What’s Current: Scientists need to stop ignoring sex differences in their studies

Scientists need to stop ignoring sex in their studies. Dr. Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, a physician scientist at Tulane University in Louisiana, says many scientists still treat the male as representative of the species. The CBC reports: 

“‘It’s not just a story of hormones. It’s more complicated than that,’ he told us. Male and female creatures need to be studied as two separate biological systems.

As proof, he points to recent FDA warnings about drugs that affect women differently than men.

By failing to concentrate on sex-specific variables, he says scientists could be missing an important opportunity for discovery. That’s because some major diseases affect men and women differently, including Alzheimer’s disease and auto-immune disorders. It suggests that one sex is protected in some way.”

An Edmonton photo-radar supervisor has been charged with kidnapping and sexual assault after pulling a woman over, identifying himself as a peace officer, asking her to get into his SUV, and driving her more than 15 kilometres away, where he sexually assaulted her.

Body Blitz Spa, a women-only spa in Toronto, is under attack after refusing to admit a trans-identified male. So far, the company has stuck to their guns, saying:

“We support the LBGTQ community and recognize that this is a sensitive issue. However, because Body Blitz Spa is a single-sex facility with full-nudity, we are not like other facilities. We recognize that this is an important discussion for single-sex facilities to have and we will seek to find a satisfactory resolution.”

Ruchira Gupta, founder and president of Apne Aap Women Worldwide:

“The numbers of trafficked girls are going up, while their ages are coming down. This is the most urgent human rights crisis of our time.”

At PRWeek’s Hall of Femme conference, an all-male panel suggested women “speak up more loudly” in order to address sexism.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • JingFei

    I’ve been following the smear campaign that Trans activists and Liberal Feminists ( and of course, Brogressives!) are exacting on that privately owned spa. They are the most morally bankrupt, despicable people. They are inundating the Spa’s Facebook page with terrible views, 1 stars to tank their reputation. I have screenshots of their deplorable behaviour. If the Spa does not comply, they want it destroyed. It’s tyrannical. One woman called all the Liberal media she could ( who wrote stories that conveniently left out any female viewpoints that disagreed with the Trans cult), and could not contain her excitement to punish this business. She tagged her Male to Trans friend who tried to call and do media (and you can see they want the Spa shut down), cue in the typical abuse from men, and Terf Terf Terf to any woman who speaks out.
    Here are some screenshots:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/71b0d64e7d71a302c055bf8c5ee0bab1f2172279d36ed680f00df7b5da6f057b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1bbe9be96d889f5bff6f8e6f0ca46c54bdba2a1c1390f25d8b28723e483c618c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/94e49d863dbf0d9159fa5540e5fad17b92cbe2b7f29581fee294490b0e96e8ad.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6d140195d8d267a13c41e41556caf9729e74c6fa707087f0d299d18d60823410.jpg

    • Meghan Murphy

      Oh my god. These people are horrible!!!

      • DeColonise

        Yes, its a totalitarian movement. It fits the role inside and out. The way they go about things. How they gang up. How they bully and intimidate their way upwards in the hierarchy.
        We know way to well what happens when/if movements who acts like this gains power, usually very bad for those they deem as a threat to their established order and claim to virtue.

      • JingFei

        Wow, re-reading my comment up there and sorry it was barely coherent! lol. But yeah, I’ve been screenshotting as much as possible, sharing the hell out of it on Twitter. They scream at women, saying we have no empathy and are “literally killing” Transwomen for not validating each and every one, but they are ecstatic to ruin the lives of anyone who gets in their way.
        They didn’t even try for one second to wait and see what policy the Spa came up with. They immediately went in for the kill, and relished it. They are truly frightening, and I really hope karma comes back and bites them in the ass. Despicable behaviour from spoiled children.
        I think this is the fourth SJW feeding frenzy I’ve seen in the past year, hellbent on destroying anyone who dares tell them “no”.

    • Kathleen Lowrey

      how many calls for the deaths of women does it take to be labelled a misogynist? I just want to know. Like 4 gajillion is a yellow card, eleventy bazillion is a red card? ballpark?

    • Hekate Jayne

      I can’t understand. I just can’t.

      I check every bathroom that I use in public because of the things that I have read online. That dude in the locker room at a NY gym that flashed his dick to an older woman got 30 days of community service and a fine.

      Males have turned their penis into a weapon. It’s a fucking threat for a male to show me his penis. And now? There’s not a single space that we can go to to avoid dick.

      And the women that were crying over the 30 days of community service were the absolute worse. He has suffered so much, they say. He lost his job and his friends. He’s pitiful and the punishment is too much, they say.

