My roommate and I spent at least a few hours reading and analyzing a series of articles on the horrors of soy by aspiring author Jim Rutz. She had stumbled upon the first in this series a while ago on one of her many food information expeditions, and tonight kindly shared it with me.
In it, Rutz claims “soy is making kids gay” because it contains excess phytoestrogens, which are plant hormone compounds that are equivalent to ingesting “five birth control pills a day.” Rutz bases this contention on the FDA recommended 25 grams of soy protein intake per day, and on research (none cited). The excess estrogen “suppresses” testosterone, rendering the individual more feminine physically, mentally, and even, he not-so-subtly implies, sexually. Babies fed soy milk are especially vulnerable, because they are not yet developed. Thereby, the “blame for today’s rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products.”
Rutz does not directly cite any research he is using to arrive at these conclusions, but in the next article he makes a point to say he will. Ironically, much to our dismay, many of the links did not work, and two even led to advertisements for yogurt and toothbrushes. You cannot make this up.
There are several aspects of Rutz’ arguments with which I take issue. I’ll focus on two particular paragraphs in part three of the series that drew my attention:
Right now, no evidence indicates that soy during childhood or adulthood is likely to change sexual preference. The danger zone is the first three months of both pregnancy and infancy, when male physiology and brain circuitry are still developing. In other words, a girl-chasing, football-playing college boy won’t go gay even if he becomes a vegetarian or snacks all day on soy energy bars. (He might develop thyroid or other health problems or lose most of his libido, though.)
My larger concern is that the increasing number of less robust 15-year-olds who are already “struggling with their sexual identity” will be shoved over that thin line into homosexuality. No, they won’t wake up some morning with floppy wrists and a nasal lisp, but they may begin to gravitate toward social circles where they feel more comfortable ? and less expected to be rowdy or brag about a string of sexual conquests. And once a teen is ensconced in a homosexual milieu, breaking free from it could mean abandoning his best friends.
1) Rutz directly contradicts himself. He writes, “no evidence indicates that soy during childhood or adulthood is likely to change sexual preference,” but goes on to express concerns about “robust 15-year olds.”
2) His diction clearly reveals his attitude that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality. The 15-year-olds are “robust,” but gay men have “thin wrists and a nasal lisp.” Sure, maybe some do. Nothing wrong with that. But I think the robust gay men may take offense at being lumped in with the straight ones.
3) His language stereotypes gay men, and straight men for that matter. In the end of the first paragraph, he sets up what seems to be a case of the straightest male, who is a “girl-chasing, football-playing college boy” to contrast “go[ing] gay.” Oh, and straight men are all “rowdy and brag about a string of sexual conquests.” Unlike, of course, gay men.
4) He writes as if sexuality is a line over which we (in general) can be pushed if we are “struggling with [our] sexual identity.” No, these vulnerable people will not “go gay” overnight, but they may find social circles in which they “feel more comfortable ?” The use of the question mark shows how much Rutz questions the so-called “homosexual milieu” as valid or supportive—for whatever this is anyway.
And, finally, clearly the sexually confused teen will want to “break free” from the social circle in which he found comfort.
What is so troubling about Rutz’ work is that it is recent. These articles are from 2011. It is published, and is a first page result if you research soy products on Google. Here is the address:
If you can, I encourage anyone reading this to read the full articles and make your own analyses. Check out those sources too, if you can find them. But be warned—Rutz’ articles are also a mire of misogyny. Oh, and there’s a rather blindsiding, vaguely racist remark in article three.
Pierce Arrow Contributor
Pierce Arrow Contributor