Gender

Gender Stereotypes Have Budged Little Since the Early '80s

American perceptions about male and female roles, traits, and behaviors show little change since 1983.

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AK Rockefeller/Flickr

The good news? We've broken barriers in our cultural perceptions of postal workers and men's legs. But in all sorts of other ways, Americans are still clinging to the same gender stereotypes they have since the 1980s. A new study finds few significant changes since then in people's perceptions about gender roles and traits. 

It seems that despite high-profile transgender activism and the brave new world of gender-neutral pronouns, most Americans are still clinging to a binary, essentialist view of gender that ascribes agency and leadership traits to men and nurturing, emotional tendencies to women. The one significant, positive change found in the study was an increased belief that women are competent at assuming financial obligations and handling financial matters. Otherwise, the study—published online March 9 in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ)—actually found more gender stereotyping now about female roles and behaviors than there was 30 years ago.

"Changes in the activities and representation of women and men in society have unquestionably occurred since the early 1980s," notes the paper. "However, those changes apparently have not been sufficient to alter strongly held and seemingly functional beliefs about the basic social category of gender."  

For the study, psychology researchers compared survey data collected in 1983 to data they gathered in 2014 using the same set of questions. The earlier data did not contain much demographic-info on participatns, but all were college students. The 2014 subset, by contrast, contained respondents as young as 19-years-old and as old as 73, with a mean age of about 39 years.

Worried the presence of older individuals in the second survey skewed overall beliefs more regressive, the study authors—Elizabeth L. Haines, Kay Deaux, and Nicole Lofaro—compared answers across age groups and found little difference between younger and older respondents. "It appears that the observed increase in female gender role stereotyping between the two time periods was not related to age differences between the two samples, nor did age show any systematic relationship to beliefs about gender characteristics," the authors concluded. 

Male and female respondents were also equally susceptible to gender stereotyping—although, among 2014 respondents, men were more likely to subscribe to gender stereotypes about men and women were more likely to subscribe to gender stereotypes about women. 

Asked to say how likely a man, woman, or person of unspecified gender was to possess 25 individual behaviors, study respondents in 1983 attached significantly gendered weight to 21 out of 25 behavior categories. In 2014, it was 22 out of 25 categories. Interestingly, the specific behaviors perceived as gender neutral shifted over time.

In 1983, "defers to the judgements of others," "source of emotional support," and "plans for the future" were all deemed relatively gender-neutral descriptors. In 2014, the neutral categories were "assumes financial obligations," "makes major decisions," and "handles financial matters." 

An analysis of 25 individual occupations also turned up highly gendered beliefs about who should hold them. In 1983, only "bookkeeper" had no significantly gendered connotations. In 2014, it was only "postal worker." And respondents also perceived significant gender differences for most physical traits, with only one of 25 descriptors ("well built") not differentiated in 1983 and only three—"physically fit," "thin," and "long legs"—in 2014.  

Thoughts about psychological or emotional trait differences likewise "remained consistent and strong between the two time periods," the researchers found. Women continued to be rated higher on "communal" traits than men, while men continued to be rated higher for "agentic" traits. Across all trait categories, only "active" was not seen as much of gendered term in 1983. In 2014 respondents, the four traits that didn't show much gender differentiation were "active," "stands up under pressure," "makes decisions easily," and "never gives up easily."

"Despite differences in samples and in time periods, there was virtually no difference in the degree to which beliefs about typical men and women were differentiated on agentic and communal traits, male gender roles, male and female occupations, and male and female physical characteristics," the authors summarize. "The one exception was a significant increase in stereotyping on the female gender role; however, this change appears to have occurred because contemporary judgments on this component were less variable than they were in the past, rather than being due to any marked change in mean likelihood ratings."

The authors believe that maintenance of gender stereotypes despite the increasingly similar social roles and behaviors of men and women comes down to "confirmation bias, cultural lag, backlash, and essentialist categorical beliefs." 

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  1. The authors believe that maintenance of gender stereotypes despite the increasingly similar social roles and behaviors of men and women comes down to “confirmation bias, cultural lag, backlash, and essentialist categorical beliefs.”

    Right, not because men and women might actually possess different characteristics. Good call, guys.

    1. Gender is a social construct. But being gay is genetic.

      1. Holy shit, Progs really do believe that.

        1. Meh. It’s really a small subset that actually does believe that. There is a lot of disagreement on the subject.

      2. And that’s how the Gay Gene was found.
        Oh, wait…

      3. There’s a difference between “genetic” and “innate”. If you’re gonna mock the position, it’s more honest if you don’t strawman it at the same time.

