This week and last we have been writing about a disturbing study that says when there are less men around in certain cities, women tend to have better jobs and delay starting families. The Daily Mail interpreted this as less attractive women were more career ambitious because they figured they wouldn’t be able to land a man, so why not work? Rush Limbaugh has decided to use this study, or his misinterpretation of the study, as ammunition against women.
According to MediaMatters.org, on his April 16 show, Limbaugh read extensively from the Daily Mail article (titled “Do Girls Only Want A Career Because They Can’t Attract A Man? Provocative New Study Sheds Light”) , using it to back his “undeniable truth of life” “number 24″: “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of American life.” He punctuated his reading with a few comments of his own, including, “So, are we to conclude, then, that the job market is the place unattractive women go to access men?” and “Is this the real reason liberal women insist on working?”
The problem is The Daily Mail twisted the study. They were honing in on the part of the study that asked participants to rate their “self-perceived mate value” (your metaphorical package if you will) and found that women who rated their “mate value” low were more motivated to have careers over families. “Forget ambition, financial security and that first-class degree. A controversial study has concluded that the real reason women pursue careers is because they fear they are too unattractive to get married,” the article said. Except mate value, as Jessica Wakeman of The Frisky pointed out, can mean more than just looks. We also have brains, education, ambition, humor, athleticism and the ability to walk in 5-inch heels (well, not me so much) that can be part of our value.
But when you put that kind of fodder in the wrong hands, or Rush Limbaugh’s hands to be exact, this is what happens.