Category Archives: Science and Nature

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” -Fran Lebowitz

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Women’s tongues are like lambs’ tails – they are never still. –English

The North Sea will sooner be found wanting in water than a woman at a loss for words. –Jutlandic

The woman with active hands and feet, marry her, but the woman with overactive mouth, leave well alone. –Maori

When both husband and wife wear pants it is not difficult to tell them apart – he is the one who is listening. –American

Nothing is so unnatural as a talkative man or a quiet woman. –Scottish

Where there are women and geese, there’s noise. –Japanese.

The tongue is the sword of a woman and she never lets it become rusty. -Chinese

Women clearly talk more than men, right? The stereotype is so strong across so many cultures and places so clearly this is one stereotype based in fact. Right?

Right?

Well, let us look at the evidence.

Researchers reviewed sixty-three studies that looked at how much American men and women talked when put together in various situations. Out of sixty-three studies, women spoke more than men in exactly two.

In New Zealand, a researcher compared the talking time of experts and interviewers on television. In situations where the time was meant to be split into thirds, men took over half of the time. Every time.

Another researcher analyzed the talking time of men and women in 100 open forums. Women dominated those discussions…7% of the time. When the participants were equally divided along gender lines, men still managed to take two-thirds of the speaking time.

I had a meeting with a [female] sales manager and three of my [male] directors once…it took about two hours. She only spoke once and one of my fellow directors cut across her and said ‘What Anne is trying to say, Roger, is…’ and I think that about sums it up. He knew better than Anne what she was trying to say, and she never got anything said.

Let’s look at some other professional situations, shall we?

Years ago, while producing the hit TV series “The Shield,” Glen Mazzara noticed that two young female writers were quiet during story meetings. He pulled them aside and encouraged them to speak up more.

Watch what happens when we do, they replied.

Almost every time they started to speak, they were interrupted or shot down before finishing their pitch. When one had a good idea, a male writer would jump in and run with it before she could complete her thought.

A Yale psychologist tracked the speaking time of new senators and those with more tenure and leadership. She found that tenured male senators spoke much more than their junior colleagues, but female senators’ speaking time did not significantly increase with time or power.

After discovering this gender inconsistency, the psychologist asked professionals to judge the competence of executives based on how often they shared their opinion. Male executives who spoke up received 10% higher competency ratings. Meanwhile, female executives who shared their opinions openly received 14% lower competency ratings from both men and women.

Another analysis showed that women who make their companies significant revenue and contribute good ideas do not receive better performance reviews and are not seen in a better light by their bosses. Men, however, are.

A researcher at UT had various males and females suggest a proven idea for streamlining their team’s inventory. He found that the women who suggested the new idea were viewed as less loyal by their leaders and those leaders were less likely to take the suggestion. Even when the leaders were told that one member of their team was given unique, helpful information, the women were ignored.

Women do not talk more. They know that talking more will do them harm, both professionally and socially. All those pictures up top saying that women outpace men by thousands of words per day? False. The erroneous numbers seem to have started with someone trying to sell a book. The real numbers?

But in the end, the sexes came out just about even in the daily averages: women at 16,215 words and men at 15,669. In terms of statistical significance, Pennebaker says, “It’s not even remotely close to different.”

So, our daily averages are about the same, but in mixed and professional situations, men dominate time and again. There is abundant research that this starts early–we’re talking elementary school early. From the classroom to the boardroom, women are not heard in public. Being listened to in public is a confirmation of importance and social status. So what does this say about where society places women? What does it say about how women view themselves?

To be fair, many of those pictures up top seemed to be referencing couples, not executives. So:

Another study compared the relative amount of talk of spouses. Men dominated the conversations between couples with traditional gender roles and expectations, but when the women were associated with a feminist organization they tended to talk more than their husbands. So feminist women were more likely to challenge traditional gender roles in interaction.

It seems possible that both these factors – expert status and feminist philosophy – have the effect of developing women’s social confidence. This explanation also fits with the fact that women tend to talk more with close friends and family, when women are in the majority, and also when they are explicitly invited to talk (in an interview, for example).

So, women are starting to realize that they are worthy of a voice, both in their relationships and in public. We still only expect people to listen to us if they are close to us or if we are an expert on the topic, but it’s progress. But that is how we see ourselves, how do the men see the women?

When a teacher worked at giving equal talking time to both boys and girls, he felt he was giving the girls 90% of his attention and his male pupils agreed. They complained angrily about it, in fact. Got that? An attempt at equality is seen as overwhelming favor and bitterly resented.

The same thing happens at seminars and debates, too. At a workshop where 32 women and 5 men were in attendance, analysis showed that the 5 men spoke over 50% of the time. They said what they wanted to say and set the tone for what was to be said and how. The researcher noted that there was no hostility, but the pressure the men exerted on the conversation was accepted without comment or question.

When women are given equal time to talk, it is believed that women were given more than their fair share. After all, what is fair in a patriarchal society? Dale Spencer says this:

The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.