        1. Ultimately, “innate” comes down to “genetic”.

    2. Alternative headline: “People are not Completely Detached from Reality (yet)”

    3. Individual will vary from the norm. Groups will display certain characteristics. Even if those characteristics are a result of conditioning instead of biology they are real and they do exist. This study fails to take into account what people believe are merely common behaviors vs actual inherent behaviors.

    4. Someone once told me that to pretend men and women are exactly the same, is to ignore all the various strengths and weaknesses that make each gender unique and special….

    5. Because gender stereotypes are all 100% based on different characteristics actually possessed by men and women.

      1. Non Sequitur

        1. Um, no, it isn’t.

          1. Well, I don’t think that anyone said that 100% of gender stereotypes are based on inherent differences. Just that some probably are.

          2. It literally doesn’t follow that he was saying that “gender stereotypes are all 100% based on different characteristics actually possessed by men and women”.

            It does follow that some of them could be. It probably follows that most of them are.

            So, again, Non Sequitur.

          3. It pretty much is, Nikki.

            Because gender stereotypes are all 100% based on different characteristics actually possessed by men and women.

            The OP listed the study’s proposed explanations for the persistence of gender stereotypes. It did not mention stereotype accuracy. He expressed that the possbility should be included. You turned it into the claim of 100% accuracy. Wrongly.

  2. Despite differences in samples and in time periods, there was virtually no difference in the degree to which beliefs about typical men and women were differentiated on agentic and communal traits, male gender roles, male and female occupations, and male and female physical characteristics,

    If you are asking for “beliefs about typical” men and women”, aren’t you basically asking what the stereotypes are? It just seems a little strange that you would, effectively, ask people about “typical” traits, and then turn around and say “look at all the stereotypes”!

    They found what they were looking for, because people did what they asked. Shocking!

    1. I’m guessing a good college feminist would have refused to answer and then stood up on the table to lecture the questioner about perpetrating stereotypes. Authors actual found out that the average person doesn’t realize what the author’s culture expects as an answer when certain words are used.

    2. Nalied it.

    3. welcome to modern scientific analysis (tho, I guess that has been going on in feminist circles since the early 80s…)

  3. Until I am presented with ample evidence to the contrary, I assume ENB supports the areas of the study I disagree with, and disagrees with the areas of the study that I agree with.

        1. I think she should have disagreed with her… your narrative is all topsy-turvy now.

          1. You her, she you… xe xou… whatever.

            1. My biases were confirmed, which is all that matters.

              1. What are my biases, chopped liver?

                1. You don’t count if you don’t BEEELLLLLIEVE bro..sis..se…it .

  4. Related =

    Trans Men Need the Competent Fertility Care I Never Got

    – why society has failed women who want to be men who want to have babies with lack of support for the epic mood-swings that conflicting hormone therapies produce

    1. I’m assuming xe accidentally left out the “…and want someone else to pay for it” in that subhed.

    2. The long-awaited day of my egg retrieval finally arrived. I was handed a stack of forms to sign. When my eyes reached the bottom of the page, I was only able to see two words: “female patient.” I looked at my nurse. “Why am I the ‘female patient’?” “We do have updated forms, but these are our old forms,” she replied. I had a long day ahead of me, so I just put my head down and signed.

      When up is down.

      1. Well, if she wasn’t a female patient, then egg retrieval would be freaking impossible wouldn’t it.

        The Progressive have been insanely successful in banishing any concept of nature. The new Progressive Man(err Person) will always CHOOSE their gender, the laws of nature no longer matter!!

      2. Have a friend who is in training to be a doctor. He’s a good guy and genuinely wants to make everyone happy (whole reason he became a doctor was because he wanted to help old people come to terms with what was happening to them. Really saint like guy). He relayed some stories about how hard it is to jump through these hoops and keep both the patient and the medical establishment happy. What that doctor probably didn’t tell the patient is that if the form didn’t have the proper sex on it, it could have been rejected requiring a whole new round of form filling out and such. Medical establishment gets pissy when you say you want to perform a surgery on a male for organs male humans don’t have.

    3. Do they really want competent care or insurance-covered care?

      1. Horrors none should endure =

        During my final ultrasound…, the nurse assigned to me was the same one who had already referred to me as “she” and had supposedly been spoken to by management ? which was hard to believe. When I entered the exam room, she once again referred to me as “she.” Luckily, the medical director was there to immediately correct her. At the end of the ultrasound I asked if I could speak to the medical director in private, because I wanted to ensure that the nurse would not be present during my egg retrieval procedure.

