Wednesday, October 21, 2009

So there

Occasionally, I get emails from folks who want me to link to their sites or promote their products (or sites). I don't know why they think anyone is reading my blog...but my guess is that they blanket teh blog-o-sphere with requests and even though my readership is small, I still have a blog...and there you go.

These days, I find that I'll often get two or three emails from the same source, the second and third asking if I recall the first message and hoping that I'll get in touch. I've long stopped responding to most of these solicitations, but sometimes, I can't resist.

The latest email I've received is promoting a dating site for "cougars." Do I have to explain the term? (Older women who pursue younger men, possibly in predatory manner.) I can't tell you how sexist and offensive I find the popularization of this idea of womanhood. I mean, really. What would you call an older man who purposefully pursued younger women? A MAN. Ugh. (Granted, both men and women with much younger romantic partners may get called "cradle-robbers," but don't the men get it with a wink, nod and possible high five, whereas the women are often looked with a bit more suspicion? The term "cougar" doesn't help much at all.)

I had no intention of responding to the email, but the last one shared a link to a "report" they'd done and said this was my chance to get a look at it before it went to the mainstream media (who would care?). Being a social scientist, and this being a survey, I decided to take a look. The report wasn't much--just a listing of a few "findings" and some godawful graphs. The questions were acceptable. The real problem was that they surveyed 100 women (what about the men?) and didn't explain how they drew the sample. So, basically, the "results" are meaningless. I then sent them the following response:

What can I tell you? I have often dated younger men, but I find any dating approach that emphasizes one quality in a person--especially an immutable quality, like age or race--to be distasteful. I didn't date those guys because they were younger. I dated a person and he happened to be younger.

So, that's why I'm not comfortable linking to your site. And, even though I have used online dating sites (mostly unsuccessfully), I don't care to promote any of them.

As to your report, as a social scientist, I find the methods troubling. The questions are actually interesting but how did you select the 100 women you interviewed? If you didn't use a statistical method, it's inappropriate to generalize your results to the larger population.

That said, I wish you well, but I'm not interested in publicizing your site or report. If you need some survey help, I might be available for that.

I bet that got 'em good! I seem to have too much time on my hands. Heh.

Grateful for: a (snappy) retort.

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