Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

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Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby sje46 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:33 am UTC

http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/the-gendered-situation-of-chess/
From ChessBase News: “Normally knowing your enemy is an advantage. Not so in chess games between the sexes. In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Volume 38, Issue 2 (March/April 2008) (pdf here), Anne Maass, Claudio D’Ettole, Mara Cadinu, Dr Anne Maass (et al.) pitted male and female players against each other via the Internet. Women showed a 50% performance decline when they were aware that they were playing a male opponent.” Here’s the article’s abstract.

* * *

Women are surprisingly underrepresented in the chess world, representing less that 5% of registered tournament players worldwide and only 1% of the world’s grandmasters. In this paper it is argued that gender stereotypes are mainly responsible for the underperformance of women in chess. Forty-two male-female pairs, matched for ability, played two chess games via the Internet. When players were unaware of the sex of opponent (control condition), females played approximately as well as males. When the gender stereotype was activated (experimental condition), women showed a drastic performance drop, but only when they were aware that they were playing against a male opponent. When they (falsely) believed to be playing against a woman, they performed as well as their male opponents. In addition, our findings suggest that women show lower chess-specific self-esteem and a weaker promotion focus, which are predictive of poorer chess performance.

* * *

Here’s the article’s conclusion.

* * *

A number of novel findings emerge from the present study that complement cognitively-oriented research on chess. Most importantly, gender stereotypes can have a greatly debilitating effect on female players leading to a 50% performance decline when playing against males. Interestingly, this disadvantage is completely removed when players are led to believe that they are playing against a woman. This may, in part, occur because women choose a more defensive style when playing with men.

A second and more general message of our study is that self-confidence and a win-oriented promotion motivation contribute positively to chess performance. Since women show lower chess-specific self-esteem and a more cautious regulatory focus than males, possibly as a consequence of widely held gender stereotypes, this may at least in part explain their worldwide underrepresentation and underperformance in chess.

Thus, women seem disadvantaged not because they are lacking cognitive or spatial abilities, but because they approach chess competitions with lesser confidence and with a more cautious attitude than their male opponents. Hence, a motivational perspective may be better suited to understand (and prevent) the underperformance of women in the ‘ultimate intellectual sport.’

* * *

Wow, 50%. I guess this is pretty good way to show how gender relations may not be peachy as they may appear on the surface.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby fjafjan » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:40 am UTC

Yeah, this is much like a study I heard about re womens math skills. Before taking a math test one group were told men usually perform better at this test (but that obviously that's just average etc etc), the other were told nothing. The group who were told men were usually better, the women scored significantly worse than the non told group and the men scored somewhat better than the non told men.

Averaging over groups is something we do all the damn time, so it's bound to have a huge effect on maintaining those differences.

But yeah, this is not very surprising, but saddening
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:04 pm UTC

Yes, I have seen more of these sort of results, and they presumably apply to a lot of situations that are harder to experimentally isolate too.

I can't really figure out what actions could be taken in order to improve this situation. Anyone here with ideas for courses of actions or other implications that follow from these results?

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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Chfan » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:26 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I can't really figure out what actions could be taken in order to improve this situation. Anyone here with ideas for courses of actions or other implications that follow from these results?

Making society less fucked up would work. Uhh...good luck with that!
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Vaniver » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:30 pm UTC

This also demonstrates in income statistics because women are far less likely to negotiate a higher income than men are. It seems likely that women perceive men as more competitive, and themselves as less competitive- and thus lock up and underperform when they imagine they're playing a more vicious opponent (even though it's chess!).

The primary way to counteract this, as far as I can see, would be to increase competitiveness training for women. Somehow that doesn't seem entirely worth it.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby EmptySet » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:08 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:Yeah, this is much like a study I heard about re womens math skills. Before taking a math test one group were told men usually perform better at this test (but that obviously that's just average etc etc), the other were told nothing. The group who were told men were usually better, the women scored significantly worse than the non told group and the men scored somewhat better than the non told men.


It'd be interesting to know whether that happens with men when women are expected to be better, or if it's specific to women for some reason...

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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Belial » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:53 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:
fjafjan wrote:Yeah, this is much like a study I heard about re womens math skills. Before taking a math test one group were told men usually perform better at this test (but that obviously that's just average etc etc), the other were told nothing. The group who were told men were usually better, the women scored significantly worse than the non told group and the men scored somewhat better than the non told men.


