Thursday, November 24, 2011

Which door can I take?

Earlier this semester, in our Sociology class, our professor, Geoff Harkness, showed us a video of a sociology experiment that was done in the US. Watch below:

I thought if this experiment was done here in Doha, Qatar no one would conform and we would most likely have different results. On the other hand, our professor had a different hypothesis, where he believed people would conform.

So I went out and actually did the experiment as one of my assignments. I placed “ladies only” and “men only” signs on the Carnegie Mellon building doors here in Qatar. Here are my results:

I thought of many different reasons to why people acted in this manner. One of which is that here in the Middle East, specifically in Qatar, there is a stereotype that women are more oppressed and can’t always do what they wish on doing. So when they saw such signs in Education City, a space with six different American universities, they were disappointed and angry. Instead of being able to express themselves in their universities, they had to deal with the cultural restrictions there too.

Whereas for the men, I believe that the men acted out this way as a sign of masculinity. They refused to walk into the “ladies only” door and confidently walked into the “men only” one. We don’t see any of the men acting out on the experiment as being something they disapprove of. However, in minute 2.47, we see how this young man refuses to be pulled in to the ladies only door and forcefully walk into the “right” door, dragging the lady with him.

Our professor pointed out an interesting fact too, women happen to cross gender boundaries more often than men do. An example of that is, imagine a “man’s” sport, like football- that is usually accepted and women won’t get as many negative sanctions as a man, let’s say, doing ballet- now, THAT is out of the ordinary.

I would love to hear what other people think of this, please share any thoughts on why you think people here didn’t conform to this like they did in the US.

1 comment:

  1. I think that most people walked into the closer door, a big number seemed to only notice the signs after passing through, I would personally do that myself. As to the men not wanting to walk in through the female only door I do agree, I think that applies to men with the "muscular" complexity though and does not apply to all men.

    In General, that's one interesting experiment!

    VCU Alum.


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