May 16, 2017

And yet Google used "tackle," a football metaphor. I call sexism on Google.



Kimball's screen shot is of the main Google search page, and that line "See how machine learning is helping us tackle gender bias in movies" is hot linked by Google to a Google article titled "The women missing from the silver screen and the technology used to find them/New research offers hard data on gender disparities in film. How might the characters we see on-screen affect the roles we play in society?"

62 comments:

JohnAnnArbor said...

It's from soccer, too.

rhhardin said...

Wedding tackle is male genitalia.

John Borell said...

Google must have used it in the fishing context.

madAsHell said...

Wow! Did you read what google is proposing? They are giving the world an automated social justice warrior!! As if most movies don't suck already........

Maybe the future does include a Captain Kirk using logic to neutralize an omniscient computer overlord.

tcrosse said...

Ground tackle is the paraphernalia for mooring a vessel.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Althouse trolling....

Why do you see machines, which I would have thought were truly gender neutral, can't tackle a problem or issue.why/ how is that sexist?

Why can't tackle be used equally for men or women? Are you saying women can't "tackle" things? Can't play football? Can't appreciate football? Who's being sexist here?

I reject the premise. Enjoy the responses your trolling produces...

Saint Croix said...

how can we crochet gender bias?

Freeman Hunt said...

Gag.

Here's an idea: Let's CCTV all of Google's tech offices and run the same analysis on the footage.

Earnest Prole said...

I read the Google article detailing how Google's technology will eliminate Hollywood sexism by automatically counting the number of female characters in a movie and how long they speak. This from a company that the New York Times reports is 70 percent male. "Men make up 83 percent of Google’s engineering employees and 79 percent of its managers. In a report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year, Google said that of its 36 executives and top-ranking managers, just three are women."

Bill said...

I don't doubt Mr Kimball would himself execute a tackle with no little especial refinement.

Freeman Hunt said...

Oh, look--there are stats on this.

Wilbur said...

From Freeman Hunt's link: "Google's latest diversity statistics reveal the company is making steady but slow progress towards its goal of a more inclusive workplace".

Let's all keep them in our prayers that they may soon achieve their goal.

Freeman Hunt said...

"I just don't understand it. We've come so far, and yet, women are still not equally represented in STEM fields."
"It's probably because of movies."
"It's so frustrating. Like 'Lean in, people!' Stupid women. Always getting their interests from TV."
"Yeah, it would be so much easier to progress in our feminist causes if women weren't so lame."

Jupiter said...

"How might the characters we see on-screen affect the roles we play in society?"

You mean, is there any significance in the fact that movies treat violence directed at women as violence, and violence directed at men as humor?

Nah. The fact that every young man on Earth has seen something like a million glorified depictions of men being killed is without significance. Let's talk about something important; gender! We'll start by agreeing that it doesn't exist, and furthermore is societally constructed, and then move on to discuss its terrible effects on women (they don't exist either, of course, since sex is not a genetic reality but a lie of the Patriarchy, but they suffer terribly just the same) and how it's all men's fault. What assholes men are! Someone ought to kill them all! Blow 'em up! Shoot 'em down! Wipe 'em out! Oh, look, the girls are talking!

SGT Ted said...

Female privilege.

Oh and, aren't they assuming the gender of the actors? How triggering.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?

GRW3 said...

Well, we've seen a lot of stories about how movies are made with the International market in mind. Women as equals in all things is more of a US thing than elsewhere.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Freeman Hunt,

"I just don't understand it. We've come so far, and yet, women are still not equally represented in STEM fields."

"I just don't understand it. We've come so far, and yet, men are still not equally represented in the humanities and social sciences."

Stands to reason, yes? Women are a considerable majority of college undergraduates now (if HRC had gotten 57% of the vote, it really would have been a landslide), and if they're underrepresented in STEM (as they are), they must be massively overrepresented everywhere else. But nowhere do I hear these plaintive laments for the male English or history or art major. It's always women and STEM. There are people who honestly will not be happy until every field is majority-female, as it should be.

