I recently discovered a new twitter follow named evopsychgoogle and it’s basically someone who just posts the dumbest evolutionary psychology shit they can find. If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that I LOVE evolutionary psychology because the field is absolutely infested with morons who get to publish some of the stupidest shit in actual science journals. I haven’t paid much attention to it in years but back when I used to talk about it more often, I drove evolutionary psychologists so batty that one of them, a guy called Ed Clint, worked for a year on recreating a “parody” of Skepchick that was called Skeptic Hunt and was full of articles about how dumb women are for having periods and stuff. Nothing disproves the idea that evolutionary psychology is infested with misogynist morons like spending months building a website just to call a woman a cunt.
Anyway, thanks to this recent Twitter follow I discovered a very important evolutionary psychology paper I previously missed, from 2012: Attractiveness of women with rectovaginal endometriosis: a case-control study. You guys, they decided to test whether or not women with extremely painful endometriosis were hotter than women without it.
This is what we’re talking about when we talk about how science can be sexist or racist or otherwise bigoted. It’s not that you can’t scientifically find out if women with endometriosis are hot. It’s about why the fuck you would do that. It’s about using science funding to rate women’s relative hotness for absolutely no fucking reason at all.
Like, what if I wanted to know whether or not men with poor eyesight had bigger dicks? I can scientifically study that. I can gather groups of men and I can give them eye tests and then measure their meat, and then maybe if my sample size is small enough I can find a significant result. And then I can get the Daily Mail to publish an article saying “scientific analysis finds that men who wear glasses have bigger dongers.” And that would be science, “good” science even in that I would adhere to all the right blinding and peer review and protocols.
But it would be okay to ask “why did someone do this?” What is it about our society that would encourage someone to run a test like that, and furthermore what is the impact on our society when those headlines go out to the general public? That’s still a part of the science.
What this study says is that some fucking morons wanted to rate women’s hotness for a living, so they did it. “But wait,” you may think, “maybe they were looking for some correlation with phenotypes, that might help identify the underlying genetics associated with endometriosis!” And you would be right, if they had bothered to do a thorough exploration of various phenotypes. They didn’t. What they did was rate women on a subjective scale of 1 to 5, by 4 judges who were not trained in “objective” or at least consistent attractiveness ratings, and built their phenotype categories around that: hair color, eye color, waist-to-hip ratio, BMI, and BREAST TO UNDERBREAST RATIO. Here are some other phenotypes they could have looked at but chose not to: earlobe attachment. Ear wax consistency. Handedness. Red-green colorblindness. Bitter taste. Why didn’t they use any of those? I don’t know, they didn’t explain it but if I had to guess I’d say it’s because they began with where they wanted to end up: judging women’s fuckability, and being left-handed doesn’t necessarily make you more fuckable. Maybe ambidextrous does. But I digress.
So yeah, four untrained people thought that 100 women with rectovaginal endometriosis were, on average, hotter than 100 women with ovarian or peritoneal endometriosis, and 100 women without endometriosis. Oh yeah, did I not mention? In order to get a statistically significant result they had to separate women with rectovaginal endo from those with two other kinds of endo. Otherwise there’s pretty much no difference at all between women with endo and women without. Rectovaginal is the most painful, by the way, so being in horrific pain means you’re more attractive. Or something.
Not only was this study scientifically worthless and quite obviously just an opportunity to ogle women for “science,” but it was also immoral. The patients were not informed that they would be judged based on their hotness — the authors say that they didn’t want them to be “seductive.” Because women with painful endometriosis are known for being more seductive than women without when told they’ll be judged like prized pigs at the auction. It definitely wasn’t because if you told a bunch of women that they were going to be rated on a scale of 1-5 by four numbskulls for no reason, most of them probably would have said “thanks but no thanks.” Instead they probably agreed because they thought this study was actually about endometriosis, finding more about it and possibly finding better treatment options. SIKE sorry bitches in severe pain who probably spent years trying to find a doctor to diagnose and treat them, this is all about your FUCKABILITY.
So yeah, fuck those assholes.
By the way, just before recording this I saw that Dr. Jen Gunter posted about this when it was published back in 2012. I saw it because of this asshole on Twitter, so I just want to first call your attention to her excellent blog post, and second to let everyone laugh at what a stupid asshole this guy is. Classic.