Ivory Towers: The dirty dozen speak out
Wednesday 18 August 1993
The research was based on questionnaire responses by 229 female and 187 male students at an American university. The questions they were asked were: 'What is the most anger- provoking behaviour a man/woman of your age could display to you?'. They were then asked to respond in a single word or phrase to all possible combinations of: 'What do you think is the worst thing a man/woman can call a man/woman?'
Analysis of the results revealed seven types of behaviour that annoy people, and twelve categories of insult. The seven rages of man (and woman) are caused by physical aggression, verbal aggression, insensitivity, condescension, hurting another person, dishonesty, and inefficiency.
The dirty dozen verbal insults are to imply that someone is: worthless, emotionally inadequate, sexually inadequate, promiscuous, homosexual, in the wrong sex role, unethical, cowardly, or conceited, with 'obscenity', 'sexist term' and 'racist term' completing the list.
While women tend to be deeply offended by insensitivity and condescending behaviour, men are more affected by seeing another man hurting someone or being rude to a woman. Both genders are considerably more tolerant of dishonesty in men than in women. When it comes to verbal behaviour, everyone agrees that it is terribly rude, whether you are a man or a woman, to call a woman 'promiscuous', but men hardly mind being accused of promiscuity at all.
Curiously, men do take offence if called homosexual although women mind far more if another woman casts doubt on their sexual orientation than if a man does so.
A summary of the table of verbal insults would suggest that the worst thing you can call a man is a worthless, limp-wristed, lily-livered (obscenity deleted), while to anger a woman, you would do better to call her a lying (obscenity deleted) slut.
The research confirms the findings of William Congreve: 'Heav'n has no rage, like love to hatred turn'd, Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd', but to annoy a man, try violence.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Chronixx interview: Reggae sensation on taking the opening spot at Glastonbury and calling Barack Obama a 'waste man'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender says showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson 'can't front ITV motoring show' due to BBC contract clause
Amy Winehouse film: Mark Ronson praises 'respectful' movie as it scores highest ever UK opening for British documentary
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts