I don’t actually believe that there’s a “new Italian study” that shows that penis sizes have been shrinking. The reports on the Internet on this study all seem to link back to a more-than-somewhat dubious site called chacha.com, which did a feature on “Weirdest Scientific Discoveries” and included a mention of this so-called study. There are no researchers’ names, there are no links. I couldn’t find any abstract, or any researchers’ names, let alone anything like sample size, or how the results were determined. I expect someone made it up. If anyone has better data, please let me know.
Much as I deplore fictional scientific results, I have to be kind of pleased about this one, because of how Rush Limbaugh responded to it. (Note that his fact-checkers are not as good as Body Impolitic’s fact checkers who, in this case, are me.)
The way the “study” was reported, air pollution, along with our old friend weight gain, were theoretical causes of this theoretical penis shrinkage. Here’s Limbaugh, quoted on The Raw Story (and dozens of other places):
I think it’s feminism. If it’s tied to the last 50 years — the average size of [a male's] member is 10 percent smaller than 50 years — it has to be the feminazis, the chickification and everything else.
… Air pollution vs. feminazis? Ha!
I have never felt more powerful. With nothing but the support of you, my sisters and allies in feminism, we have managed to create a 10% shrinkage in male penis size.
I’ve been thinking about how we’ve done it. There are several possibilities:
1) We shrink penises by handling them. Every time a feminist (of any gender) gives a person with a penis a hand job, that penis gets smaller. Possibly this also works with PIV intercourse. This, of course, means that if Limbaugh himself is affected, he’s been, well, intimately involved with feminists. Interesting.
2) We shrink penises with the magic powers of our minds. Every time we contradict a man, say the word “vagina” in public, point out an example of rape culture, or demand our right to choose, somewhere a little boy’s penis loses heft. Perhaps there are pentacles and witches’ brews in the background somewhere, but the real effects stem from our words. Let us continue to think before we speak.
3) We shrink penises by being scary. Our loud voices, our enormous political power (reflected, of course in how well laws and regulations have been going for women recently) and our inescapable presence in the world somehow magically make penises diminish. I like this one, because we aren’t even doing anything–we are just powerful by reason of existence.
4) We shrink penises by intention and science. Many of us, of course, shun any involvement with penises, but the ones who do deal with penises in our sex lives want them to be smaller, less invasive, less dominating. So we work our mysterious wiles, perhaps in the garden and the kitchen, perhaps in the laboratory, and we are succeeding!
Of course, it could be all of the above.
Wow! With this much power, perhaps we can make real changes in women’s lives.