Hey remember when that study said that women were getting "more beautiful" and everyone got excited or furious? Yeah, well, the actual researcher says that's not what his study found.
Writes Marcus Jokela, the study's author,
Having your study publicized by the media is nice. Having your study misrepresented and misinterpreted in the process is not. The media coverage of my paper on physical attractiveness and having children had a bad start and even worse follow-up. The origin of the problem: Times Online news article sexing up the finding a bit too much (I wasn't interviewed for this article at all and heard about it only after it had been published). Then things got worse with other journalists copying & slightly modifying the Times Online piece...The main point of the study was to see whether attractiveness predicts fertility in a contemporary American population, not whether people are becoming more or less attractive over time.
And, he says, any larger evolutionary truths people derived from this were mere extrapolations. What's more, certain details were glossed over: that it was actually the second-most attractive women who scored highest, and that the study wasn't limited to women - attractive guys also had more kids, according to the finding. God, these scientists! So factual! Overall, Jokela's response is a pretty handy takedown of the media's handling of the findings scientists approach so precisely, and of the absurdity of that snowball. This should serve as a good reminder to all of us - yes, us too! - to take the time to read the source material and pay these researchers the compliment, at least, of reporting what they say accurately - even if it's not as fun. (Writes Jokela: "And please, do not refer to me as the "Ann Coulter-loving scientist", I hadn't even heard about the lady before the headline." Okay.)
‘Women Are Getting More Beautiful' - Getting The Story Right [Markus Jokela]
Put Away Your Sneakers, Ladies. "Beauty Race" Is A Myth [Salon]
"‘Women Are Getting More Beautiful' – Getting The Story Right" [Feminist Law Professors]