        “This is the third time that I have heard this nurse refer to me as ‘she,’ and it’s really hurtful and unacceptable,” I explained…

        “Yes, it’s unfortunate, especially given that she has already received training. Actually, all of our staff have received training,” she responded. “It just doesn’t stick for some people

        I was so upset that I cannot remember what I said after that….

        ….The long-awaited day of my egg retrieval finally arrived. I was handed a stack of forms to sign. When my eyes reached the bottom of the page, I was only able to see two words: “female patient.” I looked at my nurse. “Why am I the ‘female patient’?” “We do have updated forms, but these are our old forms,” she replied.

        1. I was so upset that I cannot remember what I said after that

          Probably the lack of testosterone.

        2. Well the nurse IS dealing with the EXTREME cognitive dissonance of removing eggs from a HE.

          The world has turned upside down.

          1. BUT SHE WAS GIVEN TRAINING. TRAINING. THE NURSE SHOULD NOW ACCEPT THIS IS A MAN GETTING AN ULTRASOUND. MORE TRAINING CLEARLY NEEDED

        3. White people’s problems writ large.

        4. Nurse is probably on automatic. All the nurse’s patients are female (didn’t they decide female and male referred to sex while man and woman referred to gender?). I’m surprised the nurse didn’t do what the rest of us do and just use no gendered pronouns in the presence of the patient. I’ve got a friend who transitions (unfortunately, I’ve known them since I was three and they were three months). I’ve just stopped using anything gendered when referring to them to prevent a misstep. They’d understand if I did because we’ve seen each other a grand total of twice since the transition and they know it wouldn’t be on purpose, but I like them.

          1. The fine distinction between sex and gender seems to go away when there is a situation when the person’s sex is relevant.

        5. Take a good look at that passage and pick out the personal pronouns. Just out of curiosity, how did this person decide what personal pronoun they would use to refer to the nurses and the doctor? What if one of them prefers to be referred to as “he” or “it” or “they”? Did the author actually ask or just impose an identity on the nurses and the doctor and thereby deny them the very agency the author seeks to self-identify? (Not that it’s not my fault as a white man that I have forced this poor soul to unconsciously internalize the very cultural oppressiveness they decry. We white men are evil that way.)

        6. This is a case of bizarro world. If you’ve got eggs, lady, you’re a she. If you’re producing sperm, you’re not.
          Sex isn’t really that hard to figure out. Check your DNA and get back to us. And get a thicker skin if you want to pretend to be a man.

          1. And get a thicker skin if you want to pretend to be a man.

            “Grow a pair.”

            Where’s Nikki? I need a ruling; if an unborn fetus grows a pair of testicles do those testicles belong to the person carrying them or the mass of cells that actually grew them? If the former, when does the transfer of ownership occur?

            1. Epic response to the transgendered “men”.

        7. This is the third time that I have heard this nurse refer to me as ‘she,’ and it’s really hurtful and unacceptable,” I explained…

          I bit my thucking lipth and canth thay ekks. eighth. eee. withouth ith comingh outh ath ‘she’ othay?!?!?

        8. Pretty sure according to John the patient would have been within his rights to beat the shit out of that nurse.

          1. If the patient were a man awash in testosterone, oh wait….

    4. Going off of testosterone made me worry about dealing with extreme body dysphoria ? that discomfort over the mismatch between my physical sex and internal gender identity.

      OK …..

    5. I can’t even visualize the tiny fraction of the already tiny fraction of people who are trans men AND want to have a baby. But go ahead and crank up the re-education centers.

      1. I imagine the training consisted of the owner of the clinic taking the nurse aside and saying “just don’t get us sued. We’ll never deal with this situation again. Pander to the patient long enough to get them out the door and not get us in the news”.

    6. I’m all for people living however they want. But for fuck’s sake, if having genetically related children are super important to you, maybe you should make a plan before you start radically modifying your body with hormones and/or surgery.

      1. Oh, see, I didn’t have a problem with chemically modifying your body and then conceiving. Maybe not a good idea, but your $$ and your kids to raise.

        I’m more upset at defying biology and gender roles by transitioning to manhood and then, because hormones, you turn into a whiny bitch.

