Mmmm... Sciencey!

Two new studies, of varyingly dubious quality.

The first, according to the BBC (which illustrated the story with a Sex and the City image--because that joke never gets old!), "suggests" that "women may be able to blame impulse buys and extravagant shopping on their time of the month." I haven't looked closely at the methodology, but the BBC story notes that the study 1) only involved 443 women; 2) was based on self-reporting, a notoriously unreliable way of gathering data; and 3) concluded that women tend to buy one item on impulse during the ten days before their periods start, which seems too broad to even draw an inference. That, of course, didn't prevent the researchers from concluding that women shop impulsively before their periods because they're "feeling stressed or depressed and are more likely to go shopping to cheer themselves up and using it to regulate their emotions." Nor did it prevent the BBC from speculating, based on the fact that the women in the survey were buying OMG SHOEZ, that they were trying "to make themselves feel more attractive - coinciding with the time of ovulation when they are most fertile."

The second--reported in the New York Daily News--reportedly shows that as men do more work around the house, an increasing percentage--59 percent of dual-earning couples, compared to 35 percent in 1977--are unhappy with the amount of work they do at home. According to the study's main author, quoted in the Daily News, "Women are more used to their roles than men. And they’ve seen their mothers balancing work and family before them. But it’s less familiar for men." This study did have a much larger sample size--3,500 people--and it comes from a reputable source, the Families and Work Institute. (Full study available at their web site). However, digging into the numbers, it appears that although more than half of the men surveyed self-reported that they do an equal share or more of the child care, cooking, and cleaning, more than 70 percent of women reported that they do all or most of the household chores. So the real story seems to be that doing a little more around the house causes men to 1) be unhappy with the amount of housework they have to do and 2) believe that they're doing an equal or greater share than their wives. If that's true, we still have a long way to go.

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