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Faye Flam

Women Act Rationally, and Somehow That Was Newsworthy

A study debunks the simplistic myth of why women freeze their eggs. We need more unsurprising science like this.

A frozen egg’s exciting future.

A frozen egg’s exciting future.

Photographer: Cris Bouroncle/AFP/Getty Images

The other day The New York Times and a few other outlets ran with a story that was unusual, maybe even unprecedented, for highlighting a social science study that failed to show any sort of irrationality or self-delusion in its subjects. There were no signs that mysterious, unconscious cues were wreaking havoc on people’s decision making.

The study, a survey of women who had recently had eggs frozen, revealed decisions that were well-informed, reasonable and rational. The women were single for the most part, and wanted to increase their odds of getting pregnant if they found a suitable co-parent in the future. Stories about people acting reasonably don’t often make headlines, but the appeal here was that the research countered a stereotype often attached to women with careers: that they’re postponing having families so they can advance up the corporate ladder.