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November 08, 2005

Avon and Statistics

Normally, my mom brings home a few Avon booklets from a co-worker and while scheming through it I found something interesting.

Salma Hayek currently acts as a spokeswoman, not only for the Avon Foundation, but for Speak Out Against Domestic Violence. Within the products description, it claims "X Number of Women" out of "Y Number of Women" suffer from domestic abuse. Although It Ain't Necessarily So attempted to claim "newspapers are interested in telling us the answers" (98), can we solely blame the media?

Just as our class discussions and Chris's presentation noted, how do we define abuse? What is it unlimited and limited to?

Sometimes, the answers are made based upon the way the question(s) was asked. As our book noted, "if you ask a stupid question (or rather, if you ask a question stupidly), you can get a misleading answer" (99). These types of surveys and statistics push the responsibility of gathering information onto the public. Whatever response we desire, it can be attained through ambiguous or threatening questions which forces the individual to reexamine their own beliefs.

Likewise, when the public receives the survey or polls results, our beliefs are lifted to the surface again. Based on our emotional reactions or feelings, an unknowing public may find themselves in a conflicting predicament. Should I purchase the product to help "Organization X" or refuse, based on disbelief of their statistics? It's a real double-edged sword and one whose controversies rattle the thoughts of not just the public but the surveyors who administer questioning.

As always, "you need to know what the question is before you can interpret its answer" (108).

Posted by BethanyHutira at November 8, 2005 04:19 PM

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