Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Women, Dating, and Math

I found this interesting article on the Huffington Post. Basically, it summarizes a study that suggests "girls may prefer to study language, arts and humanities over math and science...[because] they believe, often on an unconscious level, that demonstrating ability in these stereotypically-male areas makes them less attractive to men. The study attempted to prove this by showing how women who had recently viewed romantic images or overheard romantic conversation rated their interest in math lower than women who had not recently viewed romantic images or overheard romantic conversation. On the other hand, men's ratings of their interest in math-related fields remained consistent despite seeing romantic images or hearing romantic conversation.

If the study's conclusion that women avoid math and science because they believe it makes them seem less attractive is correct, it proves that the construction of our gender roles wields an incredible amount of power. And it also makes one question in what ways seeing romantic images would effect men? In what other ways does our gender construction unconsciously affect our thinking and actions?

Also, what happens to a woman who reads about this study? Can she be "awakened" in the same sense that Edna is awakened? Does having a growing conscious and awareness of one's unconscious gender construction allow one to change his/her behavior? Or are we inevitably stuck in our genders, no matter how much information we possess?

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