed the original question the way you did.


  29. DrugMonkey Says:

    why you posed the original question the way you did.
    Because that is the way Isis did and I was trying to hew closely to her experimental design. I probably would have been even worse and just given male/female, unless the becca-avatar sitting on my shoulder was sufficiently loud. then I might have come up with this myself…
    but yes, I can use a great deal of awareness raising and education when it comes to these identification categories.


  30. DrugMonkey Says:

    More comments from the first poll…

    Old Atheist, R. Dawkins Fan, Ex-60’s Hippie, Mother of Pot Smoking Son
    Tenure-track bozo
    Over-educated social scientist working in uninteresing-but-fundable biomed admin
    Card Carrying Socialist
    Postdoc over age 50


  31. becca Says:

    Samia- I kind of assumed trans people will use ‘male’ or ‘female’, based on their own identity, unless they are transitioning in a complicated way (e.g. not-yet transitioned at work, transitioned in home life; a distinct ‘trans’ category might make sense here). But maybe that’s way off.
    In any event, your poll option suggestions make more sense.
    DM- the simplest change you can make: use checkboxes. Gender is no more accurately represented by ‘pick one and only one’ than race. I wrote to the folks who made the National LGBT College Climate Survey to ask how they phrased the question; I remember it was particularly good. We’ll see if they can give me the precise wording.


  32. Isabel Says:

    Does this mean people are satisfied with the racial/ethnic categories?? I didn’t see even Jewish on the list anywhere;) Among a zillion other omissions. I mean it’s not a grant application, so why stick to their categories?
    And since your readership is overwhelmingly white (for shame DM) a further breakdown of that group would be nice, say between mainstream northern Euro (usu Protestant) groups and ethnic Catholic (usually southern and eastern European) groups, and Jews. These three categories are still fairly distinct cultural groupings. Would break up the data a bit, anyway.
    “Mother of Pot Smoking Son ”
    Drug of choice should definitely have been in the survey. Hey, Drugmonkey what a great idea – a drug use survey of your readership!


  33. Because that is the way Isis did and I was trying to hew closely to her experimental design.

    Hey dude. You’re your own man.


  34. I am open to hearing how people think I should have worded the gender section. Typically in science and in workplace surveys I have only been given the option “male” and “female.” As someone with people in her very immediate circle who are biologically intact male, but who accept and express a female gender, I wanted to include those individuals who might identify wtih a gender that is not necessary reflective of their genitalia. When we talk about gender equity, this is a group that is very frequently overlooked.
    So, I am very open to suggestions?


  35. Isabel Says:

    Those breakdowns I suggested were meant for US only btw. It would be interesting to compare the results with those in the US population. btw, wouldn’t the focus on the NIH probably bias the readership toward the US on this particular Science Blog? But still, that wouldn’t explain the low Latino/Hispanic and other American minority numbers here and elsewhere on SB.
    I saw that older survey – it didn’t really ask for drug of choice.
    I still think it would be fun to know people’s DoC, (or even 1st, 2nd and 3rd and …? choices) especially regular commenters and of course bloggers.


  36. Emily S. Says:

    In reference to the question about gender, there are a few really simple facts that should go a long way towards clearing things up:
    1. “Transgender” is not a gender.
    2. “Cisgender”/”cissexual” are not identities but rather labels qualifying a privilege.
    Whether or not someone is trans is irrelevant for naming their gender. Just remove it, and the question becomes less offensive by far (though still normalizing and centralizing binary categories of gender, even if an ‘other’ blank is provided).


  37. Emily S. Says:

    @Isis: I actually took more time and read your comment in full, and I want to respond to one point in particular. There is a pervasive sense in your comment (and I can list three examples in your short post) that you are qualifying trans bodies in a way other than the way the trans people themselves might do so themselves. In fact, you presume to know (and publicly post on someone else’s blog) their genitals and qualify them as not female. You describe their bodies as “intact male” and refer to their female gender as one they “express” rather than just are. It sounds like you’re referring to a gender presentation rather than an actual gender.
    Maybe you have their permission to describe their genders that way. Maybe you’ve seen their entire bodies and know their HRT and operative status. Maybe you have permission to publicly describe their genitals. Maybe you have permission to qualify all of the above as male, and maybe even they themselves do (whether or that that extends to implicit or explicit permission for you to do the same).
    But I’m betting some of those presumptions are false. And I certainly wouldn’t appreciate someone doing/saying something similar about me.
    I won’t even get into a discussion about the “biological” qualifier. Yet.


