Friday 12 April 2024

Women Eating Less When Dining With Men?

Young et al. (2009) observed students in naturalistic settings, i.e., in university cafeterias. Results show that women chose food of significantly lower caloric value (540 calories) when eating with a male companion (date situation). Eating with a group of men meant even lower calories (450). The food chosen was higher in calories (670 calories) when dining with another woman and even higher (750) when eating with a group of women. Allen-O-Donnell et al. (2011) came to similar conclusions.

Men, according to the study carried out by Young et al. (2009) were not affected by the gender of their dining companions (via and via). Allen-O'Donnell et al.'s (2011) findings suggest an inverse impact. In other words, men eating with women purchase more calories than those eating with men (via). According to a study published in 2015, males dining with females consume significantly more than males dining with males. Interestingly, the "sex of a female's eating partner did not significantly influence" how much food was consumed (Kniffin, Sigirci & Wansink, 2016).

In a naturalistic study, we investigated the influence of gender, group size and gender composition of groups of eaters on food selected for lunch and dinner (converted to total calories per meal) of 469 individuals (198 groups) in three large university cafeterias. In dyads, women observed eating with a male companion chose foods of significantly lower caloric value than those observed eating with another woman. Overall, group size was not a significant predictor of calories, but women's calories were negatively predicted by numbers of men in the group, while the numbers of women in the group had a marginally significant positive impact on calorie estimates. Men's calorie totals were not affected by total numbers of men or women. This study supports previous investigations, but is unique in making naturalistic observations. (Young et al., 2009)

"It is possible that small food portions signal attractiveness, and women conform, whether consciously or unconsciously, to small meals in order to be seen as more attractive,"
Meredith Young

"The theory is you're more aware of gender when you're with the opposite gender and may want to prove your gender more."
Marci Cottingham

Male and female subjects read a food diary attributed to a male or female target who was portrayed as eating either a small breakfast and lunch or a large breakfast and lunch. Consistent with the hypothesis that amount eaten would more strongly affect subjects' inferences about the female target, ratings of the male target were not differentially influenced by the meal size manipulation. In contrast, subjects considered the female target who ate smaller meals to be significantly more feminine, less masculine, more concerned about her appearance, better looking, and more likely to possess stereotypically feminine personality traits. (Chaiken & Pliner, 1987)

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- Allen-O''Donnell, M., Cottingham, M. D. Nowak, T. C. & Snyder, K. A. (2011). Impact of Group Settings and Gender on Meals Purchased by College Students, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41(9), 2268-2283.
- Chaiken, S. & Pliner, P. (1987). Women, but not Men, Are What They Eat: The Effect of Meal Size and Gender on Perceived Femininity and Masculinity, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 13(2), link
- Kniffin, K. M., Sigirci, O. & Wansink, B. (2016). Eating Heavily: Men Eat More in the Compnay of Women. Evolutionary Pschological Science, 2, 38-46.
- Young, M. E., Mizzau, M., Mai, N. T., Sirisegaram, A. & Wilson, M. (2009). Food for thought. What you eat depends on your sex and eating companions. Appetite, 53(2), link
- photograph (Penny Anderson and her mother, 1971, (c) The Ann Arbor News) via

Friday 22 March 2024

The Tenor of American Emotional Life

"There’s an American can-do attitude that can be bad for people, and I’m not sure it’s lessening. I have cancer now, and you’re supposed to have a good attitude. To hell with it. How are you supposed to have a good attitude? It would be cuckoo to have a good attitude. There’s something about that general tenor of American emotional life. I consider it a very American problem: the inability to tolerate unpleasant emotions. Some emotions are unpleasant, some experiences are unpleasant, some things are very sad, some things are very frustrating. And that’s okay. You can’t fix it. That’s the way life is."
Susanna Kaysen

photograph by Vivian Maier via

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Analysing 3,000 AI-Generated Images, Finding (Almost) As Many Ethnic Stereotypes

Last year, Rest of World analysed 3,000 images created by AI and came to the conclusion that the images created were highly stereotypical.

Using Midjourney, we chose five prompts, based on the generic concepts of “a person,” “a woman,” “a house,” “a street,” and “a plate of food.” We then adapted them for different countries: China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Nigeria. We also included the U.S. in the survey for comparison, given Midjourney (like most of the biggest generative AI companies) is based in the country. For each prompt and country combination (e.g., “an Indian person,” “a house in Mexico,” “a plate of Nigerian food”), we generated 100 images, resulting in a data set of 3,000 images.

