A Male and a Female Each Attempt to Draw a Bicycle: An “Illustrative” Experiment in Technical Visualization

Gender stereotypes: like it or not, they are always going to exist.

What’s interesting is that for every stereotype you’ve dismissed outright when it was applied to your own gender, in your day to day life you’ve most likely seen evidence of something that is conventionally ascribed to the opposite sex; and even though you may not have vocalized your thoughts to anyone, you undoubtedly took the time to ponder if whatever it was you saw betrayed a more far-reaching implication.

Are males and females as alike as our modern “Politically Correct” teachings insist we are?

Regardless of your gender, I think it is wise to begin with a concession that hopefully everyone will agree to: of course you cannot paint males and females using only the broad strokes. Ultimately we are all individuals, shaped from an incalculable array of variables, most of which are not chosen by us, but for us.

In a lot of ways, we’re all like tie-dyed shirts, aren’t we? Simply horrible!. Heh heh. No, but seriously – try as you might, it is impossible to get the same result twice.

Naturally there are “big issues” such as varying socio-economic backgrounds, but consider something as simple as witnessing the divorce of your parents. When you’re little and something like that happens, it’s unfortunately common to see the warring parties manipulate the child’s world view using a wide variety of subtle techniques. It’s sad, but at that age, sides are chosen and the consequences can mean an upbringing devoid of a huge influence.

But I digress.

Scientifically speaking, gender difference and aptitudes exist and they are absolutely chartable. A little while ago I watched a video on a study that was done in a 5th grade classroom. Each student was given a piece of paper with two circles drawn on it and instructed to “fill in the blank” by drawing “the rest” of the bicycle. The students were told to make the drawing as detailed as possible.

The experiment was designed to test the theory that males have a natural aptitude for understanding things such as the intricacy of mechanics. In any case, the study was pretty conclusive. The boys in the classroom drew their bicycles with incredible detail, right down to the number of gears, all visible on the wheels. Most of the girls couldn’t even replicate the general shape of the bicycle’s frame, let alone the specific details.

To see if I would notice similar results, at work today I decided to try a one-off experiment with a female intern: Stacie.

It was Friday after all, and she had put in a solid week of work, so I decided to reward her with something a little more informal. I stopped by her desk with two sheets of paper and two ballpoint pens. I gave no indication that this was a test, but suggested that as a change of pace, we could “just draw for a while.”

I thought it was cute when she asked if she would “get in trouble,” but I reminded her that I’m the boss and that it was perfectly okay. This seemed to put her fears to rest. I drew two quick circles on each piece of paper and explained the instructions.

“Stacie,” I said, “let’s see who can draw a more detailed picture of a bike, okay? This isn’t about making it like a photo or anything, it’s simply about the little details and knowing where they go. You have a bike, don’t you?”

“I do have a bike!” she said with a smile.

“Perfect! What I want you to do is pretend that these circles represent the bike’s wheels, then fill in ALL the details you can remember, okay?”

And so we began. When we were done, I thought the results were pretty conclusive.

FIRST, THE BIKE I DREW:

Not great, I know - but again, this was about speed and accuracy, not art.  Once I was done with the bike, I made a few improvements.

Not great, I know – but again, this was about speed and accuracy, not art. Once I was done with the bike, I made a few improvements.

AND NOW, THE BIKE STACIE DREW:

bikes_0002

I mean…WHAT?! I didn’t say to draw anything but a bike, but look what she went and did! What kind of a bike does Stacie ride, anyway? And why did she include things that weren’t even bike-related, you know? I thought the instructions were pretty clear!

(Stacie at Work)

11 comments

      1. Hey, I just noticed that you followed me, which would have made 50 followers.

        …but now I’m seeing 49.

        I’m not sure if there’s a language barrier or something, but I hope you understand that this is intended to be satirical.

        Though if you already knew that and STILL found it “offensive,” well, have a look at the title of the blog, dummy! (Spinning around in circles like a madman)

        “Wooooot!!!”

        Like

        1. Yeah I know that… I found your blog very amusing so I followed. But I saw some things that disturbed me and I don’t like that kind of treatment of people nor I consider that to go into category of satirical, it just goes into my category of “searching fo attention”. Because if you can’t be amusing without that, you are not amusing to me. That is my humble opinion.

          Plus bringing up Luis CK… maaaan, big minus, big one. 😛

          Do you watch comedy od Jon Stewart? Jimmy Fallon? Eddie Izzard? Even Dane Cook (what he used to be)?

          Like

          1. Hey can we start over?

            I want to apologize. I was thrilled that I had gained a 50th follower. But one who actively comments? Positive or critical, I don’t even care. Let me have it!

            I post every day, so you’re guaranteed to not like some of it. Even I don’t.

            But I think you’ll like what I have planned for this evening. I’m fact, I can guarantee it.

            Actually, I can’t.

            But I was hoping you’d enjoy it. : )

            Like

    1. Bruce,

      Unlike inyon up there, I too think that Stacie is a beautiful young lady, who is VERY comfortable in her own skin.

      I’d ask her about the photos you mentioned, but she actually left to pursue a more lucrative position as an actress. She now makes more than ME, her former boss, and I couldn’t be happier for her!

      Apparently it’s a spin-off of a very popular dramatic series I hadn’t heard of.

      But she told me she was going to be on a show called “Down Syndrome Abbey” or something?

      Like

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