It'd be interesting to know whether that happens with men when women are expected to be better, or if it's specific to women for some reason...


I imagine it would be harder to convince men that women tested better in math, because it runs counter to basically everything they've heard repeated through their culture (whereas when women are told the opposite, it resonates with everything they've heard).

However, if you had some kindof test of emotional acuity or social skills, you could probably pull the same trick. The problem being that that sort of test is much harder to standardize.

A test of verbal skills could probably mirror the effect somewhat (though, and I'm just spitballing now, the effect would probably be lesser because, while you could probably get the men to believe that women tested better, you wouldn't be playing into as strong a narrative as the "women are bad at math" one).
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby aleflamedyud » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:21 pm UTC

Has anyone considered that female players may have done worse when told they played men because they may have adjusted their strategy to how they think men play?
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Vieto » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:30 pm UTC

We should repeat this experiment, except instead of telling the women they are playing against men, change it to men being told they are playing against women. I'm curious as to what would come of that.

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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Aikanaro » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:34 pm UTC

(NOT meant as a slight against women, but merely interpreting likely results due to latent sexism in our culture): I expect the men would become more confident, possibly too much so, and would make stupid moves.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Darkscull » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:39 pm UTC

I've only read what's in this thread, and not followed any of the links, but it seems to me there's something they should have done but didn't.

Did they have women who thought they were playing against a man, but were actually playing against a woman?
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:40 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:Has anyone considered that female players may have done worse when told they played men because they may have adjusted their strategy to how they think men play?


Maybe if they're all really shitty chess players. "Play the board, not the opponent" is a rule that even I, an admittedly shitty chess player, know of and play by.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Belial » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:Has anyone considered that female players may have done worse when told they played men because they may have adjusted their strategy to how they think men play?


Maybe if they're all really shitty chess players. "Play the board, not the opponent" is a rule that even I, an admittedly shitty chess player, know of and play by.


Knowing that rule and abiding by it consciously is another thing entirely from accepting and playing it unconsciously.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby doogly » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:49 pm UTC

Darkscull wrote:I've only read what's in this thread, and not followed any of the links, but it seems to me there's something they should have done but didn't.

Did they have women who thought they were playing against a man, but were actually playing against a woman?


Yeah. Learning things like this is a good reason to follow the links.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:22 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:Has anyone considered that female players may have done worse when told they played men because they may have adjusted their strategy to how they think men play?


Maybe if they're all really shitty chess players. "Play the board, not the opponent" is a rule that even I, an admittedly shitty chess player, know of and play by.


Knowing that rule and abiding by it consciously is another thing entirely from accepting and playing it unconsciously.


If I'm understanding him correctly, Eli is talking about a conscious shift of strategy.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Diadem » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:21 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:Has anyone considered that female players may have done worse when told they played men because they may have adjusted their strategy to how they think men play?


Maybe if they're all really shitty chess players. "Play the board, not the opponent" is a rule that even I, an admittedly shitty chess player, know of and play by.

Offtopic, but that is not a good rule to abide by in general. Not only can knowing your opponents strengths and weaknesses be a huge advantage, psychology also plays a very important role.

Examples: If you know your opponent is an expert in a particular opening, it pays to avoid this opening. If you know your opponent prefers closed, positional positions, it pays to try to open things up and make the position highly tactical. And the principle strategy to defeat computers at chess is avoiding tactical complications and going for deep positional advantages.

Psychological motives are also important. When you sense your opponent becoming overconfident, you can often use this to your advantage by setting up a trap. The most screwd players even manage to induce overconfidence in their opponents with their body language. Etc.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Heavenlytoaster » Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:57 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:Has anyone considered that female players may have done worse when told they played men because they may have adjusted their strategy to how they think men play?


Maybe if they're all really shitty chess players. "Play the board, not the opponent" is a rule that even I, an admittedly shitty chess player, know of and play by.

Offtopic, but that is not a good rule to abide by in general. Not only can knowing your opponents strengths and weaknesses be a huge advantage, psychology also plays a very important role.