When prompting Midjourney to create "an Indian person", 99 out of 100 images depicted a man, almost all of them clearly aged over 60 with grey or white hair. 92 of the subjects wore a traditional type of turban, a great many of them resembled a spiritual guru. Similarly, "a Mexican person" was - in 99 out of 100 cases - a person wearing a sombrero. 

When creating "an American person", national identity was portrayed by showing the US-American flag in 100 out of 100 images, while "none of the queries for the other nationalities came up with any flags at all". Across all countries, there was a gender bias with "a person" mostly being a man - with one exception. Interestingly, the results for "an American person" included 94 young women, five men and one masked individual (see image in this posting). The reason for the overrepresentation of women when creating "an American person" could be the overrepresentaion of young women in US media which again build the basis for the AI's training data (via).

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image (AI) via

Thursday 7 March 2024

"What do you think is the most interesting development in dance music these days?" Asking Armand van Helden.

"The development has been acceptance. If you would have told me in, lets say the year 1998 that in the future, Dance Music (WATCH/LISTEN: Barbra Streisand) would be at the forefront of all pop music I wouldn’t have believed you. Back then we had some much going against us: “its not radio friendly, its (sic) gay music, where are the vocals?, there is no real song here, if its not rap, R&B or rock we don’t support it, disco sucks, this isn’t “real music”, where are the musicians?” and on and on. 

Its astounding how all of that has gone by the wayside and the youth doesn’t care about any of that at all. There will always be your critics but personally I love it, the youth are supposed to aggravate the elders, thats evolution baby! In life, were all here to dance. I think its wonderful that genre smashing has become the future and everybody just wants to dance together."
Armand van Helden, Duck Sauce

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image (Duck Sauce) via 

Wednesday 6 March 2024

"Has being a queer artist become more significant than before?" Asking Andrew Butler.

What’s amazing is going to places where people don’t have the same liberties that we have or even in parts of the Western world where certain legislations have passed that seem very backward. It’s amazing to see young people in the audience respond to the music and afterward having them tell us that it means the world to them that we came and played this music. It means something that we’re up on the stage playing the songs we’re playing because it helps them find the strength to be who they are. The music encourages them on a daily basis, they feel proud, they don’t feel alone.

::: Hercules and Love Affair: Blind (LISTEN)

We’ve played quite a few shows in Russia which looks like a really inhospitable place for queer people, but we have packed houses of young, queer people and I think it is an important role. With that said I do think this record in some ways is about not just focusing on my own specific identity, but rather talking about getting to the core of our humanity, and talking about parts that all of us should be concerned about.

There are issues that are quite significant and pressing that the whole world is facing. We’re looking at horrible things happening to the planet, terrifying wars taking place that are displacing enormous amounts of people, there are famines that make people become refugees, we’re looking at people parading around, pounding on their Bibles or Qurans, or whatever book of knowledge they might be carrying, saying they know the way everyone should live. They’re saying certain people are abominations or have no rights, hundreds of years of oppression in the US are affecting race relations. Hundreds of things are happening outside of one specific identity, they’re beyond me as a queer person, they speak to all of us as humans. In the record, I talk about our souls and what we’re supposed to achieve while we’re here. Perhaps we’re supposed to connect to each other, find alliances, and it’s really hard to find allies or to adequately show up as an ally. Perhaps the voices of people who have historically been silenced need to be heard. They might have solutions for some of the bigger problems we’re all having. It’s been a long time coming, but it would be great to see a woman in power, perhaps a woman of color, or a transgender woman of color in power. 

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photographs of Andy Butler via and via 

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Sugary Drink Consumption & Ethnicity

In 2013, a campaign was launched in the United States, to reduce sugary drink consumption aiming to fight child obesity. From 2012 to 2017, 13.000 middle school students were surveyed about their consumption of sugary drinks (soda, fruit drinks, sport drinks, energy drinks, flavoured waters and teas). Ethnicity and neighbourhood environment (number of unhealthy food retailers close to their schools) were also collected.

While, generally speaking, the percentage of students consuming sugary drinks on a daily basis had dropped from 2012 (49%) to 2017 (37%), daily sugary drink consumption remained higher among Black (59%) and Hispanic (49%) students compare to white (33%) and Asian ((23%) students. 

According to previous research, Black and Hispanic youth are targets of marketing campaigns. Ethnicity and neigbourhood food environments need to be considered when addressing sugary drink consumption since structural racism in the built environment can play a major role in terms of young people's drinking behaviour (via).

