PJ Media

Does Uttering the Word "Uterus" Really Clear a Room?

I typically don’t like to follow blog squabbles too much but a href=”http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_05_20-2007_05_26.shtml#1180045200″Eugene Volokh,/a who usually keeps his head above such things, a href=”http://althouse.blogspot.com/2007/05/uh-oh-i-made-eugene-volokh-talk-about.html”Ann Althouse, /aand a href=”http://feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu/?p=1832″Ann Bartow,/a a “feminist law professor,” have a rather heated discussion of women’s menstrual periods. I won’t go into the specifics (I am not entirely sure what they are–if you want to know, follow the links) but the patronizing and sexist statements from Ann Bartow regardinga href=”http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_05_20-2007_05_26.shtml#1179963785″ Eugene asking women how they felt about menstruation /acaught my eye. Eugene a href=”http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_05_20-2007_05_26.shtml#1180045200″mentions the statements /aand seems puzzled as to what he did wrong: br /br /Oh, and then there’s this from Prof. Bartow: strong”One thing I’ve learned is that if you want all the men to leave a room at breakneck speak, just uttering the word ‘uterus’ will sometimes do the trick”/strong (my emphasis). And Eugene’s response: “Huh, never seen that happen, but maybe I just hang out with the wrong crowd.”br /br /And apparently if anyone wants to know how women feel about their periods, they better do a full research project, including asking women in the Women’s Studies Department to help according to Bartow’s advice in response to a commenter at a href=”http://www.isthatlegal.org/archives/2007/05/really.html#comments”Is That Legal?:/abr /br /blockquoteWell here’s the thing, Patrick: There is a whole lot of diverse and interesting literature that has been *already written* that could bring Eugene up to speed a whole lot more effectively than the commenters at the Volokh conspiracy, if he was actually sincere about educating himself about menstruation. And I’m pretty sure UCLA has at least one library. It even has a Women’s Studies Department, not that I would ever expect Eugene to think he could learn anything from the faculty there./blockquotebr /br /Wow, so now for a lousy blog post, you are supposed to do a lit review and gather data from others in the field rather than just ask blog readers what they think? Sounds a little overboard, but I’ll play your silly game. I happened to have done this exact research when I talked with and evaluated 137 women and their instructors at the College of Liberal Arts and Human Ecology for my PHD dissertation entitled, “Angry Temperament and Locus of Control in Young Women with and without Prementrual Syndrome.” br /br /And what did I find? That a vast number of the men were sensitive and supportive to the women in their lives who had PMS symptoms. Rather than clearing the room when their significant other talked about PMS or menstruation, in my study, a full 42% of the women emwith/em PMS felt men were sensitive to their PMS. Even 29% of the women without PMS saw men as supportive during their menstrual period but many (38%) did not discuss it at all compared with 85% of the PMS group sharing their symptoms and concerns with men in their lives. So, to sum it up, even if a woman has severe PMS, 42% of the men in this study were supportive and helpful. Hardly evidence of men “clearing the room when the word uterus was uttered.” br /br /Maybe Ms. Bartow should take her own advice and do a literature review and talk with experts on men’s responses to women’s menstrual periods before she makes such sexist statements like she did about men clearing a room when the word uterus is used. But then, that would probably be too much to ask of a “feminist law professor” who probably thinks her “feelings” make her an expert on every subject.br /br /I will leave the last word to this insightful commenter– a href=”http://volokh.com/posts/1180045200.shtml#221661″Jim Hu at the VC who /aechoes my sentiments exactly in this quip: “Maybe it’s just me, but I’m guessing that saying ‘Feminist Law Professor’ is more likely to clear a room of men than ‘uterus’.”