May 27, 2016

"Women used warmer, gentler words in their status updates on Facebook compared to men, who were more likely to swear, express anger and use argumentative language..."

"... a study of 10 million postings released on Wednesday found."
The most commonly cited topics by women included words such as “wonderful,” “happy,” “birthday,” “daughter,” “baby,” “excited” and “thankful.” Women were more likely to discuss family and social life, relying on words that described positive emotions, such as “love,” and intensive adverbs, such as “sooo,” “sooooo,” and “ridiculously,” the study said.

Men more frequently discussed topics related to money or work, and favored words tied to politics, sports, competition and activities, such as shooting guns or playing video games. Men commonly used words such as “freedom,” “liberty,” “win,” “lose,” “battle” and “enemy.”

“The differences were interpreted as reflecting a male tendency toward objects and impersonal topics and a female tendency toward psychological and social processes,” the report said.
Of course, as I've observed enough over the years that some people call this the "Althouse rule": whatever is found to be true of the female will be presented as good. In this case, we get: "a male tendency toward objects and impersonal topics and a female tendency toward psychological and social processes." If the rule were flipped and the researchers felt the need to portray the male side as the good one, they could just as easily have written something like: a male tendency toward abstraction and principle and a female tendency toward emotionalism and pleasing others.

46 comments:

Paddy O said...

"a male tendency toward objects and impersonal topics and a female tendency toward psychological and social processes."

I'm not sure either one of these are presented as good or bad. What we perceive as good or bad is shaped by our context and assumptions.

My first thought was how this expresses the prevailing approach to intellectual thought as well. A more "masculine" Modern era vs more feminine Postmodern?

Very American based as well, though they admit that.

What kind of self-respecting man would spend time on Facebook anyhow?

eric said...

I'm confused. There is such a thing as "men" and "women"?

And, not only that, but there are differences between them?!

Get a rope!

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I consider the words "freedom" and "liberty" to be highly positive, warm, and expressive. When Putin invades Poland, I don't plan to use words like "birthday" or "thankful."

Ann Althouse said...

""a male tendency toward objects and impersonal topics and a female tendency toward psychological and social processes."I'm not sure either one of these are presented as good or bad..."

I am!

Objects and impersonal topics! If you don't find that insulting, you're insufficiently aware of psychological and social processes.

Michael K said...

I have a tendency to post about basset hounds.

Michael K said...

Like this one.

n.n said...

The study does not consider the known Facebook bias that is designed to attract certain types of women and men. This will effectively reduce the sample set to the type of people preferred by Facebook. The analysis is actually performed on this ideological subset of the general population.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Isn't waterboarding a psychological and social process?

rhhardin said...

It's abstraction from complication versus addition of complication.

The one wants to get rid of what is not known and the latter wants to live with it.

It's an interest difference.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Shocking. Cats and chicks are different. I realize you sometimes post about absurdly trivial stuff (and I read it) because you like to explore meaning and nuance, but Facebook is transcendantly trivial. Truly meaningless by any understanding of pre-Internet life.

traditionalguy said...

Men need the female level social skills. But to get them, we need a teacher
or exceptionally patient mother. Good teachers are few and far between. Which is why
The Professor's talents are greatly admired by the men. We just get snippy at you because we can't do teaching at your level.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Well, that's strange. I've had decades of exposure to largely male groups such as military units, hunting and fishing outings, etc., as well as incidental exposure to groups such as Ms. Gritzkofe's Tupperware parties, bridal and baby showers, etc. No difference in the vocabulary in use.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Is there a similar study of vocabulary differences of Liberal/Progressive and Conservative commenters to Web blogs and articles?

Sam L. said...

What? Men and women are different? Is that allowed?

MadisonMan said...

Who posts more cat videos? That's what's important.

Nonapod said...

That men and women communicate differently isn't exactly a revelation, but I always find it interesting to see data about it.

This reminds me of the Reddit EIL5 discussion regarding the male suicide rate that started a few days ago. Pretty depressing.

At any rate, I stopped posting on Facebook almost completely a couple years ago (not that I posted much to begin with). I'll still check it every few weeks or so just to see if there's any news from friends and family, but I don't have a use for it beyond that.

Paddy O said...

"Objects and impersonal topics! If you don't find that insulting, you're insufficiently aware of psychological and social processes."

