Study reveals gender bias of prospective parents

A Queen's University study has found that when people think about having children, men want boys and women want girls.

"Gender neutrality - a lack of preference - is now a standard cultural norm embraced within most wealthy like Canada," says Lonnie Aarssen, a Queen's biology professor and co-author of the study. His results, though, reveal a strong , despite the researchers' prediction that they would find evidence of a well-established contemporary culture of gender neutrality.

As a way of explaining these findings, Dr. Aarssen says the results are consistent with the notion that people have a strong intrinsic desire to leave something of themselves behind, a "meme", for the future. "Our results show that men today envision this through sons while women visualize it through daughters."

Historically, Dr. Aarssen says both men and women indicated a strong preference for sons, and this has evolutionary roots connected with the fact that males have a nearly limitless capacity to father future and advance the family line. "Now that women are empowered like never before in history, they are free to anticipate and realize their vision for legacy, expressly through opportunities now more widely available to their own gender," he says.

The study was published in the Open Journal.


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Dec 19, 2011
"Historically, Dr. Aarssen says both men and women indicated a strong preference for sons, and this has evolutionary roots connected with the fact that males have a nearly limitless capacity to father future offspring and advance the family line."

I always found that weird. The ability of men to impregnate one woman after another should mean that we're expendable.

You have 1 man and 9 women and you can get 9 babies (assuming no twins) in a 9 month period.

You have 9 men and 1 woman and you have 1 woman pregnant a year, and the males are more likely to kill each other fighting for her too.

Having more women is better for growing the species faster, so it's funny that ancient peoples wanted more sons. They were just creating problems for themselves.

Dec 19, 2011
Having more women is better for growing the species faster, so it's funny that ancient peoples wanted more sons. They were just creating problems for themselves.


There is a historical, religious reasoning behind that, but you'd need to be pretty familliar with the theology of Judaism and Christianity.

According to historical, traditional interpretation of Genesis 3,15, God promised a MALE redeemer.

So naturally, all of the decendants of "Noah", particularly of the lineage of "Shem," (including both the mid-east and far east,) would have known of this story orally, even if they later branched into different tribes.

Clearly, anyone who believed in this would have wanted THEIR child to be this redeemer, and so naturally, they all wanted sons.

You can even see this elsewhere in the Bible such as in the story of Rachel and Leah, and as well Hannah and Peninah, where they are seen to be "competing" to bear the most sons.

Dec 20, 2011
There is a historical, religious reasoning behind that, but you'd need to be pretty familliar with the theology of Judaism and Christianity.

I'm very familiar with Christian theology, so its pretty obvious to me that the flood story is a rehashing of bronze age Mesopotamian myths. Geology confirms this.
That aside, folks historically wanted boys because they were financial assets, girls were seen as liabilities.
I think it might just be psychological. We want our kids to be just like us, so men want sons, women want daughters.

Dec 28, 2011
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