      How can this behavior be defended? If a dude whips his dick out at me in a store or a theater or a bank, it’s terrible, right? But if a dude is wearing lady clothes and in a space where I disrobe, then it’s just fine?????

      Reality doesn’t work. Neither do facts or proof or truth. I just can’t see a way to win this.

    • lk

      Did they delete the option to review and post reviews on their fb page?

      Earlier today when I went to their fb and read their reviews, I was happy to see the number of women who gave them 5 stars and thanked them for defending female only spaces. Yes, there was the typical “Transwomen are women. Y’all are transphobic, transmsygonist, bigoted and etc.”, but many of the comments supported the policy.

      The comments that really got me were the ones that asked the spa if they were going to ban black women next. What?!

      I REALLY HATE the way transactivist use race and woc to prop up their ideology. If you gave a damn about woc’s, you would be defending women-only spaces not supporting men’s invasion of them.

      • JingFei

        Oh yeah, you didn’t see the half of it. So many SJW’s screaming at women, calling them “racist” and “colonialist” ( of course, the SJW is always white). It was so ridiculous, and so scummy since no one ever mentioned race. They just use the oppression of anyone; WoC, intersex, disabled etc etc as tools to silence and smear the “enemy” ( which is anyone who has common sense).
        But the Spa disabled their reviews, and deleted the main post as they were dumpster fires. Now, SJW’s are accusing them of “hiding the truth” (which is hilarious, because the truth makes them look like the monsters they are!).
        Now they are starting to go at all the other posts.

        Idk, if I were BodyBlitz spa, I would ask a lawyer if this was criminal harassment. There were a few ring leaders in this, delighting in the Spa’s demise, calling for SJW’s to dogpile and ruin them.

        • lk

          Racist and colonialist?!

          LOL…do sjw’s even know what those words actually mean?

          I’ll pay a million dollars to someone who can explain to me how the existence of a single-sex spa is racist.

          And what exactly do they think of woc’s…that we are all just dying to have men in female-only spaces? Ummmm, nope!

          And can we discuss how insulting it is to woc’s to suggest that excluding woc’s from a space is the same as excluding males from a space. The last time I checked, WOC’s do not have a history of committing sexual violence against other women.

          The amount of time and energy that transacitvists will spend yelling at women, trampling on women-only spaces just blows my mind. I wish they would spend a fraction of that energy actually doing something productive: like telling men not to murder them, like creating trans-only or trans-inclusive spaces, like encouraging trans people to learn self-defense tactics, like donating their money and/or time to mental health organizations that support trans youth.

          And then they claim to want to ally with women…you are not my ally if you threaten violence against women, you are not my ally if you support biological males invading female-only space.

          • JingFei

            You are preaching to the choir.

            I have hit Peak Trans before…but this really made me hit it again. I actually unfriended a few people on Facebook over this ( which is how I caught onto it in the first place). They were total SJW’s.. and just typical in every sense of the word; straight, white female, friendslist filled with “genderqueer” people, with rainbow flags all over their profiles as “proud LGBT allies”. Virtue-signaling, sounding the dog-whistle, hashtagging every ‘ism and ‘phobia…
            And this has been covered by like, 7 media outlets and not ONE presented the concerns of females. Not ONE. It really hit home to me with this how biased, and drenched our media is with a neo-liberal agenda. I’m like.. not letting this go on Twitter and I really should for my own mental health lol.
            The only relief I’ve experienced were the comments under mainstream news articles solidly, almost unanimously agreeing with the Spa. But then I saw a celebrity virtue-signaling about it – ( that actress from Orpham Black).. like, Im sorry. She will NEVER have to slum it with the little people. Ever. She is white, wealthy, and will not have to spend a SINGLE day in a crusty community gym that allows anyone with a penis in so long as they claim womanhood.

            And you know what REALLY affected me? I RECOGNIZED one of the people being a vocal “Trans Advocate” on the Body Blitz Spa FB page! I have met him working around my neighbourhood, and he is a scrawny, balding, straight white male appropriating LGBT because he is “genderqueer”. But he is a fetishist. Like, I am not kidding here. When my g/f and I met him ( in a workplace, we had to talk to him) – we were like..”This is a SHADY shady, weird hetero-man who is not efficient at his job”. And he took every opportunity he could to announce his genderqueer status….. in the middle of the Gay Village. And everyone gave him the side eye. Like, you could hear forks drop – we were all just humouring him. Unfortunate looking male too.
            Just more proof that the T movement has fetishists everywhere.

            I swear Meghan, you are one of the strongest women I know for being
            able to take all of this regularly. I feel like I’m going insane with

    • Tired feminist

      There’s a hint of hope though – the last comment of the last image sounds like sarcasm. I really hope it is!

