Research and reporting on the development of sex in fetuses: Gendered from the start

Molly J Dingel, Joey Sprague

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Research into human genetics has been expanding rapidly and most people learn about that research from mass media. Because prior research finds gender bias in aspects of both science and the media, we investigate the messages presented to the public concerning the relationship between biology and gender, taking as a case research on the genetic development of sexual difference before birth. We examine both the science that is getting media attention and the form that coverage takes. We find that gendered assumptions direct the science but also that scholarly discourse makes gender biases in method and interpretation accessible to scientific critique. On the other hand, mass media reporting ignores feminist critiques, marginalizes women and dramatically reinscribes gendered beliefs about the inherent superiority of men and the biological basis for gender differences in personality and behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-196
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • Media
  • Sex development

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