Many people reluctant to switch genders even for a short period of time:study
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
FREDERICTON — Men and women may talk about how the other half has it made, but a recent study suggests only 56 per cent would grab a chance in the opposite sex's body for even one week.
A study by two University of New Brunswick researchers and a Fredericton community member also shows that only about 30 per cent of the 209 participants would choose to be born again as a member of the opposite sex.
About two thirds of participants say they'd try the change out for a day and 65 per cent would cross the gender line for an hour.
"The thing I found a little surprising was that there was a … substantial minority who didn't want the experience for even an hour or a day, even though nobody would know," said Sandra Byers, chair of the psychology department at UNB Fredericton, in an interview.
Byers, PhD candidate Kaitlyn Goldsmith and Amanda Miller published their findings this month in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.
There were 107 men and 102 women in the study, with no participants identifying as transgender, answering questions on whether they would change genders and why. They had roughly the same willingness to change genders.
Participants were told nobody would know they had switched to the opposite sex, eliminating embarrassment or fear of family reactions as a factor.
One of the major reasons for the decision on the switch hinged on how open the participant was to having a significant new experience.
"There was a group ... that tends to say, 'If it ain't broke don't fix it ... I'm not curious, I'm not interested,'" said Byers.
There were also men and women that gave reasons that were based on gender stereotypes, where they would make blanket statements about the opposite sex and the way it behaves.
"Their assumption was that if you were reincarnated as another gender you would automatically adopt all of those qualities you don't like about the other gender," she said.
"It taps into implicit assumptions about gender that are hard to get at."
Byers said this illustrates some sexist views still exist in terms of stereotypes about men and women, contrasting with other research where participants often won't openly admit these sexist views.
The researcher said that some men indicated that one of the attractions they had towards becoming a woman is that it permits a wider range of behaviour.
"Women have more role flexibility in our society. The range of acceptable behaviour for women... in dress even, is much wider for women than men," she said.
"Some men feel constrained and are interested in having a bit more flexibility in their lives."
The age range in the on-line study was 19 to 68 and included Canadians and Americans.
— By Michael Tutton in Halifax
Follow @mtuttoncporg on Twitter.