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You did it, guys! Angry dudes knock down IMDb ratings of shows aimed at women

Sex and the City will EAT YOUR SOUL
Sex and the City will EAT YOUR SOUL

Never let it be said that Men’s Rights activists can’t accomplish great things. Oh, sure, in what the old fogies call “the real world” their victories are pretty much nonexistent; they can’t even manage to organize conferences for themselves two years in a row.

But online, their brilliant strategy of “running around being dicks to everyone” has been an amazing success, causing numerous websites to shut down their comments because they were so sick of all the MRAs gumming them up with endless blather and abuse.

And now it appears the Men’s Rights movement can claim another victory: They have knocked the IMDb rating of the show Sex and the City down more than a point!

Take that, show that ended its run twelve years ago, but that MRAs and other manosphere dudes can’t stop talking about for some reason!

A statistical analysis by Walt Hickey of the data-driven site FiveThirtyEight suggests that men are swarming the IMDb profiles of shows aimed at women in order to give them low ratings.

One of the shows most obviously affected by this new form of cyber-activism is Sex and the City, a show despised more less equally by MRAs, MGTOWs, Roosh, and right-wing mass murderer Anders Breivik.

As Hickey points out, women collectively rated this show at 8.1 out of ten. But so many men gave the show bad ratings that they were able to drag the final score down to 7, which, as Hickey notes, is a below-average rating for the site.

And we’re not talking about a handful of statistical outliers taking down the score. More tha 78,000 people have rated the show. So there are thousands if not tens of thousands of guys out there taking out their anger at women by downvoting one of the most influential recent TV shows aimed at women — often, I would guess, without ever having watched an episode.

It’s a man’s world on IMDb, where, Hickey notes,

[s]eventy percent of IMDb TV show raters are men, according to my analysis, and that results in shows with predominantly female audiences getting screwed.

Why is that? It’s not just that men outnumber women on IMDb; they are also far more likely to give shows not aimed primarily at their own gender terrible ratings. As this chart shows pretty clearly, the more a show appeals to women rather than men, the more likely it is that a man will rate it a rating-killing one star.

hickey-imdbmen-3

“The overall effect of this imbalance is profound,” Hickey notes.

Among shows with 10,000 ratings or more, the average rating of the top-100 male-skewing shows was 8.2, while the average rating of the top-100 female shows was 7.4.

Is it possible that shows aimed at women are just objectively worse? Hickey thinks not. “Everybody watches crap,” he points out. “Men, women, everybody.”

Women may watch more than their share of terrible reality shows like “Say Yes to the Dress,” he notes. But they didn’t make up much of the audience for Beyblade, which, Hickey notes sardonically, is a show based around spinning tops. Spinning tops that fight each other.

Kaito_Unabara_VS_Eito_Unabara!

Nope. The real reason for the difference is that men are far more likely to poop on the ratings of shows aimed mostly at women than women are to poop on shows aimed mostly at men.

Women rated only two shows appreciably lower than their male raters did. Men, by contrast … well, just take a look at this chart that Hickey put together:

Men Are SabotagingAre the men who make up the Angry Man Downvote Brigade all card-carrying MRAs? For the most part, probably not. And I haven’t run across any evidence of organized IMDb downvoting anywhere in the manosphere (though I haven’t looked all that hard).

But if you’re a dude who literally devotes his evenings to giving crappy ratings to TV shows that women tend to like — just to show those ladies what’s what! — I think that makes you pretty much a de facto MRA. The MRAs should send you a little thank you note, at the very least.

Dad, what did you do in the culture wars?

Son, I gave The Mindy Project a one star rating on IMDb. 

EDIT: Hickey made that last chart into a handy gif:

Thanks, Katz, for the link!

EDIT 2: My favorite misogynist response to Hickey’s post:

https://twitter.com/Coondawg68/status/733298158202032128

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Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

@Kupo

@Scildfreja
That’s interesting about the self-reporting surveys. I have a tendency to only participate in product ratings if I have strong feelings about them. If I rate a product on Amazon it’s either because I had an exceptionally good or exceptionally poor experience, for example, so I’m either rating 5 stars or 1 star. But with Netflix I will rate truthfully how much I personally enjoyed a movie / show, even if I think the show is low quality and therefore “less deserving” of a higher rating, because the way I rate it will affect the suggestions I get. So my ratings are not only more nuanced because I have motivation other than an extreme experience for reporting my enjoyment level, they’re also more of an honest reflection of my personal enjoyment rather than what I think is socially acceptable. In other words, I’m not putting those ratings in for others, so I don’t feel the need to adjust for considerations of how others might or might not enjoy it. So I’ll give those “guilty pleasure” shows a higher rating than I would give them if my purpose for rating were to inform others of their content, which would be my reason for participating in a rating system like IMDB.

