View profile

Invisible Women - An almost Mr Potato Head Free Zone

Invisible Women
Invisible Women - An almost Mr Potato Head Free Zone
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #40 • View online
Hello GFPs! Well for a while there I thought I was going to have to have an opinion on Mr Potato Head when it seemed like they’d gone full default male on us, but luckily it turned out that the whole media had lost their minds and reported it incorrectly, and actually the change seems…fine? Here ends my potato-themed news. I hope never to have an opinion about a potato again, unless it’s whether or not to have an extra one. And in that case the answer is yes, always yes I’m not a deviant.
In other news, readers in Canada and the US who fancy a paperback copy of Invisible Women: your time has come! As of March 2nd (see how I nice I am saying the date the wrong way just for you), a more hand-friendly version of the book can be yours. Hurrah!

Default male of the week
GFPs, I regret to inform you the scientists are at it again.
“Here we show,” reads the abstract of a new paper in The American Journal of Human Genetics, that humans lacking α-actinin-3 (XX) are superior in maintaining core body temperature during cold-water immersion due to changes in skeletal muscle thermogenesis.“
Fascinating. Except you didn’t show that did you. You showed it in men. I don’t know whether to be more or less annoyed that the paper didn’t even include the standard "we didn’t include females because of the menstrual cycle” excuse and just didn’t acknowledge the existence of female humans at all.
Still, as we discovered last newsletter, women aren’t adults, so maybe we’re not humans too. It would explain an awful lot, to be fair.
Gender data gap of the week
In better scientist news, a growing number of them do realise that female humans exist, and this has led to a growing body of research that is saving women’s lives by highlighting that no, actually, research on men is not automatically applicable to “humans” overall.
artist's impression of me looking at the "human" core body temperature researchers
artist's impression of me looking at the "human" core body temperature researchers
The latest research of this kind was published this week and is about blood pressure. It turns out that the healthy blood pressure threshold we have been using forever is in fact the healthy blood pressure threshold for men and the female threshold may be lower. And this matters, because as the lead author of the paper, Dr. Susan Cheng, put it, blood pressure is “the single most major modifiable risk factor for all different types of cardiovascular disease.” Women who were over the newly identified female level, but under the unisex “normal” level, were “associated with risk for developing any type of cardiovascular disease — including heart attack, heart failure and stroke.”
As readers of Invisible Women will remember, this is far from the first time scientists have discovered that using thresholds based on research on men may miss disease in women, for example, in 2016 we discovered that “the ‘normal’ diagnostic threshold for troponin (a protein released into the blood during heart damage) may be too high for women.” (IW, p.220 in the new US paperback edition 😎) 
And as readers of Invisible Women will also remember, heart disease is the biggest killer of women in the US and Europe, so this study is good news; women’s lives could be saved as a result of it. It would be nice if researchers who insist on continuing with their easy default male research would remember the potential stakes involved here.
Poppy pic of the week
So majestic <3
So majestic <3
that’s it, my dear GFPs! Until next time…which I can’t promise when it will be because honestly I am drowning in book (as in the writing of – with the caveat that this article, although ostensibly about fiction writers, rung EXTREMELY true) at the moment and am likely to be drowning in book for the rest of the year. I promise I will write when I feel I can tho. So….until next time! Enjoy the sun xoxoxo
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for £3 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Caroline Criado Perez
Caroline Criado Perez

Keeping up with the gender data gap (and whatever else takes my fancy). Like the Kardashians, but with more feminist rage. Plus, toilet queue of the week.

You can manage your subscription here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue