Jose Carillo's English Forum

Joe Carillo's Desk => Essays by Joe Carillo => Topic started by: Joe Carillo on July 16, 2016, 12:36:20 AM



Title: Open letter on news stories that Filipinas have the world’s smallest breasts
Post by: Joe Carillo on July 16, 2016, 12:36:20 AM
To the Philippine Media Outlets Concerned:

I have done some checking and found that the basis for your respective feature stories on “Philippine women as having the smallest breasts in the world”—stories posted in your print and online editions or broadcast on TV from July 7, 2016 onwards—is likely fake, a downright fabrication.

That undated research study, “Scientific Analysis Reveals Major Differences in the Breast Size of Women in Different Countries” (http://tinyurl.com/z6olu2e), turns out to be of highly doubtful provenance. Uploaded on the web as a PDF document, the 24-page supposedly scientific report indicates page-by-page that it was published in The Journal of Female Health Sciences. However, the document gives neither the journal’s volume nor date of issue nor any verifiable particulars about how the research was conducted. Also, nowhere on the web could the name of that journal be independently found except in the citation itself for that study.

That dubious research study was the basis of a feature story, “US women have the biggest breasts in the world – study reveals,” in the June 29 online edition of The Telegraph UK (http://tinyurl.com/ja2hfb9). Also, the June 28 online edition of the U.S.-based Seventeen Magazine came out with a substantial variation of that feature story under the headline “American Women Apparently Have the Biggest Boobs in the World” (http://tinyurl.com/zoc7vg7).

Neither the author of the Telegraph story nor that of the Seventeen story indicated who made representations to have the findings of the supposed research study publicized, but it is worth noting that the Telegraph story casually provided a companion boxed story, “How to Ensure Your Bra Fits Correctly.” The credits for that boxed story indicated that it was supplied by experts of Rigby & Peller, a London-based company that identifies itself as curators and sellers of luxury negligee, brassieres, and swimwear (http://tinyurl.com/hstl46a).

What seems to have been overlooked by the London-based and New York-based media outlets is that research study’s apparent doubtful provenance. There are several telltale signs that it is spurious. The supposed primary author, “John D. L. Anderson—Curator of Human Anatomy, New Delhi School of Applied Sciences,” is very likely fictitious. A search on the web shows not a single indication of that person’s existence and that of the position and institution appended to his name. All of the names of that research study’s co-authors—Susan C. Chandler, Megan A. B. Mason, Chennan B. Khan, Jennifer E. Lindsay, Richard M. Sandler, and Liu G. Wong—are apparently also fictitious along with their respective academic or research institutions.

After the appearance of the online Telegraph feature article in the UK, it was rehashed for the Philippine Star by a staff contributor and came out in the paper’s July 8 online edition under the headline “Study: Filipino women have the smallest breast size in the world” (http://tinyurl.com/jrxqe4p). On July 7, ABS-CBN News also featured on its website a rehash of that story under the headline “Study: PH women have smallest breasts in the world” (http://tinyurl.com/zragzo2), and I think its very likely that the story had also been broadcast in both the ABS-CBN commercial TV network and in the ANC cable channel. The Philippine Daily Inquirer also ran in its July 7 print and online editions a shorter feature story about that study under the headline “Filipino women have smallest breasts—study” (http://tinyurl.com/hd6oxh6).

Based on my subsequent fact-checks, I am now practically certain that the supposed research study is spurious and that several media outlets here and abroad have been misled into thinking that it is authentic. I therefore believe that it should not be accorded the level of credence it is getting. I also strongly suggest that a retraction of the stories about it by all the Philippine media outlets concerned be undertaken in the interest of honest and truthful journalism.

This open letter appeared in the weekly column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in The Manila Times in its July 16, 2016 issue, © 2016 by Manila Times Publishing. All rights reserved. A fuller-length, more detailed version of this report was posted in the My Media English Watch on July 11, 2016 under the title “Anatomy of media stories that Filipina women have world’s smallest breasts.”


