In this recent I Fucking Love Science column, it is noted–in kind of judge-y terms, I might add–that some doctors in Italy noticed a link between unusually attractive women and rectovaginal endometriosis. Obviously, there are some problems here: “Hotness,” for want of a better term, is neither scientific nor measurable through scientific means, and it looks like some frat boy Italian physicians are using their privileged positions to objectify women in their care.
Not so fast.
If an illness seems specific to a narrow and identifiable part of the population, I think that’s significant and worth looking at. And while “hotness” or sexual attractiveness aren’t legitimately relevant to a medical condition, other things (cheekbone shape, waist-to-hips ratio, breast firmness) actually might be.
Is this quackery, or the first step (of many) to something meaningful and important?
Well, one might suppose that both would be related to levels of sex hormones. So it’s not completely out of the question that there might be a connection.
And “hotness” is scientifically measurable. You get a group of a large number of raters, show them pictures of each of the people, ask them to rate them, and average the ratings. It might not be as rigorous as measuring mass or time, but it’s still enough to look for correlations. That’s how we’ve concluded that certain objective quantities like waist-to-hip ratio are “hot”, to begin with.
No. It would be very nice if men had an equivalently awful disorder that regularly happened to large percentages of them, maybe they’d be too busy being doubled over in agonizing pain to post garbage like this. The average endometriosis sufferer in the US takes about ten YEARS to get a proper diagnosis and the most effective treatment for it is verboten due to impact on the imagined fertility of the victim so, no, this is not useful. Let’s work on getting faster diagnoses and better treatments before we start worrying about how “hot” those who contract endometriosis are.
It is quackery. If hotness is a proxy for estrogen, then the right approach is to measure… you know… the patient’s estrogen levels. Not some back-assward subjective indirect approach that involves looking at titties.
On a side topic, every author who includes Twitter screenshots in science articles should be dragged out back and shot. The article didn’t need 5 pages of screenshots from pissed-off feminists snarking about how pissed-off they are. I get it, I’m pissed too, but that doesn’t help me understand what the study is actually about.
And why is this in GQ when it’s basically impossible to have a factual answer aside from the “no” already given? It’s answered so move it to the Pit where it can get the kind of answers it really deserves.
Subjective observations are still observations. They still correlate to possible diagnoses. “is she a hot italian women and also complaining of <associated symptoms>” is more than enough for a doctor to develop a hunch about the diagnosis. Obviously more scientific tests have to actually confirm it, presumably ultrasound or something.
Doctors are adults, and they should act like it. If a study about obesity and heart disease looked at the ccorrelation between “chunkiness” and heart disease we would all regard it as unprofessional drivel. This is the same, but with an added dose of objectifying women.
Is it worth pursuing if noticeable phenotype traits had correlations with less visible? Yes. Machine learning algorithms might be able to efficiently diagnose and lead to timely treatment of disorders. That seems very worthwhile.
Okay. The study looked at 300 women who had already been diagnosed with endometriosis (and two control groups). Could it be that attractive women are more likely to expect a diagnosis and to get a diagnosis, while less attractive women tend to suck it up rather than complain and are more likely to have their concerns dismissed when they do complain, so that they remain undiagnosed? I have to assume that there were an unknown number of women with undiagnosed endometriosis in both control groups. I say that because my endometriosis was discovered when my uterus was removed for another reason. Of course, I wasn’t showing any symptoms of endometriosis, so I can’t complain about it being missed.
sort of related but there has been research that found women who are ovulating tend to wear more skimpy clothing. Which implies they know they are in the time frame to get pregnant and want to attract a man.
Or that the estrogen fluctuations cause women to be more temperature sensitive, like hot flashes in menopause. That’s just as likely as women “knowing” they’re fertile and adjusting the clothing that nobody evolved to wear.