The alert reader will have observed that I am lately enamored of studies. Or more precisely, of newspaper reports on studies illuminating the errant deviating weirdness of women.
Some mornings, as I gaze beyond the crema on my espresso to contemplate another dusty cobweb on the ceiling, I imagine that I will one day conduct a groundbreaking study of my very own. The study will focus on studies. No dearth of raw material would impede my mission. Two or three chicks-are-freaks-of-nature studies pop up in my mailbox every day. Chinese women are more fatigued than men. UK women are more unhappy than men. Indian women feel more pain than men. Saudi women are more totally fucked in every way than men.
It boggles the mind to consider all the resources and time and effort put into proving that women are odd.
All studies have a hidden agenda, and my study of studies would be no exception. My hidden agenda would be to expose a great truth: that studies purporting to expose great truths either (a) merely validate the widely-held beliefs of the mainstream or (b) advance the nefarious purposes of the studier.
Since my study study would probably not validate very many widely-held beliefs of the mainstream, it would necessarily advance the nefarious purposes of the studier–in this case, me. So I would give a free pass to reports like this one, which reveals that women retirees in the UK are four times more likely to die in poverty than men because they were absent from the work force for 20 years while, without compensation, they raised the kids and cleaned the toilets.
But I would be fairly relentless with "studies" such as this glittering gem from the Hindustan Times, headlined "Women Are Bigger Fibbers Than Men!" The survey on which this story reports shows that 73% of Britons in general lie at least once day, but the "fact" that most captivates is the one suggesting that a whopping 75% of women prevaricate daily, as opposed to a paltry 68% of men.
Or how about "WOW (The Wonders of Women)"? This survey was, according to the Malaysia Star, conducted to reveal "what makes Asian women tick," but it actually does nothing but track the spending habits of affluent female Malaysians. Who, it turns out, enjoy manicures and expensive bags and, though they "acknowledge that aging is inevitable, they wish to look forever young and beautiful" and so will cough up for cosmetics and beauty treatments and boob jobs and labiaplasties.
The things that makes poor Asian women tick–fear, loathing, hunger, disease, violence–don’t sell well in malls.