Examples: If you know your opponent is an expert in a particular opening, it pays to avoid this opening. If you know your opponent prefers closed, positional positions, it pays to try to open things up and make the position highly tactical. And the principle strategy to defeat computers at chess is avoiding tactical complications and going for deep positional advantages.

Psychological motives are also important. When you sense your opponent becoming overconfident, you can often use this to your advantage by setting up a trap. The most screwd players even manage to induce overconfidence in their opponents with their body language. Etc.



Yes but "being a man" is not an opponents strenghths and weaknesses, also this is at least partially what happened, its right in the article.

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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby RockoTDF » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:22 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:Has anyone considered that female players may have done worse when told they played men because they may have adjusted their strategy to how they think men play?


I would hope something like this came up somewhere in their discussion section.

The abstract mentioned that women are really underrepresented in chess, so they are probably play men more often than not in professional environments. However, the snippet we saw also failed to explicitly say if the participants were professionals or not. I think "matched for ability" means they probably were, as chess has an interesting ranking system.

If they were just random people, then I would certainly say that your suggestion is a definite possibility.

I also want to know how they measured "chess specific self esteem." Self efficacy would be more relevant imo.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:52 pm UTC

I'd like to see the results if they falsely told them they were playing against a male.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby sophyturtle » Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:08 am UTC

Bits from the article:

Main participants (they also did a pilot study to establish precieved gender roles in chess):
Spoiler:
Checkmate? The role of gender stereotypes in the ultimate intellectual sport wrote:Forty-two male and 42 female chess players volunteered to participate via Internet in this study (mean age 33.54). They were contacted at tournaments, through the Italian Chess Federation, and through local chess clubs throughout the entire national territory.

Proceedure:
Spoiler:
The entire experiment (preliminary assessment and main experiment) was run on-line, using a different nickname and password for each participant and for each game. During preliminary testing, we assessed the player’s individual ranking (Elo or equivalent), two cognitive abilities (mental rotation and memory for location), and two motivational factors (trait-prevention/promotion, chess-specific self-esteem). During the experimental phase, we first assessed state-promotion/prevention and then had each participant play two games with an opposite-sex partner matched for chess ability. Before each game, we also assessed aggressive intent. At the end, participants were fully debriefed.

Preliminary Assessment
Spoiler:
Trait Prevention/Promotion Focus:Most existing scales of regulatory focus (e.g., Higgins, Friedman, Harlow, Chen Idson, Ayduk, & Taylor, 2001; Semin, Higgins, Gil de Montes, Estourget, & Valencia, 2005) rely heavily on childhood experiences, especially in the assessment of prevention focus (e.g., ‘Growing up, would you ever ‘‘cross the line’’ by doing things that your parents would not tolerate?’ ‘Did you get on your parents’ nerves often when you were growing up?’). For the scope of our experiment, we were less interested in the origins of regulatory focus than in its current manifestation, characterized by either a focus on gain and advancement (promotion) or on avoiding mistakes, being vigilant, and assuring safety and non-losses (prevention). Moreover, we wanted the questionnaire to be specific to chess.
We therefore developed a 7-item scale (a¼.75) assessing the promotion/prevention orientation that players generally experience when playing chess.We were interested to see whether they were mainly motivated to obtain a good result (promotion) or to avoid poor outcomes (prevention). Examples of promotion items are I care a lot about winning when I play chess and I want to perform better than anybody else. Examples of prevention items (reverse scoring) are: When playing chess I mainly try to prevent poor outcomes by avoiding to make errors, I work hard not to lose twenty dollars and my self respect, ‘In chess, I rather keep the errors to a minimum than to pursue an attack.’ Responses were provided on a 6-point scale
(from ‘totally disagree’ to ‘totally agree’). Prevention items were reversed-scored so that high values correspond to high promotion focus.

Chess-Specific Self-Esteem: Chess-Specific Self-Esteem A 7-item scale (a¼.89) assessed participant’s domain-specific self-esteem, using a modified version of Rosenberg’s (1965) scale (item examples: As a chess player I don’t think I have much to be proud of, I am able to play at least as good as other chess players, In general, I am satisfied with myself as a chess player). Eight players had no official ranking and were therefore asked to obtain a ranking by playing 15 games (free of charge) either through Scacchisti or Yahoo chess Internet sites.

