If you didn’t already know because, by chance, you missed my tweets, posts, and facebook updates, there is a science blogging contest going on RIGHT NOW. The 3 Quarks Daily Science Blogging Prize is currently narrowing down the top 20 posts from 87 nominees. To get through the gauntlet, a post has to get enough votes. Rather than remind you again to vote for Observations of a Nerd, I figured I’d show you why you should. Over the next 24 hours, I’ll be reposting the three posts in the competition in case you missed them the first time. If you like them, and haven’t already, cast your vote!
|Photo by Sara LeeAnn Banevedes|
I don’t think Brian Alexander is a bad guy or a misogynist. He writes the Sexploration column for MSNBC, so sure, his job is all about selling sex stories to the public. He even wrote a book about American sexuality. But I don’t personally think he has a burning hatred for women, or views them as objects placed on this Earth for the sexual satisfaction of men. However, I very easily could, given how he chose to report on a recent study published in Science about men’s physiological responses to the chemicals present in women’s tears.
The headline alone was enough to make me gag —
“Stop the waterworks, ladies. Crying chicks aren’t sexy.” The sarcastic bitch in me just couldn’t help but think Why THANK YOU Brian! I’ve been going about this all wrong. When I want to get some from my honey, I focus all my thoughts on my dead dog or my great grandma and cry as hard as I can. No WONDER it isn’t working!
I didn’t even want to read the rest of the article.
But I did.
It doesn’t get better.
Alexander’s reporting of the actual science was quick and simplistic, and couched in sexist commentary (like how powerful women’s tears are as manipulative devices). And to finish things off, he clearly states what he found to be the most important find of the study:
“Bottom line, ladies? If you’re looking for arousal, don’t turn on the waterworks.”
It’s no wonder that the general public sometimes questions whether science is important. If that was truly the aim of this paper, I’d be concerned, too!
Of course, Brian Alexander missed the point. This paper wasn’t published as a part of a women’s how-to guide for getting laid. Instead, the authors sought to determine if the chemicals present in human tears might serve as chemosignals like they do for other animals — and they got some pretty interesting results.