Oh, Science, you rascal! I look away for one second, and there you are, dropping weirdly gendered knowledge on the populace like it’s your business. (SCIENCE ALERT OF THE FUTURE: Dropping Weirdly Gendered Knowledge on the Populace Its Business.) Today’s Science Alert concerns eating, and why it is very bad. Here are the actual findings, as far as I can tell:
[Men and women] underwent brain scans while being presented with their favorite foods. In addition, they used a technique called cognitive inhibition, which they had been taught, to suppress thoughts of hunger and eating.While both men and women said the inhibition technique decreased their hunger, the brain scans showed that men’s brain activity actually decreased, while the part of women’s brains that responds to food remained active.
Now, I could make some joke about men voluntarily turning off their brain centers, and it would be very three-camera-sitcom and sort-of-quasi-but-not-really-feminist of me. I will do no such thing! This conclusion does, in fact, sound very Scientific. When presented with the same stimuli, using the same learned technique to suppress reactions, men’s brains showed less activity in the targeted center than women’s did, although subjects of both genders reported fewer conscious urges to act on those stimuli. Intriguing! Also, impartial! I can’t really harp on that. What I can do is show you the headlines that various news outlets used to report it, which go like this:
WOMEN WORSE THAN MEN AT GIVING INTO HUNGER PANGS - The Daily TelegraphMEN CAN SUPPRESS HUNGER BETTER THAN WOMEN – I Really Should StudyMEN TOUGHER THAN WOMEN IN RESISTING FOOD TEMPTATIONS* – eFlux MediaSTUDY PROVES MEN MORE LIKELY TO RESIST FOOD THAN WOMEN (“A new study by American researchers has found men are more likely to resist food than women, as they have more will power” – I know, we’re just doing the headlines, but this was so delightful I had to share) – DBTechno.comWOMEN LESS ABLE TO CONTROL APPETITE THAN MEN – redOrbit.comWHAT MAKES WOMEN FAT? BLAME THE BRAIN – The Chicago Sun-Times
And my personal favorite, which is notable in that it just bypasses the issue of food altogether and gets straight to the point, which is:
MEN RESIST TEMPTATION BETTER THAN WOMEN – KARK 4 News, Little Rock, Arkansas
Now, as I was reading all of this legitimate journalistic coverage of the issue, I kept getting the feeling that I’d heard this story somewhere before. It was something about women, and eating, and our inherent weakness which leads us to do bad stuff, and…
…oh. Oh, right, there it is.
So, my question to the Respected Legitimate Journalists of America is this: if you are going to deploy this incredibly ancient form of misogyny, as well as the more recent “women who like food are gross and we hate them” variety, why not go all the way? Here are my suggested headlines for Science News of the Future:
WOMEN BASER THAN MEN, MORE PREY TO CARNAL URGES – Ye Medieval TymesWOMEN DETERMINED TO BE IDENTIFIED WITH NATURE, GROSS ANIMAL INSTINCTS; MEN, CULTURE AND THOUGHT – Weirdly Prevalent Binaries Determined to Be Pretty Much Bullshit QuarterlyALL WITCHCRAFT STEMS FROM CARNAL LUST, LOVE OF BURRITOS, WHICH ARE IN WOMEN INSATIABLE – Malleus Maleficarum Sun-DispatchSCIENCE PROVES THAT IF YOU HADN’T LET YOURSELF GO, I WOULDN’T HAVE HAD TO SLEEP WITH HER, NOW WOULD I? – Journal of Blatant RationalizationsWOMEN: DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT YOU ARE EACH AN EVE? THE SENTENCE OF GOD UPON THIS SEX OF YOURS LIVES IN THIS AGE: THE GUILT MUST OF NECESSITY LIVE TOO. YOU ARE THE DEVIL’S GATEWAY: YOU ARE THE UNSEALER OF THE FORBIDDEN TREE: YOU ARE THE FIRST DESERTER OF DIVINE LAW: YOU ARE SHE WHO PERSUADED HIM WHOM THE DEVIL WAS NOT VALIANT ENOUGH TO ATTACK. YOU DESTROYED SO EASILY GOD’S IMAGE, MAN. ON ACCOUNT OF YOUR DESERT EVEN THE SON OF GOD HAD TO DIE. ALSO, YOU ATE THE LAST OF THE OREOS, AND I WAS SAVING THEM. – The Daily Tertullian
There. Now, that’s news!
*This is the headline on Google Reader; the site replaces “tougher” with “better.” I’m so glad they realized this might sound wee bit sexist! “MEN BETTER THAN WOMEN” is a far more sensitive way to lead off your post, don’t you think?