Media fail: who needs really interesting science when you can just reinforce irrelevant stereotypes?

Dear readers, I was truly surprised today.

I opened up a story on the execrable Stuff fully expecting to have a big old rant about its contents.

Before I get into the specifics, a quick test.

What would you assume an article is about when this is its headline:

Tears send “no sex” message

And this is its first sentence?

Women’s tears are a turnoff for men, Israeli researchers say.

If your answer was in the area of “researchers somehow got funded to prove that big manly men don’t like weak emotional girl-folk” you do win a prize for awareness of societal norms.

But then it gets taken away from you and put back in storage because I feel safe assuming that no one would have answered “Israeli researchers may have established that chemical signals in women’s tears reduce testosterone which could help in cancer research”.

No, seriously.

Men who took part in the study, published in Science Express, were asked to sniff the tears of women who had cried while watching sad films.

Sobel said researchers had expected the tears would boost the men’s sense of empathy. Instead, their heart and respiratory rates, salivary testosterone and a brain scan all pointed to a reduction of sexual arousal.

That?  Is fucking fascinating.  And to completely eliminate any gender issues* in the study, the story even goes on to explain that

the researchers had set out to study the tears of both men and women, but only one man had responded to a notice put up on Israeli college campuses asking for volunteers who thought they could cry easily.

Which ties in to a whole other bag of social/gender wank, but hey, at least they tried!

But is that how the story gets reported?  “Scientists discover unexpected effect of the chemical makeup of tears on testosterone, may have implications for cancer treatment”?

Fuck no.

Nope, let’s just take interesting science and find any fucking excuse to turn it into “women are emotional saps and men think that shit ain’t cool.”

Fuck you, media.


*I would personally also like to see studies on the physiological impact on women/estrogen-dominant-people, but the research seems focused on men/testosterone and gods you just know the reporting on the former would be horrific.