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Conversely, android judges more likely to only have sons.
May 22, 2014 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Does Having Daughters Cause Judges to Rule for Women's Issues? [PDF] New research on judicial empathy finds that when judges, specifically Republican judges, have daughters, they are more likely to rule in favor of women's issues.

This corroborates research showing that having daughters rather than sons makes you more liberal, and that members of Congress with daughters vote better on women's issues.

Abstract: "In this paper, we leverage the natural experiment of a child’s gender to identify the effect of having daughters on the votes of judges. Using new data on the family lives of U.S. Courts of Appeals judges, we find that, conditional on the number of children a judge has, judges with daughters consistently vote in a more pro-woman fashion on gender issues than judges who have only sons. This result survives a number of robustness tests and appears to be driven primarily by Republican judges. More broadly, this result demonstrates that personal experiences influence how judges make decisions, and it is the first paper to show that empathy may indeed be a component in how judges decide cases."
posted by MisantropicPainforest (54 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
You just know the response to this will be "we should ban judges with daughters from making these decisions because they're not impartial enough!"
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:50 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


I'm not a judge, but having daughters made this Republican so much more liberal that I'm no longer a Republican.
posted by pwinn at 8:54 AM on May 22 [23 favorites]


My father similarly reports that having 2 daughters turned him into a feminist.
posted by thomas j wise at 8:54 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


What about that judge that was all about spanking his daughter on YouTube?
posted by oceanjesse at 8:54 AM on May 22


Wow, I'm so sick of this turning up over and over again. What is wrong with so many men that they can have no empathy for women without having a baby girl first? Do they not care about any of the other women in their life until they are totally responsible for a girl's life and development?
posted by agregoli at 8:55 AM on May 22 [31 favorites]


Antonin Scalia has 4 daughters.
posted by fontophilic at 8:56 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Antonin Scalia has 4 daughters.

The correlation doesn't have to be 100% to be real.
posted by KathrynT at 8:57 AM on May 22 [19 favorites]


You would think having a freaking WIFE would help matters first.
posted by spicynuts at 9:00 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]


And when they have lesbian daughters, sometimes even Republican politicians turn (almost) human.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:02 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Curious Artificer - we all know dick cheney is a reptillian.
posted by k5.user at 9:03 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


The correlation doesn't have to be 100% to be real.

Oh, I get that. I'm mostly afraid of what he'd be like if all of his 9 kids were boys.
posted by fontophilic at 9:04 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]


agregoli: "Wow, I'm so sick of this turning up over and over again. What is wrong with so many men that they can have no empathy for women without having a baby girl first? Do they not care about any of the other women in their life until they are totally responsible for a girl's life and development?"

It's easier to "other" people and view them unfairly if you don't have first-hand knowledge of their struggles and challenges. This problem is a "majority privilege" issue more than one of gender, specifically. It happens in many different situations, between majorities and minorities.

People who aren't members of a particular minority group may have difficulty comprehending what struggles minorities face. Those in the majority may also react defensively when their privileges are challenged.
posted by zarq at 9:05 AM on May 22 [8 favorites]


What is wrong with so many men that they can have no empathy for women without having a baby girl first?

Well, this man decided in a grocery-store checkout line 'Nope, not gonna have kids' because I realized, after looking at the covers of 'women's magazines' that I hated the way that young girls were socialized and I knew the odds were* 50/50 I'd have a girl, if I had one. Then, upon reflection (it was a long checkout line), realized that girls, so socialized, become mothers to boys who expect this behavior as well as more girls, perpetuating the cycle, and that this was actually hurting all of us, without exception. This in turn led to other realizations, but I'll stop there: suffice it to say that by the time I had to pay the cashier (a woman, of course), I was in tears.

So it kinda happened in reverse for this sample of one.


*roughly, that is
posted by eclectist at 9:07 AM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Antonin Scalia has 4 daughters.

The paper says that the observed effects disappear when there are 5+ children
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:08 AM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Related, the reasoning provided by a West Virginia restaurant owner regarding his response to a sexist online review.
posted by exogenous at 9:09 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Antonin Scalia has 4 daughters.

In the alternate universe where he had only sons, he was such a grade a dickbag that he went back in time, powered only by his own malevolence, to become all the Justices who decided Dred Scott. Also he was Genghis Khan.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:11 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Human beings: pretty terrible, but not permanently or uniformly so.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:12 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


You would think having a freaking WIFE would help matters first.

To play armchair psychologist (wait, don't most psychologists sit in armchairs anyway?) for a moment: We more readily see faults in others while ignoring the same fault in ourselves (the bias blind spot). A man can readily convince himself that he is a good man who treats his wife well when in fact he is quite sexist (self-serving bias). When that man has a daughter, suddenly he may become suspicious of how other men would treat his daughter, not that he would ever engage in such terrible conduct.

