Does Ovulation Change Women’s Behavior?
There’s some “new research” that reiterates old and incredibly misogynistic conclusions, and predictably offers conclusions that will help advertisers sell women more stuff they don’t need. They also provide insights into ways that women can better find a mate. What are these findings, you ask? They are, of course, based on the female menstrual cycle.
According to various evolutionary biologists (the source is never really clarified in this article):
“When a woman is ovulating, her behavior changes in a startling number of ways from the way she walks, talks and dresses to the men she flirts with…Fertile women may even be better at getting the men they want.”
According to the article’s author, Emily Sohn, this is all part of nature’s clever plan to snag a desirable man and get him to settle down. Women feel sexiest when they’re most fertile, they are more attracted to men with deep voices and “chiseled, masculine faces,” and they tend to wear sexier and more revealing clothes. The implication, of course, is that when women are more fertile, they are engineered to be more likely to appeal to men and thus to procreate (which is, of course, all that our ovaries desire). A helpful tip for lap dancers: you’ll be able to get more tips when you’re most fertile, so schedule lots of shifts for when you’re ovulating.
This kind of pop evolutionary biology is all predicated on the notion that women are, deep down, looking for a man with whom to mate for life, that this is the way nature designed us. But it’s also absurd to assume that desirability is solely dependent on where women are in their menstrual cycle. The suggestions of the researchers, particularly Kristina Durante, a social psychologist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, are condescending and ultimately stoop to the worst kind of biological essentialism.
And for goodness’ sake – what about women who are going through menopause? Do they lose all desire simply because they’re not ovulating? And it’s also incredibly heteronormative to assume that all women are attracted to men.
“If women are aware of the five or six days in their cycle when they’re most fertile, they may be more likely to become more or less attracted to different types of men, or they might want to rein in their purchases if they happen upon a Victoria’s Secret,” Durante said. “Your picture might look more attractive near ovulation, so take your Facebook picture mid-cycle.”
Are you serious? This is supposed to be science?
Photo from Flickr.