Friday, 7 March 2008

Why Mixed-Gender Social Groups Will Tend To Have More Guys Than Girls

Ever wondered why most cliques seem to consist of more guys than girls?

I didn't initially think I'd have to deal with the statistical aspect of my somewhat assumptiously hypothetical view that in general, youth social groups tend to have more guys than girls in them, but after Sab pointed out that that wasn't the case for the most part of her life from secondary school (girls' school, doesn't count) to JC (arts faculty - naturally more girls than guys) to NUS (premises to be addressed later), I went on a one-week observation to confirm this hypothesis.

Kee pointed out that there's the potential for biasness as a self-fulfilling prophecy, for example if I think that the trend is blue now, I will start to realise that I see more blues around. But my observation is thorough as I did take into careful consideration the groups of other gender proportions and looked out for them as much as I could.

And yes I guess I'd like to say now with conviction that in most social groups consisting of both genders, the general trend tends toward a larger population of guys. I see this everywhere - from prata shops to McDonald's to the streets to LAN shop kinda areas to malls to school itself, especially SMU, baffling as it may seem, because our school population supposedly comprises of more girls than guys.

So I'd like to address the proposition that social groups composed of guys and girls have more guys in them. To start off, it is noteworthy to realise that it is generally harder for a girl to just assimilate into any pre-existent groups. Groups with girls in them often have those same girls forming the core of the group on the onset of the group's formation right from the start and, often, any new additions are guys.

This is because guys socialise more easily without the predisposed need to already have social or emotional connections in place with the people they meet. On the other hand, girls often click better with whoever only if they form good social and emotional ties with them, which takes time. That's why guys can afford to not speak to each other for years and still be the best of buddies when they meet again, while girls often need to meet regularly to maintain social contact and keep their bonds close-knit in order to prevent any awkwardness or loss in friendship, so to speak, and start getting upset and whiney-bitchy when their good friends aren't able to upkeep the meet-ups or when their boyfriends aren't responsive. And also probably why guys can conjecture pick up lines like, "nice shoes, wanna fuck?" and seriously wish they'd work.

Perhaps another related reason is that girls tend to be more possessive than guys, so they will choose to remain with whatever clique they are already in (and, at the same time, hope that their clique pals stay fidel, often giving rise to displeasure at friends who are MIA often because they seem to have so many other 'more important friends' - female perspective taken into consideration here) rather than move around and mix on a longer term basis with other social groups. As such, guys are often less grounded with whichever social group they initially belong to and can assimilate into many other cliques and, at the same time, mind much less that any group mates are 'social butterflies' in the sense of the word.

An interesting point to note is that, when you consider the reverse scenario, the guys in groups with more girls than guys tend not to be your average Joes. They are often the 'girlfriend', soul mate or 'sister' type of guys who are more comfortable being with girls than guys, and the girls just like to call them out to shop or talk about semi- to full-blown girly stuff with. I must disclaim that I am not saying that they're gay, but these guys just tend to socialise better with girls and are perhaps more sensitive and sociable in a feminine sense. And the key situation is that such guys take up a small part of the male-type spectrum, so groups with such guys (which will entail more girls than guys) will be less common. Well, at least, this had better be the case, or the ladies will start complaining that there aren't that many good guys left (eh Jacq? Haha), which can be quite a prick.

To go deeper, one reason for this is that there are just more activities that girls can do than guys. This is somewhat like the fact that guys can only wear pants, while girls can wear skirts and pants. When you eliminate stuff like girly chat, manicure sessions, shopping for some, etc, there's just less things that guys can do or join girls in doing. On the flipside, many predominantly-male activities have become universal to both sexes, such as LAN gaming, playing pool and talking about soccer.

