For those of you who don’t know, Youbeauty is part of Dr. Oz’s health and beauty empire. Subscribers get daily inbox fare about current scientific health studies and beauty advice.
This article, with the byline “your health could determine your baby’s gender,” claims that healthier women are more likely to have sons. Supposedly, this is because a healthy son is more likely to become a dominant male who will increase his mom’s genetic footprint.
While describing how you can increase your odds of gender selection, the article features a photo of a cute baby in a blue room, wrapped in a blue blanket. The implication isn’t subtle: moms who can choose, choose boys. And you can increase your odds of bearing a strapping Alpha boy by getting healthier.
Irritated by its many sexist assumptions (that women prefer sons, that mothers of daughters are less healthy, and that we are genetically wired to be bossed around by Alpha males), I clicked on the article’s research link to see what methodology was used to support these throwback conclusions.
And what do you know? The cited study actually flat out disagrees with the idea, saying “healthy females do not produce more male than female offspring.” Seems pretty straightforward, right?
Apparently, some Swiss researchers were testing the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, which
states that healthy women should benefit from changing the sex of their offspring, by looking at Bighorn ewes (cause sheep are just like us, I guess), who expected healthy ewes to create bighorn “supermales” (cue Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries).
Only they didn’t, which should poke a hole in the entire theory. Wondering who at Youbeauty decided “healthy females do not produce more male offspring” means “healthy females produce more male offspring,” I glanced at the author and was further irritated to see a woman’s name: Rebekka Spiller. Great.
How many women are going to read that article, and being too busy to check out the research, will leave with the idea that science says bearing a son means superior fitness? Still bothered by the idea, I decided to leave a comment on the article today about how the study contradicts the article’s conclusion. I hoped it would prompt readers to check the study before assuming the article had a clue what it was talking about.
And within the hour, my comment was removed by the administration.
Not sure why, since I didn’t break any of the standard rules about commenting. My comment didn’t use any profanity and wasn’t personally insulting. I didn’t say, “Rebekka Spiller, you dimwitted hack, great job reporting the complete opposite of what your cited study actually concluded so you could promote this sexist B.S.”
I also didn’t mention my own article, or promote my blog, or say anything that could be construed as spam.
All I did was point out that the study didn’t back the author’s conclusion, but the administration saw fit to remove my comment immediately. The article lives on, however, promoting its flawed research and jacked up conclusions.