  5. It seems that despite high-profile transgender activism and the brave new world of gender-neutral pronouns, most Americans are still clinging to a binary, essentialist view of gender that ascribes agency and leadership traits to men and nurturing, emotional tendencies to women

    And the evidence in favor of “gender-neutral pronouns” and “transgender activism” being socially preferable or better describing the world than “gender essentialism” is…?

    The authors believe that maintenance of gender stereotypes despite the increasingly similar social roles and behaviors of men and women comes down to “confirmation bias, cultural lag, backlash, and essentialist categorical beliefs.”

    Naturally. None could come to the conclusion that men and women are different without the patriarchy blinding us to the obvious fact that they’re exactly the same.

    1. + 1 assumed conclusion.

    2. And it also has nothing to do with the fact that feminist activist have no reluctance to rely on those stereotypes when it serves their purposes. Example: that men and women perceive sex differently.

        1. What fun!

      1. Or men are not as suited to the education environment as women or men are more violent than women. The list really goes on and on. Stereotypes are fine as long as they are negative towards men and positive towards women. This is of course the stereotypical feminist. For all her flaws Nikki has spent twenty odd posts arguing with me that men are no more inherently violent than women. I may think she’s off the rails most days, but that consistency is something I can respect (not sarcasm, I really do respect the consistency).

        1. And did you notice that men were more likely to be stereotyped about men, but women are more likely to be stereotyped about women?

          Curious how in each case, the sex that is most familiar about itself is more likely to believe so it is called stereotypes about itself.

          But obviously, that is backlash.

          1. There is a lot of historical proof that each sex polices itself. If you were a woman who stepped out of line it wasn’t the men who organized the social punishment most of the time, same for men.

            1. It’s actually one of the big problems with sisterhood and all that. Your enemy as an independent woman isn’t men it’s other women.

        2. For all her flaws Nikki has spent twenty odd posts arguing with me that men are no more inherently violent than women. I may think she’s off the rails most days, but that consistency is something I can respect (not sarcasm, I really do respect the consistency).

          Yeah, consistency is worthy of respect.

  6. Male and female genes create different hormones. Different hormones create different behavioral traits. This is not “stereotyping” or “essentialism,” it’s biology and reality.

    1. As I understand it, they really just create different amounts of the same hormones.

      Males and females pretty much have the same genes. The Y chromosome doesn’t do very much. Pretty much all of the sexually linked traits are on the X chromosome.

      Not to say that I don’t think that there are some inherent differences between men and women. But there really are very few distinct male and female genes.

      1. Similarity of genomes, and number of genes are questionable indicators of creatures’ nature. Problems include functional levels and sequences. Then there are dosis, number of receptors, activators, and so forth.

      2. True, but different amounts of the same hormones produce different behavioral traits.

  7. I blame biology, and my parents for not raising me with an enlightened sense of openness to alternative lifestyles and mores.

  8. despite high-profile transgender activism and the brave new world of gender-neutral pronouns, most Americans are still clinging to a binary, essentialist view of gender that ascribes agency and leadership traits to men and nurturing, emotional tendencies to women.

    is it really “despite” those efforts?

    or are… maybe, just maybe…. these things more or less completely unrelated to one another?

    The above sentence seems to be written in POV similar to a tribal Witch-Doctor=

    “Despite years of sacrificing virgins to the Volcano God, his anger seems unabated. We consequently conclude that our efforts must be doubled. However, increased virgin-production proves problematic.”

    1. “That guy in the Star Wars T-shirt kept protesting that he wasn’t a virgin…maybe we should have believed him…”

    2. There is no problem with producing more virgins, it is the maintenance of them that is a bitch.

    3. I don’t think they’re unrelated. I think a lot of this trans stuff is actually due to gender essentialism, and reifies it.

      1. I agree. When people proclaim that anyone displaying a certain behavior or preference _must_ be a women, and men who do so are required to be “transexual women,” then your gender stereotypes aren’t sticking around _despite_ “high-profile transgender activism” but in part _because_ of it.

      2. The presumption is that “high-profile transgender activism and the brave new world of gender-neutral pronouns” should reasonably be expected to have had some material effect on gender relations in the wider general public…

        … despite the fact that “trans” people represent sub-1% of the population…. and whose activism is in fact fairly limited to the internet-political-froth-o-sphere of social media…. which may be “high profile” for ‘culture-journalists’, but probably does not even register on the Give-A-Shit-Scale of your average citizen.

        the pretense is just ridiculous to begin with. It pretends that this fringe political bullshit is supposed to *really matter*, and that we should be genuinely surprised when it doesn’t.

