Day 157: Learn I’m a sexist
February 7, 2011 § 4 Comments
Stephanie and I are both big fans of the author Malcolm Gladwell. He has written a number of interesting articles for the “New Yorker,” and has written books such as “The Tipping Point,” “Blink” and “Outliers,” each of which examines complex social phenomenons.
“Blink” is a book about subconscious decisions and how we go about making them. In the book, Gladwell discusses a study out of Harvard titled Project Implicit.
The project has a series of tests which gauge a person’s subconscious through word association. In the spirit of trying new things, I decided to take one.
The one I took was on gender and career. On the left side of the screen were the words “Female” and “Family,” and on the right side were the words “Male” and “Career.” In the middle of the screen words would pop up like “Salary” and “Wedding,” or names like “Emily” and “Joe.” As quickly as possible, I would have to decide whether the word that popped up belonged on the left side with Female and Family, or on the right side with Male and Career. In the second round, it switched up the sides so that the left read Female and Career, and the right read Male and Family.
The idea is that when you are going quickly, you make many decisions subconsciously. It was natural for me to send “Salary” and “Promotion” to the male side, and “Children” and “Wedding” to the female side. Subconsciously, I associate males with career and females with family.
When I finished, the test told me I was slightly sexist. I guess that’s better than being extremely sexist. At least now I am aware of it. After all, a sexist who is aware of his sexism is better than an ignorant sexist, right?
If you are interested in taking the test, visit https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/selectatest.html. They also have ones on race, sexuality, religion and weight.