That’s actually a slightly different problem you’re talking about there! You’re talking about voluntary self-reporting, and the points you mention are mostly about the voluntary part. Which is certainly a big thing! It’s a large bias that needs to be accounted for. You generally can’t use that information on its own, since you have a biased sample with no control. If the survey is detailed you can do some propensity score analysis to tease out some useful information, but in general you can’t use it on its own. So: Yeah, the IMDB stuff is biased for that reason, certainly!

My point of interest was sort of adjacent to that, though, it’s about the self-reporting part. When we fill out a survey or questionnaire, we don’t fill out our honest opinions – even if we think we do. Instead, we tend to give what we think the socially acceptable opinions are, for our personal values of “socially acceptable”.

For example, a progressive person who doesn’t condone violence might rate an action movie with lots of explosions poorly, and complain about the needless violence that solves every problem … while they secretly actually really enjoyed the movie. Or, someone might rate King Lear highly because it’s a classic, and approving of it conveys higher social status … even if they thought it was dry toast and boring as heck.

A lot of this can be conscious, but there is an unconscious layer as well. Building a good questionnaire is about ensuring that the wording is as neutral as possible, to try to avoid socially-charged language. Hence the shift from using the word “rape” to using “non-consensual sex”, specifically to reduce the social charge. Pretty much everyone has a strong negative reaction to the former; relatively few people have as much of a care about the latter. And it’s why the 10% result from that questionnaire is a more reliable measure of the number of potential rapists out there – that questionnaire reduced the self-reporting bias in comparison to the other.

Sorry for droning on! We do lots of questionnaire work in my field, so it’s a subject that takes years of practice to get right. There’s a lot of hidden nuance.

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Viscaria:
We are deeply appreciative of that. Londoners are not by nature a gregarious and welcoming folk, but you may have noticed a drop in the level of contempt; this is about as close as we get to throwing our arms around you and welcoming you as a long-lost sister.

@Virgin Mary:
I like Lauren Faust’s work on My Little Pony, and I think it’s a great series. However, I worry that it’s inadvertently become the standard bearer for the New Sincerity movement. I am, to put it mildly, not a fan of New Sincerity.

Therefore, I feel that if My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic existed without context it would be amazing, but like a lot of things it becomes problematic when context is introduced.

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
5 years ago

@EJ

I’ve not come across that New Sincerity thing before. Very interesting. It looks a lot like post post modernism. Does this make Deadpool New Sincerity? I did wonder why he’s so popular all of a sudden.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

I’ve never quite gotten what the whole New Sincerity thing is about. It’s some sort of quantum superposition between honest surface appraisal without deep investigation, and sneering. Parts of it resonate with me – I don’t really do irony very well – but parts of it really turn me away.

Axecalibur
Axecalibur
5 years ago

@Mary, Brony, whoever’s interested in my ramblings
Demographic aim is bullshit. A movie with more than 1 black person in the cast is viewed/advertized by the industry like a Madea flick, and studios are still reluctant to sell action movie toys depicting women. MLP is a show for little girls, cos the industry decided boys and adults can’t like a show about pastel pony/pegasus/unicorn things. Unless they jump into magazords halfway thru the 3rd act of every episode, it’s a ‘chick show’, and that’s that
The brony phenomenon seems, at it’s heart, to be a rebellion, mostly unwitting perhaps, against such pigeonholing. There’s no gendered word for Adventure Time fans of either persuasion, cos everyone is pretty much accepted as a ‘normal’ part of the fandom. Bronies, on the other hand, formed a kinda community around their shared feelings of exclusion. This typa thing tends to either provide a sort of cathartic therapy or galvanize a group into… not so nice things
Liking MLP or anything else isn’t a bad thing. Anything (legal and ethical) we find to give yourself joy in our too short lives is a good in itself. Basically, it comes down to collective guilt. Are some bronies immature bullies? Yes. Still, people can’t be judged on what they like, but instead on what they do in the name of same. BSJC is good people, so any disparagement of his brothers (assuming gender based on, well…) should come with at least some caveats

