Pharyngula

Michael Hanscom gets a very amusing advertisement:

THE PROBLEM IS NOT TESTOSTERONE – The Problem Is That You Are Being Deluged with Female Hormones. You Are Being Feminized and You Don’t Even Know It.

It’s for one of those fake ‘natural male enhancement’ products, but it has an interesting premise: that your impotency problems are not your fault, but a consequence of the flood of estrogen entering our drinking water. You need Estro-Blaster to blast the estrogen out of your system. This product looks like total bunkum, but I had to admire the ad copy — if I were a completely unethical, greedy slime-weasel, I’d want to invest in this company. It does a beautiful job of tapping right into certain male fears.

First of all, it is based on a grain of truth — we are flushing lots of estrogen and compounds that mimic estrogen (like atrazine, a common herbicide out here in rural areas) into our rivers. This does have known feminization effects on some wildlife, and it’s not a good thing. However, no effect on humans has been reported yet. One good reason for our resistance is that we’re mammals. The feminization effects have been found in frogs and fish, egg-layers, and have their influence at the time of differentiation of the sexual organs. We mammalian males are already adapted to develop those organs while bathed in the estrogen-rich environment of our mothers.

The ad claims to have compounds that “blast” estrogen. Such chemicals do exist — there are estrogen antagonists like clomiphene and tamoxifen that work against estrogen, and I’ve heard that some body-builders even take these things out of fear of the softening effects of estrogen on their musculature. It doesn’t sound sensible to me — these compounds do have side effects, and the relative amount of testosterone vs estrogen in these people’s bodies would mean they’d need to take massive amounts to be effective. And seriously, this ad is by a bunch of scam artists; I doubt that there’s anything with any serious potency anywhere in their little pills. That would cost money.

But the real strength of these ads has to be the appeal to macho paranoia. This is the kind of claim that would make Jack D. Ripper wet his pants. It’s a contaminant in the drinking water? Check. It pollutes the precious bodily fluids? Check. It has the possibility of conflicting with one’s hormonal masculinity? Check. Now add that it is spread by the effluvia of women (and agribusiness, but forget that), and harkens back to our childhood tales of “girls’ germs,” and you’ve got a potent source of dread…it just replaces the communist conspiracy with the feminist agenda. And nowadays that seems to drive the right-wing even more wacky than the old fears of reds under the beds.

I bet the Estro-Blaster con artists are making buckets of money on this product. I’m a little envious.

But I’d still never use the stuff.

Comments

  1. #1 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 24, 2007

    and harkens back to our childhood tales of “girls’ germs”

    Culture shock! Please tell me one of those. I had no idea…

    Upon further searching, I found that bGH induces IGF-1 which does cross-react with the human receptor (http://www.jbc.org/cgi/content/abstract/261/2/569). Also an article from Env Health Perspectives (http://www.ehponline.org/members/2005/113-10/spheres.html)references the contamination of environmental water with waste hormones.

    Maybe that’s why the use of hormones on cattle is forbidden in the EU…

    Is red the color of godless liberalism, or of totalitarianism?

    Hey, hey. Communism is not liberal. It is totalitarian.

    Of course, Socialists tend to use red, too, but have they ever been called a Red Menace?

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 25, 2007

    So if men who were paranoid about this got rid of the beer gut, they’d probably be doing a lot more to “evade the estrogens” than this bunk product would.

    There is an estrogen analog in hop… it’s said to contribute to the beer gut.

    100 years ago hop tea was recommended against male masturbation.