You see the same kind of effect in surveys of doctors about the effect of prescription drug advertising, pharmaceutical sales representative visits, drug company gifts, etc. The doctors all say "that stuff doesn't affect me. But the other doctors, those fools are totally tricked by it." But they all say that. Since objective measures show that, indeed, those practices do affect prescribing habits, the answer is that all of the doctors are affected and they're just rationalizing their own behavior.
posted by jedicus at 9:15 AM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Why wouldn't the same man become suspicious of how other men treat his wife?
posted by spicynuts at 9:18 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


One would think having a mother and a couple of grandmothers should be enough for basic empathy toward women.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:23 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Are there any areas in life where being a Republican correlates with increased empathy, tolerance, and/or better outcomes for anyone not in the majority? I keep wanting to find such a thing, yet I never coming across an example.
posted by jsturgill at 9:26 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I smell a near-future conspiracy novel where a secret feminist cabal discovers and administers a powerful drug to any man likely to become a leader to ensure he only fathers girls. Once the truth comes out, several men discover that they have sons only because their wives cheated on them.

More seriously, as exasperating as it is that people only care about issues when their own offspring are affected, at least stories like these make important conversations happen.
posted by emjaybee at 9:27 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Someone somewhere is interpreting this as advocating for fostering illegitimate children with Judicial figures.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:30 AM on May 22


> "Are there any areas in life where being a Republican correlates with increased empathy, tolerance, and/or better outcomes for anyone not in the majority?"

... Rich people?
posted by kyrademon at 9:39 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Antonin Scalia has 4 daughters.

Maybe this is like Game of Thrones, and we find out at the middle of the season that their father is really the handsome, dashing, liberal rogue Stephen Breyer.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:42 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


emjaybee: More seriously, as exasperating as it is that people only care about issues when their own offspring are affected, at least stories like these make important conversations happen.

Don't worry, some people are so dense that having children faced with a certain "affliction" still won't change their selfish/greedy/terrible views on the world (the anti-choicer with a pregnant teenage daughter comes to mind, seeing their daughter as a special case).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:44 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Well, this man decided in a grocery-store checkout line 'Nope, not gonna have kids' because I realized, after looking at the covers of 'women's magazines' that I hated the way that young girls were socialized...

You could also, conversely, have daughters and intentionally raise them to be strong feminists to help counter the trends you dislike.

On one hand there end results are kind of a 'duh' moment. For many people the point in which they break out of their ego shell is when they have constant sustained contact with the groups they are bigoted against. The ongoing gay revolution in marriage equality is in large part because so many people who are gay are out and about and have formed strong social community ties, which leads to the 'oh my gosh, really "they" are not quite so different after all', and that only increases significantly if you have a kid who is gay. So it seems pretty obvious that if you have children who are female then you suddenly have a vested interest in ensuring those kids are treated fairly, and if you are a judge that means you have so much more power to enact this then the average citizen.
posted by edgeways at 9:46 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I wonder if this is true for boys with sisters versus without. In my life, boys with sisters are much more inclined to view women as part of the same "people" spectrum as men are, as opposed to an alien species (not that I haven't known wonderfully feminist men who were only children or only had brothers, but it's been much less common).
posted by sallybrown at 9:50 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


agregoli: "What is wrong with so many men that they can have no empathy for women without having a baby girl first? Do they not care about any of the other women in their life until they are totally responsible for a girl's life and development?"

I dunno, I'd like to think that I've always been reasonably empathetic towards men, but having two little boys has made me much, much more so, because when you have children you become so intimately involved in their struggles and work so hard to understand their point-of-view on the world. I think for a lot of people having kids makes you far less self-centered in a lot of ways and you become more aware of other people's STUFF in general.

I for-sure wish that more men were more willing and able to put themselves in women's shoes, but all the men who are just figuring it out when they have their own children, welcome! we're glad you're here! You'll like our shoes now that you're putting yourself in them! Some of them are very stylish!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:54 AM on May 22 [18 favorites]


You just know the response to this will be "we should ban judges with daughters from making these decisions because they're not impartial enough!"

Even more groan inducing, how much this shores up the "you'll understand when you're a parent" asshats.
posted by emptythought at 9:55 AM on May 22 [8 favorites]


Based on anecdata, the reverse is also true, that mothers with sons tend to have more empathetic towards male-related concerns. On a societal level, this is pretty much irrelevant, but it's interesting on a personal one.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 9:58 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


zarq, first hand knowledge of the challenges of women is evident in men's life, already, from the women they supposedly care about. No child necessary. And aren't women technically the majority? (I know, I know)
posted by agregoli at 10:44 AM on May 22


(what I mean is you're still outside of the struggles of your wife, but you would observe them and hopefully empathize. same as with a daughter. don't know if that counts as 'first hand' necessarily)
posted by agregoli at 10:47 AM on May 22


zarq, first hand knowledge of the challenges of women is evident in men's life, already, from the women they supposedly care about.

