Blame it on the cavemen.

Posted by September Blue Friday, 28 August 2009

Men prefer websites designed by men, says the Telegraph:

The differences spring from our caveman ancestors, said Gloria Moss, a specialist in human resources.

Our caveman ancestors being, of course, very interested in web design. 'Thog not hunt mammoth! You hunt mammoth. Thog busy trying to add animated 'Under Construction' GIF to Lascaux cave paintings right now.'

See, this is what annoys me about this evolutionary psychology gender stuff. It is always so self-evidently bullshit, and yet somehow beginning said bullshit with the words 'our caveman ancestors' is enough to get it reprinted everywhere with an editorial straight face. Behold:

Men prefer to design and use websites that use dark colours, straight lines, little detail, prominent and regular typography and which look three-dimensional.

They also prefer sites with moving objects, machines, tall buildings, violent themes, male figures and caricatures. Women prefer rounded lines, more colour and detail, unusual typography, static objects, low rise buildings, female figures and smiling faces.

Leaving aside for now the fact that these sound like some hellishly ugly websites, how does this even make sense? Men prefer websites with little detail, while simultaneously preferring websites with 'moving objects, machines, tall buildings, violent themes, male figures and caricatures'. Also, men prefer to look at tall buildings while women prefer to look at low-rise buildings, because our cavemen ancestors had very strong ideas about who should get to live in skyscrapers. What the hell, honestly.

Also, 'Stone Age' is a fairly vague term, especially if you're going to talk about that being 'when humans lived in hunter-gatherer communities.' Palaeolithic, hunter-gatherers, Ice Age. Neolithic, invention of farming, agriculture-based communities. Geocities, much later (although sometimes still described as Stone Age). Development of various forms of human society over the past million years, actually quite complex.

And... typography. Typography. You would think that, given this article is talking about fonts invented within living memory, given that there was no typographic anything back in the Ice Age, given that the whole idea of printing was invented so recently that it's hardly any time at all in the history of our species, that surely there cannot be any way at all in which 'women like Comic Sans more than men do' can be blamed on our distant ancestors. Surely there's no way to argue nature over nurture when nature doesn't even apply. Surely.

But, no.


  1. Francofou Says:
  2. Now don't be so emotional; your inner cavewoman is showing.

  3. Sisyphus Says:
  4. Oooh, the evo-psych people are sooooo annoying! It's like they're not even trying to do a good job, but as long as their shit upholds the status quo and makes it sound inevitable, it doesn't matter.