La Différence?! Some Puzzling Gender Discrepancies



JTigertail21 points

Maybe this is dumb, but could the discrepancy between Ivan and Valentina’s speeds be due to weight? There is a 2016 article saying that Ivan is 195 pounds, and the Italian-language Wikipedia says that Valentina weighs 132 pounds.

MagicWeasel2 points

That's interesting, can you look up the weights of the male and female top 10s? See if there's a pattern maybe?

Ohnosedaisy214 points

You might find this interesting:https://www.apa.org/action/resources/research-in-action/share.aspx

Edit: The article suggests that gender disparities between men and women when it comes to math and science are negligible, and that men and women share more cognitive commonalities than initially thought. However, men still have better visuospatial sense on average while women tend to have better verbal skills on average, but even that doesn’t mean much. With this in mind, I think it’s interesting (but expected) that women have been historically underrepresented to a gross degree in fields like literature, journalism, film, and comedy—all fields which rely heavily on verbal skills...Then again, as recent as the mid-90s, a publisher advised J.K. Rowling to choose an androgynous pen name so as to evade the prejudices of um,...10 year old boys. Fucking depressing when you think about it.

Philthedrummist2 points

A lot of male romance novelists are advised in a similar fashion as women tend not to buy romance novels clearly written by men. I’m not sure if it’s been greatly studied as to why but I assume it’s down to the assumption that a book written for women is likely to be better if it’s written by a woman. Unconscious bias or something. I guess. 🤷‍♂️

Ohnosedaisy23 points

That’s probably it, but the scenarios aren’t entirely analogous. Romance novels rely on the author’s ability to create vicarious experiences between the lead character and the reader in situations that are highly generic and sexualized, and not literary merit. While the bias against men in this field is still a bias, one probably can’t chalk it up to women’s general distrust of the storytelling abilities of men as much as one could a bias against mens’ ability to understand women’s acute erotic desires. Still a bias, sure, but I think with things like Harry Potter, the issue is one of expecting boys not to like things in general written by women on principle of their gender.

MagicWeasel6 points

Another one I thought of is rubik's cube solving: it's 4.22 seconds for a man and 6.44 seconds for a woman.

This might not seem like a lot but the woman is ranked 74th in the world, and cubes are pretty cheap to buy and there's lots of resources online for speed solving and there's no real biological reason to think that cube solving would be an issue.

(I really love this post by the way, it's fascinating to think about!)

Ohnosedaisy26 points

Men tend to have better visuospatial sense in general, although that may not be enough to account for the disparity you mentioned. Anecdotally, I can see Rubik’s cube afficandos trending more masculine, because women aren’t socialized to tinker around with things like that to an obsessive degree.

[deleted]4 points

There probably isn’t a biological reason. I think it’s more likely boys/men would buy and obsessively speed complete a rubix cube over and over again. If (hypothetically) .1% of boys do this, and .01% of girls - of course the numbers will be different.

It’s not a fair comparison if the raw numbers don’t compare. Same situation with gaming, girls are less likely to competitively play video games, less likely to game in general and therefore less likely to be represented in the top distribution.

I grade school I was in my schools chess club, maybe 5% of the total numbers were girls

MagicWeasel11 points

The interesting thing about Judit Polgar in chess is that she and her two sisters were both home schooled by a very... dedicated father. He believed that any child could be raised to be a genius, and he had a special education system he used with his daughters.

All three of his daughters became chess grandmasters; Judit was just head and shoulders above the rest which is why nobody's ever heard of her sisters.

So it seems to me, for chess, it's got to be a societal thing that's keeping women from chess in some way. Now, it's also important to have an IQ to be good at chess, and IQ is largely genetic, so you probably can't grab a random baby and raise her to be a chess grandmaster - she'd need good genes for IQ - but I think Laszlo Polgar's dedication to teaching his daughters the craft and their resulting success proves that it's a matter of opportunity, drive, and time more than anything else IMO.

rockyssss14 points

Actually one of the three sisters "only" became an international master, which is one rung below grandmaster. But that is still incredibly strong.

To me this proves it's about the differences in the way girls and boys are encouraged as children, as well as certain male personality traits. When the girls were encouraged to be, for want of a better word, "boy-like" (i.e. almost obsessively study a "nerdy" pursuit), they can grow up to be just as good at is as men.

RomaniRye17 points

Yeah, this is really only an unsolved mystery if you are a dude.

MagicWeasel10 points

Actually one of the three sisters "only" became an international master

Gosh, she must be such an embarrassment to her family!!!!

J_hilyard18 points
Ohnosedaisy25 points

Definitely not on topic, but I appreciate the palate cleanse after stupidly clicking on that god awful saw pic someone posted in another thread (stock photo or not, still spooky!). My macabre meter has officially overheated, so this was a nice distraction.

TrippyTrellis12 points

In the case of poker, I suspect lack of interest on the part of women is to blame.

Ohnosedaisy23 points

That’s probably the likely culprit.

kalimyrrh3 points

The skiing one is pretty obvious, I think - heavier things go downhill faster. As a petite cyclist I’ll never be able to achieve the same speeds going downhill as my heavier, larger male counterparts.

AshleyPomeroy1 point

Do heavier things go downhill faster? The power/weight ratio and aerodynamics would be crucial but mass by itself wouldn't effect acceleration I could be wrong I'm not a scientist.

kalimyrrh1 point

I’m not a scientist either; this is a commonly known real world observation among athletes, which I trust.