You know, my father is a journalist. I know how journalism is supposed to work. You’re supposed to be skeptical, to ask questions.
So the media frenzy over a small University of Michigan study is pretty instructive as to just how badly journalists misunderstand science.
The study offered, among other observations, that women with higher testosterone levels tended to be more interested in, how do we put this, riding the orgasm trail solo instead of with a partner. Now, this is pure headline bait, but this isn’t the final world: it’s a study of 200 adults designed to follow up on other studies which indicate married women have lower testosterone levels.
It’s also not something the study is willing to call a conclusive result, because the questionnaires involved self-reporting, which is notoriously unreliable, and simply found a correlation between women with high testosterone and women who buy a lot of batteries, and stated it could also be tied to stress or any number of factors, so let’s not go off the handle here.
But “Scientists Think Maybe Possibly Women With More Man Hormones Might Like to Be Alone Instead of Have Sex with a Partner” is not A) short, B) able to get the customer to read the article, or C) carrying that undertone of lesbianism/fear of female freedom that sadly still sells newspapers in the twenty-first century.
So, get it wrong! Get it wildly wrong! Anything to sell newspapers! It’s not like most people will only read the headline and come to totally the wrong conclusion, right?
image courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Television