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Mar 30 2009

Psychologists conduct studies, or, The Boothroyd Show

It strains the lobe to contemplate what passes, in mainstream media, for women’s health reportage. BBC News, for example, has a passel of crap in the “Health” section on how women attract men, how women select men, and how women’s behavior is a function of our essential receptacality with respect to men. Check this sexist, heteronormative shit out [*]:

Everybody knows women are crazy. We constantly run amok on psycho shopping sprees. Do we stock up on wool socks or books of poetry? Hell no! We buy buttloads of “jewellery, make-up and high heels.” Well, you know why? Because it’s that time of the month! Just ask some psychologists who did a study. Menstruation is a health problem causing unbridled extravagance.

Psychologists believe shopping could be a way for premenstrual women to deal with the negative emotions created by their hormonal changes.

Blowing dough on makeup has nothing to do with the Femininity Industrial Complex.

The menstruation shopping spree article linked to this one, which reveals a handy tip for getting men to pry open the old money clip for you. Obviously, anyone interested in blaming reproductive functions for their credit card debt would probably also be interested in “boosting [their] attractiveness” to men. So guess what. Psychologists did a study. It turns out that the color red totally unlocks the dudely wallet. “[M]en said they would spend more money on a woman pictured in red, compared with the same woman wearing a blue shirt.” It’s easy to guess why. That’s right:

[A] lot of female monkeys have bright red sexual swellings, which show that they are around the time of ovulation.

Ergo, human men are hardwired to spend more cash on a woman who resembles a monkey butt. Duh!

But wait, there’s plenty more where that came from. Psychologists — ever eager to unlock the secrets swelling in the luscious red subconscious of Unknowable Woman — did another study. This one, which I consider to be particularly relevant to women’s health, showed that women with high testosterone levels want to bone a movie star named Daniel Craig.

But wait, there’s even more. Psychologists — they just can’t help themselves — did another study. Women select men who look like their fathers. This is because [gross-out warning] Daddy “imprints” his sexual attractiveness on Baby-Girl. Step off, Freud! “[S]imilarity makes people more fertile” is today’s hep psychosexual mantra. Or so saith Dr Lynda Boothroyd of the University of Durham.

Dr Lynda Boothroyd of the University of Durham really has her finger on the pulse of the Feminine Subconscious of Today, because here she is again in 2008 with another momentous piece of health information. This time it’s “the secret to successful flirting.” Stop wasting your valuable time macking on dudes who wouldn’t fuck you with some other guy’s dick; it is crucial, for the sake of dating efficiency, that you learn your “level of attractiveness.” In other words, if you’re butt-ugly, don’t bother hitting on Daniel Craig.

Oh, and “smile.”

Dating efficiency is apparently a most exigent health issue. It was discussed in 2007 as well, when another study with almost precisely the same findings as the above appeared in the health section of the BBC website. Do not, cautions the article, avert your eyes when you’re trying to hook up with some dude, according to this other bunch of studying psychologists. Also, have a symmetrical face and “healthy” skin. Taking these steps will prevent you “wasting energy on pointless courtships.”

Mating effort is a finite resource that should be allocated judiciously, and preferences for direct gaze in opposite-sex faces would increase the likelihood of allocating mating effort to potential mates who are most likely to reciprocate.”

Good to know!

It may not surprise you to learn that psychologists did another study. I admire their tenacity, but shit, don’t these people have jobs? And once again, our old pal Dr Lynda Boothroyd appears to be the instigator. It turns out that you can tell from a person’s face whether they are “promiscuous.”

Boothroyd said it, I believe it, and that settles it!

______________________
* Note that I have not read any of the studies. For all I know their actual findings concern the nesting habits of the red-bellied woodpecker. I critique only what appears on the BBC website.

81 comments

2 pings

  1. coathangrrr

    These sorts of evolutionary psychology studies constantly amaze me with the sorts of rationale they come up with for a given behavior. Monkey butts, really? How drunk do you have to be to think that’s a good idea?

  2. Popes

    If anyone is keeping track, I’d sure like to know how many socially “undesirable” behaviors in women are not somehow attributed to our hormones (which is really just a euphemism for menstruation). There are the emotions (anger and weeping, particularly, though not necessarily exclusive of each other), the overeating (PMS munchies), the chubby water retention bloat (no!!! not teh fat!), and now, blowing wads of cash (on frivolous things, no less).

    You got me on the water weight, but other than that, I roll pretty much like I do the rest of the month. However, given that here, menstruation is culturally perceived as so heinously disgusting, it’s not surprising that the hordes are lining up to gather evidence on how it makes all women across the board look and act so dadgum UGLY.

  3. Comrade PhysioProf

    Goddamn this “evolutionary psychology” arrant bullshit chaps my motherfucking hide! Buncha fucking tools.

  4. SoJo

    “Monkey butts, really? How drunk do you have to be to think that’s a good idea?”

    Right on coathangrr!

  5. rootlesscosmo

    The BBC is a bottomless well of pseudo-scientific crap on pretty much everything. The bloggers over at Language Log periodically demolish their stuff about language, but to no visible effect. Either the Beeb isn’t listening or more likely they do this on purpose to suck up to the pig audience and give the rest of us hypertension.