With that, it will be harder for a guy to enter into an all-girl group and start talking about Edison Chen, but it will be easier for a girl to get along with a group that consists only of guys who love Manchester United and play DOTA, as the guy will have much less he will be interested to do with those girls while the girl will have more options of interest with which to spend the time with those guys. I don't quite know how to substantiate this, but I also somehow think that guys also tend to be more accomodating, i.e. they will fare better at ensuring that the girl assimilates by tending to moderate their male-centric conversations and attempting to explain, while girls will just continue going on and on and on about their own thing and not give a shit about the poor dude who ain't got a clue. Anyhooser, the resultant is that you don't have that many groups with more girls than guys once again.

This then begs the question, especially in a school like SMU that seriously has a lot more girls than guys: Where on earth do all the excess girls go?!

I can bring up a couple of reasons I'd reckon, the first of which is that there are quite a number of girls who are attached to guys who are perhaps in the army or from elsewhere, which thus does not affect the school's male population. One observation amongst the social groups that I know and my own clique as well is that the people who make up such sustainable groups tend very much to be single. This is because I'd presume that if you're attached, the amount of time you'd spend with your clique or social group will be greatly compromised. Kinda like how being in a relationship and clubbing somehow don't match. Hence, when you don't often have attached people forming such social groups and partaking in their day-to-day activities, the resultant cliques formed will be predominantly made up of singles.

So this is one way the numbers for the excess girls get accounted for.

Another is perhaps the idea that some girls are of the 'too cool for school' variety and simply choose not to hang out in school, or not hang out at all, preferring to meet their other like-minded female friends. Yinyin has pointed out that indeed, there aren't that many all-girls groups around in school, so maybe many of them either shun school to stay homey, or perhaps they do have all-girls groups but they hang out only outside of school sipping their tazo chai teas or fussing over Manolo Blahniks'. And since all-girls groups don't quite count in what we're looking at here, all these things factor in to make up the excess girls' numbers.

A branch-out point from this is that probably the reason why sometimes social groups in university hostels and JC may exhibit groups that have a higher proportion of girls than guys is that these situations most likely do not have a choice factor involved from the start. Often, in JC, your social group is your class and when you stay in hall, you have to hang out with the people who live there, so you lan lan (but well this would probably be a good thing for normally hot-blooded boys). Thus perhaps when the situation, where there is already a higher proportion of ladies to men, dictates the outcome of groups formed, then the reverse may be true. However, it is important to note that the groups we are talking about here are often formed with quite a high degree of choice and decision-making involved.

Back to the case of the supposed female surplus that never happened. Of course, there may be many other reasons for where the excess girls end up if places with a higher population of females counterintuitively produce groups that have a higher proportion of males. These probables presented are not exhaustive.

So in essence, when you remove the all-guys groups and the all-girls groups, and focus specifically on groups that comprise of both sexes, indeed it is noticeable that the proportion of males outweigh the females, and I have presented what I think are the reasons.

Haha maybe I'm just motivated to figure out why by the fact that the female fraction of my social group never grows, which led on to me noticing this trend in many other social groups as well. What more in a school like SMU; I'm just going, "seriously, where have all the ladies gone?"

As a guy, this is so lamentable. :\

Only in America can a homeless combat veteran live in a cardboard box whilst a draft dodger lives in the White House.

Audio Candy:
Our Lady Peace - Innocent


Agagooga said...

I see all-girl groups much more than all guy or guy-girl groups.

And girls socialise easily: I've observed 2 complete strangers talk like best friends within 10 minutes

Jose said...

My comparison here is defined within those of mixed gender groups, and well, up til now in fact (2 weeks after the post) I'm still seeing it that there are more male-dominant groups than female-dominant groups (in terms of population).

I won't dispute that there are more all-girl groups than any other types of social groups. After all, girls are technically more social creatures than guys.

However, throw in guys into the equation, and things turn out surprisingly different. Which was what prompted me to ponder and find out more about it anyway.

I don't really have much to say regarding the girls you saw who became best friends after 10 minutes though. But I've kinda verified the thing about girls needing more time to form bonds in order to communicate with many of my female friends. While they never explicitly thought about it, they did agree on hindsight that it's quite true. Hahar. Maybe you might wanna query your gal pals to verify this? Because otherwise it's just one case - they could be REALLY sociable or of male-personality kinda girls.