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photograph (New York, 1980s) via

Wednesday 21 February 2024

The Numbers Shouldn't Matter

"Of course, everyone would like to stay 35 forever, and in my mind I kind of do. But I can't get caught in that trap of thinking, 'I've got to do this or that.' The way I live, the way I work, the way I feel, I'm going to make every moment count. I may live to be 100 or I may die tomorrow, but whenever that is, I will know I died trying, and I will know I've done everything I could to make the most of everything. As long as I stay healthy, the numbers shouldn't matter. I don't feel my age, I don't work my age, I don't think my age, and hopefully, I don't look my age!"
Dolly Parton

photograph of Dolly Parton (1973) via

Saturday 17 February 2024

What is driving ageism in everyday life?...

"I think there are a number of factors that are driving it. So they're both structural factors and individual factors. So the structural factors include age segregation. So in our country, we've gone from being one of the most age-integrated cultures/countries in the world to one of the most age-segregated cultures in the world. And we know that ageism can lead to the age segregation. And then, age segregation can, in turn, increase the ageism. 

We also know that there are a number of industries that profit from ageism and negative age stereotypes and negative age beliefs. So I had a professor who once said to me that when you want to try to understand what's happening in a society, you should look to see who profits. And we know that there are companies, such as in advertising, in social media and also in the anti-aging industry, which generate a trillion dollars together of profits in part by denigrating aging and creating a fear around aging. 

Which creates a desire, they believe, to go out and take on these products that actually battle aging or have this advertising campaign around aging as being something that we should fear and try to overcome, and it's something that's negative in our society. So those are some of the structural factors. 

And in terms of the individual factors, we know that there are aspects of how individuals take in age beliefs. So we know that children as young as age three take in the age beliefs of their culture. We know that then they're reinforced over time. And we also know that they can operate without our awareness. They can operate implicitly. So that's another way that ageism has increased and seems to be quite prevalent today."

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photograph (New York, 1980s) by Steven Siegel via

Tuesday 30 January 2024

The Many Changing Meanings of "Snowflake"

In the early 1860s, the term "Snowflake" was used in Missouri to refer to a person who was opposed to the abolition of slavery. The so-called Snowflakes hoped that the civil war would not put an end to slavery and were contrasted with two other groups, the Claybanks (who wanted a gradual transition out of slavery) and the Charcoals (who demanded immediate emancipation for Black people). 

In the 1970s, snowflake became "a disparaging term for a white man or for a black man who was seen as acting white".

Chuck Palahniuk used the expression in his book "Fight Club" published in 1996 in a different context. A member of an anti-consumerist project tells another member: "You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone, and we are all part of the same compost pile." In its 1999 movie adaptation, the line goes like this:

Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not the beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world. We are all part of the same compost heap.

Palahniuk was probably not the first person to use this metaphor, of each of us being a unique snowflake, uniquely beautiful and each worth treasuring (via). Now snowflake is a slang term for a young person (the generation that became adults in or after the 2010s) with "an inflated sense of uniqueness", a rather extreme sense of entitlement and who is easily offended and shows little resilience. Snowflake became "the defining insult" in 2016 (via and via).

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photograph by Garry Winogrand via

Monday 29 January 2024

Monday 15 January 2024

The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism

Abstract: Through an in-depth analysis of bestselling “how-to-succeed” books along with popular television shows and well-trafficked “mommy” blogs, The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism demonstrates how the notion of a happy work-family balance has not only been incorporated into the popular imagination as a progressive feminist ideal but also lies at the heart of a new variant of feminism. Embraced by high-powered women, from Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg to Ivanka Trump, this variant of feminism abandons key terms, such as equal rights and liberation, advocating, instead, for a life of balance and happiness. 

What we are ultimately witnessing, Catherine Rottenberg argues, is the emergence of a neoliberal feminism that abandons the struggle to undo the unjust gendered distribution of labor and that helps to ensure that all responsibility for reproduction and care work falls squarely on the shoulders of individual women. Moreover, this increasingly dominant form of feminism simultaneously splits women into two distinct groups: worthy capital-enhancing women and the “unworthy” disposable female “other” who performs much of the domestic and care work. This split, not surprisingly, transpires along racial, class, and citizen-immigrant lines. The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism thus underscores the ways in which neoliberal feminism forsakes the vast majority of women, while it facilitates new and intensified forms of racialized and class-stratified gender exploitation. Given our frightening neoliberal reality, the monumental challenge, then, is how we can successfully reorient and reclaim feminism as a social justice movement. (Rottenberg, 2018)

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- Rottenberg, C. A. (2018). The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism; link
- photograph by Garry Winogrand (Beverly Hills, 1979) via