Mental Rotation: We developed an electronic version of the mental rotation test (MRT, Vandenberg & Kuse, 1978), in which participants were instructed to identify two geometrical figures out of four that match a standard figure. Responses were coded as hit only when both figures were correctly identified. Participants were given 8minutes to resolve a maximum of 20 problems (scores ranging potentially from 0 to 20).5

Memory for Location: We developed an electronic version of Reynolds and Bigler’s (1994) Memory for Location subtest. Participants observed a set of large dots on 34 or 44 matrices and then had to recall their positions, in any order they wanted, on an empty matrix. The procedure was repeated 24 times, with increasing difficulty of the dot pattern, until the participant erred three times on five consecutive problems. The score corresponds to the total number of correct responses.[/quote]

This answers some of those questions. You can maybe answer more there. It is the study the one posted in the OP is talking about. You can sort of scan down the article looking at the headers to find what you are interested in.

Anyway.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Diadem » Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:07 am UTC

One thing I don't understand.

Most chess players are male. Female chess players thus mostly play males, not females. If they underperform against males, one would expect their rating to be lower than what it really should be. So if they were 'matched for ability' the effect of women underperforming against men should already be accounted for! How did they avoid this problem?

fjafjan wrote:But yeah, this is not very surprising, but saddening

Saddening? On the contrary, it is very good news! Because if the difference (in chess ability) between men and women is merely psychological, and not an inherent consequence of human nature, then it can be fixed. All we need is to change our culture. Ok, that will be quite hard, but still a lot easier than changing human nature itself!
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:39 am UTC

Diadem wrote:If they underperform against males, one would expect their rating to be lower than what it really should be. So if they were 'matched for ability' the effect of women underperforming against men should already be accounted for! How did they avoid this problem?

Is it really a problem? You tell them they're playing against women, and their performance increases. You observe this. The experiment would only require players to be matched for ability to enough of an extent that games could go either way, rather than being constantly dominated by a few players regardless of other variables. They don't need to be of exactly equal ability.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Silas » Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:43 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Saddening? On the contrary, it is very good news! Because if the difference (in chess ability) between men and women is merely psychological, and not an inherent consequence of human nature, then it can be fixed. All we need is to change our culture. Ok, that will be quite hard, but still a lot easier than changing human nature itself!

You're mistaken. Knowing that women self-handicap when playing chess against a male opponent (if indeed that's what's happening here) doesn't tell you anything about the cause of that behavior. It's at least conceivable that that behavior is itself part of (or driven by) immutable human nature (your words, remember). That's a possibility under which the difference (in chess ability) can't be fixed by changing the culture- some of us aren't so ready to upend society like you suggest, just to make chess fair.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:37 am UTC

Silas wrote:some of us aren't so ready to upend society like you suggest, just to make chess fair.


Yeah, just think of all the people we could fuck over if being a woman wasn't synonymous with a decrease in life chances. :roll:
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Will » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:49 am UTC

Or, to paraphrase TheGrammarBoshevik:

Silas wrote:some of us aren't so ready to upend society like you suggest, just to make chess life fair.

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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:50 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Somehow that doesn't seem entirely worth it.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby poxic » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:55 am UTC

Yeah, I had some things I might have wanted to say, but this thread seems to have taken a nasty turn. Maybe it's just my inculcated fear of engaging with men, but I'm going to stay away now. Thanks.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:00 am UTC

Uhh, I mean, it's certainly not my intent to be hostile. Telling my male privilege to STFU is what I'm [trying to be] all about.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby poxic » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:19 am UTC

And maybe I'm not being completely fair. I don't know. When I read threads that develop a tone like I read in this one, I instinctively run away ... but maybe I only run away if the conversation seems to be dominated by men. I can't really say. If this thread were made of only women, I'd probably jump in with my $0.02. With men making most of the posts, I start typing, then decide I'm not saying anything of real value and kill it.

Is this my fault? I don't know. I certainly didn't decide one day that I would avoid arguments with men. It's more likely that some sort of idea gradually grew within me that this was a bad idea. I don't want to speculate right now on why or how, in part because I'm feeling upset, so my conclusions would likely be inaccurate.