        1. I’m not saying the trans stuff causes the wider societal stuff. I’m saying the reverse. But that still makes them related.

  9. nurturing, emotional tendencies to women.

    There’s a whole lot of feminism that has pushed this hard and fast over the last 30 years.

    The trait has often been offered up as a welcome alternative to the male, fact-based linear-thinking approach to everything in life.

    Speaking for myself, thank god there are differences between men and woman… what a dull world it would be without them.

    1. Think of all the Hillary propaganda that will be pushing “its a woman’s turn” by claiming that women have a different, less confrontational, etc. style of leadership.

      After the Obama era of racial healing, we can look forward to the Hillary era of gender healing. Which I expect will work about as well.

      1. Her candidacy is historic, because she’s exactly like a man! Hell, we won’t even notice the difference!*

        *which given Hillary’s unremarkable track record is more than likely true.

    2. Not only that, but the stereotype that men aren’t nurturing is utter bullshit.

      The differences between men and women are complementary. If they weren’t we wouldn’t exist. Why is this so hard to accept?

      1. Just as God planted the fossils to fool arrogant scientists, He…I mean She…planted created the sexes to tempt us into believing that there were sex differences.

        1. I thought He/She did it so as to have something to punish us for.

      2. Because its stuff we instinctively know and not knowledge handed down from TOP PERSONS.

    3. I was just recently reading something about Michael Crichton and came across a casual reference to his “absurd and hokey plot device” in Disclosure that had a female boss as the sexual harrasser – despite the very point Crichton was making was that sexual harrassment is a power dynamic thing and not a male/female thing and had statistics that showed female bosses sexually harrassed their underlings at the same rate as male bosses. I remember the feminist furor over Crichton trying to make the absurd argument that women with power tended to act just the same as men with power because it’s a tenet of feminism that men and women are only exactly alike in ways that feminists find agreeable and totally different in ways they don’t.

      1. This is why sexism should be valued, and I’m only slightly kidding about that. Everybody sees differences between the sexes, because it’s both true and useful on a whole variety of levels from the personal to the societal. If you’re a sexist, you’re openly declaring to the world that you see these differences and at this stage the conversation can be about whether those perceptions are accurate (and the implications of such) instead of whether these differences exist.

      2. I thought he did it so men would relate to the victim.

  10. Ronald Bailey: There are seriously reproducibility problems within psychology and a large amount of psychological study claims have been found to be false. In particular, confirmation bias is a major problem.

    Elizabeth Nolan Brown: Psychological study run by feminists finds no change in gender stereotyping in the last 35 years.

    “Asked to say how likely a man, woman, or person of unspecified gender was to possess 25 individual behaviors, study respondents in 1983 attached significantly gendered weight to 21 out of 25 behavior categories. In 2014, it was 22 out of 25 categories. Interestingly, the specific behaviors perceived as gender neutral shifted over time.”

    I’m already seeing a problem here. In American society, there are certain traits that men are more likely to possess than women and vice versa. This might be the result of social conditioning or it could involve some biological component. Who knows? But since such differences in aggregate behavior do exist, I don’t see how it’s ‘stereotyping’ to say ‘women are more likely to exhibit this behavior than men’ when that’s actually true.

    1. “male and female physical characteristics”

      Wait, are they seriously saying that noticing differences between male and female physical characteristics is the result of stereotyping?

      1. That’s kind of how I’m reading it.

      2. Well, yes. A working/default assumption that holds true in 99% of the cases is a “stereotype”, you know. You should go into every encounter by discarding all of your experience.

        1. It’s not your experience, man… it’s a false consciousness foisted upon you by the patriarchal institutions that guide our society.

          1. So, that’s why I like looking at tits?

      3. Like Gilmore says above, it’s Witch Doctor POV. In the case of racism, we have plenty of real-life cases of multi-ethnic empires and societies and of functional societies which didn’t have any particularly developed views on race. (In fact, socially organizing by race rather than by religion or culture was and is a fairly rare development when it comes right down to it.)

        In contrast, there really isn’t a comparable amount of evidence when it comes to sex and gender. Functional societies simply don’t organize to recognize no differences between male and female, and generally organize to take advantage of these differences. Seeing differences between male and female is a completely healthy and expected development of our critical faculties, and feminism is wrong precisely to the degree that it denies or attempts to negate these differences.

      4. I have heard some idiot genuinely try to argue that there isn’t a strength difference between men and women. I can only guess that they didn’t wrestle a lot as children. That or they only test their strength against men who are crushing on them.