Hey, I was a mechanical engineering major at Cal, and I understand that it's tough. Fine: Engineering is tough. At one point I wanted to switch to ChemE, as even tougher (and involving OChem -- five-hour labs, and lectures only at 8 a.m., out of pure spite!), but I was on a MechE-specific scholarship, so I declined. But I really do want to know what's to be done about the sadly underrepresented male students in every non-STEM field. Especially education.

Bill Peschel said...

While researching my book on college admissions, I met one family whose daughter was on a track to take engineering in college. She burned own on the coursework in high school, took her counselor's advice to "follow her passion," and switched to art design and got her degree in it.

She's now working retail, living with her boyfriend in his grandmother's basement in Kentucky and saddled with college debt.

Fernandinande said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Oh, look--there are stats on this.


Like the movie industry, google could start making some real money if only they were more Diverse.

Big Mike said...

They meant to put "tickle" but autocorrect intervened.

DanTheMan said...

I like it that they just *assumed* that movies with 50% male and 50% female dialog are, in some undefined way, better than movies with different ratios.

DanTheMan said...

Meanwhile, we can all eagerly await their next Social Justice cause: making roofing crews 50% female. It's time someone shattered the Glass Sheathing.

robother said...

Who are we (or our machines) to judge the gender of anyone on screen? When an Olympic decathlete "Bruce" turns out to have been "Caitlyn" all along, doesn't that invalidate the whole algorithm? As for Ann's assumption that "tackles" are inherently male, how can we know how many NFL blind sides are being protected by someone playing for the pink team? When gender is no longer determined by the Y chromosome, and is merely a state of mind, isn't gender politics rendered meaningless?

Paco Wové said...

How dare you dispute Google? Their data are hard! Hard, I tell you!

Freeman Hunt said...

Under the current social justice rubric, one could solve the problem simply by encouraging more men in acting and tech to identify as women. No changes in appearance or behavior are required to do that, so it is not so much of a burden on them. They could be the warriors in our fight for equality, achieving the victory of parity in an instant.

Freeman Hunt said...

Far less than 50% of men identify as women, and, similarly, far less than 50% of women identify as men. Clearly there is more work to be done.

Onward to the dawn of the 50%!

furious_a said...

Just drawing from what ought to be ostensibly male milieus, women characters seem pretty well represented in Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. And frankly, which actress has Sigourney Weaver's action cred as Lt. Ripley?

Kinda tough for ladies screen-time equity in films like Lone Survivor, The Hurt Locker, or Blackhawk Down.

Infinite Monkeys said...

"Tackle" has been used since the early to mid-1800s to mean "lay hold of, come to grips with" and "try to deal with". It wasn't until a couple of decades later that it was used in the sporting sense of "to seize and stop".

Which sense is Google using for "tackle" - "deal with" or "stop"?

Bill Peschel said...

I'm the last person to demand parity, but c'mon, a little consideration of it before you push the button Frank should be performed.

Latest example: the Marvel kiddie movie Doctor Strange, a movie about Tibetan mysticism in which the only major Asian -- aw, hell, let's call it Oriental -- character was the librarian, and only two female speaking roles (IMDB lists a lot of women, but I don't remember any of them saying anything, unless they were scrub nurses in the hospital scenes.)

You don't need software to see the gender disparity. When it gets to where I'm noticing it is a sign.

Sir said...

Well, here's the good news, clearly, AIDS, cancer and birth defects are a thing of the past. Along with world hunger and homelessness. That is the ONLY explanation, that would make sense, for why a powerhouse company like Google would squander tons of money and nearly endless resources on the most insignificant thing EVER.
Right?!?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The word "tackle" is gender biased...against women I suppose?

Seriously? This is about on the level of the term black hole being racist and peanut butter jelly sandwiches being oppressive to people of other cultures.

The world has gone stark raving mad.

Paul McKaskle said...

