Roundup: Virtual wives, non-ironic feminism and more

Including: Psychologists tackle insults as a strategy for keeping women around.

Published August 10, 2007 10:38PM (EDT)

"The Science of Insulting Women." Melissa Lafsky, over at the New York Times' Freakonomics blog, alerted us to her post today about a pair of psychologists who have set out to answer what motivates men to insult women in romantic relationships. Their study, which was published last month, showed that men who frequently insulted their partners were also more likely to engage in "negative mate retention" strategies (like extreme possessiveness or keeping their partner under constant surveillance). The researchers concluded that hurling insults at their partner is a small part of a larger strategy to keep her around. Not to worry, guys: Next, they're looking into why women engage in the same behavior.

Is it cheating when the other woman is your virtual wife? Today, the Wall Street Journal discovers that people -- even married people -- are using the Internet for cyber sex. That probably isn't news to anyone who's managed to find their way here, but the article proves to be quite the entertaining freak show. Meet Ric Hoogestraat, a married man who is maintaining a separate virtual marriage in Second Life. Here's a choice quote from Hoogestraat's real life wife: "You try to talk to [your husband] or bring them a drink, and they'll be having sex with a cartoon."

This just in: Andy Samberg is a feminist in the non-ironic sense. The comedian confirmed that when he wore that much-commented-on National Organization for Women T-shirt to the Spike TV Awards, it was "totally sincere" and "a little wink" to everyone in his home town of Berkeley, Calif. This means we can continue to enjoy his moments of glory amid "Saturday Night Live's" extended death throes.

"Octogenarian Eager to See Killer Hubby." Here's a weird one: A man who "bludgeoned" his grandmother and great-aunt to death 30 years ago has been released into his 88-year-old wife's open arms. He wasn't actually jailed for those murders (he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent six years in a mental institution) but, instead, for two counts of first-degree sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl and later for a parole violation.

Charges in sex trafficking case. Nine Guatemalans have been charged with selling women and girls into sex work in the U.S. Robert Schoch, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent, said: ''These young women were enticed into coming to this country by promises of the American dream only to arrive and discover that what awaited was a nightmare."

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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