    2. This might be the result of social conditioning or it could involve some biological component. Who knows?

      Or 6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other.

      1. This exactly.

      2. Or its 1 of one and 11 of the other.

    3. The mistake is to assume that “stereotype” means incorrect prejudice. Whether stereotypes are true is a matter accuracy. There can be accurate and inaccurate stereotypes (a matter of degree), true and incorrect ones. Think of it as “true beliefs” versus “false beliefs”. This is how the term is used, scientifically.

  11. “It seems that despite high-profile transgender activism and the brave new world of gender-neutral pronouns, most Americans are still clinging to a binary, essentialist view of gender that ascribes agency and leadership traits to men and nurturing, emotional tendencies to women.”

    Evolution trumps transgender activism.

  12. Gender-Studies Researchers Shocked To Discover World Entirely Unaffected by Gender-Studies

    1. Cue Nelson Muntz laugh.

    2. Was hoping for link to the onion.

    3. Well, the change is “glacial”.

  13. The good news? We’ve broken barriers in our cultural perceptions of postal workers and men’s legs. But in all sorts of other ways, Americans are still clinging to the same gender stereotypes they have since the 1980s.

    The worst part? Women are still being forced to give birth almost 100% of the time!

    1. Wouldn’t the worst part they still have to be semen receptacles to fulfill their evolutionary role?

  14. “The authors believe that maintenance of gender stereotypes despite the increasingly similar social roles and behaviors of men and women comes down to “confirmation bias”

    LOL, projection most foul

  15. you people don’t understand. Claiming that men and women are not the same is passing judgement. Any difference must be judged to be better or worse. It is not possible to see different traits without saying one is better than the others. So saying “Men and women are different” is to say “Men are superior to women” or “Women are superior to men.” That is why this whole idea that men and women are different is badthink that must be eradicated. It’s judgmental and hateful.

  16. “Men and Women are still different” News at 11

  17. Say, ENB this happens to be the Reason website, not Slate. I think you’re a little confused.

  18. The thing is stereotypes are completely legitimate as long as they are not ascribed to a particular individual.

    1. They are generally (ie when not planning for groups) useless, unless ascribed to (particular?) individuals. You have a set of probabilites, and, to the extent that it’s cost-efficient (worth getting to know person in more detail, with greater certainty), you make adjustments and tailor things to the particular individual. — You may agree. It’s unclear.

  19. We’ve broken barriers in our cultural perceptions of postal workers

    And it couldn’t have come a moment too soon, what with the ever-growing importance of Postal Workers in our modern lives.

    Now if we can only get men to start breastfeeding, we might see some real progress.

    1. Not clicking on that picture. Just fyi.

      1. Aw, *come on*. Its so mysterious and tempting…. with its *shiny CANDY-LIKE TEXTURE*….BECKONING YOU WITH IRRESISTIBLE FORCE. HOW. CAN. YOU. NOT!?!?

        1. Nope.

          I don’t need to see something that’s exactly like another thing with no fundamental differences, except my own lying stereotypes which exist purely in the minds of men. I mean… people.

  20. How can “transgender activism” be in spite of gender stereotypes? The idea that one’s gender is different than one’s sex and an immutable quality seems to require that there be actual differences between male and female mentalities (though exactly how a genetic male or female ends up with the mental state of the opposite sex is a bit unexplained).

    If anything transgenderism reinforces that male and female are distinct states of mind.

    1. The whole thing folds in on itself. “I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body”. If everything is the same, and everything is a series of grey boxes interacting with other gray boxes, then why do you care if I call you she or he or him or her?

      And Jesus fucking Christ, the comments on Gilmore’s story above make it sound like the guy endured Dachau. We’re losing our minds.

      1. I’m a lesbian trapped in a man’s body!

        1. You said it, brothe… si… comrade.

        2. I’m a trans trans lesbian. I’m attracted to women.

    2. No it doesn’t. Transgenders only think that they think like the other sex, there is literally no way for them to know how the other biological sex thinks.

      1. It would seem to require them to believe there is a difference. Whether they actually manifest a difference is a different matter.

      2. There is more to it than that. I think like the other sex. I don’t think I’m the other sex. I’m really not sure what’s going on with transgenders. Every explanation I’m given falls apart due to personal experience with a masculine personality and physical disabilities that leave my brain map disagreeing with actual physical reality (my brain is convinced I can wiggle my left toe if I just try hard enough).