What I tried to post, twice, before deleting my efforts out of some sort of reluctance: I read a passage recently in a book by Bob Hunter, though I can't find either the quote or the book online right now. (I don't remember the name of the book.) He mentioned being on the Sea Shepherd with men from a native group who had grown up in a female-dominated culture. His words were, roughly: "They listened to the women when they spoke. Not just pretending to listen, as most men do, but really listened. They had grown up in a culture where women were the superior sex."

I'm not sure I know what it feels like to have a man "really listen" to me. My father seems to do that, since he respects my intelligence. Occasionally I've had a boyfriend who sometimes seemed to really pay attention to what I said. Mostly, though, I just seem to be background noise for men. I'm a plaything, or a challenge to overcome, or a puzzle to be solved, or (rarely) a worthy intellectual adversary. I'm almost never just a person, just someone with experiences that a man can learn from, someone that can be just a friend and not a carrier of the possibility of sex.

No wonder women love hanging out with gay men. Fuck.

/sorry to rant in this space. Or maybe I shouldn't be sorry.
//fuck.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:37 am UTC

poxic wrote:He mentioned being on the Sea Shepherd with men from a native group who had grown up in a female-dominated culture. His words were, roughly: "They listened to the women when they spoke. Not just pretending to listen, as most men do, but really listened. They had grown up in a culture where women were the superior sex."


I thought patriarchy was a cultural universal, so thanks for giving me something to look into.

poxic wrote:No wonder women love hanging out with gay men. Fuck.


Heh, I was going to mention that before you ninja'd me.

poxic wrote:/sorry to rant in this space. Or maybe I shouldn't be sorry.


In N&A? I mean, generally we like to keep pretty strict standards of seriousness when we talk about penguin snipers, but it's also nice to have some variety. :wink:

But, more seriously, I don't think that you were ranting, and you just added a lot more to the thread than I have.

Edit: Oh yeah; since constructive discussion is a good thing:

"They listened to the women when they spoke. Not just pretending to listen, as most men do, but really listened. They had grown up in a culture where women were the superior sex."


That would demonstrate that the men-over-women-in-discourse thing isn't ingrained into our biology, then.

I notice that this culture also has a patriarchy-with-a-different-sex, though. I wonder if there are any real-life examples of a society where the power conflict between genders is in balance, or doesn't exist.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Osha » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:41 am UTC

Random thought:
Maybe women perform worse when knowingly playing against a man because they subconsciously think winning will somehow make them look less feminine or more masculine. Essentially beating the man at his own manly man game (stereotypes :o ).
Compare women who turn away from computer science: I've heard some of them (sample size way too small here) say they didn't want to be perceived as an unfeminine woman, or that they were teased by their friends. Male dominated areas (such as chess) wouldn't help this as they tend to have an air of "oh yeah you're one of 'the guys'" about them.

This could of course all be complete nonsense.

I'd be interested in a study that threw mass amounts of cash into the equation...
Would a woman still perform worse against a man if there were $1000 dollars at stake (/me thinks probably yes)

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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Silas » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:42 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Silas wrote:some of us aren't so ready to upend society like you suggest, just to make chess fair.


Yeah, just think of all the people we could fuck over if being a woman wasn't synonymous with a decrease in life chances. :roll:


The point was fair. Diadem says this study (and, presumably, others like it) supports the idea that we can reduce or reverse the behaviors it documents by making changes in our culture. I infer that he further believes that changes to our culture to reduce this particular behavior (women performing poorly in competition against men) would be a good thing, and that this study supports that belief. I say he is mistaken in the first place, and in the second (where, admittedly, he is not explicit) he is advocating active social change using unsound reasoning. This last I take to be especially pernicious: applying pressure toward cultural objective that are not, in fact, possible has nasty results (see: abstinence-only sex ed).
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:49 am UTC

You think it's impossible for women to not be less competitive versus men? What about the women in the society that poxic described?
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby SummerGlauFan » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:49 am UTC

I wish my girlfriend would play worse when facing off with me at chess.

She beats me like a drum.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby poxic » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:58 am UTC

Osha wrote:Would a woman still perform worse against a man if there were $1000 dollars at stake (/me thinks probably yes)

I'd guess "yes" as well. After all, there's a lot of money up for grabs if one chooses to negotiate one's salary. (Yes, I thought about erasing this and not replying, because I wasn't "adding anything of substance". Fuck my conditioning. And yes, I'm apparently still upset. *suppresses the need to add a smiley to make everything okay*)

Stuff is hard. It's hard to be a fully self-affirming, self-reliant, self-actualising individual when one receives non-stop subtle-and-not-so-subtle messages of being an inferior species all of one's life.

