Thursday, April 26, 2007

News Flash: Women Are Not Rodents!

I should stop reading the Globe and Mail. This paper constantly surprises me by reaching new lows of misogyny.

Today's paper featured an article, called "Sluts and Vermin", about the findings of Ms. Nafissa Ismail, a graduate student at Concordia University's Centre for Studies in Behavioural Neurobiology, who recently completed a research on the reproductive behaviour of rats. Her experiments namely involved allowing a male rat to have sexual access to two females, the first on an occasional basis, and the second, on a regular basis. She concluded that male rats, when in presence of both females, preferred the former female.

Now, I'm no rat expert, but I'd tend to say that rats are quite different from human beings. However, Globe reporter Siri Agrell, apparently figured that the conclusions of this study were significant for women (by which I mean, human, non-rodent females).

As a matter of fact, this is how she summarized the results of the experiment: “Girl lab rats know the rules: Play hard to get or your man won't respect you."

OK, I thought. That was a bit of a shocker. But are they really comparing the behaviour of rats (I repeat: rats) with that of mentally competent, presumably responsible, 21st century adult women?

Oh yes they are! *sing song voice*:

"Left in a room with both sexual partners, he found himself instantly drawn to the one who had been playing hard to get.
This story will not surprise most women, who have undoubtedly been told - either by peers or pop culture - not to put out too early in a relationship, lest the man lose interest.

Ms. Ismail added:

"I don't know if it will reinforce behaviours, but I think it should definitely give women something to think about on being too easy with men… Especially if it's one that they care about and want to develop a bond with." [emphasis added]

So just in case you were still scratching your head in total incomprehension, they are indeed implying that female who have "give in" too "easily" to sex, or who have multiple partners, are sluts, just like those nasty, promiscuous rodents.

But wait! The fun doesn't end there! Not only does this research on rats (how many times do I have to point it out?) entails that men have no respect whatsoever for women who choose not to entirely devote their sexuality to one of them, but it also explains why women are "wired" to despise "promiscuity":

"When the three animals were put in an enclosure together, [Ms. Ismail] said, the favoured or 'prudish' female rat displayed contemptuous behaviour toward her 'slutty' competitor."

Forget everything I've said so far. Despite the slut-bashing and the comparing women who *gasp* sleep with more than one partner with f***ing rats, there must be some truth in there. I mean, it's got to be a serious, well-researched article. I mean, otherwise, why would they be referring to Louann Brizendine's anachronistic masterpiece The Female Brain all over the place?

For those who haven't heard of it yet, Dr. Brizendine's book is about how hormonal and genetic differences between men and women condition us to behave in a feminine way(from childhood's girly games, to preferring to have children over pursuing a career and one's personal interests).

This book has been severely criticized, both in feminist and medical circles. For example:

"Yet, despite the author’s extensive academic credentials, The Female Brain disappointingly fails to meet even the most basic standards of scientific accuracy and balance. The book is riddled with scientific errors and is misleading about the processes of brain development, the neuroendocrine system, and the nature of sex differences in general. At the ‘big picture’ level, three errors stand out. First, human sex differences are elevated almost to the point of creating different species, yet virtually all differences in brain structure, and most differences in behaviour, are characterized by small average differences and a great deal of male– female overlap at the individual level. Second, data on structural and functional differences in the brain are routinely framed as if they must precede all sex differences in behaviour. Finally, the focus on hormone levels to the virtual exclusion of the systems that interpret them (and the mutual regulatory interactions between receptor and secretion systems) is especially lamentable, given the book’s clinical emphasis on hormone therapies. »

“The emphasis on myth-busting turns into a vehicle for dressing the myth up in new clothes — such as Simon Baron-Cohen’s recent hypothesis that the ‘male brain’ is hard-wired for ‘systematizing’, and the ‘female brain’ is hard-wired for ‘empathizing’ — there is no shortage of pseudo-scientific ways of saying ‘thinkers’ and ‘feelers’. The problem with such explanations of sex differences is not that they are overly biological, but that they are fundamentally non-biological and explain nothing.”

"Look at that slut... Did you see what she's wearing?"


Anonymous said...

Do you even know anything about science?? I don't think so... because if you would, you wouldn't be writing things like this... It's very unfortunate that even in the 21st century, people misinterprete science...

Anonymous said...

Any idea how credit crunch affected porn?