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Roderick

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Well yes, insurance companies do all kinds of profiling but at least it's based on statistical data (of which they have lots) and not just gender/age/racial stereotypes. Sure, it's might unfair to those who don't conform to these "statistical stereotypes" but I agree with Thunderpeel, 'sexist' is not the best word to describe it*.

I'm not saying that I like what insurance companies are doing. Hell, they might actually be feeding our stupid stereotypes even more ("I guess I'm expected to drive reckless"). However, as you said, they are greedy corporations and, as far as I know (and I know next to nothing about this so feel free to correct me), they can set the insurance fees on per customer basis.

*Having said that, I think no insurance company would dare to promote cheaper insurance fees for a certain race.

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I'm really not getting this. It's not motivated by anything other than an algorithm. How can you get more accurate than all the things they already take into account? Your age, your sex, your car, your claim history. If they could predict exactly how much money they were going to make off you, on a person by person basis, they would... But they can't.

I'm sure there's a company that specialises in selling to each of the variables they take into account, for example. (e.g. "Not a boy-racer? Drive a family saloon? Come to 'Sensible Car Insurance'", etc.)

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I said quite clearly (I thought) in my post that demographics, in this case, are quite good predictors. I'm not arguing that the insurance company are making things up, or that they're basing ideas on stereotypes. I even said in the post that the actual situation doesn't bother me (though from what I've heard recently with changing laws it apparently bothers some people) - it's just interesting and potentially troubling when related to other cases in which some groups may be treated differently based on statistics.

If the racial profiling example doesn't do it for you, how about this - different socio-economic groups have been statistically correlated to different IQs at times (sidenote: I hate the popular concept of IQ and I think some of the tests are bordering on bullshit). This means that an argument could be made for spending less of an education budget on those people that are less likely to be able to grasp the subjects fully anyway. Why waste money on those who probably won't be going on to jobs or further education that requires thorough knowledge of things like geography and science, right? I would imagine most of you, like me, are fairly immediately repulsed by that train of thought. Yet, it's based on (if you accept the experimental methodology used and the validity of IQ tests) accurate statistics, and is a simple redistribution of cost and investment, just like the car insurance premiums.

I'm not really trying to make a point here other than that life is complicated, sometimes treating people differently for one reason is seemingly all right and in a different situation that reason is seemingly horrifying. As I can't see a better way to do it, I presume it's up to us as people to try to figure out in which contexts certain facts regarding someone are useful and/or admissible.

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I still don't buy it. For me, complaining that women getting lower insurance rates is "sexist" is like complaining that Gay Clubs exist ("they're not being inclusive!" -- I've actually had this argument) or that the (utterly redundant) MOBO Awards are racist ("they're not being inclusive!" -- I've also actually had this argument).

I'm know you're not saying they're sexist Gwardinen, so I'm not singling you out, I'm just explaining my position -- and from here, thinking that female drivers getting lower insurance, when the market clearly shows that it's completely fair, is somehow unfair against men, is sexist in itself (in an ignorant way). If you can follow that badly formed sentence.

Man, this thread... I need to spend more time doing something else.

How about those video games, eh?

Edited by ThunderPeel2001

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How about those video games, eh?

You should check out Custer's Revenge – a beautiful, if flawed, game about forbidden love.

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I still don't buy it. For me, complaining that women getting lower insurance rates is "sexist" is like complaining that Gay Clubs exist ("they're not being inclusive!" -- I've actually had this argument) or that the (utterly redundant) MOBO Awards are racist ("they're not being inclusive!" -- I've also actually had this argument).

I think those things *are* problematic and they certainly are discriminatory by definition, if not "sexist" or "racist" - that's the point, it's a sliding scale of discrimination: where do we want to draw the line? No Straights clubs, No Blacks clubs, No Non-Blacks awards, No Men insurance, Sir Alan Sugar not employing women because they may get pregnant, racial/religous profiling? One must either say none of it is okay, or decide where one's line is and accept that others will draw theirs at a different point, including the government and many many internet commenters.

