Mar 01 2011

WTF is with that survey, anyway?

You might have noticed that we snuck in a little survey dealio over there on the sidebar. It consists of 10 statements followed by multiple choice responses, all of which are the product of the Spinster Sociology Lab. It is a test survey, to try out the software, but I think it might reveal stuff anyway. Sadly, it’s only a free version of the software, so it cuts off responses after 100. And of course, respondents are a self-selected sample.

Don’t worry, though; the tinyness and flawedness of the data will not prevent me from making some sweeping generalizations after I have analyzed it, which generalizations I will be pleased to share with the Islanders. Meanwhile, here are the responses. Thanks to the participants. A realer survey may follow shortly. Cheeri-o.

My dog loves me

I either don’t have a dog, or don’t know how my dog feels about me
79 63%
Strongly agree
24 19%
I share a bond with my dog, but I hesitate to call it “love”
9 7%
My dog thinks I’m OK, I guess
8 6%
Dogs are incapable of human emotion and only hang around people because of the free food
6 5%

Anyone should feel free to transition to whatever gender they please without fear of social repercussions

Strongly agree
102 80%
Sort of agree
10 8%
I have no opinion on transgenderosity
8 6%
Sort of disagree
5 4%
Strongly disagree
2 2%

It is wrong to keep pets

Strongly disagree
60 47%
Sort of disagree
40 32%
Sort of agree
16 13%
I have no opinion on pets
11 9%
Strongly agree
0 0%

Many scientific theories are suspect because they proceed from within a patriarchal framework

Sort of agree
46 36%
Strongly agree
40 32%
Sort of disagree
25 20%
Strongly disagree
11 9%
I have no opinion on science
5 4%

Smoking causes cancer

Strongly agree
91 72%
Sort of agree
26 20%
I don’t know anything about smoking
8 6%
Strongly disagree
1 1%
Sort of disagree
1 1%

The kind of car I drive reflects the subculture with which I identify

I either don’t have a car or don’t give a crap about cars and subcultures
91 72%
No, but I wish it did
18 14%
Strongly disagree
10 8%
Strongly agree
8 6%

I have had one or more experiences that I attribute to unseen cosmic forces

No, that stuff is a crock
84 67%
No, but I have had a “spiritual” experience — does that count?
26 21%
16 13%

Transwomen should be allowed access to public restrooms marked “Women”

Strongly agree
92 72%
I have no opinion on public restrooms
15 12%
Sort of agree
12 9%
Strongly disagree
4 3%
Sort of disagree
4 3%

I have read (check all that apply)

Anything by Andrea Dworkin
85 23%
54 15%
Stranger in a Strange Land
50 14%
The Wife of Bath’s Tale
49 13%
Anything by Jessica Valenti
48 13%
The Female Eunuch
43 12%
Sewall’s biography of Dickinson
12 3%
Ellman’s biography of Wilde
11 3%
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
10 3%
This month’s “Harper’s”
7 2%

I live in

North America
96 76%
21 17%
4 3%
An island
3 2%
Middle Earth
2 2%
1 1%
Asian subcontinent
0 0%
South America
0 0%
Middle East
0 0%


Skip to comment form

  1. Amos

    Nothing happened when I clicked submit. So either I voted three times or none. Through surveys my personal insignificance is tranformed into the unity of human statistic.

  2. Sarah

    Two people are writing from Middle Earth? How are the hobbits and the people of Gondor and Rohan doing these days?

  3. Nora

    I’m sorry, did 102.8% of respondents strongly agree that people should be allowed to undergo a sex change? What am I reading incorrectly? (Don’t get me wrong, I am also strongly in agreement with that statement, just baffled by the apparent super-unanimity). Also, I only put “sort of agree” for “smoking causes cancer,” mostly because it doesn’t *always,* you know? But I’m not sure if that was appropriate.

    Also, for the >50% of you who haven’t read anything by Jessica Valenti, I wouldn’t recommend it. Provided that you have already figured out why not to call people “cunts” or do other things to suggest that female-ness is an undesirable trait.

  4. Rainbow Girl

    Dudette! You forgot Africa!

  5. Comrade PhysioProf

    Many scientific theories are suspect because they proceed from within a patriarchal framework[.]

    This is a poorly formed question, as it conflates two quite different scenarios:

    (1) Scientific theories that proceed from within a patriarchal framework are suspect as a matter of logical necessity by virtue of having so proceeded.

    (2) Scientific theories that proceed from within a patriarchal framework are suspect because patriarchal frameworks tend as a practical matter to lead to shitty scientific theories.

    The first is surely false, while the second is arguably true.

  6. Jill

    1. I also forgot Tokyo and Antarctica and the Northern Mariana Islands. Whups!

    2. It is not a poorly formed question. It is a statement, the poor formation of which is entirely a matter of the point of view of the respondent.