There, there, no need for all this emotion...

Tommy Duncan said...

So there is diversity in the sexes? All hail diversity!

Sebastian said...

See, this is what most transwomen don't get, turning their mere subjectivity into an abstract object and matter of principle and all, thereby defeating the trans-ition.

YoungHegelian said...

Left out of the discussion is the fact that FB's formatting makes it almost impossible to have a detailed discussion of much of anything anyway. Paragraphs are hidden, line breaks for clarity have to be put in by cutting & pasting, no embedded hot links to articles to back up your argument, etc.

FB really was designed for discussions along the lines of "I went to the mall today. My hair feels heavy. Does your hair feel heavy?" or, on the caveman side, such pious ejaculations as "ROLL TIDE!".

Alex said...

Nature intended men to be aggressive. Why is that a bad thing all of a sudden? Tell me feminists!

William Chadwick said...

If women are so evolved, why do they tend to be statists? "Aggression is a bad holdover to the patriarchy. Now do what Big Sister says, or else!" Or is the Gender Gap a myth?

Laslo Spatula said...

Alize Wallace-Hadeeb, Safe Space Inspector:



"I am here to discuss the Space you create with your University Facebook page."

"We're ready. We have put a lot of effort into making our Page inclusive and welcoming."

"Is that why you have a picture of white students carrying text books?"

"But we have photos of students of color, too."

"Yes, but none of them are carrying textbooks. Are you intending to insinuate that black students don't study? That they're academically lazy? That maybe they can't even read like a white student?"

"Of course not! We have a picture of a black person in a chemistry lab."

"Yes. And he is dressed in a blue lab-coat and wearing goggles, denying his identity in the name of White Science."

"I don't think Chemistry has much to do about race…"

"So you're saying that the Black Experience has no influence on the World of Chemistry? That chemistry can safely exclude minorities?"

"No, no! Maybe it was a bad idea. We'll replace that picture with another one of a black student."

"Let me guess: an athlete. Because that's all blacks are good for at College -- playing for the Patriarchy's Sports Teams."

"Well, we have Women's Sports Teams, too."

"We've noticed. You do realize that you use a lot of male-privilege wordage to describe their games: "Win". "Lose", "Battle," "Defeat," "Success."

""Success" is a bad word? I mean, the sports ARE competitions."

"Yes, we acknowledge that is how the Patriarchy defined the games they created to perpetuate outdated norms of winners and losers. To acknowledge success the White Power has to define others as unsuccessful: that is NOT comforting NOR welcoming."

"Maybe we can just leave Sports out of it."

"Except for Woman's Basketball."

"Woman's Basketball?"

"Women's basketball celebrates lesbians of color."

"But don't they still win or lose?"

"Yes, if you insist on using that Viewpoint of Privilege. But what is more important is how playing the game makes them feel about themselves."

"Maybe we can use a photo of the women's basketball team smiling and hugging each other. In Unity."

"If you want to be dismissive of their athletic skills I guess you can do that."

"I'm at a loss. What SHOULD I do?"

"Isn't the answer obvious?"

"It is?"

"Of course. You need to replace yourself with someone of color. They'll know what to do."

"I need to quit?"

"Well, the way things are going you'd be fired soon enough, anyway…"


I am Laslo.

Nonapod said...

If women are so evolved, why do they tend to be statists?

Not really a question of being "evolved", or at least not in the way you mean. Women tend to be more social than men, more naturally group oriented for various evolutionary reasons (childbearing and caring for young ect.) This leads to more of an affinity towards collectivism over individualism. None of this is set in stone obviously since there's loads of proudly independent, individualistic women as well as men who prefer strong support systems and communities.

mockturtle said...

Maybe I'm not a normal woman but I certainly consider the terms freedom and liberty as good, not bad. I also like 'win' and 'lose'. Not everyone should get a trophy. What the hell has become of us?!

Michael K said...

"Nature intended men to be aggressive. Why is that a bad thing all of a sudden? Tell me feminists!"

There was an article I saw a few days ago about how feminism has long intended to get to one sex.

Sort of like this one.

To advance a change in thinking, Stoltenberg in his essay offers a fresh metaphor of the “color spectrum wheel” to understand one’s sense of masculinities and femininities. “Think of a color wheel,” he says, “And don’t think of one with colors segmented by lines like a pinwheel; think of one where the colors blend and blur into one another as they do in the infinitely circular rainbow that is the visible spectrum.