        1. Have you read Ramachandran, Phantoms in the Brain?

          1. I have not, but I have discussed the concepts he’s covering with Neurologists before, so I have a practical understanding.

            1. Meant respectfully: do you understand yourself?

              1. I understand it perfectly. It’s a sock. Every once in a while, we have to shove it back into the drawer.

              2. You’ll have to be more specific with that question. I understand why my brain think I should be able to move a toe that has had the command lines cut. I also understand why I can lose track of my left leg if I’m not looking at it (yep, I lack spatial awareness for that leg. It’s mostly just amusing).

                1. I have to be. I meant as a complete person. Call it a unified understanding, if not a unified self. I’m not sure whether you just think “like a man”, or also feel like a man, and whether that conflict can be resolved. (This includes, somewhere, whether your brain-map asynchronicity is limited to motoric aspects.)

                  1. I think like a man. I respond to depression and other mental issues in stereotypical masculine ways. It’s probably a symptom of my ADD. Early childhood I had more in common with the average boy than girl.

                    I don’t feel like anything. I’d be disappointed if I suddenly woke up a man, but that’s due to a loss of a lot of advantages that come with being a female engineer.

                    1. I should note this has gotten less notable as I’ve aged. I’ve moved more and more into my own category as time has gone on. Just like most people do as they grow up.

                    2. I’ve moved more and more into my own category as time has gone on.

                      So you found your way out of the dryer and into the bottom drawer?

                    3. Was there a sock involved?

                    4. “I’d be disappointed if I suddenly woke up a man, but that’s due to a loss of a lot of advantages that come with being a female engineer.” Good illustration. Thanks.

        2. I think like the other sex.

          I didn’t know that socks had sexes.

          1. The right foot sock has been assigned as male.

      3. When I was four, I believed I was a tyrannosaur. I just couldn’t get that lizard brain thing going.

  21. “However, those changes apparently have not been sufficient to alter strongly held and seemingly functional beliefs about the basic social category of gender.”

    “Seemingly functional”? The horror!

  22. It comes down to stereotype accuracy. And with women behaving in more stereotypical ways in gender-egalitarian societies, this is no wonder. Reality defies dogma. Not to say that dogma has no effect. It’s simply that the effect is costly. Try the hypothesis that people are and/or like being sexist (considering how arbitrarily that term is used, I use as referral to sex difference), that women like being women, and men like being men. All this should not be surprising, given the products enlightened women purchase. Check romance novels, Twilight, Shades of Grey — that one is perfect: you have a free market, with easy market entry, you have women producing for women, you have a series (Twilight) that the market approves, which is then transferred and “refined” into fan fiction, which the female internet approves of, which is then brought back to the commercial market. There is no better confirmation of revealed preferences. Feminists can come up with all the ridiculous, contorted explanation they want, about women’s choices in romance (books, TV, movies), clothes, jobs, and sex.

    1. The last one (sex) is especially funny. 1) Check who asks whom out on a date, and the respective preferences. (Still the sexist same.) 2) Rough sex and submission. Apply “sex-positive” feminists’ “rationalizing” of female submission as female power to domestic life: “Oh look, that woman chooses to serve her man at home, she likes being slapped by him when she doesn’t please him (cooking, cleaning, whatever). But hey, this is empowering, because she consents, and is actually in charge by setting the limits. She can end it at any time. So this is not a preference for submission, nor for sexism. And hey, he is a feminist, too [compare that one to feminists’ James Deen idiocy — they had to believe that].” (Needless to wonder why it’s not male [sexual] submission to females that would be the empowering one.)

      1. With people behaving in sexist ways, with people preferring sexist ways, most of the attempts to correct it are simply fucking costly. You get women who feel used, abused, and exploited when they have casual sex “like men”, well when they try to be emotionally detached and fail at it. That harms women. And, in the worst case, it harms men even more, who get accused and punished. Total the costs for all the reeducation policies (hey there, Women’s Day, you’re one of the cheaper ones), interventions, documentations, redistributions, and punishments. And you get a bunch of people who seek to use the system to their advantage, to turn the dissonance it creates and reinforces into self-affirmation by holding others responsible.

