Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gender and Social Versus Peer Pressure

Two recent pieces of media rattled something in FLG's brain.  Today there was this piece by Catherine Rampell:

It’s not clear from the data why women might be more sensitive to grades than men are.
“Maybe women just don’t want to get things wrong,” Goldin hypothesized. “They don’t want to walk around being a B-minus student in something. They want to find something they can be an A student in. They want something where the professor will pat them on the back and say ‘You’re doing so well!’ ”
“Guys,” she added, “don’t seem to give two damns.”

 And last week FLG was listening to a this episode of a podcast that he listens to frequently.   It was the first time listening to that podcast when FLG just couldn't relate to the guest.  Sure, he could relate intellectually, but the sort of emotional empathy wasn't there.  Now, this doesn't mean the guest was wrong or anything, just that her experience seems fundamentally different from FLG's experience, which makes perfect sense given that she is a woman and we are talking about body issues, sexuality, etc.

Both of these reminded FLG of his conclusion that women are more sensitive to societal pressures and influence.  The thing he is pondering now is the difference between peer pressure and social pressure. Just to be clear of the distinction -- social pressure is broad, societal expectations; peer pressure is more of an acute pressure within a given context from specific individual or individuals.

FLG's current working hypothesis is that women/girls are more susceptible to societal pressure than men/boys, but with peer pressure the reverse is true.  A small group of women/girls may generate acute peer pressure that magnifies societal expectations, but a group of men/boys together can go completely off the fucking rails.  A sorority might torment pledges about their weight, but a small group of fraternity pledges might just burn a fucking building down when none of them individually would have even considered it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Guys give two shits. Maybe girls give two damns. dave.s.

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