  • That article on the spa did not quote a single person who would benefit from their no-penis rule. That’s not good journalism. I really hope the spa can maintain their policy.

    Also, investigating sex differences in medical research is a huge issue. If you don’t check, you can miss that there even are sex differences. Right now, there are journals that require both sexes to be studied, which is better than only using subjects of one sex, but it isn’t routine to check for differences yet. Once you’ve got the data, it should be no big deal. I found sex differences among barefooters because I bothered to look, and no one seemed to have been aware of what I found.

  • Mmmeee

    The biological differences between females and males are very much underestimated in my view and have to be studied more to understand how they affect behaviour and education during human history. The scientific results will maybe give more solutions to resolve some ‘issues’ between men and women.

    • Juan

      Studying biological differences as it relates to the effects of medicine on the female and male body, I think is a no brainer. Any study that looks at biological differences between males and females that can control for social constructs like gender and race should be encourage. If you can’t control for social constructs, how do you separate nature from nurture?

      Behaviour and education is more nuture than nature, IMO.

  • DeColonise

    How long before Dr. Franck Mauvais-Jarvis will be shouted out of the scientific community for being “transphobic” ?

  • Reading Gupta’s article I’m enraged on top of all my outrage at the left/liberals in the US who support the sex industry. I’m ready to jump down the throat of the next person to spout their self-righteous ignorant bs about decriminalization and self-empowering “sex work.” That’s probably counter-productive, but I have trouble being tolerant of the left these days.

  • M. Zoidberg

    How the fuck is “speaking up” going to work when men don’t listen to women in the first place?!

    I’ve actually just started calling out the men in my family when they ignore me/tune me out. They all start with the defensive, “No, I was listening,” and then when I lay out exactly how they ignored me, i.e. repeatedly asking a question that I already gave a clear and firm answer to, they don’t apologize, but they do back off with a sheepish, “ok…” or a smirk, like standing up for myself is amusing to them or something.

    Seriously, that male-centric PR company can shove it! *spits*

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yeah same. I have no patience for dudes who talk over me, don’t listen, etc.

    • Tired feminist

      Men NEVER apologize for talking over/interrupting/mansplaining. They don’t really think it’s wrong.

      The best I ever get is a half-apology “IF you got offended”, which clearly means if I were not offended they wouldn’t bother.

      • lk

        I was in a graduate Philosophy program (feel free to make a joke about how I will never make any money!)…It was only myself and one other female in the program…I cannot tell you how many times she and I were interrupted in class…it was ridiculous! I mean, before we even finished our sentences a male grad student would interrupt to offer his two cents.

        One day I couldn’t take it anymore and one of the male grad students students interrupted me and I just said: Damn, can I please finish my point first?!

        They never interrupted me again after that….

    • genny

      Just last night my male friend and I got into a fight because of HIS stupidity. He tried to sit his fat 400 pound ass onto a tiny stepladder after I warned him not to and the fuckface fell and got hurt, oh, but it’s not HIS fault, somehow it’s mine. How I don’t know. Now, I’m stuck with a broken stepladder and a big dent in my wall from his ass and he refuses to do anything to fix either problem. I said to him, “how did you think that little stepladder was going to hold your weight?” He got all butthurt and threw up the fact that he did me a favor last night (i have a busted ankle and he took me food shopping), guilting ME into apologizing to HIM! He’s the only friend I have in this city and he used that fact to gaslight me. Fucking asshole, and I fucking fell for it because I’m too afraid to stand up for myself and lose my only friend. I swear, last night taught me that I do NOT want a relationship with a man. They are all such fucking babies who need to be coddled and mommied all the time. Why would I want to deal with that on a full time basis? Fucking men.

      • Tired feminist

        Kick his ass out of your life. You’ll be better off with no friends than with this kind of friend.

      • Yisheng Qingwa

        Drop him like the turd he is.

  • lk

    I wish I had money and a jet, because I would love to fly to Toronto and spend to TON of money there!

    I’m really hoping this spa does not cave and keeps their policies the same.

    One of the critics of the policy said: “The ideal solution is to allow everyone who identifies as a women to go there”..

    Ideal for whom? How is it ideal for women to go to a women-only spa and have to share the space with men?

    It’s beginning to feel like women cannot have anything that does not include men….
    -Feminism needs to be about all people
    -Abortion, pregnancy and periods are now human experiences and not female experiences
    -Female only spaces must be inclusive (locker rooms, bathrooms, homeless shelters, prisons)
    -Lesbians must be open to dating men

    Just the other day CNN had this whole story about a pregnant man:

    What is happening?!

