Hey, chatterboxes! A new study is reporting that women who are silent in a relationship are viewed more positively by others. Jennifer Sellers and her colleagues in the psychology department of Green Mountain College in Vermont had 95 students (equally split between men and women) watch either 4 videos of married couples in which the woman was "verbally assertive" or four videos with a "verbally assertive" man. The researchers found that "Both men and women were more critical of the couple" when the female partner was the one doing the yakking. "They also viewed the submissive men as less competent than their loquacious counterparts." What's worse, "when the roles switched and women bowed out of talking while men stood up to the plate, participants reported liking the couple, and they gave high competence scores to the men." So basically, a woman who communicates is an annoying nag or a salacious gossip, and a man who doesn't speak up is a namby-pamby milquetoast of a wuss. Effing hell.
Anyway, even though we're not living in an episode of I Love Lucy, how come it feels like we are? "We have these gender stereotypes where we expect men to be dominant and assertive," Sellers says. Yeah, but how long is it going to take to drop those ideas? If students in Vermont are stuck thinking that women can be seen but not heard and that a real man is always dominant over his wife, what hope is there for the rest of the country? Also, if it helps at all to just keep on chatting away, we're willing to do our part. For science!
Silence is Golden, But Only for Women [Live Science]