  7. Vibrating_Liz

    My dog loves me somewhat but he would love me a whole lot more if I went out and rolled around in a dead raccoon. Strongly Agree

  8. HairyLegs

    Polldaddy? Ugh. Why do they have to call it “daddy”. It makes me think of terms like ‘sugar daddy’ and ‘who’s your daddy’. It seems like the survey software people are trying to be edgy and hip at the expense of the sex class.

    Isn’t there other free survey software out there without a name that shouts patriarchy?

  9. Bushfire

    Nora, I was going to ask that too.

    102% ?

  10. Nora

    Almost 10 years of being assured that I am, by nature of my sex,shitty at math and I’m *so* relieved that someone else had that problem.

    “(1) Scientific theories that proceed from within a patriarchal framework are suspect as a matter of logical necessity by virtue of having so proceeded.”

    Wouldn’t they be? Isn’t proceeding from a patriarchal framework like assuming a false axiom or proceeding from a non-heliocentric framework?

  11. Hermionemone

    102 respondents chose that answer, which was 80% of all respondents to that question (127). But another interpretation is interesting to contemplate 100 % feel they should be able, and an additional 2% not only feel that way, but have done it, too?

  12. roesmoker

    @Hairylegs I agree, Polldaddy is a gross name – like “GoDaddy” the webhosting people. The word “Daddy” should be banned from trademarked names. I don’t even like Daddy-longlegs, though I think Twisty might have posted some pics of one once.

    The first question would have been improved by the addition of “or cat” – I don’t have a dog, but I know my cats love me. Yes, if I died and they had no food they would undoubtedly eat my face, but it doesn’t mean they love me any less. They have to grok me, you know.

  13. Sargassosea

    Well, the whole point of radical feminism is that anyone should be able to do whatever, or love whomever, in whatever way they want right?

    Or am I missing something?

  14. Notorious Ph.D.

    Same issue as Amos: I either voted twice, or not at all.

  15. Volvatrack7

    But Twisty, those places you forgot weren’t continents! That is why we have Middle Earthers, Sarah. Unless you meant Middle Earth as in Africa, Twisty, in which case for me it is, and so I am!

  16. Outback

    Does the survey know that you’ve lied on every question?

  17. Comrade PhysioProf

    They statements + responses were explicitly referred to in the poll itself as “questions”, so it seemed reasonable to stick with that terminology. Regardless, it is true that its well-formedness for a survey depends on the likelihood that different respondents will interpret it differently, and whether those different interpretations can be teased out, e.g., by the answers to other questions in the survey.

  18. Melissa

    Survey Monkey is a good option. Bonus: It doesn’t include the word “Daddy.”
    Geek that I am, I really had to stop and think about whether the fact that I drive a 5-year old Toyota Corolla is a reflection of the values of the subculture with which I identify. (I think that’s what it said.) I’m still thinking about it. Someone could teach a class based on that question alone. In the end I chose “strongly agree.” Because I know a lot of math teachers who drive Toyotas. ha!

  19. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    A car is basic transportation, nothing more or less. My low-mileage ’98 Ford Escort has nothing to do with my identity — the idea is faintly ridiculous, unless one is a 17-yr-old boy.

  20. Jezebella

    And yet, you’ve told us what you drive, which indicates that you are not status-conscious, that you are frugal and practical and not that interested in cars.

    The very assertion that your car doesn’t reflect your values in some way is belied by the fact that you name the make, model, year, and condition of the vehicle you drive.

  21. speedbudget

    I felt strangely at home and very psychically comfortable when I drove a rented Prius for a week. I think that says something?

  22. Katie

    I really enjoyed the personal conundrum that the limited answers brought up. For example, the “It is wrong to keep pets” statement: No room for nuance when you’re limited to these 5 radio button responses to pick from! But go on and pick one! Heh. So if you happen to feel it is wrong to keep some animals as pets but not all animals, you click on whatever button most closely still misrepresents your perspective.

    Which is pretty much how women are forced to exist in patriarchy anyhow, no? Women are forced to make their choices from a limited pool of options. These “choices” conform only to positions the patriarchy will acknowledge exist. There’s no room for nuance or free choice outside of what the patriarchy has allowed or understands.

  23. Hermionemone

    I am car- and TV-free but bike- and internet-addicted. I detest cars for the death, ill health, destruction, waste and misery that they and the infrastructure they require, cause, and TV for the consumer expectations and (patriarchal) social conformity it instills. Auto corporations co-depend on TV to make people believe they need cars. Having no car and no TV is a happy reflection – no – an expression, of my values. What S.B. Anthony said about the bicycle still holds!

  24. Bushfire

    Well I have a used car that my girlfriend fixes for me. What that says about me is that I love a butch dyke who can fix a car, and that I can’t afford a car that’s in good repair.

  25. minervaK

    DAMN it, somebody tell me when these things go up.

  26. Friend of Snakes

    Sometimes never.

