Have you seen this?
It’s hilarious. Almost painfully hilarious. [RSS readers: click here]
But is it true?
Do women and men have that huge of a disparity in the amount of words they use? Or is it a myth perpetuated by stereotypes?
To be honest, I’ve often cited the disparity in the # of words between men and women without necessarily knowing if it was scientifically documented. Like others, I’ve referenced a book called The Female Brain (published in 2006) where its author, Louann Brizendine, has been widely quoted claiming that “a woman uses about 20,000 words per day while a man uses about 7,000.”
Basically 3 to 1.
But more recent studies have shown that it’s a gross exaggeration. A myth that keeps growing.
According to a study done and published in Science Magazine in 2007, researchers found that women speak a little more than 16,000 words a day. Men speak a little less than 16,000 words.
Not quite the 3 to 1 disparity.
According to this NPR report from 2007, there’s danger to the myth of the great verbal disparity between women and men:
Mehl says the stereotype needs to be debunked. Not only because women are harmed by the “female chatterbox and silent male” stereotype, but because men are disadvantaged by it, too.
“It puts men into the gender box, that in order to be a good male, we’d better not talk — (that) silence is golden,” Mehl says. “The stereotype puts unfortunate constraints on men and women – the idea that you can only happily be a woman if you’re talkative and you can only be happy as a man if you’re reticent. The study relieves those gender constraints.”…
In general, they found that women tend to talk more about relationships. Their everyday conversation is more studded with pronouns. Men tend to talk more about sports and gadgets, and their utterances include more numbers.
Hmm. More stereotypes.
Your turn. What do you think?