Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.
Last week, The New York Times wrote about the results of a new scientific study: man are more attracted to a woman when she is ovulating ... but only if he’s not already in a relationship with someone else. Men who are already in a romantic relationship will get the heck away from an ovulating women he’s not committed to, because—well, you know. They don’t need that kind of trouble.
This kind of study drives the women of DoubleX cuh-razy. For you happy innocents who know not DoubleX, it’s a feminist blog whose tagline is, “What women really think.” This always makes me imagine a box of salt with the tagline, “What slugs really want.” Not this slug! This slug thinks it’s fascinating that women’s bodies are complicated and designed to work in cooperation with men’s bodies, and that the more you find out about women, the more you find out about mankind.
Why does it annoy the women of DoubleX so much when researchers study ovulation? The easy conservative answer is, “Aw, those anti-life harpies hate their own bodies and want to deny that there is anything special about the way women are designed by their Creator.” That may be true for the most angry-spittle-flecked among them; but many modern feminists are more self-aware than that. They try to present their distaste for ovulation studies as mere disappointment with some lack of scientific rigor:
It’s one thing for the male subjects in the Florida State study not to find the ovulating woman attractive; another to find her attractive and want to cheat with her discreetly. If we can’t trust that this study distinguishes between those two desires, what conclusions can we really draw? How much can we believe that we’re seeing into the minds of these male subjects?
I believe it! This study seems to show that men possess a built-in drive to do what is best for society—mixed with a desire, in some, to get the benefits without following the rules. In other words, it’s a basically good world, perverted by original sin.
DoubleX complains further:
We get the implication that there’s a certain degree of magic at work in how the sexes relate to one another. Researchers exacerbate this impression by emphasizing how much ovulation influences human behavior without our knowledge. (“The fascinating thing about this time is that it flies under the radar of consciousness,” Tierney quotes UCLA psychologist Martie Haselton as saying)...
Top it all off with a headline like the Times used—“The Threatening Scent of Fertile Women.” This isn’t science. This is the cultivation of a mystique.
And modern feminism is dedicated to the decultivation of a mystique—not only the mystique of femininity, but of human nature in general. They want everything to be fully quantifiable through research. But this, points out Francis Kissling, former head of Catholics for a Free Choice, is a losing strategy for the pro-choice crowd: People have become too well-informed. Pro-choicers would like nothing more than to trumpet the definitive scientific study showing, for instance, that fetuses aren’t human, that they feel no pain, and women aren’t hurt by abortion. But they cannot. No such respectable studies exist (but not for lack of trying). Science is no longer the friend of the pro-choice movement.
I don’t think the DoubleX women are truly disappointed at some lack of scientific rigor in the ovulation/fidelity study. I think it pains them to admit that science probably cannot offer all the answers—that sometimes the reality of life is something that can’t be pinned down or teased out with statistics. This doesn’t mean the study is flawed; it means there is something irrepressible at work beyond an evolutionary imperative.
So what to do, when research gives us answers we don’t like, but we’ve been trained to believe that human nature is just a bundle of biological impulses and evolutionary drives?
Sorry, women of DoubleX. You have only one choice: become a Catholic. The more we learn about how human beings are made, the more you have to admit it. The Catholic Church is right about everything.