Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bullshit and the Beast

This new study,"The Tales we Tell our Children" (via Michele) is crap. (Okay, I can't find a copy of it yet, but it certainly sounds like crap.)

The Claim: Fairy Tales (Cinderella etc) make girls submissive and more likely to be abuse victims.

The Research: Susan, who is studying for her Masters in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy course at the University of Derby, interviewed domestic violence victims and parents of primary school children in Leicester for her research.Interviews with Domestic Abuse victims and the parents of pre school children.

Why it's Crap: All this study proves is that Domestic Violence Victims like stories about submissive women. (That there is a correlation) It does NOT prove that reading fairy stories to girls will turn them into submissive women. Just because there is a relationship does NOT mean that it is causal. Without conducting controlled experiments there is NO WAY to prove a causal link between the two.

Today's Bad Headline Award:CHILDHOOD: FAIRY TALES KEY TO VIOLENT ADULT RELATIONSHIPSAgenzia Giornalistica Italia, Italy. While most of them were bad, implying that it is the KEY and not a maybe possible contributing factor wins this Italian paper the honor.

A personal note: I have long lamented and will continue to lament the lack of strong female characters in popular literature. I am very picky about my literature for this exact reason. And while I do think that there is certainly an affect on girls from the total lack of female role models, I don't think that enjoying a good romance makes a woman more likely to be abused. All women want prince charming, the problem is some girls never realize that life is not LIKE the fairy tales they love, that's why they are Fiction!

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