  27. Jill

    My regular street vehicle (a Ford) does not express my sense of selfiness as strongly as my John Deere Gator XUV, which is essentially a souped-up gas-powered golf cart. I use it to haul trash, frogs, and manure. It has 4-wheel drive and a hydraulic dump cargo box, for crying out loud! But no windshield, so it’s flippin COLD in the winter!

  28. Hermionemone

    As harsh and fanatical as I might have seemed up there, like a rabid bike-commuting eco-, it’s not that I literally HATE actual, individual car drivers (unless they deserve it by deliberately or obliviously driving stupidly and dangerously). I do have compassion for them, stuck sitting in their cars for hours while their bodies slowly atrophy, slaves to their car payments, insurance and registration, gasoline payments, maintenance bills, parking fees and tolls. Yearning to travel at exhilarating speed just like in the commercials, but hemmed in by traffic congestion and enforced speed limits. They’re trapped in the system just as I was. Of course they don’t like to be reminded of it. How dare that cyclist be having so much fun? And seriously, I understand that there are people who will probably never regain full use of their bodies enough to bicycle across town, and many more than that that have been conditioned to think it’s impossible to get around without a car. I withhold my scorn for those poor people condemned by fate to drive their motorism-darkened lives away, and accept that for the foreseeable near-term future they are a necessary evil. It’s not the motorists, but motorism itself, society’s need for automobiles, that I despise. I get along quite well with many actual motorists, and forgive them their deluded perceptions (actually I don’t mention the topic very often). Some day they may want to try green transportation, and I’ll be there to help them when they’re ready. Some day society may evolve beyond the need for such mechanical monstrosities, but secretly I believe there may always be a core group of enthusiasts devoted to the 20th century automobile, and that will be alright, it is good to know where we come from. Love you too, Alien et alia.

  29. Hermionemone

    That was supposed to be: “like a rabid bike-commuting eco-[let’s-not-use-that-word]” , but you probably got the idea!

  30. Friend of Snakes

    Hermionemone, I fear I was once like you. When I gave up my automobile almost 10 years ago (really as an experiment) I felt so pure and superior! For all the reasons you mention, oh yes. And to this day, I don’t bike, I WALK. Ha! I’m super duper green and don’t even take up the space on the roadway like you do.

  31. Hermionemone

    Ha, good one! It is always possible to be greener. Someday, we may all *float* instead of walking, thus leaving space on the ground for our legless friends!

  32. vagabondi

    Selfiness! Wonderful! Rarely has a word been coined that so nicely points out the silliness of a nonetheless unavoidable concept. Was it inspired by “truthiness”?

  33. Frumious B

    You left out a possible answer to “Transwomen should be allowed access to public restrooms marked “Women” ” which is:

    The entire concept that one set of humans can “allow” other humans basic human rights like access to public facilities blows my mind (either in spite of or perhaps even because of this being the state of affairs for much of human history, and in spite or or perhaps because of my own personal benefit from this “allowance” policy).

    It’s a little long, though, isn’t it? Idk, the “allow” word set me off. Allow. “You, madam, shall be allowed to retain your human dignity in public, while you, madam, shall not.” And now I am contemplating how no one who would be referred to as “madam” is actually allowed her human dignity anyway. I should just hit blame now.

  34. Wuyong

    1. My dog loves me.
    Do dogs feel “love”? The concept of “love” isn’t even universal across human cultures, how can we project it onto another species in any meaningful way?
    But i guess the question behind the question is: Do I feel loved by my dog? I guess so. I mean, isn’t that why we keep dogs nowadays, since we (most of us, anyway) no longer use them as proxy killers?
    2. Anyone should feel free to transition to whatever gender they please without fear of social repercussions.
    3. It is wrong to keep pets.
    Yes, in an ideal world, it’s wrong to keep pets against their will, that is to tie them up or lock them up or put them in a cage. If we admit that animals are not essentially lower than humans any more than women are essentially lower than men, we then have to admit that forcing them to serve our needs is the same as slavery. But if an animal chooses to hang out with you, that’s another story. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that.
    4. Many scientific theories are suspect because they proceed from within a patriarchal framework.
    This is mostly a problem in the “soft” sciences like sociology, anthropology, psychology. Physics and chemistry are affected much less. Biology varies widely depending on focus and method.
    5. Smoking causes cancer.
    For all practical purposes, yes. Sigh.
    6. The kind of car I drive reflects the subculture with which I identify.
    It would, if i had a car.
    7. I have had one or more experiences that I attribute to unseen cosmic forces.
    You mean, like, not falling off the earth because of gravity?
    8. Transwomen should be allowed access to public restrooms marked “Women”.
    Where else are they going to go? The men’s bathroom? I don’t think so. The women’s bathroom is way, way safer and more private (also cleaner, usually). Honestly it’s the transmen, not the transwomen, who really suffer with the bathroom problem.
    9. I have read (check all that apply).
    Are you recommending these books? If so I’d love to see you do series of posts on them, why you think they’re great. Book reviews. That would be awesome, Twisty!
    10. I live in:
    An island. On, actually.

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