Edited by bbX1138
switched to impersonal pronouns

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I think those things *are* problematic and they certainly are discriminatory by definition, if not "sexist" or "racist" - that's the point, it's a sliding scale of discrimination: where do we want to draw the line? No Straights clubs, No Blacks clubs, No Non-Blacks awards, No Men insurance, Sir Alan Sugar not employing women because they may get pregnant, racial/religous profiling? One must either say none of it is okay, or decide where one's line is and accept that others will draw theirs at a different point, including the government and many many internet commenters.

Yeah, pretty much what I was trying to say. Except you said it in one paragraph, while I spent about 8 over two posts trying to get there.

Did I mention one of my chosen career paths is writer/journalist? DOING WELL AREN'T I?

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Sir Alan Sugar not employing women because they may get pregnant, racial/religous profiling

I think these two examples are probably the most relevant, as they deal with probabilities rather than qualities that can be individually measured; in other words, they are things that refer to some sort of statistical or presumed trend. I am not going to whine about the prospect of having to pay more for car insurance, partly because I know that overall I live a life of tremendous privilege, and partly because I don't have a car and have no immediate plans for getting one. For both reasons, it really isn't my place to say whether it is or isn't fair. My concern is where similar reasoning and generalization could lead. Would it be all right to also split car insurance demographics by race? By religious or political views? By personal interests? Who knows where a correlation might be found. Or had the statistics indicated the opposite of what they actually do, would it be sexist for women to be charged more for car insurance than men? It would have been an equally algorithmic calculation of risk.

And then there's the point that Subbes appeared to be making: regardless of the reasoning behind it, the distinction serves to reinforce gender stereotypes, and that reducing people into demographic generalizations encourages us to think in terms of those generalizations. (Please correct me if I've missed the point, Subbes.)

Anyway, to reiterate what I've already said: I'm not about to moan about car insurance, or anything like that. There's every likelihood that I will get far more from life than I'm owed, so I really have no cause to complain. I'm just interested in whether this sort of thing could in its own way be damaging.

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I think those things *are* problematic and they certainly are discriminatory by definition, if not "sexist" or "racist" - that's the point, it's a sliding scale of discrimination: where do we want to draw the line? No Straights clubs, No Blacks clubs, No Non-Blacks awards, No Men insurance, Sir Alan Sugar not employing women because they may get pregnant, racial/religous profiling? One must either say none of it is okay, or decide where one's line is and accept that others will draw theirs at a different point, including the government and many many internet commenters.

My two examples are neither problematic or discriminatory because we don't live in a bubble without history or present day discrimination. Those two things are addressing an *imbalance*. If history had been the other way around, then you'd have a point. But that's not the reality we live in, and if you start to ignore that, then you're deliberately choosing to be ignorant.

I can't believe you both think there's problems with those two examples :(

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I'm not going to participate much more in this discussion for now, since I feel like I've been talking a lot and managing to communicate fairly little that I actually wanted to. My last attempt to clarify what I meant (and apparently what bbX and JamesM are also considering) is this; we all deal with the world using imperfect information. We try to make predictions based on what little we know and how those factors have influenced situations in the past. Sometimes this is probably harmless (car insurance) and sometimes it might not be (racial profiling), but it's up to us to try to figure out which is which. Considering the very manner in which we make decisions like this is worth doing, I think, particularly when we're in the midst of trying to overturn things like unthinking sexism and blind adherence to tradition.

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I think those things *are* problematic and they certainly are discriminatory by definition, if not "sexist" or "racist" - that's the point, it's a sliding scale of discrimination: where do we want to draw the line? No Straights clubs, No Blacks clubs, No Non-Blacks awards

These examples are the result of a group of people feeling so disenfranchised/underrepresented/unwelcome in mainstream bars/society that they have created their own spaces.

Gay clubs are there partly because straight cowboys don't want to have to deal with them homos gayin' it up in their dive -- furthermore, I have never been denied entrance into a gay bar no matter how straight I dress and gay bars are awesome.

