Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Tyranny of the Minority? Sex Ratios on College Campuses

Although it never quite lands on it explicitly, an article in today's Sunday Styles section of the NYT, "The New Math on Campus" by ALEX WILLIAMS is all about the social effects of proportions. The article looks at the effect of skewed sex ratios on American college campuses on heterosexual dating; at issue is what happens when 60+ percent of the student body is female.

The ideas in the article are reminiscent of theories about the effects of number and proportions in Simmel, Blau, and Kanter. Interesting observations on how proportions interact with culture (and maybe gender differences) to give the minority men excess power in the dating scene. Might make an interesting paper to compare the kinds of power women had when they were the minority to the kinds that men have in that position.

Also mentioned, though only in passing, is recent legal investigation of colleges that might be discriminating against women by adjusting admissions standards to recruit more men. See also a column in Inside Higher Ed here, and a piece from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Article is also interesting for what's not included. What do you think?

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