  6. Lillieve

    What happens when red-bottomed monkeys flirt with men? Do the men start menstruating? Perhaps the BBC should commission a study. Then they could turn it into a documentary series, with Attenborough narrating it.

    Now I feel like going shopping with a red-bottomed monkey. I think we will get drunk on cosmetics and flirt with some psychologists.

  7. SolNiger@gmail.com\\

    Can I just say this blog soothes my itch like nothing else? Take that Gold Bond medicated itch lotion!

    I knew a pretty ‘smart’ guy at university who was hell-bent on doing a thesis on cognitive differences between men and women. He could not appreciate my argument that his ‘study’ will be inextricably frought with cultural and social confounding bias. He thought I was wrong to criticise his, what I belived to be anti-intellectual, efforts. I made the ‘what if this was done between black and white subjects’ argument which I HATE to make but is sometimes the only thing that gets the point across. Well he said he was justified because a WOMAN had done a similar study a while ago.

    oy, that conversation would’ve filled several feminist bingo cards in a row.

  8. Chocolate Tort

    But Twisty et al, where are your facts to back up your mockery?? Your stats? Your anecdotal “I have a female friend who does XYZ thing!” evidence? Your soaring rhetoric? Or is this another example of womanly instinct, as studied by Dr. Boothroyd and reported at the Beeb as related to menstruation and Oedipal urges?!

    Oh sorry, I was in Republican Nigel mode for a moment there (it happened years ago, but the mood still strikes on occasion). Thank you as always for being the unapologetic voice of “WTF?!” in a world the eats this crap up and for creating a space for the rest of us to vent our rage.

    Seriously, monkey butts?

  9. VibratingLiz

    Ooops! Time to apply some more Anti Monkey Butt Powder:

    http://www.antimonkeybutt.com/

  10. belenen

    Have you ever posted on how the whole concept of PMS-as-mental-disorder is total bullshit? I just finished reading Carol Tavris’ “Mismeasure of Woman” and I was incensed, amused, and horrified by the myth of PMS. Women’s moods don’t fluctuate any more than men’s, and don’t fluctuate according to time of the month, even though women tend to ‘remember’ that (according to a study involving daily mood charts). Men are just as likely to have PMS symptoms (if you take out the ‘sore breasts’ one). Men’s hormones fluctuate more during a single day than women’s do during the month! It’s mind-boggling to think that so many people have been taken in by the idea that monthly bleeding makes women go “a little insane.”

  11. Jezebella

    belenen, you are now about to see a whole lot of pissed-off whupass in this here comment thread, because, seriously, the “PMS is all in your head” argument is as old and tired as the damn patriarchy.

  12. panoptical

    I want to bone a movie star named Daniel Craig… but I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what that says about my testosterone levels. This study seems incomplete.

  13. Twisty

    I’ve got a sidekick here who would suggest, through gritted teeth, that if PMS is all in her head, so are you.

  14. another voice

    So I was flirting w/ this monkey butt the other day

  15. Twisty

    panoptical, the study was not concerned with non-females who want to bone Daniel Craig. That would just be weird. Get over yourself.

    Who the hell is Daniel Craig, anyway?

  16. Ayla

    Popes said: “If anyone is keeping track, I’d sure like to know how many socially “undesirable” behaviors in women are not somehow attributed to our hormones (which is really just a euphemism for menstruation).”

    None. In fact, it’s not only those traits which the P deems as “undesirable” that are attributed to “hormones” (which is mostly conflated with, as you so correctly pointed out, TEH ICKY BLEEDING). It’s actually pretty much anything and everything a woman does, says or thinks each and every day.

    Put up some new drapes? Your hormones are making you engage in “nesting.”

    Had a snack after dinner? You’re hungry ’cause you’re bleedin’

    Got mad at a guy who cut you off on the road and flipped him off? You’re PMSing!

    Have sex with a guy? Your hormones want you pregnant.

    Say something factual that messes with some pig’s Patriarchal worldview? You’re obviously so addled with your lady juices that you don’t even know what reality is.

    Have a pet cat? You’re trying to fill that bottomless hole, that eternal yearning for male affection created by your hormones and typically filled by a man with a poor substitute, you stupid old bat you.

    I think you get my point. The Patriarchy doesn’t recognize that women have the ability to think for themselves rationally and therefore any behavior more sophisticated than the purely animal needs and urges like eating, drinking, sleeping and shitting is simply too HUMAN for a woman to engage in due to actually THINKING about it. She must be driven by some unseen force she cannot control, like ZOMG!! THE BLOOD!!! And in this way, we are reduced to less than human. Living beings, surely, but with no more thought or free will than the fish in my aquarium.

  17. Courtney

    Daniel Craig is a famous English movie star – the new James Bond…hot, if you like skinny little guys.

  18. Popes

    Nice synopsis, Ayla. I hadn’t ever seen it summed up quite that way. While (I hope) plenty of people outside the radfem community wouldn’t espouse many of those views, I have to admit that it certainly echoes a whole crapload of magazines and web articles I’ve had the misfortune to read.

    Of course, your synopsis makes me want to cry a little.

    I’m sure that’s just my PMS, though.