MDT: To compound the discrimination in Chemistry at Cal, in my day OChem was not only at 8am but on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. But my best friend's wife managed the schedule and graduated in Chemistry.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

It's fine to talk about gender bias in movies. But for Google to act like it cares and is leading the way? Give me a break. Take the plank out of your own, searchmasters.

Fernandinande said...

Bill Peschel said...
a movie about Tibetan mysticism


"Lost Horizon" - seeing it eons ago, pre-politics, I thought it was funny that:
H.B. Warner as Chang
Sam Jaffe as High Lama

and I just now noticed the only cast with obviously Asian names are:
Willie Fung as Bandit leader
Victor Wong as Bandit leader
Richard Loo as Shanghai airport official

Earnest Prole said...

"Tackle" has been used since the early to mid-1800s to mean "lay hold of, come to grips with" and "try to deal with". It wasn't until a couple of decades later that it was used in the sporting sense of "to seize and stop".

Althouse has an Oxford English Dictionary online subscription, so perhaps she can provide some cut-and-paste elucidation.

Fernandinande said...

Bill Peschel said...
She's now working retail, living with her boyfriend in his grandmother's basement in Kentucky and saddled with college debt.


Have you considered writing country music lyrics?

Fernandinande said...

These guys are handy:
http://www.etymonline.com/

tackle (v.)
mid-14c., "entangle, involve," from tackle (n.).

Sense of "to furnish (a ship) with tackles" is from c. 1400;

meaning "to harness a horse" is recorded from 1714.

The meaning "lay hold of, come to grips with, attack" is attested from 1828, described by Webster that year as "a common popular use of the word in New England, though not elegant;"

figurative sense of "try to deal with" (a task or problem) is from 1840.

The verb in the sporting sense first recorded 1867, "to seize and stop." Related: Tackled; tackling.

Unknown said...

Can't wait for even more movies to be pure propaganda. It was bad enough that the female Jedi in the recent Star Wars just woke up to her powers with no training needed, when the previous male characters had to spend years mastering it. Propaganda movies are one of the ways you can tell you live in a totalitarian country.

If we choose our roles based on movies, the chick flicks have simply got to go. They give the worst dating advice ever. Have a great fiance? Dump him for that obsessed weirdo who follows you around with a boom box. Yep, stalkers, that is where the real romance is.
Is it possible that movies are determined by what sells?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Here's the thing about Google corporate diversity vs. movie diversity. Please don't call any more attention to the Google thing. I want our best and brightest tech companies to continue hiring the best and brightest, even if they are almost all men. On the other hand, I don't give two shits about gender bias in movies. Like literally I care more about the cat hair on my couch than that. Please stop calling out their hypocrisy, because that adds to the pressure to dumb down tech to accommodate women who will want to spend all their time in meetings planning pride celebration luncheons and women-in-tech workshops and who will want to work 32 hour weeks because they have kids at home. Such workers do not make cool tech shit and cool tech shit is the only thing left that America is good at.

I'm sorry if it's sexist. You all know it's true.

DanTheMan said...

>> Kinda tough for ladies screen-time equity in films like Lone Survivor, The Hurt Locker, or Blackhawk Down.

Perhaps that is the point? Punish those who make non-PC movies that glorify heroic men, and reward those who make more movies with more women's roles.

I can't wait to see the Jaws remake with Mrs. Quint hunting the shark.

madAsHell said...

It seems that virtue signaling is all the rage. Microsoft will buy indulgences from the UN.

They have also announced that all the electrons powering the Redmond campus will be from clean power.

Magic thinking clears my conscience.

Fernandinande said...

DanTheMan said...
I can't wait to see the Jaws remake with Mrs. Quint hunting the shark.


The shark was probably female, so they'll need, oh, probably around 5,000 pounds of male human actors to comply with important gender parity specifications.

pdug said...

Notice the picture Google uses, which finds male and female faces.

There IS A WOMAN SITTING DOWN in the picture and the google image makes no note of it.

