About two days ago I stumbled upon an article originally posted — and then promptly removed — by CNN that released the findings of a peer-reviewed study conducted at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
The study surveyed about 300 women not taking a hormonal contraception and then asked them about politics and voting.
What did the study conclude?
Well, according to the article by Elizabeth Landau published on WTHITV.com, the study concluded that “When women are ovulating, they ‘feel sexier,’ and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality. Married women have the same hormones firing, but tend to take the opposite viewpoint on these issues.”
The study provoked a lot of negative commentary, most in disagreement but a significant amount in favor.
I will admit, when I first read this and the comments I was not entirely offended. I found it initially humorous.
I, by no means, intend to bad mouth the university or the work of those who conducted the survey. And I am not saying there isn’t any truth to their findings, seeing as it is peer reviewed.
On the other hand, I see a lot of problems with a study such as this one.
We all know, at least we should all know, that sexism hasn’t been completely eradicated in our society. Women today still earn less than their male counterparts, still bear the brunt of misogynistic attitudes and, unfortunately, most of the decisions concerning women are governed by men. Sexism is still a prevalent issue in American culture; we live in a patriarchal society. We are not post-sexism any more than we are post-racial.
With that being said, I feel as if this study could only be a disservice to women. I feel justified in saying that its results could only hinder the progress of women.
Historically there have been many arguments made that have claimed that women are less intelligent than men and less capable of making informed decisions. We have come a long way since early misinformed notions about women, but these early ideas still creep under the surface of our society.
In my opinion, this survey says that because of hormones, women aren’t in total control of making decisions about politics, work or money.
The study, I would have to say, rules out any other factors that may influence a woman’s voting preference, such as race, class or personal values. It assumes that these factors do not play a role in influencing voting decision in the face of ovulation and hormones.
I am not completely ruling out the idea that hormones do play a role in our lives; we are hormonal creatures, men included. I am only assuming if it is to be said that women’s hormones affect their political decisions, the same can be said for men.
The university’s study also enforces the erroneous representation of women as sexual objects. Yet again, their ability to make as informed decisions about politics as men is undermined.
My wariness comes from personal voting experiences. I am liberal in political ideology and I am confident when I say that, regardless of whether I have been in a relationship or not, my hormones haven’t swayed me to vote conservative.
It would be unfortunate if it was argued that women’s hormones were to “blame” for the election of either a conservative or liberal candidate.
No, I don’t like the results of the study but I am not completely ruling it out.
I have noticed that our culture is notorious for presenting women in this fashion. Whereas men, the “default sex,” str virtually free of discourse of this nature.
I am advocating gender equality. I am concerned that the studies that have investigated the influence of men’s hormones in politics don’t create such a fuss and aren’t as publicized. And, I am concerned that if we continue to only emphasize the “faults” of women, we hinder the progression of women and gender equality.