Depressing Experiments

10 Depressing Experiments on Gender and Sex

The war of the sexes is real and as old as their evolution. What’s even more fascinating is that it’s presence seems eternal, and it’s end non-existent in the very face of cohabitation and interdependence of the members of them both. Understandably then, we long to fathom the tenuous connections that run deep within the crevices between them, and in that pursuit, often come across discoveries that might just make the most rainbow-eyed idealist turn a resentful gaze away from any possibility of a lasting truce. But if you happen to be the kind who stands by their ability to stomach almost any morsel of reality- no matter how bitter- then you can (perhaps) safely proceed to read, the most disturbing findings about gender and sex.

10. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?

Do they? Studies show contradicting conclusions, actually. Celeste Gorrell Antiss, a reporter for New Zealand Star, decided to conduct a little social experiment in 2010, wherein she pretended to be having some trouble with loading hefty boxes in her car across a few trials. Now the trials were all equally divided into two categories, in one kind, she wore her hair as they were- beautifully brunette- while in the others, she dyed them blonde. In the limited number of trials and with just as limited a sample size, she discovered that strangers were four times as willing to help her when she had sunshine in her hair, than when she, well, didn’t.

So, blonde has the power to make gentlemen out of ordinary men? Maybe. But what about the crass ones? Do they magically transform into princes charming as well, upon beholding a crown of gold on a woman’s head?

Doubtful. Another Brunette who goes by the name of Elyssa Goodman made a disturbing observation. If she wore the same clothes on two days, but on one she wore a blonde wig, the absolutely flattering term of admiration, ‘whore’, would be hurled at her in less than 30 minutes on the day she decided to walk under the wig.

But Being Blonde could have some ups too, say some scientists, like a greener bank account.

9. The Bitterness of “Sweetie”

Benevolent sexism isn’t a meaningless oxymoronic term, but so pervasively meaningful, it’s a little unnerving. Okay. Very unnerving. It’s essentially sugar-laced-acid, that quietly corrodes away your gut- that’s where you get your courage and strength and resilience, right? So, this is when a woman is reaffirmed about her socially construed weakness by being called “soft and dainty”, her sentimentality by being called “sensitive and motherly” and so on. This is when sexism gets sweet, and therefore deceptive. Most experts worry, that this is the most hideous, potent and formidable face of sexism, mainly because neither men nor women really see this as insolent, but actually consider it to be acceptable and even desirable behavior.

For instance, a study proved that benevolently sexist gentlemen considered women way gentler and thereby offered them easier tasks than men, hence denying them an opportunity to prove their mettle. Another conducted in 2007, concluded that when groups of women attempted to solve logical puzzles, those subjected to benevolent sexism did worse jobs than those who’d faced the hostile kind or none at all.

8. When The Punch Line Hurts

Jokes are not so harmless. Freud always insisted that humor was often sublime aggression, and when it comes to targeting humor, like the sexiest kind, he seems to have been right. But that shouldn’t be our only worry, that is, expressed hostility, but what should be seen as the central issue, is that quips about members of particular sex become an acceptance ticket for the acrimony they disguise. In an intriguing study by psychologist Thomas Ford, it was found that after watching a sexist comic drama, men leaned more towards expressing disapproval for a funding program for a female students’ college, than before and others. This was an influence seen even in the case of those who were in favor of the program before watching the skit. The reason? Researchers believe that through humor, we create an unintended yet implicit atmosphere of tolerance for discrimination among our circles, which then contributes to a congenial environment for sexist schemas and behavior.

7. Who wears the (yoga) pants?

A YouTube Social Experiment that went viral was conducted by a video prankster Youseff Saleh Erakat, who decided to spend a few hours bending over the trunk of his car while wearing yoga pants, just to have a glimpse into the world of women who find themselves being leered at because the comfortable pants can accentuate their curves a bit too much for comfort. The results weren’t shocking, as many men either quietly checked his rear out, many threw a remark about his bootilicious trunk, and when confronted by Youseff (“Did you just check out my butt? What, do you want to feel it?”) Some even spewed a few homophobic retorts. Sigh! Humans may have progressed, but pigs definitely haven’t.

6. The Scientist Community: Another Man’s World

The reason why despite the swelling effort to get more women in the hardcore academic field of science fails in the face of even developed countries (for instance, UK, where only 9 percent of academics are women) is probably the consistent prospect of lower salaries and job approvals as opposed to their male counterparts with exactly the same qualifications. This being stated after an extensive study in 2012. In this research, several resumes were mailed to professors all over the country, with the same accolades and achievements recorded, but under different names conveying opposite sexes. The professors at large, saw the male applicants as more competent, and even if they did choose to offer a place to the females, they did so upon setting lower remuneration.

5. She Can Keep The Home Germ-Free But Leave The World To Us

In a study carried out in late 2013, it was found that when it comes to issuing grants for scientific research, even for a cause as vital as fighting disease, patrons care a painful awful lot about the researcher’s gender. Not only are they less likely to be funded, but women must also expect lesser funds if applying for financial aid. It appears as though there’s more social disease we need to fight first before we turn to the microscopic menace in our world.

4. A Lot Is Online With A Name That Says You’re A Girl

The nice people from the University of Maryland decided to take Mary (and many other such fake identities) to the land of social websites, creating counterfeit profiles of both conventional male and female names. To their utter disappointment (hopefully) they found that those with female names received 25 times more nasty or suggestive, sexually offensive messages than those with male pseudonyms. The senders, sadly, were not even some “bots” but men of flesh and blood assaulting women. In another casual experiment, women working in Reddit admitted that the likelihood of lewd messages and comments took a dramatic nosedive if they chose gender-neutral names for their profiles.

3. (Do Not) Raise The Curtain

A female musician is more likely to get through an audition for a recognized orchestra by about 50% if she plays from behind a screen, says economist Cecilia Rouse. This has been corroborated by a hike in the proportion of women in orchestras, from 10 to 35 percent, since blind auditioning became a regular. In fact, until the 80s, female musicians have been known to discard their footwear for fear that the tapping heels might give away their sex.

2. The Cream Must Be White (and Male)

In early 2014, a bunch of researchers mailed 65000 identical messages from make-believe students requesting a consultation meeting with the recipient regarding their allegedly chosen field, to professors chairing departments in some of the finest universities of America. They found that all the professors, regardless of their own ethnic, economic or social backgrounds, were most likely to reply favorably to messages sent by white males. What’s more, among the most elite schools reputed in fields such as science and business, this discrimination was found to be even more common. If you’re someone currently writing your college application, we’re sorry to plummet your spirits, genuinely sorry.

1. On The Highest Cliff, It Gets Pretty Savage

Those who’ve tasted the sweet fruit of success have turned bitter against each other. Well, sort of. According to a collaborative research by experts from San Diego State University and Case Western Reserve University, both men and women holding entitled positions tend towards sexism, although of different kinds. To a question like, “If I were on the sinking Titanic, I would deserve to take the first lifeboat”, accomplished men responded along the lines of “women like to wield power over men” (hostile sexism) and women said things like, “men should cherish and protect women” (benevolent sexism). The former response explains such men’s fear and insecurity of women whom they consider manipulative and hence lethal, whereas the latter reply indicates the glorification of the fairness of the fairer sex, tipping over to narcissism.

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