How do we fix this extreme disparity? I’ll talk about that in my next post.

“To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” -Dumbledore

I am a little shocked at just how sad I am about Alan Rickman’s passing. He was my Snape and a dozen other wonderful characters I loved.

This seems an appropriate repost.

Wary Wonderlust

cemetaryI am going to die. There have been times in my life when this fact scared me. Two unknown details of my demise still have the power to worry my weary mind: when and how. I don’t want to die young, before my children have grown and blossomed. I wouldn’t prefer a painful death. Other than that, the certainty of my finality no longer fills me with introspective angst.

Most humans are brought up with a pervasive faith in an afterlife. A common thread is found in the tapestry of life-after-death beliefs: retribution. How exactly that retribution will be paid varies widely. Some believe that a caste or species change is in order. Others are certain that a supernatural world awaits them on the other side. Regardless of the specifics, the idea of one’s actions being tallied and answered for is ever-present. While the rewards and punishments differ, religion in…

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“We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” -Joseph Campbell

time_flies_by_our_kings-d5201pkAnother year is closing. I can hardly comprehend that it was two years ago that I wrote a post about New Year’s Resolutions. Rereading it today, I realize that while I’ve taken my own advice, I’m still working on it. As I always will be.

So, has this been a year that asked or answered? Has it been a year of inhaling or exhaling ? For me, a bit of both. I started homeschooling. I started two new writing projects. I began finding the version of me that exists with more independent children.

So much has changed, though I’m not sure it’d show much from the outside. I feel more stable and more understood. I feel freer to be me, whoever that is.

Thank you to those that have taken parts of this year’s journey with me. Thank you for letting me take part in yours.

I looked at the breakdown of my blogging year according to WordPress. Here are my five most popular posts of this year (in no particular order):
Daylight Savings Time, Body Confidence, Stupidity in Politics, Worth Dying For, and Death. I’ve been preaching weariness more than wonderlust. (Here’s where I mentally resolve to balance that scale a bit.) A few of those posts aren’t from this year, so after a quick scroll I chose one of my favorite posts of 2015: Why? (x4).

http://avaxhome.ws/blogs/igor_lv

I don’t know what sorrows 2016 will bring, but I am finding it easier to live in joy. I know that my blogging family deserves some thanks for that.

New year, new look. Like it?

“PRAY(v.) To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.” -Ambrose Bierce

Given the tornadoes that ripped through towns a mere 30 minute drive from my home (and the response that followed them), I feel the need to reblog.

Wary Wonderlust

My thoughts can’t help but be drawn to the tragedy in Oklahoma. If you don’t know, an EF5 tornado hit a small town, south of Oklahoma City, called Moore.

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This is what one neighborhood looked like before and after:
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I always get increasingly annoyed with news coverage of natural disasters. What do you say to a person that just lost everything they own? What do you say to someone that just lost a loved one? Apparently, you ask them how they feel. You ask them if they are scared, if they realize what happened. Seriously? These stories are certainly newsworthy, an entire town was practically wiped off the map. I get that, I just wish they could give people more than 12 hours or could at the very least come up with some better questions.

It never takes long for someone to blame a natural disaster on a lack of…

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“Rest and be thankful.” -William Wadsworth

What does it mean to be thankful? When I think about the things that I am thankful for, they all seem to revolve around what separates me from others either by individuality or circumstance.

I am thankful that I have enough–enough food, shelter, clothing. I am thankful that I and the people I care about are relatively healthy and safe. I am thankful that we are not spending the holidays in a hospital or a war zone. I am thankful that I am me, with my thoughts and abilities.

My thankfulness is exclusionary. I am happy that I am not others, that I do not have less, that I am not amidst jeopardy. If I found myself in better circumstances, I don’t think my thankfulness would shift much. I don’t imagine it would change much if my life took a moderate turn downward either. I will always be glad that things are no worse than they are, but that seems a rather dull form of thankfulness.

I think a more vibrant version of thankfulness may be hiding in the giving part of Thanksgiving.

We know that giving makes us happier than receiving. We know that money only brings happiness when it buys security and experiences and that even then it only satisfies to a certain point. So why are we reluctant to give?

Mostly because what’s going on in their heads. Most people could be more generous. They think they don’t have the money or the time but they could be more generous. I think people are afraid. They don’t realize that it’s good for them, that it would benefit them and not just other people. They’re afraid that it would be a loss. That if they gave money away or devoted their time, they would be losing something. So part of it is just ignorance, part of it is fear and insecurity.
-Christian Smith, Science of Genorosity

I think we need a new paradigm for thankfulness. We should not be glad for what we have that others do not, but for what we have the ability to share with others.

https://twitter.com/jamesmelville/status/641134292823875584Today is Thanksgiving. I am thankful that I can share knowledge, joy, empathy, compassion, and kindness. I am thankful that I can give both my time and resources to individuals and organizations that are making a positive difference in the world. I am thankful that I have an opportunity to be more generous of spirit and action in the upcoming year.

What will you build–a new table or a new fence?