Its obvious to humans, but not to the algorithm. The first image counts 3 men and 1 woman. BUT THERE ARE 2 Women in the scene!!

also, will the google algorithm out transgender actors?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Block and tackle. Used a in logging, ranching, construction. We have several antique sets from hubby's grandfather's logging in Oregon. They still work just fine to hoist heavy things....we used it last for a small block chevy engine when we didn't have a cherry picker available to lift the engine :-)

Sir said...

The "tackle" reference, I believe, was meant as tongue in cheek humor.

@Fernandinande This is kinda handy too:

douche·bag
ˈdo͞oSHbaɡ
noun
1.
a small syringe for douching the vagina, especially as a contraceptive measure.
2.
NORTH AMERICAN informal
an obnoxious or contemptible person (typically used of a man).

@unknown with the Star Wars comment, I agree I found it extremely annoying too. It pretty much nullified the franchise completely. That was the last one I will ever waste money on.

Known Unknown said...

This never used to be a problem when women just acted like men and went after the spoils of life like men.

Kate Hepburn, Myrna Loy, Barbara Stanwyck never had problems getting good roles in all sorts of films.

Sir said...

Why isn't Google including the Adult Film Industry in their study? I think that would ruin their ratios...

@DanTheMan All of your points have been great but especially the 50% Female Roofing Crews! Why is it the PC are so selective about where equal representation is accounted for?

Rae said...

The future will be genderless. Anyone performing a public function will be surgically altered into a sexless drone. It's the only logical solution.

Of course, since statistically we all have one testicle, we're almost there already.

DanTheMan said...

>>> Why is it the PC are so selective about where equal representation is accounted for?

Yep. They march and riot for more female CEO's, yet are strangely quiet about the gender disparity in the plumbing and sewage treatment industries.

There must be a higher principle involved here, but as a man I'm too stupid to see it.

Sir said...

Yeah I've had friends that worked the kill floors of various meat processing plants (including beef, pork AND horses) and oddly there were no protests, ever, of equal gender representation for that job.
You said it though, I'm a man so, clearly, I am too stupid to get that.

Eleanor said...

I don't take issue with the number of male and female acting roles. I'm more interested in how both sexes are portrayed. Today both men and women should be upset at how stupid and incompetent we are compared to our children in movies, TV shows, and especially in commercials. Men, in particular, should start a class action suit.

DanTheMan said...

>> You said it though, I'm a man so, clearly, I am too stupid to get that.

Which is why a guy getting hit in the crotch is funny, and a comedy mainstay in movies, commercials, and on TV.

Funny, you never see that same thing with women. As men, we can only wonder if it is the same higher principle, or a different one.

DanTheMan said...

>>Today both men and women should be upset at how stupid and incompetent we are compared to our children in movies

Absolutely.
I suspect this is because 13 year olds are the target market, so naturally 13 year olds are the hero of the story.

Earnest Prole said...

To "Sir" (with love):

The correct dictionary definition of douchebag is a man who calls a woman a douchebag (unless he is referring to the actual Lady Douchebag).

Dave in Tucson said...

Women play tackle football too. It doesn't get near the media attention as the men's variety of course, but it exists.

Gender bias, indeed.

Fernandinande said...

DanTheMan said...
Meanwhile, we can all eagerly await their next Social Justice cause: making roofing crews 50% female.


Crane and tower operators: Percent female = 1.4. All these are "<1.0% female":
Stevedores
Marine life cultivation workers
Motion picture projectionists
Washing, cleaning, and pickling machine operators
Heat treating equipment operators

Freeman Hunt said...

It doesn't follow directly from a difference in gender representation that there is a problem. There's a step being skipped.

Earnest Prole said...

"<1.0% female": Motion picture projectionists

Mélanie Laurent: Yummy.

DanTheMan said...

>>Heat treating equipment operators

I can't speak to the others, but the large machine shops I worked in both had all-female crews for the deburring stations.

I have no idea why.