A widely criticised peer-reviewed study that measured the attractiveness of women with endometriosis has been retracted from the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.
The study, Attractiveness of women with rectovaginal endometriosis: a case-control study, was first published in 2013 and has been defended by the authors and the journal in the intervening years despite heavy criticism from doctors, other researchers and people with endometriosis for its ethical concerns and dubious justifications, with one advocate calling the study “heartbreaking” and “disgusting”.
It’s a nasty thing endometriosis. Genetic, so one of the puzzles is why it persists. For it to do so there’s a supposition at least that the benefit, in terms of reproduction, must equal at least the problems.
One thought would be that periods are generally less painful in women who have had at least one child. Or even, that up until the last few decades as a woman would likely spend her adult life not having periods – being pregnant or lactating – then it’s not even an issue.
The study’s conclusion was: “Women with rectovaginal endometriosis were judged to be more attractive than those in the two control groups. Moreover, they had a leaner silhouette, larger breasts, and an earlier coitarche.” Coitarche is the age at first sexual intercourse.
There is an association between endometriosis and being the kind of cutie than men want to jump. Well, maybe there is, depending upon how good this paper is. Which is something of an advantage in reproduction.
Here’s the kicker in the tail though:
“It’s disgusting, it makes me sick. We’re here begging for research funds. Endometriosis is so grossly underfunded globally compared with what it costs the economy, and to know precious money has been put to a study like this is heartbreaking.”
Withdrawing the paper doesn’t magic the money back to be used elsewhere. And if you’re really begging for funds to understand the disease then any research – yea even politically undesired research – is better than none.
For science asks “Is it true?” not “Do we want it to be true?”