  19. Lovepug

    Monkey butts. Classic.

    But word on the street is that Daniel Craig actually prefers the more multi-hued baboon butt.

  20. Lovepug

    Monkey butts! I’m still laughing!

  21. magriff

    The whole PMS thing raises so many issues: Are PMS and cramps and all that jazz social constructs, or are they biological “facts”? What are the implications of each argument? I think a lot of folks would rather believe the social construct argument for a lot of valid reasons. But like a certain sidekick, when it’s happening to me, it doesn’t FEEL like a lie of the patriarchy, it feels pretty damned real (unlike, say, domestic drudgery, which always feels kind of out-of-body).

    I have an IUD, and haven’t had a period in four years (“Amen!-orreah”) and whenever I reflect joyously upon this I get some raised eyebrows.

    Any thoughts?

  22. meerkat

    We constantly run amok on psycho shopping sprees. Do we stock up on wool socks or books of poetry? Hell no! We buy buttloads of “jewellery, make-up and high heels.” Well, you know why? Because it’s that time of the month!

    I’d rather have polyester or cotton socks and books of science fiction! I definitely have more of those than I need. Very little by way of make-up, jewelry, and fancy clothes though, because I desperately hate shopping for and using them.

    I guess the reason I raided the cheap used video game shelf and the 105 yen manga section the other day was that it was that time of month! Certainly nothing to do with how I had actual time off in which to go to places where things are sold.

  23. mearl

    So by extension, as a hetero female I should be attracted to Paul Schaffer (David Letterman’s sidekick) because he looks like a great big walking talking piano-playing penis? And I will fall prey to any enterprising guys who shave their heads bald and wear sweaters the colour of veiny erections? It’s really because every single move I make is controlled by my GIRLY HORMONES?

    I must not be female then. Somehow the constant presence of Daniel Craig in my face whenever I turn on a TV or leave the house hasn’t led me to lust after him, and I’d say I’m a pretty high-testosterone candidate. I’d better find a few of these researchers and slobber on them to find out where I fall on their testo-meter. If they complain I’ll explain that my PMS got out of control and caused me to start producing more saliva, either because I am rabid, I wanted some Doritos, or I couldn’t stop drooling over the visions of iconic beefcakes that were dancing in my estrogen-addled head. Or all three.

  24. mj

    monkey butts actually makes sense to me…but i am guilty of dismissing our behavior back to our primal nature…

    i avoid like the plague men who look like my father–but if they drink like my father, another story….

    i love my asymmetrical face. one eyebrow higher than the other–i think it works for me because the guy always thinks im deeply interested in whatever nonsense he is pulling out of his ass. but my sunglasses always look crooked.

    thanks for all the brain candy

  25. Nicolien

    Magriff, the cramps are not social constructs – the idea that they make me go out and buy shoes is. I hate buying shoes.

  26. Ali

    Hmmm. Maybe the reason why I am still (happily) single is because instead of titillating El Dood with a frock of monkey-ass red, I prefer to toodle around in a comfy sweater that is fuzzy and gray, which is the same color as the rats ass I cold give if said Doods find me attractive.

    Right now I am searing my Cookie-monster-ass blue bathrobe. Maybe I should hang out on Sesame Street and see who bites.

  27. Noshoes

    When I was a little girl, my mother would tell me to stop stomping around and act more “ladylike.”

    “But, Mom,” I would reply. “I AM a lady so anything I do is ‘ladylike.’” Voila! Problem solved!

    Seriously though, I do find myself eating more when I’m about to bleed. I also used to consume more alcohol (back when I did that sort of thing) and seemed clumsier and more on edge. But maybe that was the alcohol. I have never, however, experienced the urge to buy shoes or make up.

  28. not a dudetiful wife

    “The mating effort..” those words crack me up…

    Also, the father imprinting…would that be young, hawt daddy or the older Elvis in a jumpsuit daddy? Do you also also pick out pets that look like your parents?

    I think there is first wife imprinting…check out Bruce Willis’s new wife…

    Seriously…people get funding for these studies?

  29. Jimmy

    So…to get laid I should look for a woman who is wearing monkey-butt red (good color methinks) dress, looks like Daniel Craig (as long as I look like Daniel Craig at the same time I suppose), is holding numerous shopping bags and looks straight at me.
    I think I learned a very valuable lesson.

  30. thebewilderness

    I can confirm that refusing to look at men is a reasonably effective anti-mating strategy.
    I also apply that strategy to propaganda catapults such as the BBC.
    Works a treat!

    Monkey butts!

  31. Lauren O

    Of course. Attraction to the color red, which shows up in about a bazillion biological or natural scenarios, could only point to ONE THING: mating signals from a different species. The logic is flawless.

    I’d also like to add that even since waaaaayyy before my feminist awakening, I have seen shopping as a boring nuisance. Even when it’s for things I like (books, music) rather than clothes or makeup, I am likely to look at all the nice things and then spend a bit of money on one item. Even when I’m PMSing.

  32. Oaktown Girl

    The BBC is a bottomless well of pseudo-scientific crap on pretty much everything.

    Which just goes to prove it’s not only the American media that is working tirelessly to keep the public as frightened, insecure, and ill-informed as possible.

