Are Parental Hopes Gender Neutral? Ask Google

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Originally posted on October 21, 2014.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz uses aggregate data from Google to see if parents’ hopes for their children are gender-neutral. He reports that, actually, many parents seem eager to have smart sons and slender, beautiful daughters. You can see this for yourself (heads-up to teachers:  a cool in-class demonstration here). Google (with quote marks) and note the number of results:

  • “Is my daughter gifted”
  • “Is my son gifted”
  • “Is my son overweight”
  • “Is my daughter overweight”

As an example, here’s another pair I just tried (the OR commands a Boolean search of either version):


About the Author
David Myers has spent his entire teaching career at Hope College, Michigan, where he has been voted “outstanding professor” and has been selected by students to deliver the commencement address. His award-winning research and writings have appeared in over three dozen scientific periodicals and numerous publications for the general public. He also has authored five general audience books, including The Pursuit of Happiness and Intuition: Its Powers and Perils. David Myers has chaired his city's Human Relations Commission, helped found a thriving assistance center for families in poverty, and spoken to hundreds of college and community groups. Drawing on his experience, he also has written articles and a book (A Quiet World) about hearing loss, and he is advocating a transformation in American assistive listening technology (see