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Why Aren't There Female Audiophiles?

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RayDunzl

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Maybe @ayane can provide a confirmation or rebuttal?

Did I miss anyone?
 

Tokyo_John

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It is amazing how often people misinterpret symptoms as causes, and miss the deeper underlying maladies (they will never find a cure under such circumstances). But in asking the question “why are there so few women audiophiles?” it is even worse, because the symptom itself is misstated.
 

cistercian

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I have seen serious female audiophiles on various you tube channels...but I regret to say I cannot
list them. They definitely exist though!

ETA. I was silly enough to think the topic was serious. Then I watched the video. LOL!
 
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amper42

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The reason there are fewer women audiophiles is two fold.
1. Men are trained to listen by their wives. If you don't listen you don't stay married. After you get use to listening you start to develop a desire to listen to something that's not asking you to do this or that. :D
2. Most women would rather spend money on just about anything besides audio gear which is usually classified as ugly and unnecessary. Some females believe if you spend money on audio gear you owe them something in return... They are usually more interested in redecorating, furniture, clothes or trips.

These rules are not 100% true but, the odds are highly in favor of these gender leanings. Women are much less likely than men to be interested in spending on speakers and audio gear. Most men with this hobby are either unmarried or have the confidence to assert some control over the household and budget. lol
 

dfuller

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Oh boy... That was a dumb video.

FWIW, there are. They just don't frequent communities like this because as a general rule they can be... how shall I say this nicely... rather "boy's club" like, and unwelcoming at best.

Beyond that, most of the "audiophile" types I know that happen to be women are - wait for it - working in music production. They're too busy actually making money rather than setting it on fire!
 

Beershaun

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Yep. Women Don't want to deal with jerks and assholes. That is the truth. My therapist gave me a nugget that I carry around with me for whenever I get mad about "stuff."

He said: "you have the right to get mad. Just don't expect anyone to want to be around you."
 

audio2design

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Oh boy... That was a dumb video.

FWIW, there are. They just don't frequent communities like this because as a general rule they can be... how shall I say this nicely... rather "boy's club" like, and unwelcoming at best.

I have taken abuse in a few forums for pointing out how sexist and misogynistic posts or members were. You would think this stuff is obvious in this day and age, but old bad habits die hard.
 

seedragon

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I think there's a lot to be said about the fact that audiophilia is a sharply solo endeavor and that females tend to prefer activities that involve groups--particularly groups with other females--doing things together. As an example, my daughter likes sound quality and likes to listen critically with me, but she doesn't care to listen critically by herself.
 

ayane

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Caution: Below you will find hot takes galore! (Please don't vilify me if I sound naive; I'm just rambing from my perspective.)

There are women that love audio, but it takes real gullibility to be a "classic" audiophile. Most women just are not that gullible.
I think that itself is a stereotype; I don't believe women are socially conditioned to be less skeptical. I think it's rather symptomatic of the trend for women to be socially conditioned to "not care," i.e. to subdue reactions towards things that aren't stereotypically "feminine." (I'll elaborate on this below)

I think there may be at least one more, but not everyone is explicit.
I wouldn't be surprised. This is one of the first forums that I decided to be "openly" female on, because people here seemed like more or less mature/older nerds. Younger adults tend to be worse online towards women.

Maybe @ayane can provide a confirmation or rebuttal?
I think the video is hilarious. But for a more serious answer, I don't completely buy the "hostility" argument. I think it's one of those explanations that seems to invite plenty of confirmation bias because it's a shot in the right direction. In this day and age, everyone spends some time online regardless of sex/gender. Women-oriented spaces do tend to be less hostile, but there are many hostile women-oriented spaces on the Internet too. Examples of this can be found in more mainstream social media, especially Facebook and Instagram.

I do agree that the disparity between male and female participation in this hobby is absolutely not due to biology. Rather, I think a better explanation for the lack of women audiophiles is cultural inertia. More specifically, it is an effect of something socially constructed: gender. We don't have to look too far back into history to see how rigid the expectations for women to be traditionally feminine were. While a lot of these expectations have loosened up over the past century, both legally and culturally, we still live in a world where for some reason it matters that sex and behavior remain correlated in culture. For example, audiophiles of the past were largely men. When women show interest in the field, they'll probably get discouraged due to the lack of female representation unless their nerd side overrides their desire to fit in. People tend to want to fit in and feel rather than to stand out regardless of gender, but this is even more true of women due to social expectations and social conditioning.

Audio is one of many areas where women are underrepresented. STEM fields in general, with a few notable exceptions, have historically had more male representation, for the same basic reasons. Perhaps a few generations from now, if audio still remains relevant, more women will show up in the hobby. Until then, we have to encourage more young people to be nerds - especially women - because it's really cool and being into audio is really not much different practically than being into any other hobby.