        1. As reality fails to conform to sex-neutral fiction, measures become ever more drastic, from restricting speech, to building a Plantonic state, all with “benevolent lies”. I prefer benevolent sexism over benevolent lies. It shouldn’t surprise that advantage usually comes with a corresponding disadvantage. Trade-offs. Consider how many people seek to keep the sexist advantages, while trying to use the system to remove the sexist disadvantages. But even those people – correct me if it’s not mostly women – want to be real. And they feel that being a real woman means having not only real advantages, but also real disadvantages. That it’s not plausible to appreciate your sensibility, while denying your sensitivity. (Parallel: male stoicism and insensitivity.) It would be affirmng and denying the same thing, on different occasions; it would be surreal, splitting you. One aspect of essentialism is that things are real; it’s about liking and needing real things, be it real paintings, real autographs, real trees, real men and real women, or truth.

          1. Regarding essentialism, consider (feminist) Gelman (podcast and transcript), and the Larry Summers incident. I addressed her selective sense of reality in a comment (Feb. 14 th). Bloom has a popular book on essentialism.

            Rather than playing around with a central economy of the sexes, in which the state and feminists set global plans for “representation” (parity, where popular) and prices (“comparable worth”, “pay equity”), pretending that “equal opportunity” (are sex differences unequal opporunity?) leads to “equal outcome”, one might consider an essentialist preference as a valid one. And if this preference is wide-spread (esp. innate), both negative liberty and utilitarianism suggest a system (if any) that accomodates rather than counters and disrupts it.

            1. Jussim, Stereotype Accuracy is One of the Largest and Most Replicable Effects in All of Social Psychology, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 02-16-2016. Check his book Social Perception and Social Reality: Why Accuracy Dominates Bias, Oxford UP.

              1. Someone above mentioned “complementarity”. In this context, complementarity can be understood as essentialism being beneficial, not just individually, but in cooperation, in exchange, and specialization. Even “rape culture” theorists happen upong that. Sanday did:

                The outstanding feature of rape-free societies is the ceremonial importance of women and the respect accorded the contribution women make to social continuity, a respect which places men and women in relatively balanced power spheres. Rape-free societies are characterized by sexual equality and the notion that the sexes are complementary. Although the sexes may not perform the same duties or have the same rights or privileges, each is indispensable to the activities of the other.

                1. Tellingly, Sharon Presley (“libertarian feminist”) couldn’t help but mess with that very part in her reliance on Sanday:

                  According to Sanday, the outstanding feature of rape-free societies is the ceremonial importance of women and the respect accorded the contribution women make to social continuity, a respect which places men and women in relatively balanced power spheres. Rape-free societies are characterized by sexual equality and the notion that the sexes are complementary. In rape-free cultures, men and women are valued equally, females are respected, and there was economic equality, that is, women contribute in equal amounts to the economy of the society.

                  Presley’s unconvincing – well, not as she intends – text for libertarianism.org is worth reading

  23. The authors believe that maintenance of gender stereotypes despite the increasingly similar social roles and behaviors of men and women comes down to “confirmation bias, cultural lag, backlash, and essentialist categorical beliefs.”

    Take that, Darwin

  24. who gives a shit?

    1. Well, it’s important because, um, because…

      Yeah, I dunno.

  25. That’s because sex is binary, moron. Hence your use of “men” and “women”.

  26. “Water is wet” is just a stereotype.

    1. and don’t think we won’t fight that stereotype until it is stamped out entirely

  27. I think it’s pretty clear at this point that ENB really is just Weigel in drag. Eventually Vox will respond to her resume and off she’ll go. It should have been obvious from the moment she pimped that leftist bint Jill Filipovic as writing a really “smart” blog.

    Incidentally – why is it that the exact same people who scream that transgendered women really ARE women biologically (they were just wired slightly wrong by nature!) also insist that there is no actual difference between a man and a woman other than societal constructs?

  28. Ah, here it is – from Sept 11, 2014:

    “I was also excited to see that they hired a sharp, experienced writer like Jill Filipovic to help head up the magazine’s politics coverage. Filipovic is also a columnist for The Guardian and a graduate of New York University School of Law. ”

    https://reason.com/blog/2014/09…..s-politcal

    1. On the plus side (just a turn of phrase), Jill noticed that she’s kind of ambiguous about cat calls, finding them evil and missing them. “Naturally”, any consistent insight is lost when it – she – comes down to evil patriarchy and oppression.

      Your quote actually matters, because the appreciation expressed is not limited to merely formal – neutral, apolitical – skills of writing.

  29. Of COURSE women and men are different.

    Women prefer to poison their enemies.

    1. Stop criticizing women’s cooking.

  30. Anti-essentialism: Stop calling breast-feeding natural. (Strauss, Slate, 03-08-2016)

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