    Speaking of BBC-worthy research, here’s some for you: Both me and my best friend (who’s also a flaming hetero) agree that Daniel Craig does NOT “do it” for us, and neither of us would choose to mate with him. That’s 2 out of 2 women – more than enough to make blanket conclusions about all women everywhere. What’s the conclusion? PMS makes otherwise rational women reject Daniel Craig as a sex symbol.

  33. LJ

    I’m much more likely, when PMSing, social construct or not, to eat an entire bag of M&Ms than buy make-up, and I consider occasional chocolate inhalation very healthy.

    “Professor Pine, author of the book Sheconomics, said if women were worried about their spending behaviour they might avoid going shopping in the week before their period was due.”

    Or perhaps we might take the time to evaluate our spending behavior by examining our monthly expenditures and budgeting. Or is that an unreasonable expectation in the face of those raging hormones?

  34. Karrigan

    So, we are strongly encouraged to buy and wear makeup in order to have the glowing, healthy looking skin that leads to efficient flirting. But when we actually buy the stuff we are financially irresponsible, frivolous and almost certainly bleeding?

  35. speedbudget

    I take my pill straight through for three months and have teensy periods as a result, if at all. Everyone thinks I’m nuts for not having my period every month, too. A pox on them!

    And yes, can we talk about male imprinting on first wives? It’s weird. Every guy I know who has remarried has found an EXACT REPLICA of their first wife. What is up with that? I would do a study, if I were a studier.

    Also, I don’t doubt that PMS exists. I used to get it like a bitch, then I did the trick with the pill. I don’t think it behooves us to deny that PMS happens. What I think we need to look at and discuss is how PMS is used as an excuse to discount us, make us seem crazy, and also how it is, at turns, existent and non-existent due to patriarchal expedience. And in what circumstances the Patriarchy deigns to admit its existence and in which it denies.

  36. Comrade PhysioProf

    one eyebrow higher than the other–i think it works for me because the guy always thinks im deeply interested in whatever nonsense he is pulling out of his ass.

    That’s fucking great! You never have to try to pretend to pay attention to what some fucknozzle is blabbering about!

  37. Silence

    In the nineteenth century, the Cult of Domesticity arose, along with the arrival of the glass-fronted superstore. Women — at least women of a certain class — were expected and encouraged to shop almost constantly. It supposedly benefited the economy, but more important, a woman who was always out shopping for clothes was a status symbol for her husband. Men dressed soberly, so their position in the pack was indicated by the amount and quality of their wife’s attire. We’re still living with the vestiges of that era. It has nothing to do with evolution and everything with history.

    By the way, I’m PMSing right now, and later I intend to go out and buy some yarn for socks and perhaps a copy of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,’ which I must say sounds like a hoot.

    Screw the makeup and high heels.

  38. Azundris

    The internet says the author of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” also wrote “The Big Book of Porn.”

  39. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Piffle.

    Can I get some funding for a study of butt-ugly men who persistently harass pretty women? Like how many whacks in the head with a ball-peen hammer it takes to drop one in his tracks? I have a hypothesis; I’d kinda like to try it out.

    Comrade Physioprop, if what any given fucknozzle is blabbering about doesn’t hold my interest, I usually walk away.

  40. MLH

    And, what if you are a woman and want to “bone” Rachel Maddow? Is that PMS too?

  41. Silence

    That’s a damn shame, Azundris. Ah, well, plenty more books out there waiting to be read.

  42. birkwearingblamer

    But wait, there’s more!

    “SPANKING is stressful at first, but it could bring consenting couples closer together. That’s the implication of two studies of hormonal changes associated with sadomasochistic (S&M) activities including spanking, bondage and flogging. . .At an S&M event in Colorado, testosterone was measured in 45 men and women. It increased significantly in receiving women only.”

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20127014.300-spanking-brings-couples-together.html

  43. Comrade PhysioProf

    Comrade Physioprop, if what any given fucknozzle is blabbering about doesn’t hold my interest, I usually walk away.

    Have you ever been to a faculty meeting?

  44. Twisty

    Don’t get me started on NewScientist.com. They can kiss my entire honky ass. I first got hip to their phallus-happy bullshit when I perceived on the website a pornographic image used to illustrate an article on breast cancer.

  45. yttik

    Men experience hormonal changes, mood swings, eating binges. There is male menopause and male pms but they aren’t discussed or researched in our culture. Biologically human beings are very similar. Male behavior of course is not viewed as crazy or hormonal, even when they run out and buy a sports car or start believing they really look good with a few strands or hair combed over a bald spot.

    Never mind “what about the men”, what about the poor women who have to deal with them?? We are left raising sons or caring for older men with no tools to understand what’s happening because there is no acknowledgment that men have hormones too. Male behavior is always viewed as rational and well reasoned even when it is obviously not.

    It always amazes me that the patriarchy can hold two opposing beliefs, women are crazy and out of control with irrational hormones and yet they are hyper responsible for not only their own behavior, but everyone else’s. We get to be insane and totally responsible for our behavior at the same time. If we ever acknowledged male pms, no doubt it would simply become another way to excuse male behavior.