I think it's more about having a close enough relationship with a woman that you're privy to the details of the challenges in her life. I care about my aunt, but I don't know the first thing about what she goes through on a day to day basis. Even my mother isn't really likely to open up about things to me that often. I get a lot of this sort of information from my wife, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a lot of women married to men don't share those aspects of their lives with their husbands. It's harder to hide stuff from your parents than it is from your spouse.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:51 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I'm still wondering, why the lack of empathy until there's a daughter? This reminds me the new "enlightened" Jay-Z. So nice of you to not care about sexism until you had a daughter, I guess your wife wasn't important enough to stop saying "bitch" and "ho."
posted by agregoli at 11:29 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


(I suspect its because we want to protect infants and think about their futures. That mother, she's a grown woman, a sexual being/object - no "innocence" there.)
posted by agregoli at 11:32 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a lot of women married to men don't share those aspects of their lives with their husbands.

I actually made a pact with myself back when we did the thread about street harassment, that I'd start telling my husband every time it happened to me, because it had never occurred to me before that he might not already know. He has reacted every time I've told him about getting hassled somewhere with such anger and astonishment that it's almost more tiring to tell him about the incident, than the incident itself was. It's very tempting to go back to just not mentioning it to him, but then I think he gets value from those conversations, and probably so do his female clients (he's a defense attorney) and I know our conversations led to him telling a large group of his male friends who were disbelieving an article about street harassment online, that he could assure them it happens with astonishing frequency and changed the course of that conversation. So, yeah, even though I'm very open and communicative with my husband, I didn't think to share that stuff until Metafilter pointed it out.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:42 AM on May 22 [15 favorites]


What is wrong with so many men that they can have no empathy for women without having a baby girl first?

i think it's much more complicated than that - once you're a parent, not only are you a protector, but you have an insight into the lives of your (girl) children that you would not have had before you had them. i don't think not seeing the issues of the other sex as clearly is due to a lack of empathy, one just isn't confronted with said issues.

on that note, agregoli, are you empathetic with single fathers who don't have custody of their kids, and who must pay child support even if they rarely get to see them?
posted by camdan at 11:49 AM on May 22


This is a really terrible case of a small sample size, a small effect size, and a poor fit. It's much more likely that this is just natural variation, not causality, especially with the R-squared values so low and so many different tests being run.

They went on a statistical fishing expedition and came up with some weird findings. AJPS is publishing it because it'll sell copies, not because it's remotely accurate. That's it.

NB: I have a daughter, and already was a feminist.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:58 AM on May 22


camdan - I don't think your example is particularly relevant to this discussion, nor are my personal feelings on that important, but yes, of course I am empathetic to that situation.

Living in our society should give one plenty of opportunities to be confronted with sexist and mysogynistic issues - I guess the problem is too many are comfortable with women being treated as lesser-than.
posted by agregoli at 12:19 PM on May 22


jsturgill: "Are there any areas in life where being a Republican correlates with increased empathy, tolerance, and/or better outcomes for anyone not in the majority? I keep wanting to find such a thing, yet I never coming across an example."

PREBORN HUMANS!
posted by symbioid at 12:26 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


This is a really terrible case of a small sample size, a small effect size, and a poor fit. It's much more likely that this is just natural variation, not causality, especially with the R-squared values so low and so many different tests being run.

They went on a statistical fishing expedition and came up with some weird findings. AJPS is publishing it because it'll sell copies, not because it's remotely accurate. That's it.

NB: I have a daughter, and already was a feminist.


There were 2674 unique votes and 244 judges. That is hardly a small sample size. Of course the R squared is going to be low, but again that tells us almost nothing when we are looking for a small effect on an outcome with a lot of variability.

And having lots of tests strengthens their claims.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:41 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


i disagree on your lack of relevance claim, agregoli.
if the thread's conversation is that judges who have daughters are more likely to rule in favor of women's issues, and your response is that you are upset men (more correctly, judges) are less likely to have empathy for women unless they have daughters, then i would argue that a lack of empathy for men, unless you have first had experience with their problems (a few posters note that mothers who have sons are more empathetic to their son's issues) is the other side of the same coin.

also, the study saying that judges with daughters are more likely to rule in favor of women's issues does not mean that judges without daughters are sexist or misogynistic, or view women as lesser-than.
posted by camdan at 1:17 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


PREBORN HUMANS!