What I do agree with, though, is that - generally speaking - people in this hobby can chillax a little. It's easy to get caught up and absorbed into a hobby, but it's not worth getting worked up over it - the consequences of being wrong in this discipline aren't world-ending, after all. I used to lurk on Head-Fi and SBAF before I found ASR a few years ago, and I never participated because they seem to foster a hive-mind mentality. If there's going to be a hive-mind, let it at least be one rooted strongly in science! In that vein, ASR reminds me of nwavguy's blog much more than either of those two.

Jokes aside, I'm so happy that this place exists. Kudos to y'all and to @amirm and everyone else who makes this place comparatively hospitable. It's easy to enjoy, communicate, and learn here, and I'm really happy about the science-based approach and the laid-back culture. It's a fantastic recipe, and combined with an emphasis on effective, nonviolent communication, it can become one of the better forums on the internet.
 
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ayane

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I'm anticipating this might get brought up later, so here's my story on how I became an audiophile...

It started with wanting to collect music. I used to go vacation overseas as a kid, and I wanted to be able to listen to "foreign" music back home here in the US. I got most of my tunes as MP3 and AAC from cousins, but I eventually thought to myself that I should collect all of the music I enjoy, not just the foreign stuff. Eventually, my collection started growing pretty quickly. In high school I discovered FLAC, and that threw me into a rabbit hole of sound quality I'm never coming out of. Combined with wanting to keep a collection, being interested in sound quality and having a passion for technology in general created the perfect storm, and well, here I am!

I think it's easy to join the hobby coming from various angles, as long as an underlying interest is there.
 

Chrispy

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What, there's no basic explanation from our roots, like the male went out and about hunting and relying on hearing more than the female staying behind with the children in the caves? :)
 

Chrispy

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She said, "I have no subjectivism,
I have no objectivism,
I just dance."

Actually that's pretty close I think based on the gals I know and what they care about the hardware involved.
 

paulraphael

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What I do agree with, though, is that - generally speaking - people in this hobby can chillax a little. It's easy to get caught up and absorbed into a hobby, but it's not worth getting worked up over it - the consequences of being wrong in this discipline aren't world-ending, after all.

I suspect this is one of the major gendered differences. Men, especially when online and even slightly anonymized, really do seem to believe that the most arcane and trivial details of ... whatever ... are worth getting worked up over. When the stakes get really low, the gloves come off.

There were a couple of studies several years ago on the lack of participation of professional women in science forums. In interviews they all said that they hated the communication style and felt marginalized. The male scientists were perfectly happy to talk over each other aggressively to be heard; the female scientists just wanted out. So they became self-selecting communities, destined to turn into boys clubs. They lost the women, and along with them all of the women's ideas and potential contributions.
 

ayane

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I suspect this is one of the major gendered differences. Men, especially when online and even slightly anonymized, really do seem to believe that the most arcane and trivial details of ... whatever ... are worth getting worked up over. When the stakes get really low, the gloves come off.

There were a couple of studies several years ago on the lack of participation of professional women in science forums. In interviews they all said that they hated the communication style and felt marginalized. The male scientists were perfectly happy to talk over each other aggressively to be heard; the female scientists just wanted out. So they became self-selecting communities, destined to turn into boys clubs. They lost the women, and along with them all of the women's ideas and potential contributions.
This is an excellent point. The communication styles of men and women tend to differ, and these differences are again shaped by different social expectations/cultural norms. It can be a self-perpetuating cycle, especially if the people involved are not aware of the differences in expectations that elicit different behaviors. Perhaps learning effective communication is a starting point in order to create equity.
 

voodooless

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Women-oriented spaces do tend to be less hostile, but there are many hostile women-oriented spaces on the Internet too. Examples of this can be found in more mainstream social media, especially Facebook and Instagram.

I think this is mostly an age thing. The more mainstream younger generation (any sex and/or gender) can be mostly found on social media, while the older generation is more prone to "live" in old fashioned forums like these (if at all). When I was younger a forum like this was very hip. Next to that, social media amplifies hostility, so that behaviour is also fully socially constructed. It gives them clicks and engagement. As for the first part, I really cannot confirm nor deny that. Anecdotally, however, I've always heard that women working together are more hostile and competitive than men (and it were not men telling me this). Then again, I think audiophilia might be even special among the male-dominated hobbies when it comes to tribalism, beliefs etc. I can't imagine a sailing community having a deeply entrenched argument over a mast pole.. but what do I know :facepalm:
 
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