Google Searches Reveal Sad Gender Bias



apple-imac2011_q2-270-main-lg-1Photo: Courtesy of Google.


It's hard to say exactly how much Google search trends reveal about our innermost thoughts — but sometimes, they seem to hit the nail right on the head. The latest in revelatory data sheds some light on how parents think about their sons and daughters in private, despite what they might espouse in terms of gender-neutral parenting strategies in public.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explores the issue in an intriguing research piece over on The New York Times. One of the most unfortunate bits of info? Parents are, it seems, two and a half times more likely to search for phrases that favor young boys over young girls, like "Is my son a genius?" On the other hand, "Is my daughter overweight?" trumps the male version by a long shot. In fact, boys won out with more searches on questions about happiness, leadership qualities, and intelligence — while girls were way, way ahead in terms of inquiries related to beauty or ugliness.

We can't draw any direct conclusions about how parents are actually treating their kids, but it's kind of hard to believe that this kind of private thinking doesn't somehow, subliminally, make its way into the expectations and standards instilled in children from day one. While it might not come as a huge surprise, it's still disheartening to see where the focus lies when the curtains come down for little girls versus little boys. Check out the full article, and let us know what you think.