No apology needed. It might help here to distinguish between the femoral angle, which I was talking about, and the Q-Angle; all mushed together in popular literature.
The femoral angle is the angle formed by the intersections of a line along the axis of the surgical neck of the femur with a line along the long axis of the femur. So it's measured up in the hip, not at the knee. A more acute femoral angle means the femur is more adducted. Which has all the implications I mentioned. Femoral angles are mainly of interest to forensic types, evolutionary biologists, and hip surgeons. Lots of evolutionary models. Fairly straightforward from x-rays, MRI's, or skeletons, not accurate from external landmarks in a living subject.
The Q-Angle is all about living subjects. It's measured by a line drawn from the center of the patella to the tibial tubercle, intersecting with a line drawn from the anterior superior iliac spine to the center of the patella. So notice that it's an angle at the knee, but it's defined by three, rather than two, landmarks, and two of them (patellar center and superior inferior iliac spine) are notoriously hard to define dead accurately in living subjects. And then, basic trig: a small change in locations at the apex will produce a big change at the base. Mainly beloved by sports researchers and anatomists doing motion analysis, and knee surgeons working on patellas.
One point being, these two angles are well correlated, but not strongly enough to say one is synonymous with the other. Second point being that because the errors of estimation are rather different, a study using one is not super applicable to supporting or falsifying a study using the other.
The four studies you link appear to struggle either with errors associated with defining the Q-Angle, or dealing with the weird topographies on the backs of our patellas. That doesn't mean that observed sex differences are controversial, or unsupported by theory. They truly represent a consensus, to the point they're in all the medical school texts. Which is why I found the one cited paper less than compelling. What's maturing, as you put it, is our understanding of the local biomechanics at the knee, and how many structures are involved. Not the reality of the sex differences.
This is an important point, IMO, because it bears on issues like climate change. Skeptics and the media love to note specific disagreements about details of a model, and then claim that this shows the science is "still out," or "controversial." Or they take statements by an individual that he/she wants more definitive data, and they take that to mean the data are inadequate.
Nope, the science is in on climate, and there is remarkable consensus over the basic model. We all want more data, always, about everything. And it makes us feel wise and judicious to say stuff like that to the press, whatever our field. Especially if we know they'll print our comments. But the real arguments now are over details, which we scientists love to debate, and implications, which inevitably have predictive errors attached. The NYT had a piece this last Sunday, in fact, over whether editors there were skewing the public view of climate science by bending over backwards to give equal time to doubters. Maybe, this editor argued, it was time to declare that the climate was changing, that it was partly or largely due to human actions, and move on. There will always be a few doubters - a famous biochemist is still arguing, far as I know, that AIDS is not caused by HIV, since no one has proven all of Koch's postulates - but that doesn't mean it isn't time to move on and find a vaccine.
So it's time to move on here too. There is a sex difference in human hips and knees, and it will have implications for women in sports. Let's go work out the details.