CNN posts and takes down sexist study of women’s hormones and voting

Do you ever feel like you want to vote for Mitt Romney because it’s that time of the month?  No!? Well, fear not, CNN has got you covered.  Yesterday, before wising up and taking it down, the news giant posted an article, “Do hormones drive women’s votes?” which touted a new study linking voting preferences of women to hormones.  Who knew that my ovulation schedule could be tied to my party preference!

Via Daily Kos:

While the campaigns eagerly pursue female voters, there’s something that may raise the chances for both presidential candidates that’s totally out of their control: women’s ovulation cycles.


The researchers found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney, by a margin of at least 20%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers’ overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.

Here’s how Durante explains this: When women are ovulating, they “feel sexier,” and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality. Married women have the same hormones firing, but tend to take the opposite viewpoint on these issues, she says.

“I think they’re overcompensating for the increase of the hormones motivating them to have sex with other men,” she said. It’s a way of convincing themselves that they’re not the type to give in to such sexual urges, she said.

Anyways, the article’s author Elizabeth Landau wants everyone to know that she didn’t mean to offend and was only “reporting” on the new study that’s expected to be published in a peer-reviewed-journal.  Because ya know nothing sexist or racist has ever been published in one of those.

I have to say that with the out right assault on women’s rights this election cycle I could use a little bit more research into why men want to legislate my vagina and a little less of an investigation into why I vote for Democrats because they support choice, instead of because I’m having PMS.

Join the Conversation

  • Allie

    You have got to be kidding me – this is revolting!!! This is one of the most offensive things I’ve ever seen. At least Todd Akin didn’t try to cover his ludicrous assumptions with a sudo-scientific study. 1. Since when is 275 women online a proper sample group for a scientific study? 2. Do you seriously think I vote for someone because I think they would make a good mate rather than how I think they would do their job? 3. How on earth did the researchers come to the conclusions based on the data they gathered – either a lot of data points are missing or these researchers have never even HEARD of the phrase logical fallacy and 4. How on EARTH did this article actually get published on CNN? This is nothing but an attempt to justify overturning the 19th amendment so that the GOP can win elections. What a bunch of crap! How many more years is it going to take before people start to realize that women control their actions and political decisions with their brains – not their uteri?

    • Robert

      “2. Do you seriously think I vote for someone because I think they would make a good mate rather than how I think they would do their job”

      Hey Allie I hate to break it to you but some women will vote for a man because he is more attractive and they might even be unaware of it. It’s no coincidence that Mitt Romney went with a fit man in Paul Ryan. If he was 50 pounds overweight he is probably not getting the VP nomination.

      • Franzia Kafka

        “I hate to break it to you but some women will vote for a man because he is more attractive and they might even be unaware of it.”: Um, men do the exact same thing. There’s no reason to single out women for being susceptible to appearance.

        • Robert

          I was responding to someone about the topic of women voting for a man they find attractive.

          Now that you mention men doing the same regarding how attractive a woman is I’ll be fair and say you’re right. Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann come to mind. In fact, I think part of the hatred a few women have for them is because they look remarkably good for their age. Whether people like it or not looks matter in politics for both genders.

    • Dani Pettas

      I agree. It’s sad that this was posted on CNN.

  • Brüno

    Thats totally bogus. Married women tend to be 1. more monied, because chances are good everything went according to plan and 2. more likely to be conservative, marriage is a bulwark of conservativity. So they share conservative values and fears (oh noes, all my monies is going to the working poor).

    Among the women whom are single, it is likely that there arent just those whom are waiting for mr right, but because they see marriage as outdated, or are in a tough spot in life where they cant afford marriage, or life and therefore are not too keen on voting for somebody who vowed to cut this and cancel that and tax breaks for the rich because trickle down.

    • Emily

      Well said. I haven’t read the article, but it sounds like a lot of ridiculous causation=correlation without taking into account the other factors that you mention.

  • uclabodyimage

    1) The summary of the study in the post is incorrect. The study does not examine women with “PMS”. In these ovulatory studies, they compare women in the low fertility phase of their cycle (5-9 days before onset of period) to women in the high fertility phase (16-20 days before onset of period). It is part of a long series of studies examining how women’s preferences shift across the ovulatory cycle. Hormones that are known to be linked to behavior shift in a predictable pattern across the ovulatory cycle (specifically, estrogens and progesterone), and past research has found that these the effects of these shifts on behavior differ for single and partnered women. The lead researcher, Kristina Durante, has conducted a series of studies on how these hormonal shifts predict changes in woman’s behavior. That’s not sexist, that empirically testing the effects that hormones have on behavior.

    2) Hormones don’t sit in the body doing nothing. They exist because they motivate behavior and prepare the body to respond to different social situations (e.g., testosterone helps motivate responses to threats to status).

    3) Would it surprise you if white men with higher testosterone levels were more likely to vote republican? In other words, would it surprise you if a hormone that helps motivate threats to status leads people to vote for a party that attempts to maintain the current status hierarchies? If a study found that, would it be sexist?

    I realize that there is a knee-jerk reaction against considering the ways that culture and biology intertwine because some people do/have used biological explanations to justify inequalities. That is a separate issue, however, from empirically investigating the biological processes that underpin some behaviors and preferences.

  • Franzia Kafka

    I mean, I don’t know about you, but the only reason I vote for Obama is how sexy he makes me feel when he says “Lilly Ledbetter” and “birth control is an economic issue”.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that the “committed women” I know who are voting for Romney are more heavily influenced by the fact that they’re married to religious conservative jackasses than the fact that they ovulate monthly.

    Dear Ms. Durante, Author of the Study,
    I’m writing to let you know that Obama will get my vote on Nov. 6, even though it will not be my fertile time of the month, and I do not get a fertile time every month because I tricycle on my birth-control pill and only get my period 4 times a year.
    Love, F.