You know, I usually try to avoid controversy on here and stick to relating the fascinating, compelling, and awe-inspiring pieces of my life. But this has been pissing me off since I read it this morning. Actually, you don’t have to bother clicking; it’s a short article. Here it is, in its entirety:

Study: Moms May Be Smarter

New research completed on animals suggests having a baby actually sharpens intelligence. Studies from the University of Richmond found that a female rat’s cognitive abilities improved within a few weeks of giving birth. Their brains were essentially re-wired to become more efficient. Researchers think the changes come from elevations of estrogen and other hormones.

Listen:

  • This culture maintains a social bias against child-free women. As a lifelong feminist, I can give you historical facts, anthropological data, and anecdotal evidence. As a lifelong avowedly childless woman (determined not to biologically reproduce, though child-raising is an entirely different story), I could bore you for days with stories of insults, slights, and patronizing comments I’ve received.
  • Is there a reason they’ve chosen not to provide any specifics of these “studies”? Leaving out indicators of the scientific validity of this study just makes it read like nothing but polemic.
  • Human women, in my experience, tend to be smarter than rats to begin with (generally). While I tend to buy the “causes cancer in rats” studies, do I have a reason to believe that humans and rats’ brains work identically, such that this article tells me anything about humans? (I’m so not a neuroscientist. Maybe they do. But this “report” on this “study” isn’t telling me anything helpful.)
  • Why is this they way they chose to spin this study? See that last sentence: “Researchers think the changes come from elevations of estrogen and other hormones”? Couldn’t that be read to indicate that women’s higher levels of estrogen make them smarter than men? I’m not saying that’s the correct way to read this, or that it is helpful, reasonable, or politically useful to continue to pit different genders against one another. My issue is that this gauntlet is being tossed down in a way that pits women against one another and continues to put us into two camps, “mothers” and “not-mothers”. And I just don’t think that’s helpful for anyone.

Okay. We now return to your regularly scheduled whining, griping, and self-promotion.

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