    • Cassandra

      Patriarchy is very, very mad at us for asserting that we are human. It has all happened too fast and the rage is palpable. They fucking hate that *any* of us can get way from them in any way.

  • Atheist

    And what happens when women speak up?

    The men howl in anger, threaten to rape and murder us, accuse us of being crazy, talk shit about us, treat us like we’re invisible if we don’t give them a boner, and bar us from making even the tiniest bit of progress.

    I’m so sick of men saying that it’s women who don’t fight hard enough for equal rights. When we do fight, we’re punished for it. So they can all go fuck themselves with a sideways chainsaw.

    • Tired feminist

      Yep. Or they accuse us of “playing the victim”, the “woman card”, etc.

  • JingFei

    Yes! But I wonder if Canada’s idiot Prime Minister screwed us over with the new Bill C-16?

  • Meghan Murphy

    What on earth are you talking about Rachel? Do you just wander around the internet, randomly pasting this comment on various feminist wesbites, hoping it sticks? (That would make a lot of sense, actually, seeing as so many people respond in kind to articles that could not possibly be construed as ‘transphobic’ by anyone with half a brain…)

  • Tired feminist

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, you guys can’t even troll right, it’s amazing.

  • Cassandra

    Dear Rachel/Rape Culture Enthusiast:

    I cordially invite you to go lick the patriarchal asshole somewhere else.

    Fuck you,
    A female who doesn’t want to see a dick against her will

    P.S. “ppl” makes you look like a real nitwit.

    • VLCampbell

      Absolutely anything can be triggering to someone. The problem with your comment is that it was disgustingly, and certainly unnecessarily crude. I mean, seriously…

  • JingFei

    True, but it’s so freaky that the SJW’s get their way all the time. Our government caters to them here for reasons I can’t comprehend.

  • FierceMild

    No man has a “basic human right” to be a woman. Women are biologically different from men in every cell no amount of lipstick or boat-sized high heel shoes will change that.

    Men use trafficked women and girls for sex. Sometimes they used trafficked men and boys for sex too, but mostly women and girls. If you find men’s raping of women and girls ‘transphobic’ maybe you ought to post in a john’s forum and go call them out for, I don’t know, not raping enough trans people? Instead you’re here trying to silence women with your denial of physical reality and your utter lack of thought. Ask yourself who that serves.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Trans-identified people (should I assume you mean trans-identified males?) are not raped at a higher rate than females, as a whole, no. Please don’t use propaganda that diminishes the horrifying reality of male violence against women just to win an argument. It strikes me as rather unconscionable.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It’s possible I haven’t gotten to it yet, because in terms of moderation, the oldest comments are at the bottom. None of your comments have been deleted, as far as I am aware.

    That said, you are acting like a rude, petulant child and inventing fake facts out of thin air/promoting propaganda in order to dismiss male violence against women, so we’ll see how long you last here.

    • Rachel Abbott

      I literally posted sources in my comment, including from RAINN.
      They are not fake facts or propaganda, and as a victim of male violence, I would not and do not intend to diminish it.

      • Meghan Murphy

        The point I’m making is that, within ‘trans identified people’ are females. Females are at a higher risk for sexual violence than males. To say ‘trans people are raped at higher rates than cisgender people’ means absolutely nothing. How is ‘trans’ being defined here? What is ‘cis’? Oppression is sex-based, not feelings-based — females are raped regardless of how they ‘feel’ about their ‘gender.’ This is why we report stats (or should, in any case) about male violence based on sex, not personal feelings/identity.

  • Meghan Murphy

    But I don’t agree that it is possible to ‘identify’ with gender. Gender is imposed. I don’t ‘identify’ with any gender — certainly not with femininity. Am I trans? In other words, this definition still doesn’t mean anything. Not ‘identifying’ with the gender roles imposed on you doesn’t make you particularly oppressed, because NO ONE identifies with the gender roles imposed on them. Men are granted power in this society because they are male, regardless of how they feel, and women are oppressed in this society because they are female, regardless of how they feel.

    I would like you to go speak to some Indigenous women and girls and tell them that white males who ‘identify’ with femininity somehow suffer more than they do in this world.

    In other news, you are on a feminist site, not a liberal site, and we don’t take a neoliberal, gender-neutral approach to prostitution. The fact that you think you can come here — to a site that works in solidarity with prostituted women (exited and not), that regularly features the work of prostituted women — and lecture us on terminology is laughable. Take some time to read the site, and come back to us.

  • Cassandra

    Even if that’s true, and I’m sorry if it is, you are still throwing females under the bus. In addition, we are not a social justice warrior bunch here and most of us think the concept of “triggers” has gotten way out of hand. If one cares about females at all one must become immune to triggers to some extent.