Friday, October 14, 2005

Pointless out-of-context science "fact" of the day

According to the Guardian "Girls less likely to use condoms than boys " - that's the shocking headline. The implication is clearly that contrary to what "we" would all expect, actually girls are the irresponsible ones, tut tut tut. I'd like to see how exactly a girl is supposed to use a condom without a boy present!?

They then offer a breakdown of the 3,300 students interviewed... "...aged between 12 and 17 in the Midlands and the north-east England. One in four was said to be sexually active with half the active girls having sex without condoms, compared with 42% of the boys. " Thats all the numbers we get.

We really don't have enough information here though to form any actual conclusions. We need to know (1) what % of teenage girls versus boys are sexually active, (2) the age ranges of their partners, (3) the breakdown of heterosexual and homosexual relationships within these brackets and (4) the nature of the relationships they're in - marriage, casual sex, etc. I fail to be shocked that lesbians get through less condoms than gay men, which in theory could fully explain the discrepancy. Some of the girls may be married to men in their late twenties and thirties, we just don't know. All we know is that yet again we've got sensationalist headlines along the same-old, same-old "women should be locked up" lines from jounalists and sub-editors who don't appear to have actually understood the research in question.

To add insult to injury the remaining paragraph does exactly the same thing for racial breakdowns of the students: "The study also revealed that black boys were more likely to suffer from sexual health problems than their Asian or white classmates because they lose their virginity at an earlier age.". No data, no explanation. I guess black boys must be almost as awful as girls, eh...?

1 comment:

Cruella said...

Actually when I was at school both girls and boys would always claim to have had sex much younger than they had. You might argue that girls would claim not to care about condoms because they think that's what boys want and boy would claim they do care because they think that's what girls want. Either way it's a waste of newspaper column inches...