In an eyebrow-raising about-turn, CNN has published, then retracted, a news story that claimed that women’s votes were governed by their menstrual cycles, triggering an avalanche of criticism.
Based on unpublished research, the news piece stated that a woman’s voting behaviour was affected by whether she was ovulating on election day.
While the story was nixed within hours, the internet reacted immediately and unforgivingly, with Twitter users swiftly tweeting key quotes.
“New research suggest that hormones may influence female voting choices differently depending on whether a woman is single or in a committed relationship”, read the article, as tweeted by @KailiJoy.
“When women are ovulating, they ‘feel sexier,’ and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality” the piece went on.
“The researchers found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney”.
A host of websites swooped onto the story, showing no mercy while feeding from its apparently grossly sexist – and under-researched – line.
Huffington Post’s headline was typical of the viral reaction: “CNN Reports That Women Voters Are Apparently Incapable Of Cognition, According To LOL Science”.
I’m annoyed CNN deleted the story from its website. When you stuff up, you should keep the story there and just add on links to the stories criticising it. You shouldn’t just pretend you never published it.
It took a bit of searching, but the Daily Kos has the original CNN story. An extract:
Now for the even more controversial part: 502 women, also with regular periods and not taking hormonal contraception, were surveyed on voting preferences and a variety of political issues.
The researchers found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney, by a margin of at least 20%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers’ overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.
Here’s how Durante explains this: 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, she says.
“I think they’re overcompensating for the increase of the hormones motivating them to have sex with other men,” she said. It’s a way of convincing themselves that they’re not the type to give in to such sexual urges, she said.
Durante’s previous research found that women’s ovulation cycles also influence their shopping habits, buying sexier clothes during their most fertile phase.
It’s obvious to me that women are just slaves to their hormones, and their free well is an illusion.
“It was long thought that a woman shouldn’t be president of the U.S. because, God forbid, an international crisis might happen during her period!” Carroll said.
Oh shit, she just nuked Iran. We told the Ayatollah not to provoke here during her time of month.
The original research paper is here.