Reading that is really confusing because you don't know who is what. I think that is the idea.

mockturtle said...

@NonapodWomen tend to be more social than men, more naturally group oriented for various evolutionary reasons

I don't buy it. Who organizes fraternal orders? Sports teams? Chambers of Commerce? Governments? Usually guys. Women are usually too busy for that kind of nonsense.

Unknown said...

My circle of male friends is mainly engineers, scientists, IT, doctors. Almost none of them are on Facebook or only have a page they never visit. This biases the sample a lot. Also, many men on Facebook are college-age but older women are very common on it. (my totally subjective estimate)

Nonapod said...

I don't buy it. Who organizes fraternal orders? Sports teams? Chambers of Commerce? Governments? Usually guys. Women are usually too busy for that kind of nonsense

It's why I said tend to and leads to more of an affinity towards and None of this is set in stone obviously.

But, as just one example, far more women voted for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney than men in 2012, a 20pt margin. Also, more women identify Democrats than men.

Sal said...

Who posts more cat videos? That's what's important.

And food porn.

Earnest Prole said...

This just in: human beings with greater levels of testosterone tend to be more aggressive, while human beings with greater levels of estrogen tend to be more nurturing. Who knew?

Szoszolo said...

Now, did they first determine what percentage of the postings were written by cis-women and cis-men compared with women who identify as men and men who identify as women? Because so much else we see these days tells us that we're only supposed to notice sex differences between men and women when they're used to support what someone feels, um, him/her/they/itself to be, right?

MadisonMan said...

And food porn.

Share this recipe so it's on your wall and you don't lose it.

I hate that one. Have people never used a search engine to find a recipe? Sheesh.

That reminds me, I need to make mint slices again.

dreams said...

Yeah, but not these women.

"Half of all misogynistic tweets posted on Twitter come from women, a study suggests.
Over a three-week period, think tank Demos counted the number of uses of “slut” and “whore” as indicators of misogyny. It found evidence that 6,500 unique users were targeted by 10,000 abusive tweets in the U.K. alone."

https://pjmedia.com/drhelen/2016/05/26/shocker-half-of-misogyny-on-twitter-comes-from-women/

damikesc said...

Depends on the women. Teenage girls' posts seem to be little more than attention whoring.

n.n said...

Human males were selected by Mother Nature as providers for women and babies, and as defenders against natural and misanthropic abortionists, cannibals, etc.

steve uhr said...

Ann, I don't understand why you are so pro-man and anti-women. Something to do with your upbringing perhaps? ;-)

mockturtle said...

Ann isn't 'anti-women'. I believe she is, like me, anti-anti-men'.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Has anyone analyzed the Facebook male-to-female ratio for "posts about the Kardashians"?

I'm betting its heavily weighted toward females. If so:

Considering just how vapid the K's are, and how much time they spend openly displaying [to whom?] their sexual goodies, it would be very hard to claim with a straight face that "feminism" has succeeded.

Gahrie said...

Ann, I don't understand why you are so pro-man and anti-women.

You haven't been around here very long, have you?

kjbe said...

"Objects and impersonal topics! If you don't find that insulting, you're insufficiently aware of psychological and social processes."

There, there, no need for all this emotion...


Thank you.

Clyde said...

You'd almost think that gender wasn't a social construct and that men and women really are different.

sunsong said...

It's all about Love in the end. It seems to me that you can use either masculine or feminine qualities to learn how to love more. However:

"a male tendency toward objects and impersonal topics and a female tendency toward psychological and social processes."

the female interests here psychological and social processes. have a clearer and more elegant path...

traditionalguy said...

A good woman really is the better half in a powerful man's career.

Politics in a Jacksonian Democracy has to please people big time. Women know how that is done. Thank God they are sharing the knowledge.

Hey Skipper said...

Paragraphs are hidden, line breaks for clarity have to be put in by cutting & pasting ...

Shift-Enter will give you a para break.

Alize Wallace-Hadeeb, Safe Space Inspector:

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

5a1a5df0-25e4-11e6-a93c-8397065c53af said...

Maybe you should have a tag for "Althouse rule."