Except that it doesn't create quite enough empathy for preborn humans to result in support for adequate funding of prenatal health services to prevent miscarriages, of course. Only enough empathy to motivate them in areas involving getting control over the sexual behavior of others.
posted by XMLicious at 1:21 PM on May 22


agregoli: What is wrong with so many men that they can have no empathy for women without having a baby girl first? Do they not care about any of the other women in their life until they are totally responsible for a girl's life and development?

The problem with complaints like this is that it presupposes that the minority are blessedly free from such sins.

The answer is: "so many men" are human, and given to being bigoted jerks, just like many women, blacks, Chinese immigrants, left-handed people, gays, trans people, and liberals.

The problem is that members of the empowered majority can leverage their faults (intentionally, as hate, or unintentionally, as "privilege") to cause greater harm to more people. If Peter Dinklage hates all tall people, billions of us won't notice; if so much as two tall people near Mr. Dinklage hate short people, his day is going to suck more.

To suggest that one group of people is naturally less empathic, or more callous, or more evil in any way, based solely on an external attribute such as gender is... wait for it... proof that you're being sexist.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:27 PM on May 22


Antonin Scalia has 4 daughters.

The correlation doesn't have to be 100% to be real.


To be even more dorky, too, I just wanted to point out that the authors have only estimated a local average treatment effect (slide 30).

Between this study, and the ones by Ebonya Washington looking at politicians' votes, the common thread (which wasn't really something I had thought about before this paper on judges) is the effects so far are for "public choice" decision-making, as opposed to "private choice" decision-making. In other words, it's judges who are making decisions where most of the costs and benefits of the decision are external. Or politicians.

I'd be interested in knowing whether the "daughter effect" is in fact a general thing, or something uniquely related to the public choice decision-making. If you could observe judges/politicians making both their professional decisions and their private decisions, and if you could somehow quantify private choices as objectively as these authors have done for judges and legislators, then you might be able to figure out whether daughters are changing fathers' entire preference ordering, or if it's actually just for their "public choice" decision-making.
posted by scunning at 1:54 PM on May 22


To suggest that one group of people is naturally less empathic, or more callous, or more evil in any way, based solely on an external attribute such as gender is... wait for it... proof that you're being sexist.

And to suggest that people in this thread are suggesting that is to misread everyone.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:57 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


You would think having a freaking WIFE would help matters first.

I would steer you back a decade to Dr. David Hager. In the fall of 2002, Hager, a leading conservative Christian voice on women's health and sexuality, was appointed to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by U.S. President George W. Bush.

In 2002 his wife, Linda Carruth Davis, divorced him. Among the reasons she cited were Hager's repeatedly sodomizing her without her consent while she slept. Hager claimed in his defense that he had just, er, missed. Yes, someone with control over the reproductive rights of over a hundred million women asserted that he was unable to locate his wife's vagina.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:39 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Antonin Scalia has 4 daughters.

Besides knowing that he is a conservative on the bench, I am actually ignorant of Scalia's voting record. Does he have a pattern of ruling against women's issues?
posted by camdan at 3:17 PM on May 22


Scalia has said that women should not expect equal protection under the 14th Amendment:

Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't.

He also cast the lone dissenting vote in US v. Virginia, where a 7-1 vote allowed women to enter the VMI military school.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:12 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Love and understanding are not the same thing, love and being a good ally are not the same thing.

For a lot of men, their daughter is the only woman in their lives who feels comfortable talking to them about her experiences of sexism because she still identifies them as allies.
posted by bile and syntax at 4:48 PM on May 23


MisantropicPainforest: And to suggest that people in this thread are suggesting that is to misread everyone.

Glad you speak for "everyone". Unsurprisingly, you're wrong. agregoli plainly implied it.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:47 PM on May 27



To suggest that one group of people is naturally less empathic, or more callous, or more evil in any way, based solely on an external attribute such as gender is... wait for it... proof that you're being sexist.


...

MisantropicPainforest:And to suggest that people in this thread are suggesting that is to misread everyone.

Glad you speak for "everyone". Unsurprisingly, you're wrong. agregoli plainly implied it.


The implication of the article is that Republican men are, for whatever reason (natural or otherwise), incapable of empathizing with women the way other men manage to. That defecit is reduced when those men have daughters. The external attribute linked to dickishness is political ideology, not gender or sex.
posted by jsturgill at 9:49 AM on May 29


There was nothing in anything agregoli said that implied that men were 'naturally' less empathetic.

If you could isolate their statement that would help instead of lazily averring that you are right and they are wrong.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:32 AM on May 29


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