This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that science is political. Just look at this article published by Yahoo! (not a very reliable source, I know, but still very popular).
From the first sentence, I was skeptical. “Stronger men make awful boyfriends”? How can a scientific study prove this? Many people have very different view on what they want in a relationship. Anti-feminist women may actually enjoy being in a heterosexual relationship with someone who feels he is greater than her in every possible way bar in the kitchen and laundry just because he is a ‘man’. Although I’m all for plugs like this being in mainstream journalism just to bring the idea of questioning gender roles into social media, this whole idea of using science to validate such conclusions is really non-sense. As a scientist, I think science is purely Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Archaeology, Psychology, Engineering and the like are only applications of science, I suppose I have to say ‘according to my opinion’ here.
I absolutely loathe the idea that people seem to have when it comes to dating that your partner has to comply to some kind of dating shopping list. My own criteria for who I should date has become rather simple over the years: I will date someone simple because I want to date them. Not because they’re ‘hot’ (basically meaning that society will approve of your relationship), or that they are wealthy or popular or any other stupid and absolutely ridiculous ideas that people seem to have for the people they date. I do remember after dumping my first boyfriend and showing a picture of him to a friend who exclaimed: “you know, you could do better Izzy”. What does “do better” even mean? If I want to date a person then I’m going to damn well go ahead and do it and not try to rate people on how attractive or successful they are, and I don’t want to have to worry about if they’re muscly or not! But I may be brushing the surface for the constructs of our entire society. It’s like our entire lives are built to make us the most attractive, most loved, most successful, most talked about people we can possibly be even if it kills us in the process. Does anyone even care if we’re happy? Are we making objects out of ourselves for some impossible relationship ideal, just like the target men in this article who try to fit a masculine stereotype just so they can find their feminine other? Lady Gaga’s meat dress is starting to make a bit more sense.
The article does not discuss how muscular men may have sexist attitude because they themselves feel like they have to work to fit inside a gendered role that may not necessarily suit them. Muscular men may think that if they have to make changes and sacrifices in their life to be masculine, women should have to do the same to be feminine. I know that the phrase ‘muscular men are sexist’ is way, way to generalised and certainly does not assess the underlying and sometimes subtle cultural influences that would have influenced this proposal. I suppose bad journalism will be bad journalism and I would prefer it be an article with a subversion of negative attention on the issue such as this.