  46. Lovepug

    Pseudoscience can kiss my big red monkey butt. Then I’m puttin’ the powder on it.

    Monkey butts!

    That is now my number one jam.

  47. jo22

    No, wait, it’s true! I wear lots of red, and men are always offering to buy me alcohol.

    How do I get them to buy me books?

  48. Agasaya

    Actually, men have garnered a lot of research into testosterone levels and genetics (recall that extra Y chromosone) with regard to violence and prison populations make very profitable subjects of psychological and medical research. Prisons are expensive.

    Behavior (internal and externally visible) is going to be affected by biochemistry, genetics and the environment. However, learning and higher reasoning skills keep mindless responses to those alterations to a minimum. Even reflexes can be inhibited. The shopping reflex must have been taught on one of my days off from biology class. Does it work like this? Take a soft rubber hammer to a woman’s knee and tap. Bang! She goes out and buys a pair of shoes?

    Follow the money. If you take a look at the sponsors of this research, you will see a wealth of vested interests in terms of what research projects are being funded. For instance, this study,

    http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/girls_do_better_boys_new_technology_study

    “looks” at the patterns of technology purchases, concluding that girls tend to be introduced to technology at home by their mothers while boys obtain this knowledge at school or some other locale (maybe the girl down the street with the smart mother?). Who did this research? You’ve got it. Karen Pine, the same psycho(logist) who did the shopping study in pre-menstrual women.

    Who paid for it? The same sponsor, intuitive media, which sells technology.

    http://www.intuitivemedia.com/

    Market research is not the same as research. The goal of research is knowledge which may or may not have practical applications. Market research has only one goal, to market something. Anything. This is why so many drugs are abusive of the patients – it was market research which developed them and not medical research. It is about selling what is made and not making what needs to be sold. Come up with a drug that is so bad it can’t pass muster? Then sell it for some other purposes. Like the failed estrogen drug that now is used in plastics. And no one thought that estrogen levels might be effected with their placement in food containers (cans and bottles)? The amount of xeno-estrogens in the environment today caused female biochemistry to change with earlier puberty and later menopause. Cancer rates are affected by estrogen levels. Research tells us this yet women are continually taught to play games with biochemistry for convenience in order to compete in a man’s world. PMS is a very real issue and severe hormonal disregulation has disastrous results. However, our biochemistry is at the mercy of the adulterated foods and polluted products surrounding us.

    The ultimate joke on both genders is that male fertility is on the wane for the same reason; boys develop breasts from lavender oil as documented in the major medical journals. But lavender sells big to women – shouldn’t we be concerned about it as well? It takes ‘disaster’ like boys developing breasts before it gets big play in the news unlike the age of menarche dropping by years? Hormones aren’t a case of ‘the more the merrier’ with estrogen and progesterone. Balance is impossible which automatically leads to oxidative stress and an incredible range of illnesses. Male fetuses and babies have the lion’s share of health problems until puberty. Post- puberty, female health is the most endangered/fragile. Estrogen levels make a difference in many aspects of health and well-being. Testosterone levels fluctuate in women as well as in men, most revealingly.

    Other interests of Karen:

    http://www.sheconomics.co.uk/who-are-we.html

    http://www.nodietdietway.com/karen.php

    This one is interesting and, if it began addressing the base misconceptions about the goals women set for themselves even before trying to alter behavior (like weighing 105 when 115 is healthier), could be a useful method. I didn’t take the time too look at this in any depth.

    Psychology has the profitable ‘medical mystique’ without any of the possible lines of refutation open to other medical sciences, even though it relates to physiology. No one calls it malpractice to prescribe an serotonin uptake drug for ‘depression’ without actually doing a baseline on how much you have to start. Or questions the fact that too much serotonin can lead to psychotic behavior. Psychology is akin to driving an ambulance without ever actually qualifying for a driver’s license.

    Market research is an oxymoron because it automatically limits the scope of questions asked in studies which is counter to the purposes of actual research. It is certainly lethal to our interests when it is reported as science and an explanation for behavior. Since women as consumers have value to the patriarchy, it is crucial we deal with market research as the basis for circulating the premises which damage us.

  49. Carolyn

    This book:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Issues-Blood-Menstruation-Sophie-Laws/dp/0333482344

    suggests that it’s in the interests of the P to elevate PMS to legendary status and as Ayla says a complete explanation of women’s behaviour while completely dismissing the genuine pain and difficulty a lot of women experience DURING menstruation. I think this is a really worthwhile read, but I would not keep this book in my house because of all the disgusting things the author reveals about what men actually think of women and menstruation.

  50. birkwearingblamer

    Why should I give a monkey’s butt what men think about menstruation? And someone wrote a whole book about it? Holy flying monkey butt!

  51. random_anomaly

    yttik:
    I once read a pseudo-scientific study in which it was determined that “male menopause” was actually – get this – caused by women. Apparently, as a dude’s wife reaches menopause, he realizes that she is no longer fertile and is forced to buy a sports car and get hair-replacement in order to attract a younger, more fertile woman.
    I wish I could remember the link for the article, although reading it may induce desk-related head trauma.

