On the Misuses of Science (Bisexuals Exist Damn It!)
Echidne has this
on the recent study purporting to show that women just hurt more than men do:
The study appears to have used a test where the subjects first immersed their armin warm water and then in ice-cold water, and the tolerance of pain was measured bythe amount of time the subjects kept their arm in the icy water. On average, men kept their arm in longer.There have been several studies that analyse pain experiences by gender and many of them have had similar results. What the studies can't tell us is why these differences exist (if they do).
Echidne, always insightful, goes on to point out the foibles of such studies. My extrapolation is that when "scientific" studies manage to reinforce cultural stereotypes, they deserve a bit a scrutiny.
Which point brings me to yet another study
, one which purports to prove that I don't exist. This one angered me so much that I couldn't even comment upon it when I first saw it a few days ago:
The study, by a team of psychologists in Chicago and Toronto, lends support to those who have long been skeptical that bisexuality is a distinct and stable sexual orientation.
People who claim bisexuality, according to these critics, are usually homosexual, but are ambivalent about their homosexuality or simply closeted. "You're either gay, straight or lying," as some gay men have put it.
Okay, let us first of all make note of the rhetorical tactic embodied in "as some gay men have put it." Divide and conquer, much? Oh, look, even some queers say that those bisexuals are kidding themselves, therefore...
Anyway, let's press on:
In the new study, a team of psychologists directly measured genital arousal patterns in response to images of men and women. The psychologists found that men who identified themselves as bisexual were in fact exclusively aroused by either one sex or the other, usually by other men.
The point of the story, let me remind you, is that bisexuals don't really exist as an "identity." I am not going to go into the fundamental problems with considering sexual orientation an identity here, but I just want to point out that this "story" debunking bisexuality is all about "genital arousal patterns."
And that pisses me off a bit. As it should you. No one's--and I mean no one's--sexual orientation can be boiled down to scientifically studied "genital arousal patterns." We're just rather more complex that that.
Anyway the story ultimately collapses upon itself, if you have the nerve to read through to the end, and shows that what is masquerading as science is once again bigotry beneath a rationalistic veil:
Although only a small number of women identify themselves as bisexual, Dr. Bailey said, bisexual arousal may for them in fact be the norm.
So, after all, bi men are nonexistent freaks, and women are, as they should be, nice and bi, ready, as it were, for their porn close-ups, Mr. DeMille.