Monday, 12 January 2015

The gender difference in attitudes to offensive speech

The good people at YouGov have just done a poll on attitudes to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Their main findings were twofold. First, a sizeable majority of the British public (69%) believe that it was acceptable for Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. And second, a slightly smaller majority of the British public (63%) believe that newspapers should now reprint the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. 

More interesting than the headline results, however, is the gender difference that the poll unearthed. Previously I have noted that, in the UK, women are much more likely to believe that offensive jokes are unacceptable. Women seem to be less tolerant of offensive speech in the US too. The chart below plots the percentages of male and female respondents (along with 95% confidence intervals, based on unweighted n's) who agreed with each of four statements pertaining to free speech. In all four cases, the male percentage is substantially higher (19-20 percentage points). 

1 comment:

  1. This rather supports my belief that we are becoming a more 'feminised' society in which people tend to base their attitudes on feelings rather than reason.