  38. becca Says:

    Please check all that apply:
    ( ) female
    ( ) male
    ( ) genderqueer
    ( ) androgyne
    ( ) neuter
    ( ) Hijra
    ( ) Two-spirit
    ( ) Travesti (Is that familiar, Dr. Isis?)
    ( ) fetish
    ( ) allies
    ( ) bisexual
    ( ) gay
    ( ) lesbian
    ( ) intersexed
    ( ) transsexual
    ( ) transgender
    ( ) cisgender
    ( ) metagender
    ( ) orthogender*
    ( ) paragender*
    ( ) heterosexual
    ( ) straight
    ( ) homosexual
    ( ) ambisextrous
    ( ) asexual
    ( ) pansexual
    ( ) queer
    ( ) mongamous
    ( ) serial monogamous (be honest)
    ( ) polyandrous
    ( ) polygynous
    ( ) polygamous
    ( ) polyamorous
    ( ) side-blotched lizard
    ( ) oppressed gender not otherwise specified
    ( ) David Bowie
    *ok, now I’m just being a smartass


  39. Emily S. Says:

    Thanks for taking this seriously, guys. I’m officially checking out.


  40. becca Says:

    Emily S.- if that was sarcasm and aimed my way, I apologize. The list was primarily for the purpose of trying to get people to see how much ‘non-heteronormative’ could mean. Also, for my own edification; I did not know about teh side-blotched lizards prior to this.
    So it is serious, in a way. But it’s also supposed to be funny. At least, the “David Bowie” part is. I try to go for both simultaneously a lot, and it’s hard to convey on the internet.


  41. James Says:

    becca, your cisprivilege is showing


  42. becca Says:

    James- in what respect?


  43. Emily, thank you very much for your comment. It was certainly not my intent to offend anyone in the question. I think that we all identify and express gender in different ways. Two of us may identify with “female”, but we may choose to outwardly express that very differently.
    I included the category, instead of solely the traditional male/female choices, because I’ve been thinking recently about open discrimination I have witnessed against some of my trangendered family, friends and colleagues, about some of the comments that have been left on my blog, and I’ve been thinking about how we frequently leave them out of our discussion on gender, using the following definition (which, may not be best, I’ll give you that:

    of, relating to, or being a person (as a transsexual or transvestite) who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth.

    Are there no sufficient categories? Do we concern ourselves at all?


  44. Emily S. Says:

    @Isis: I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful invitation for further discussion.
    To directly answer the question of what sufficient categories there are for querying the gender of your readers, I think we should concern ourselves with it, but even I might pause for thought in doing so. I think the most important goal in posing the question to your readers is to avoid positing that there are solely two genders and only two, that they are polar opposites, and that they are mutually exclusive and fixed, completely invariable and rigid categories without gray area, overlap, or exclusions.
    A form question that might accomplish this is one containing maybe a male answer, a female answer, and a field for custom answers, and for those answers to have checkboxes, allowing one to check none, one, two, or all, and to fill in custom answers (and in a perfect world, to be able to add as many additional custom answers as needed). This is certainly possible using the pre-existing elements of HTML.
    Listing trans among the other answers for that question is as erroneous as describing people as being “family, friends, colleagues, and transgendered people.” You see the obvious error.
    I assume that your quote there is a definition of “transgender,” which is a very slippery word because of how broadly it’s been used and how that has changed over time. But your definition there isn’t far off from how I’d define “gender identity” (but not necessarily “gender” itself). That’s another long conversation, though.


  45. anonymous Says:

    You forgot victims of rape/sexual violence and child abuse. And mental illness.


  46. smitha Says:

    That’s an important social group to consider. I wonder how such a violent experience could leave some victims psychologically unaffected. I’ve come across a couple of individuals being victims of rape and the sequelae appear to be so different. For one, that violence brought her depression, difficulties in relationships, even in her marriage. For the second, the appearances are those of somebody untouched, always joyful and even casual in making jokes about sex.


  47. Stephanie Z Says:

    smitha, there’s a fair-sized bit of literature on that question. A bunch of it follows the standard literature on resilience–better recovery if you have a good education, strong social network and strategies in place for dealing with stress; worse recovery if you’ve been traumatized before or are dealing with ongoing stressors like addiction and your various isms.
    The factors specifically related to rape are things like attitudes about sex prior to the attack (sex = bad is worse), degree of injury (more violent attacks lead to less self-blame for not preventing them), and whether the offender is prosecuted. Prosecuting is good for society, but the legal system is brutal on rape victims because the question so often comes down to consent.
    One caveat: All this information is about fifteen years out of date. However, the effects were pretty strong then, so I don’t know that further research would have changed the picture much.


  48. DSKS Says:

    Whether intended or otherwise, Becca #41 has highlighted an insurmountable paradox here. The near-perfect survey would, of course, be of almost infinite length for the simple reason that people are not easily categorized; ethnicity, nationality, gender… all these things tell us virtually nothing about a person’s character, which is ultimately all that is supposed to be important. The perfect survey wouldn’t exist because we wouldn’t need it.
    On the one hand, surveys like this are useful in order to identify areas where discrimination bias exists and attempt rectify it; on the other hand, in order to be remotely practical, such surveys must make the kind of gross simplifications that ultimately lie at the root of the problem they are ostensibly aiming to redress.


  49. becca Says:

    DSKS- ah! I’m so glad someone got it (and said it far clearer than I)


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