Title: Re: Open letter on news stories that Filipinas have the world’s smallest breasts
Post by: Joe Carillo on July 21, 2016, 08:40:52 PM
Responses to “Open letter on stories that Filipinas have the world’s smallest breasts”

Daniel B. Laurente says:
July 17, 2016 at 11:58 am

The so called researchers may have based their studies from those Internet sexual encounters and exposed on sexual websites. Anyway, tiny are more cute-looking ones than those others that just look like a balloon during birthday parties. Big boobs by the way will not be good for babies sucking mother’s milk. For what the study was for anyway?

Neil McNally says:
July 17, 2016 at 9:56 am

Hehe, Mr. Jose Carillo’s taken a wee break from the often heavy work of sorting out Filipinos’ English usage and grammar by side-stepping so as to address this country’s women and their reported breast size in the media here.

After some online checking of spurious researchers’ journal’s and institution’s names, he has reached the conclusion that the quoted study is a fraud: “I therefore believe that it should not be accorded the level of credence it is getting. I also strongly suggest that a retraction of the stories about it by all the Philippine media outlets concerned be undertaken in the interest of honest and truthful journalism.”

The grit to his article is in his last sentence—the “retraction” and apology from the various media sources that have published/reported extracts from a spurious (unsubstantiated) source. Invariably, many thousands of readers and listeners have absorbed that information as gospel and it is now a part of their personal belief systems. It can be viewed as misinformation or propaganda, and once it is inculcated into the brain, it is very hard to erase it or modify it with subsequent additional or corrected data.

To attempt to reverse the misinformation previously broadcast is extremely difficult. Even front-page retraction as headlines, or being the first news item on TV or radio, will not reach all of the misinformed.

In reality, if there is a correction or retraction (in a newspaper or journal), it is often published on a page and space that does not draw attention to itself, and is easily missed. On radio or TV, I cannot ever recall an apology or retraction.

In truth, I feel that it is almost impossible to know whether one is reading or hearing legitimate and unadulterated news, data, or studies…even from so-called “reliable” sources. Everyone who depends on print, audio-visual, and the Internet to enable them to form opinions and build up belief systems is set up to fail miserably due to myriad mis- and -disinformation, and often, absolute lies.

To where can you turn to be genuinely informed?

Reply
Jose A. Carillo says:
July 18, 2016 at 5:31 pm

We still have to make a choice of the media outlets that we believe we can trust, but every time they are misled into publishing spurious information, we need to call their attention to it. It’s their responsibility to retract that spurious information, and they really should if they are serious about their claims of truthfulness and reliability. If they don’t, well, it’s a clear sign that we need to look for a media source that’s more truthful and reliable than them.

Spence says:
July 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Yes, a 100-kg American woman has larger beasts than a 50-kg Filipina has. The only thing I can learn from that is that the American overeats fattening foods and does not exercise enough.

Reply
Neil McNally says:
July 17, 2016 at 9:57 am

Ditto the obese Pilipina/Pilipino!

Amnata Pundit says:
July 16, 2016 at 9:54 am

If the story said Filipinas have the biggest breasts in the world, would it matter if it was “spurious?” What was really so objectionable, the spuriousness or the claim that our women have the smallest breasts? If somebody came up with a study, no matter if spurious, saying that Filipinas have the tightest you-know-what, I wonder if it will be just as objectionable. Forgive me but I think this tempest in a teacup is just stupid.

Reply
Neil McNally says:
July 17, 2016 at 10:08 am

I think that you are correct in questioning what harm can be done when making claims about women’s breast-size.

However, having at least 50 million females in the Pilipinas, and more and more of them being psychologically manipulated into modifying their external anatomies so as to be acceptable by men, vulnerable undereducated people may actually be harmed by thinking their breasts are too small, or their vulva is ugly, or their nose is too flat, etc., etc.

There are plenty of big-businesses based on surgical alterations for the vain and stupid.

Reply
Jose A. Carillo says:
July 17, 2016 at 10:41 am

What is at issue here is not whether Filipino women have the smallest or biggest breasts in the world. It’s the spuriousness of the supposed global research study on comparative breast sizes together with the fact that the mass media in the PH and abroad fell for it hook, line, and sinker.