12 April 2013

Seeing gender differences, blind to individuality

We love looking for gender differences. And then code them as blue and pink.

Marketers do it in order to better target a specific segment.  Humans do it because it is simpler to deal in stereotypes.

The problem is that gender differences are less clear than we are inclined to think. In fact, some 'differences' are completely artificial such as the dress and hair-styles of men and women. It's painted pink and blue, but may be there's no difference underneath.

Men have an outie, women have an innie. Fact.

Women are shorter than men. Sort of. It may be true on average, but it is not universally true.

Gender differences are typically a matter of degree with the distributions of men and women overlapping to a great extent. They are not categorical.

Where to draw the line? Statistics can help, but it is not perfect.

More importantly, generalising about gender differences based on statistically significant mean-differences oversimplifies the reality, and may support stereotypes that discourage or even oppose individual choices.

Seeing gender differences can blind us to individual variety and preferences.

Read more here: Gender differences: more fictions than fact

(If the link does not work, paste the following into our browser: https://theconversation.com/gender-differences-more-fictions-than-fact-11725)

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