  52. phiogistic

    I have a theory. I think that evo-psych gender-essentialist researchers are obsessed with having sex with monkeys. That’s why they think a woman’s mouth with lipstick on it looks like a monkey butt, a woman wearing a red shirt looks like a monkey butt, etc., etc. Can I get some funding to study this important, biologically hard-wired phenomenon? I plan to prove that there needs to better security at zoos to protect the monkeys.

  53. slythwolf

    I’m interested to learn that they didn’t even have to conduct a study to determine that my “hormonal changes” create my emotions of anger and sadness. Silly me, all this time I thought I was getting pissed off and/or sad about actual things that happened to me.

  54. Kathleen

    I would like to place a wager in this forum that in 10 years the evo psychos will have changed their name again: they used to call themselves socio-biologists, till everyone made fun of their bottomless stupidity so they re-branded themselves evo psychos. As everybody pours scorn on “evo psych” as they previously did on sociobiology no doubt the Purveyors of Pseudo Scientific Chicken Soup for the Racist Sexist Homophobic Patriarchal Soul will amble toward some new self-appellation and insist that they lament the silly excesses of the previous appellation just as much as, IF NOT MORE THAN, all other sane-minded beings. They have no shame.

  55. Carolyn

    Why should I give a monkey’s butt what men think about menstruation? And someone wrote a whole book about it? Holy flying monkey butt!

    :) That’s exactly what she says in her intro (it’s been a long time since I read it, so this is just my vague memory of some of the things she wrote). ‘Menstruation is the only thing that belongs solely to women; if you want to study menstruation why involve men? It’s none of their concern.’ She argues that how men perceive menstruation, and how they filter that perception through the way they view women, affects our daily lives, so we’d be wiser (if not happier) to know about it. One thing I remember from the book is how we’ve been made responsible for hiding any evidence that we’re menstruating from any man we might encounter, including men we live with–some women are even expected to hide the pads/tampons in their own bathrooms if they share them with men.

  56. Marla the Invisible

    “Psychologists believe shopping could be a way for premenstrual women to deal with the negative emotions created by their hormonal changes.”

    When I first read this I thought it was a prescription, not a diagnosis.

  57. parallel

    The British media is infested with these evpsych stories. You cant move without tripping over some shite about female stupidity, b*tchiness and general inferiority . Nothing they like more than “proving” why women should be kept in their place.

  58. AM

    When I was what, 5 or 6, my parents wanted to have my tonsils removed (it was fashionable then) but I raised holy hell so they forgot about it. In my teens I ran across the information that Freud thought little girls who resisted tonsilectomy were exhibiting what else p*nis envy. My immediate visceral reaction: what an asshole! And as far as MD’s are concerned, I took Tonto’s remark, heard on the radio program The Lone Ranger when I was a kid, “White man’s medicine no good” as a guiding principle.

    On a somewhat other topic:

    I got my dander up reading criticism that went on and on about Michelle Obama’s clothing choices, posture, and body language. I want to share here the comment I made:

    Comment by AM | 2009-03-31 14:13:54

    I am definitely not a fan of the Obamas, but I suspect Ms Obama has an outsider streak in her. Disparagement of her clothing and posture, and her, what I would describe as, athletic, jockish body
    language, to me represents patriarchal-mode policing. She knows what she’s supposed to do; rebellion leaks out. I say this because all my life I’ve been violating the sensibilities of those who must have adherence to the “feminine norm” in such matters. So there.

  59. procrastinatrix

    Loving the comments on this thread :)

    Echidne’s hide is also getting chapped (to borrow a Twisty-ism) by the pseudoscience on the BBC. http://haloscan.com/tb/echidne/5815397517276723298

    From personal experiences while visiting there, I’ve decided that England (don’t know about other UK countries) is stuck in the 1980s on this stuff-which just means they are still more overt with their “women are sub-human or at the least an alien species” schtick.

  60. procrastinatrix

    Sorry, I’m a newbie. Here’s a good link to the Echidne post: http://echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html#5815397517276723298

  61. Balanophage

    Procrastinatrix, from my experience of living in England since birth, 39 years ago, I can say that with regard to women’s rights and general social attitudes towards women, England is substantially worse now than it was 25 years ago. Then, at least we had the tail-end of the second wave; there was far less conservatism (with a small c) in the 80s than there is now, and there was a lot more activism amongst the late teens and twenty-somethings, rather than just this mindless drive to either be violent and drunk (males) or hawt and drunk (females). The rise of ‘laddism’ in the 90s was a direct backlash against the gains women made in the 70s and 80s.

    I still don’t think the UK is as bad as the US on this – mainly due to us being a far more secular society. Offensive attitudes to women abound everywhere, but the vilest anti-woman legistlation always seems to be backed up by some be-dicked sky bully.

  62. procrastinatrix

    Balanophage, thanks for the insight. It was irresponsible of me to generalize. My Nigel’s mom lives in England, and we consume a lot of English media and news, and the gender dynamics just strike me as what I remember from American TV in the 80s–you and I are of an age.

    I’m with you on the rampant godbag-ism in the US (we live in Tennessee or godbag central). And the general reluctance to discuss class/economic differences in the US hurts women disproportionately too. Like what doesn’t when it comes to the a-holes in power?

