Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Birth Control Makes You Less Attractive...

I picked up Psychology Today and read the article The Double Life of Women, with this description: "The invisible turns of the reproductive cycle shape the everyday behavior of women and men. A woman's cycle influences not just her preference in a partner, but her personality as well."

Particularly interested in hormones, I thought the article looked promising. I wanted to hear more about the science of the complex interrelationship between mood and hormones. It's one that's been blown out of proportion in popular culture (this SNL commercial for a once a year period is hilarious though).

The gist of the piece is that, in contrast to historical thinking, women actually do exhibit signs of what menstrual stage they're in - subtle indications to the male population. Also, depending on that stage, women prefer different types of men. When she's ovulating - a more masculine man that implies "healthy" DNA. After ovulation - a less masculine man who will be more likely to help care for the child. Alright.

I was not happy with the introduction of the piece:
Step into any bar or party and it won't take you long to spot her. She's the woman with the ringing laugh, the daring clothes, the magnetic appeal that has drawn a circle of admirers around her. If the room were a solar system, she would be the sun—and at the outer reaches, you notice, are several other women seated quietly in her shadow.

But let's skip to the part that left me gaping - really saying "Are you kidding me?!"

The lead up is that birth control puts women in a false state of pregnancy, inhibiting her body from releasing another egg. However, since a woman is "more attractive" when she's in estrus, being on birth control puts her at a disadvantage in the game of love. (Can you see where this is going...?)

Here's the culprit of my cringe:
By the same token, says Gallup, if you're in a line of work in which your income depends on snap evaluations by others—a waitress, say, or a lap dancer—taking birth control pills "is like shooting yourself in the foot," since you miss out on the bountiful tips garnered by women in estrus. (bold mine)

She cites studies that show that ovulating women make more in these professions than those who aren't, but here's the message this particular excerpt, and the whole piece in general, seems to make: Taking birth control will make you less attractive and less rich! 

I'm still struggling with how to respond. But inserting such a quote, which does more than suggest a woman shouldn't take birth control is a bad choice on the part of the writer.

1 comment:

  1. On the physical side, some positive news: