We previously pointed out how some crude, absurd gender stereotypes are in fact proven true by science. But, in the interest of not letting 60s sitcoms have the last word on the differences between men and women, we should point out how many things "everyone knows" about women just plain aren't true, according to science. Like...
Remember that nursery rhyme about what little girls and little boys are made of? Boys are made of errant amphibians, mollusks and puppy parts while girls are made of sugar and spice and all that's nice. It'd be an adorable if it didn't also sum up gender expectations for the rest of your life.
Snails and dog tails make you more aggressive.
When we grow up, women are more likely to be penalized for displaying too much aggression, while men are rewarded for the exact same behavior.
Sometimes with millions of dollars.
When actually ...
Women might be the more aggressive of the genders.
Researchers found that when you deindividuate a person--or place the person in a situation where he or she doesn't have an individual identity--aggressive attitudes are amplified. This makes sense. It's probably why Marines are required to wear the same uniform, and hipsters are such pussies. Well, they tested this in the lab by having men and women play an interactive video game that required killing other players by dropping bombs on them.
They found that under normal circumstances, men dropped far more bombs than women. But in the deindividuated groups, women out-attacked the men every time, with an average of about five more bombs dropped per session.
Might as well face it, you're addicted to MASS MURDER.
Putting people, particularly women, in a situation where they are anonymous and don't have to conform to societal expectations is very powerful psychologically. And by very powerful, we mean it turns them into an unfeeling murder machines.
When it comes to the topic of sex drive, everyone knows the stereotypes: Men are shameless swine who will nail anything with a pulse, and women are only interested in lovemaking that satisfies them on an emotional level.
Think back on your adolescence, and it seems self-evident, doesn't it? Boys are so sex-driven that they literally have to hide their protruding penises (penii?) with baggy jeans and Trapper Keepers. Girls rarely have that problem. And as adults, we all know that it's mostly men, not women, populating the porn-viewing public. The Kinsey Institute even says so. Obviously, men are much more interested in sex. Case closed.
When actually ...
Women are probably just as horny as men--they just don't want you to know it.
The "fan and demure smile" look is just a more elegant "hard-on poking through the jeans."
A recent study asked a large group of test subjects about their sexual behavior but put some clever controls in place. One group of respondents gave their answers while connected to a polygraph machine, and a second group was put in a with a researcher and told that their answers would be monitored. A control group was told their answers would remain completely anonymous.
It turns out that when women were faced with the chance of someone seeing their answers (the group with the researcher in the room) they all suddenly became contestants in a Miss Chastity pageant, reporting only half the number of sexual partners that the group connected to the lie detector claimed. But the women connected to the polygraph actually reported more sexual partners than the men in the same control group.
"Well, there's the weekly foursome, the monthly "Lezz-In" and the occasional anonymous stall sex."
Experts interpreted this as women feeling "pressure to adhere to sex role expectations that indicate (they) should be more relationship-oriented and should avoid being seen as promiscuous." Just like with the bombing experiment, take away what society expects of us, and our true colors show.
Most of those colors are shades of pink.
On a related note...
The pimps who make up the advertising world have known for decades that the best way to catch a man's eye (and money) is with copious amounts of T&A. Men will line up to buy a large-caliber gunshot to the face as long as there's a scantily clad woman in a submissive pose somewhere telling them how awesome it's going to be.
But what about women? It's been widely believed that the fairer sex isn't affected by erotic imagery to the same degree that men are. And not just in advertising, but in movies, magazines or any other forms in which it might appear. Which is why you don't see half-naked beefcake flanking bottles of hair conditioner.
When actually ...
According to this study, women's brains react just as quickly to erotic images as men's do--and in fact the reaction may even be stronger.
They even use different "circuits" to process them as opposed to the pathways that are reserved for everyday images. Using EEG electrodes to monitor brain activity, researchers showed a group of female subjects pictures that ranged from pleasant to disturbing. Everything was cool until they got to photos that showed couples engaged in sensual poses.
Erotic images elicited neurons to fire at 160 milliseconds, which was 20 percent faster than even the quickest reactions to the non-erotic pictures--even if those pictures depicted immediate danger, like a snarling animal.
Above: less interesting than a penis.
If you've heard that stuff about how erotica turns women on only if there's some kind of deep backstory or emotional connection to what's going on, keep this in mind: 160 milliseconds means the women's brains were lighting up in response to the naked people well before they even consciously registered what they were seeing. Way before the thinking part of their brains could warm up, they already had an immediate, knee-jerk animal response that screamed, "LOOK! A BONER!"