Anonymity & Gender Equality

Postmes, Tom, and Russel Spears. “Behavior Online: Does Anonymous Computer Communication Reduce Gender Inequality?.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. (2002): Web. 2 Oct. 2013. <http://psp.sagepub.com/content/28/8/1073.full.pdf html>.

 

This article takes an interesting look at how anonymity online can be a good thing- it can decrease the gender gap. The two studies they did found out that this is actually false; when mixed genders were given anonymous pseudonyms, stereotyping still occured, i.e. men dominated discussions that suited their interests and left feminine topics alone. This article also goes in depth about possible other stereotypes beyond gender that may limit people on the internet when anonymous like class and race. Furthermore, there is a section about “self-stereotyping” which supports these ideas. Here is the most important quote from the article: “This research examined the question of whether disguising individual and gender identity during group interaction would lead to more equal participation of men and women and the disappearance of gender differences. Unlike in face to face groups, where gender is visible and signaled by various cues, ,gender can be concealed when groups interact […] It has been hypothesized that this concealment of people’s identity would foster gender equalization. However, our findings do not support this equalization hypothesis.” (1080).

 

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