I really can't imagine what it must be like for minority women. The thought makes my heart ache. What you must be going through, Osha, I can't imagine. either. My heart aches for you, too, for what it's worth.

TheGrammarBolshevik: It's unlikely that the "superior" women in my story played much chess. It would certainly be interesting to see the result if their culture produced a chess champion. It's also interesting to think who I'd find more comfortable to spend time around: the men, or the women, of a female-dominated culture. Would I have an innate empathy for the subjugated men, or would I immediately identify and join with the women? Or some sort of "both"?

/Interesting questions that I doubt I'll have the chance to answer. Life has lots of those.

Edit: Silas, are you saying that attempting to make women equal with men in our culture is equivalent to the usefulness of abstinence-only sex education? Or did I misread your post?
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Silas » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:06 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:You think it's impossible for women to not be less competitive versus men?

I don't say that; I will, though, say that I have doubts (that is, insufficient-evidence concerns) about the possibility (maybe better to say feasibility) of social change to make that so, without giving up something else of value. I strongly suspect that positive change is possible, maybe even with low costs. But I object to treating non-evidence as evidence. If you're telling people that it's important and do-able to change their behavior, it's worth having valid reasons to believe it.

I'll reverse the question: do you think this study has any bearing on the mutability of the behavior it describes? If you do, maybe you can explain it, because I'm not seeing it.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby Osha » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:19 am UTC

poxic wrote:
Osha wrote:Would a woman still perform worse against a man if there were $1000 dollars at stake (/me thinks probably yes)

I'd guess "yes" as well. After all, there's a lot of money up for grabs if one chooses to negotiate one's salary.
Wait... I was guessing she'd still perform worse against men. Sounds like you're guessing the opposite.
I don't really know what the answer would be, which is why I'd be interested in a study like that.

poxic wrote:I really can't imagine what it must be like for minority women. The thought makes my heart ache. What you must be going through, Osha, I can't imagine. either. My heart aches for you, too, for what it's worth.
Thanks! :) Don't let the male dominated N&A threads get ya down too much y'hear? :)

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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:20 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:I hope my girlfriend isn't playing worse than her full ability when facing off with me at chess.

She beats me like a drum.

Fixed? :P :)
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:23 am UTC

Coming back to this:

poxic wrote:I'm not sure I know what it feels like to have a man "really listen" to me. My father seems to do that, since he respects my intelligence. Occasionally I've had a boyfriend who sometimes seemed to really pay attention to what I said. Mostly, though, I just seem to be background noise for men. I'm a plaything, or a challenge to overcome, or a puzzle to be solved, or (rarely) a worthy intellectual adversary. I'm almost never just a person, just someone with experiences that a man can learn from, someone that can be just a friend and not a carrier of the possibility of sex.


It occurred to me that, while I'm pretty sure I've done this to women, I don't know if I can say that I treat men any differently. I wonder if the cause of this is not just that men ignore women, but that the very concept of considering people's experiences — rather than whatever they can read into studies and statistics — is (mutably) gendered feminine.

Silas wrote:I'll reverse the question: do you think this study has any bearing on the mutability of the behavior it describes? If you do, maybe you can explain it, because I'm not seeing it.


The mutability of male-dominated culture in general is documented throughout history, well beyond the scope of this study. I can't conclusively say that this behavior specifically could change, but I see no reason to assume that it couldn't.
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Re: Women as good at chess as men. . .unless they are facing men

Postby poxic » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:27 am UTC

Osha wrote:Wait... I was guessing she'd still perform worse against men. Sounds like you're guessing the opposite.

No no, I was agreeing. Money is on the line when negotiating salaries, and women earn less than men for the same job. I conclude that money is not a strong enough motivator for women to overcome the ... fear they've been taught all their lives? I don't know how else to describe it.

Don't let the male dominated N&A threads get ya down too much y'hear? :)

I'll do my best. :wink:

At least in this thread, since I seem to have committed to it somewhat.
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