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I'm mostly getting the impression here that while everyone is essentially on the same page as regards 'inequality is bad, m'kay', regardless of its form, I can't help but feel that we're missing something central here. men and women ARE different, which is why we have different likelihoods of claiming on our car insurance, being recruited as SPEEEEHS MARINEs and having to disappoint Alan Sugar for 6 months or so. I'm not accusing anyone on this thread of doing so, but gender equality shouldn't have to be so reductivist as to say 'men and women should perform/be treated/act THE SAME in all situations'. The truth is that gender is a complex and pervasive factor in all areas of life and we can't hope to accomplish a non-patriarchal society by pretending that it doesn't have these effects. Rather, I suppose as with any societal issue, people are still sensitive of appearing chauvinist, meaning that we steer clear of making any differentiations between men and women.

I have a slightly facile example of this in my workplace recently, where I was recruiting insomniacs for a study- women tend to have worse sleep than men (for a number of documented reasons) and my sample was 75% female in the end. I got lambasted by a research assistant saying that it was my duty to get a 50/50 sample so that my findings would be generalisable, but that wouldn't BE generalisable, women in the general population probably do make up about 75% of bad sleepers. To me this RA's attitude summed up the potential issue with discussing feminism - we can't circumvent inequality by just pretending the genders are the same.

I also feel that this point applies to the racism debate. In trying to avoid appearing racist I feel that there is the tendency to deny any inter-racial differences, which of course exist.

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I have a slightly facile example of this in my workplace recently, where I was recruiting insomniacs for a study- women tend to have worse sleep than men (for a number of documented reasons) and my sample was 75% female in the end. I got lambasted by a research assistant saying that it was my duty to get a 50/50 sample so that my findings would be generalisable, but that wouldn't BE generalisable, women in the general population probably do make up about 75% of bad sleepers. To me this RA's attitude summed up the potential issue with discussing feminism - we can't circumvent inequality by just pretending the genders are the same.

Good point and very interesting example. I guess researchers studying, for instance, color blindness have been forced to defend themselves from such accusations quite a often (yet I have never thought of that before).

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it's a real issue. i used to work in game research and most of my results were based on male undergrads between the ages of 18-25. obviously that's expected and it would be somewhat difficult to even out the balance (Although now i know that sal limones is actually a girl, maybe i'm wrong :getmecoat)

something like colour blindness is at least obvious to most people to be biologically determined. where this sort of thinking IS a real problem is in other, potentially more emotive areas. i'm now working in the mental health sector and it's a real problem for things like insomnia, depression, anxiety, etc which are not neatly spread 50-50 across the genders. you can't ignore the fact that you're mostly going to be treating women and that this may be a helpful point to disseminate in terms of policy. you'll get all sorts of accusations as a researcher for looking at things like cognition and finding gender differences, but the onus is then on researchers, i think, to try and explore findings like these and figure out the why, rather than ignoring the issue altogether. it's not like i, as a woman, WANT to publish things like 'women are bad sleepers and have ALL the mood disorders and also we are cognitively impaired', more so, i want to be able to understand why this is what i'm finding.

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You should check out Custer's Revenge – a beautiful, if flawed, game about forbidden love.

I would love to make this a part of my signature, but then I fear people googling Custer's Revenge and finding me.

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something like colour blindness is at least obvious to most people to be biologically determined. where this sort of thinking IS a real problem is in other, potentially more emotive areas. i'm now working in the mental health sector and it's a real problem for things like insomnia, depression, anxiety, etc which are not neatly spread 50-50 across the genders. you can't ignore the fact that you're mostly going to be treating women and that this may be a helpful point to disseminate in terms of policy. you'll get all sorts of accusations as a researcher for looking at things like cognition and finding gender differences, but the onus is then on researchers, i think, to try and explore findings like these and figure out the why, rather than ignoring the issue altogether. it's not like i, as a woman, WANT to publish things like 'women are bad sleepers and have ALL the mood disorders and also we are cognitively impaired', more so, i want to be able to understand why this is what i'm finding.

Very off-topic and just out of curiosity: has there been any estimates on how much the fact* that women in general** are perhaps more willing to admit, discuss and seek help for their mental health's problems (or the like) affects these statistics? I'm not claiming that it is necessary a big factor (or a factor at all), just wondering.

* Not fact fact, I just don't know how to put it.