  63. thebewilderness

    Let’s do a study on men’s response to monkey butts and correlate that with their lack of math skills, fine motor coordination, and tendency to leave skid marks in their under drawers.
    I think that would be worth publishing.

  64. nails

    Everyone is getting harsh on ‘new scientist’, even patriarchy loving sciency dudes over the “DARWIN WAS WRONG” cover they had awhile back, I don’t think they are going to be around much longer since they really weren’t sorry about that one at all.

    What I hate most about these articles is how half the time they don’t even report any relevant information about the study. Like if it got published in a peer reviewed journal, or how many participants there were, or if it was a preliminary study or one in a series or an analysis of many, etc. The monkey ass one clearly isn’t peer reviewed. I wish it was painful to reach that far for a conclusion. Some news websites just plain make stuff up for a better headline (that ‘memory erasing pill’ thing that got posted on every news site a month or so ago doesn’t do anything of the sort). The headline is what most people retain, its impossible to actually go and read all the studies and make sure that the article reported correctly or if the headline is misleading.

  65. Julia

    Noshoes: Me too! In my case, I think it was swearing which my mom said was unladylike, and other people chastized me for going up the stairs two at a time, sitting with legs akimbo, and loving me some Incredible Hulk gear. My reply was the same: Since I am a lady (or, pre-lady, I suppose), then by definition anything I do is ladylike.”
    It took a couple of years to work out the implied distinction in those criticisms, and why my logic, while sound, was faulty in context.

  66. Julia

    I am also pretty sure PMS is real, and varies hugely from person to person and from month to month. I usually have a bad one every third month or so.

    Also, all the Nigels and Non-Nigel-like Nigels I have been close to have had what we call their “boy periods” at longer-than-monthly but regular intervals, symptoms of which include inexplicable hair-trigger crankiness and sweet food cravings. But since there’s not an obvious end to it (e.g. gushing blood) it’s not widely appreciated.

    Bodies are wild and wacky things.

    I’m'a go look at some monkey butts now; Twisty got me all hot and bothered talking about Daniel Craig and evolutionary psychologists.

  67. Lupita N

    Has any of these researchers studied how it is that an otherwise not-monkey-butted person can read the posting rules and then immediately write a comment that starts off violating several? Possibly I don’t have enough shoes.

    Anyway, there’s an obvious need for some research into this study-performing compulsive behavior in males. Is it the result of insufficient estrogen, or some other hormone that normal people have and males lack? Maybe it’s an evolutionary adaptation to encourage self-sacrifice in males who are somehow reproductively deficient, so that they’d go out and study anything flashy that reminded them of women and eventually get eaten? Could we train zoo-bound predators to revive that useful function?

    Or maybe it’s just monkey butts all the way down.

  68. PandanCat

    That’s my new response. Why don’t I get all gussied up for Teh Menz? Because I know I’m no competition for a juicy, cherry-red monkey butt.

  69. Jonathan

    @Azundris:

    The internet says the author of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” also wrote “The Big Book of Porn.”

    The dick author was interviewed on NPR where he made up imaginary interactions between himself and his “co-author” Jane Austin. He confesses that his imaginary Jane Austin is “difficult” to work with, and “quite full of herself”.

    Projection, anyone?

  70. Twisty

    Fuck that guy.

  71. Jonathan

    My S.O. wants to blast a few holes in these psychology “studies”:

    Study:
    “One half of the population apparently finds that easier to do than the other. Women frequently have a mental “off” switch when it comes to financial jargon. They tend to be more frightened of and embarrassed by money, making them less likely to ask for a pay rise. Sometimes they are positively babyish, happily letting men take charge. Their attitude to spending is much more emotionally driven than men’s.”

    S.O:
    “You know, if I leveraged the differential of my salary and the one that Goldman Sachs would give me if I left this company, and put the leveraged collateral into a credit default swap hedged against the yen and pegged to our current high-yeild bond spread, I would probably have $100,000 a year from now. Logically, I should have left this company a year ago to join the hordes of women over at Goldman Sachs. The dental plan is really the only thing keeping me here. But my teeth are actually pretty good right now: do you really not want to give me a raise?”

    Study:
    “We are getting surges and fluctuations in hormones which affect the part of the brain linked to emotions and inhibitory control. So the behaviour we found is not surprising.”

    S.O:
    “I stared down a guy pointing a gun at my head until he changed his mind and went away. I was 14, and I was menstruating at the time.”

    “Its funny that we can always find counter-arguments from our personal lives when the stuff we’re arguing against is dumbass enough.”

  72. lysistrata

    Many thanks to the author and every commenter for blowing out the residual pollution in my brain and giving me a full smile as I read, since I live swimming through a sea of ´hopeless´ patriarchal/religious corruption.

    @Agasaya 03/31/09

    Right on!, but to be fair, we should separate the sell-outs-for-any-job, from the psychologists because the good ones can really be helpful and, as far as I know, are not permitted to prescribe ´medicines´.

    It´s not my field, but I have been lucky to know a couple: A good psychologist offers options, perspectives, support and encouragement (when the social support system fails), but does not direct, impose or control.