BTW, just finished the series finale of Good Wife (another chick show, but this time for 40 year olds). Spoiler alert: it ended pretty sad, so now I’m sad. 7 seasons, my favorite show for 5 1/2, you will be missed
http://photos.vanityfair.com/2015/04/27/553e39a4db753b82389c709a_kalinda-leaves-the-good-wife.gif

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

Bronies, on the other hand, formed a kinda community around their shared feelings of exclusion

This feels true, and also explains why some less-than-great groups gravitated there. The chans, alt-right extremists, etc, have learned to define themselves in terms of the social groups which they are outcast from. The more their opinion pushes them away from the “mainstream”, the more “right” they feel. The more their tastes differ from everyone elses’, the more it reinforces their sense of self. Superiority over the “sheep”, “rational thinking”, etc – it all seems to boil down to a self-definition featuring separation.

Those are all the wrong words to describe what I am thinking 😐 Hopefully you follow!

If the above is true, then it makes sense that they’d be attracted to the ponies. On the negative side, posting ponies pissed off the mods of their boards enough to create a site-wide ban and form the creation of more exclusive boards. The kindness and happiness of the show was something for them, directed at them; it wasn’t a theme that the viewer should use as a philosophy in dealing with the world. Kindness for fellow outcasts, the rest of the world can go to hell. Hence the (annoying) meme, “I’m gonna love and tolerate the shit outta you.” (usually as part of a passive aggressive sealion party or something).

On the positive side, a great number of bronies took the message of toleration and kindness to heart and formed communities that maintained their separation (by being mostly adults who liked the marshmallow ponies) but still formed meaningful bridges with the mainstream in the form of music, stories, poems, and a new dedication to kindness.

I think you can probably imagine which of these camps I would consider myself in! As usual, all of this is just my opinion. I read Equestria Daily for awhile, but never really got deep into the brony culture.

http://media.giphy.com/media/xTiTnhpQOwsiFo1QT6/giphy.gif

Axecalibur
Axecalibur
5 years ago

@Scildfreja

passive aggressive sealion party

http://www.clipartbest.com/cliparts/yio/46a/yio46aXrT.png
The Sea Lion Party for Parliament, 2016: We’re always civil and back up our opinions with peer reviewed sources… but you first

The Sea Lion Party for Parliament, 2016: We care about you, and we’ll make sure you never forget it

The Sea Lion Party for Parliament, 2016: We’re not like those other politicians. Why would you think we were? Can you prove it? Let’s politely discuss that, shall we?

The Sea Lion Party for Parliament, 2016: If you can’t prove we’re bad, that means you can trust us

The Sea Lion Party: Get ready to refute that point for the 1001st time

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

Hee! I feel like that sealion picture is exactly the right level of angry for the text. Vote ABSL, everyone! (Anyone-But-Sealion)

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

But if I vote Anyone But Sealion, then the funny-haired party might get in!

(As a semi-related aside, has anyone noticed how Boris Johnson’s hair has drifted in colour over the years? It used to be peroxide as white as driven snow, and now it’s looking positively Trumpian.)

katz
5 years ago

Hold the phones, everyone, Cathy Young is on the case.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
5 years ago

I love how she thinks that a show can’t have a gender inclusive target audience if they have a female main character. I never saw Jessica Jones (a comic book adaptation) or Orphan Black (sci-fi) as shows targeted to women, despite their feminist friendly aspects. I saw them as targeted towards geeky genre fan types of all genders.

katz
5 years ago

I love how she thinks that a show can’t have a gender inclusive target audience if they have a female main character.

And fails to realize that, you know, that’s part of the problem.

Same as all the guys going “It’s just because IMDB is almost all dudes!”

Steve D
Steve D
5 years ago

In only two days this got light years from SITC. Now I’m not a TV watcher, which means I’ve never seen a raft of shows that would leave you aghast if I listed them. But SITC is about four young women and their sex lives. Isn’t that what guys want? Women with a serious preoccupation with sex? I mean, if the show were “Embittered Spinsters Who Use Cats As Surrogates For Men*,” I might see why you’d go on Imdb and vote it down. But when you have women seriously talking a lot about their sex lives…. What am I missing here?

*Not intended as a slur against embittered people, unmarried women, cat owners, or people who use cats as surrogates for something else.

Binjabreel
Binjabreel
5 years ago

Ah, but you see, when women *choose* to have sex then there’s no status to be gained by tricking or coercing them into it!

Also, these ladies walk around, having jobs and opinions and buying things. That’s clearly misandry of the highest order.

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