Book language reflects gender influence

 Book language reflects gender influence  Big Data, Gender , News  Comments Off on Book language reflects gender influence
Aug 102012

Language use in books mirrors trends in gender equality over the generations in the US, according to a new study by Jean Twenge, from San Diego State University, and colleagues. Their work explores how the language in the full text of more than one million books reflects cultural change in U.S. women’s status.

Twenge and colleagues, W. Keith Campbell and Brittany Gentile of the University of Georgia, examined whether the use of gendered pronouns such as ‘he’ and ‘she’ mirrored women’s status between 1900-2008, by examining books available through the Google Books ngram viewer.

Their analyses showed that the frequency of use of female versus male pronouns followed the ups and downs of women’s status over time. More specifically, female pronouns were used progressively less often (compared to male pronouns) in the post-war era (1946-1967) when women’s status declined or stagnated, and more often after 1968 when women’s status rose considerably. In addition, US books used relatively more female pronouns when women were more educated, participated in the labor force more, and married later – all signs of increased status for women. US college women were also more assertive at times when relatively more female pronouns appeared in books.

“These trends in language quantify one of the largest, and most rapid, cultural changes ever observed: The incredible increase in women’s status since the late 1960s in the U.S.,” said Twenge. “Gender equality is the clear upside of the cultural movement toward individualism in the U.S., and books reflect this movement toward equality. That’s exciting because it shows how we can document social change.”

The study is published online in Springer’s journal Sex Roles

Source: Springer

Sex hormones and how they control behavior

 Sex hormones and how they control behavior  Gender , Hormones, News  Comments Off on Sex hormones and how they control behavior
Feb 062012

Hormones shape our bodies, make us fertile, excite our most basic urges, and as scientists have known for years, they govern the behaviors that separate men from women. But how? Now a team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has uncovered many genes influenced by the male and female sex hormones

It’s tough being a man – new research

 It’s tough being a man – new research  A Study Shows, Gender , Men  Comments Off on It’s tough being a man – new research
May 042011

Macho man naked torso - it's tough defending yourself as a manIt’s tough being a man. It’s hard to achieve the status and easy to falter, men believe. And when they’re challenged often aggression is the first answer.

Gender is social, say psychologists Jennifer K. Bosson and Joseph A. Vandello Bosson. “Men know this," Associate Professor Bosson says. "They are powerfully concerned about how they appear in other people’s eyes.” That means they can suffer psychologically when their manhood seems under threat. And that attack can come in many forms, even like being asked to braid hair in an experiment, as these researchers did.

Manhood is defined for many people by achievements, not biology. The womans role, however, is regarded as a biological state. So manhood can be “lost” through social transgressions, whereas womanhood is “lost” only by physical changes, such as menopause.

Who judges manhood so stringently? “Women are not the main punishers of gender role violations,” says Bosson. Other men are. Bosson’s research shows that gender is a social phenomenon for men. And she’s shown the powerfully negative effects including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or violence.

“When I was younger I felt annoyed by my male friends who would refuse to hold a pocketbook or say whether they thought another man was attractive. I thought it was a personal shortcoming that they were so anxious about their manhood," Prof Bosson says. "Now I feel much more sympathy for men."

Apr 182011

Woman with tomatoes Men do tend to make black-or-white judgements when women are more prone to see shades of grey in choices and decisions, says new research from the University of Warwick.

The researchers asked 113 people whether each of 50 objects fitted partially, fully, or not at all into certain categories. The 50 objects were ones likely to stimulate debate or disagreement about which category they fitted into. For instance:

Is a tomato a fruit?

Is paint a tool?

The researchers found that men were more likely to make absolute category judgments (e.g., a tomato is either a fruit or not), whereas women made less certain category judgments (e.g., a tomato can “sort of” belong in the fruit category). The women surveyed tended to be much more nuanced in their responses and were 23% more likely to assign an object to the “partial” category.

While it has been a popular belief that such a male/female split exists, as far as the researchers are aware, this is the first time such a sex difference in categorization has been shown experimentally.

Superwoman: A hard act to follow

 Superwoman: A hard act to follow  Gender  Comments Off on Superwoman: A hard act to follow
Apr 012011

 Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb Raiders -a bad role model?Exposure to attractive, aggressive, female leads in films affects how men and women think about who women ought to be in the real world. Women in particular have high standards for other women, and expect them to be both stereotypically feminine and masculine i.e. beautiful and aggressive rather than beautiful and passive. That’s according to new research by Laramie Taylor and Tiffany Setters, from the University of California, Davis in the US, published online in Springer’s Sex Roles journal. 


Taylor and Setters’ work looks at the impact of media representations of film stars on gender role expectations for women – or those behaviors and attitudes expected of, or held as standard for, women in general. In their experiment, 122 male and female college undergraduates, from a large university on the US West Coast, were shown a film clip of a major Hollywood motion picture, featuring a female protagonist who was either stereotypically attractive or not; and physically aggressive or not. 


The results showed that students perceived the more attractive film leads as better role models than the less attractive leads. Students who watched the violent, attractive protagonist endorsed feminine gender role expectations significantly more than those who viewed the violent, less stereotypically attractive lead. In addition, participants who viewed the attractive, aggressive lead also endorsed more stereotypically masculine gender role expectations for women. This suggests that both men and women expect women to fulfill both feminine and masculine roles, that women generally tend to have higher expectations of women than men, and that watching attractive, aggressive heroines exaggerates these expectations.

Dec 202010

 Chimapanzee mother and baby - remarkably like humansResearchers have reported some of the first evidence that chimpanzee youngsters in the wild may tend to play differently depending on their sex, just as human children around the world do. Although both young male and female chimpanzees play with sticks, females do so more often, and they occasionally treat them like mother chimpanzees caring for their infants, according to a study in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

The findings suggest that the consistently greater tendency, across all cultures, for girls to play more with dolls than boys do is not just a result of sex-stereotyped socialization, the researchers say, but rather comes partly from "biological predilections."

"This is the first evidence of an animal species in the wild in which object play differs between males and females," said Richard Wrangham of Harvard University.

Nov 302010

He's more likely to get the job interview than she isGood looking men are 50%  more likely to get a job interview, but attractive women may be penalized in the job market, at least in Israel. And the reason – most of the people screening candidates were young single women.

"Good looks" are only sometimes a positive factor in consideration for a job, according to new research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). In the new working paper, "Are Good-Looking People More Employable?" two economics researchers from BGU prove that a double standard exists between good looks as a positive factor in men and women. 

The research involved sending 5,312 CVs (resumes) in pairs to 2,656 advertised job openings in Israel. In each pair, one CV was without a picture while the second, otherwise almost identical CV, contained a picture of either an attractive male/female or a plain-looking male/female. The dependent measure was whether the employer e-mails or calls back the candidate for an interview. Overall, the response rate was 14.5 percent.

"Unlike Anglo-Saxon countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K, it isn’t taboo in Israel to embed a headshot of oneself in the top corner of one’s job resume," explains BGU economics researcher and lecturer Dr. Bradley Ruffle. "Rather, the choice to include a photograph on one’s job resume is left to the candidate with the result that some do, while others don’t. This fact makes Israel an opportune location to explore the effect of a picture and its attractiveness, or lack thereof, on the likelihood of being invited for a job interview.

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