If enacted patterns of gender differences in social behavior do not result simply from stable sex differences in individual dispositions, then the gendered nature of men’s and women’s social behaviors must be affected by the social contexts in which they are acting. The evidence confirms this. Since we were speaking of sex differences in aggressiveness, consider a study by psychologists Jennifer Lightdale and Deborah Prentice (1994). These researchers measured college men’s and women’s aggressiveness by their willingness to drop bombs in an interactive video game. When participants completed the video game measure in a social context in which they knew their behavior was monitored by others, the men were significantly more aggressive than the women. But when participants completed the same measure anonymously, there were no significant sex differences in aggression, and women were actually slightly more aggressive than men.
Cecilia Ridgeway, Framed by Gender: How Gender Inequality Persists in the Modern World (via bkwrmballerina)