  73. Clarity

    My day’s been uneventful, so TheBewilderness’s comment made me laugh out very loud! hardyhar

  74. ma'am

    Stephen J Gould wrote a great book “The Mismeasure of Man” describing the long history of using so-called science to justify racism, classism, and sexism. It starts at craniometry measurements to the development of the IQ test. Gould shows that these so-called scientists either managed to believe their own tripe or were outright frauds (some even possibly unwittingly). Very, very enlightening on intersection of science, power, and human nature.

    Another point here: Hormonal urges are commonly used to excuse everything, e.g., men are supposedly powerless under their hormonal urges to boink anything that moves. Supposedly, they just can’t help but think about sex 24-7.

  75. copykatparis

    “I think that evo-psych gender-essentialist researchers are obsessed with having sex with monkeys [...].”

    This, and the very term “monkey butt” will have be giggling for hours.

  76. Kuleana

    Huh. Well, I’m sure stupid methodology was the main reason why this study came to its stupid conclusions. But additionally, I, like many other girls and women, tend to get a lot more zits right before I break out. Since I am unfortunately more concerned about what people think about me than I’d like to admit, this sometimes means I go out and buy foundation or concealer. Even when I don’t break out, I know I’m likely to get a headache or pain when my period comes, so I’m likely to go to the store and buy ibuprofen. And, even for women who get no zits and no cramping, it still is generally considered a good idea to have supplies on hand when said period comes. Generally, these supplies are bought at a store, and since the vast majority of women are sadly not yet down with Glad Rags or the Diva Cup or the like, this means a trip to the store is generally required before each cycle as this is typically where such items can be purchased. Since gas and bus fare costs money, and since time is not unlimited, many people, once in a store for one thing, opt to buy other things they’ve been thinking of getting so as to save themselves another trip to the store sometime in the near future. Had the alleged researchers in this study bothered to educate themselves about what actually happens during a period, they may have figured all this out and saved themselves a heap of work. But alas, this “study” leaves us with only questions, the most profound being, “When is someone going to do a study on what makes evolutionary psychologists so much stupider than the average citizen?”

  77. Kuleana

    Hey wait, I just thought about something else — isn’t monkey-butt red actually more well known in nature for being the color of stuff that’s poisonous? Red poison dart frogs, coral snakes, poison ivy stems, the dot on the back of black widows, poisonous red mushrooms (the ones I’m thinking of are tiny, Australian and BEAUTIFUL) as well as redcap mushrooms. From this, couldn’t we gather that humans are more wired to stay AWAY from red? So yeah, way to cherry pick your “facts,” evo-stupids. When will their fifteen minutes of fame be up, anyhow?

  78. Agasaya

    This article presents a reasonable hypothesis (supported in the literature) of how hormonal variations exacerbates other underlying health problems. Then it jumps the tracks, corrupted by the reporter’s apparent inability to find researchers whose studies don’t just lead to drug prescriptions. $$$

    http://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/05/us/health-personal-health.html?sec=health&spon=&pagewanted=all

    Doctors and therapists go for it because these conclusions are conveniently reached without tests or more visits than a patient can afford to pay. That means no accountability for the judgments and no un-reimbursed time lost to helping women navigate the maze of services to get food, housing etc. If not for Big Pharma, PMS would be relatively unknown as a category of ‘illness’ and a lot of depression would be recognized as a reactive state to real life problems.

    The Drug machine is never more obvious than in its relentless pursuit of women and children:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/15/us/15bipolar.html?hp&ex=1171515600&amp%3Bamp%3Bamp%3Bamp%3Bamp%3Bamp%3Bamp%3Bamp%3Bamp%3Ben=9e852b7646730c39&ei=5094&partner=homepage

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/27/EDAF16N963.DTL

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/11/health/psychology/11kids.html?scp=7&sq=drugs+and+childhood+depression&st=nyt (excellent series of articles here by the Times)

  79. belenen

    (sorry for the belated reply, I didn’t realize you had responded)
    “I’ve got a sidekick here who would suggest, through gritted teeth, that if PMS is all in her head, so are you.”

    I didn’t say it was ‘all in your head’ (or anyone’s head); obviously cramps, fatigue, and other physical symptoms are real. I was referring to the idea that women are mentally unstable before/during/after their period, because hormones supposedly give them crazy moods and cause their brains to cease proper functioning. PMS has been classified as a mental disorder — which supposedly affects 70-90% of women and contains every symptom under the sun. The effect of the PMS concept is to invalidate the thoughts and feelings of women; if a woman is angry or ‘overemotional’, then it must be “that time of the month” not an actual response to mistreatment.

  80. Imaginary

    Whether or not this is true is debatable, but from what I see, PMS comes with cramps and sensitivity. I’d like to note that sensitivity is not a weakness, it’s perceptiveness. So maybe if a womyn gets pissed off during menstruation, it’s because she’s noticing something the menfolk don’t.

    I’m not sure if I’ve posted here before, so Twisty, you’re awesome. Woot!

  81. Jubilee

    Theres a show called science goes mental’ where a woman asks men for a doller wile wearing white vs red. Of course they gladly give her $ when shes in red…oh pseudo science. Because we havent changed much much from our ape ancestors! Smdh…they use science to try and justify anything after they brainwash us

  1. you gotta love Twisty « Courtney’s Blog

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