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The Senate did something that annoys the ever-living fuck out of me yesterday.

But y’know, I think I’m willing to forgive them. For now.

Yes, Yankee fan Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed. It was a foregone conclusion, even to the 31 Republicans who voted her down (possibly so they could tell their constituents “it wasn’t my fault”—though I notice at least one state’s senators voted in different ways). But it’s still the Obama Administration’s second major victory, and it was achieved easily enough that I’m cautiously optimistic about the next three and a half years. (I’m only cautiously optimistic about Sotomayor, for that matter, but it was a symbolic victory if nothing else.)

One reason for my optimism is that the hearings demonstrated just how out of touch Congressional Republicans are. Sotomayor isn’t unqualified unless your idea of “qualified” includes ideology—or sex or race. Ezra Klein said at the Prospect “Democrats had set up something of a trap for Republicans, where in order to oppose her nomination they would have to face down the headlights of history.” And face them they did, blithely redefining “racism” as the belief that white people aren’t superior to everyone else.

So, congratulations to Sonia Sotmayor on her confirmation.

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The notion of trigger warnings rubs me the wrong way for a number of reasons I shan’t go into here, so I’m simply not going to post a link to the article in the Telegraph Vanessa at Feministing discusses here, the one saying that if women didn’t go around dressing like that, they wouldn’t get raped.

Yeah.

So, what you can take away from this is . . . isn’t much, as it turns out, what with the actual study saying nothing of the sort. In fact, it says next to nothing about women, focusing on rape as it relates to rapists.

When you get right down to it, in fact, it says nothing at all, because the methodolgy is more than a little shaky:

[Researcher Sophia] Shaw spoke to about 100 men, presenting them with various situations around being with a woman, and asking them when they would call it a night, in order to explore men’s attitudes towards coercing women into sex. “I’m very aware that there are limitations to my study. It’s self report data about sensitive issues, so that’s got its flaws, participants were answering when sober, and so on.”

But that doesn’t excuse the famously socially conservative paper misrepresenting the study’s conclusions.

So it really looks like they were just trying to be provocative. And, um, wrong. Science journalism sucks, but it’s not typically this bad, Which would be fine if they were just amusing themselves—chacun a son goût and all that—but this sort of thing just perpetuates the idea in society that women can do things to avoid being victimized. And therefore that women who don’t do those things are in some sense willing to be victimized, and not, say, trying to live their lives as if they’re free people.

But ultimately the problem with this isn’t that the results are bad. It would be interesting, to say the least, if we discovered actual solid proof that there is something a woman can do to guarantee she won’t be attacked, however unpopular that might be politically. The problem is that a major British newspaper willlfully misrepresented a study. That’s where the harm comes in.

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