** Not all of them of course. God damn this thread.

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Very off-topic and just out of curiosity: has there been any estimates on how much the fact* that women in general** are perhaps more willing to admit, discuss and seek help for their mental health's problems (or the like) affects these statistics? God damn this thread.[/size]

haha, we're all being so careful :D yeah that's a big issue, women more likely than men to use mental health services, but that's only one of VERY many issues that mean women have, for instance, more insomnia (sleep is affected by hormones, sleep is associated with higher anxiety which is more common in women) but you're right, and there is a lot of research on this gender bias in approaching or accepting services behaviour.

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Oh wow, I missed some heavy stuff. And also sexy batman.

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I'm mostly getting the impression here that while everyone is essentially on the same page as regards 'inequality is bad, m'kay', regardless of its form, I can't help but feel that we're missing something central here. men and women ARE different, which is why we have different likelihoods of claiming on our car insurance, being recruited as SPEEEEHS MARINEs and having to disappoint Alan Sugar for 6 months or so. I'm not accusing anyone on this thread of doing so, but gender equality shouldn't have to be so reductivist as to say 'men and women should perform/be treated/act THE SAME in all situations'. The truth is that gender is a complex and pervasive factor in all areas of life and we can't hope to accomplish a non-patriarchal society by pretending that it doesn't have these effects. Rather, I suppose as with any societal issue, people are still sensitive of appearing chauvinist, meaning that we steer clear of making any differentiations between men and women.

Yes, exactly :tup:

And Gwardinen, BBX and I met up this evening and talked about what we meant face-to-face. It turns out we were both right and both wrong. Yes, the word "discrimination" can be technically used to describe positive things, which was his point. I personally shy away from that word as I see it surrounded with negative connotations, but I cannot deny that he's technically right.

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YAnd Gwardinen, BBX and I met up this evening and talked about what we meant face-to-face.

Damn Londoners and your ability to have everything close to hand. There are no people in the north! I must rely on this information-starved text-only format for all my communication!

Also I still fear another Scottish invasion.

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Also I still fear another Scottish invasion.

Finally, something everyone can agree upon.

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people are still sensitive of appearing chauvinist, meaning that we steer clear of making any differentiations between men and women.

[…]

I also feel that this point applies to the racism debate. In trying to avoid appearing racist I feel that there is the tendency to deny any inter-racial differences, which of course exist.

Very good point. The same goes for some disabilities. Differentiating terms are coined, misused as insults, and variously reclaimed by groups. For instance, UK charity Scope used to be "The Spastics Society", until the terms spastic, spaz and spazmo became popular insults in the 1980s. "Special" became an acceptable word for a while, but now describing someone as special is generally an insult too.

Unless you're regularly hanging out with people from pertinent groups, it can lead to awkward linguistic grey areas, and most people choose caution rather than risk offense.

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I also feel that this point applies to the racism debate. In trying to avoid appearing racist I feel that there is the tendency to deny any inter-racial differences, which of course exist.

Hmm. I feel troubled by this. What do you mean? The word "race" is overused and pretty much meaningless. British people are a race. People with freckles are a race. To put it another way: Any people connected by genetically transferable traits are a race (this is the definition of the word). The difference between someone from an African ancestors and a European ancestors is as biologically significant as hair colour.

If you mean cultural differences, then of course, but I don't know what you mean by differences in "race" as race doesn't really exist (and people tend to get hung up on skin colour as "proof" of a different race -- presumably because humans are very visually orientated).

I think race must be one of the most misunderstood words around.

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Oof, this is going to be tricky to word...

You're mixing the bio-SCIENCE!! view with the identity politics one, and the two have greatly different definitions of race/ethnicity. It's your right, obv, to talk from SCIENCE!! or wherever you wish, but be aware you'll be at cross-purposes with those talking from ID-politics (i.e. me, who took "Science for hippies" at Uni because I failed Calculus twice and worked out that the Humanities depts were a better fit than the CompSci/Engineering depts).

I will say, the colorblind/raceblind thing is an interesting generational cohort marker since ISTR it was a total child-in-the-Reagan/Thatcher-years thing.

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