Why is it that men seem more into UFOs and conspiracy theories whereas women tend to favour ghosts and psychics?
A recent wideranging article on the BBC website describes a UFO conference and briefly mentions the phenomenon:
The predominant demographic is older men. But somewhere between a quarter and a third of Bufora attendees look under 30 and a similar proportion are female.
You can’t have an active interest in these topics without noticing that women tend to flock to psychic nights in greater numbers whereas UFO conferences tend to have a clear male bias.
The Unexplained Mysteries website claims:
research has indicated that belief in various paranormal topics differs between men and women.
While both genders tend to believe in paranormal topics the key difference is in which ones. Teacher and researcher Kylie Sturgess found that women were more likely to believe in astrology, psychics and ghosts whereas men are more predisposed to believe in aliens, cryptozoological creatures and conspiracy theories.
“Women are more likely to be at the ‘social’ end of paranormal beliefs,” said Sturgess. “They’re more likely to believe in things like mediums, astrology, psychic healing, and ghosts. Men, for instance, are more likely than women to believe in the alien astronaut theories of Erich von Daniken, and more cryptozoological things like the Loch Ness monster.”
Furthermore, according to an article written early last year in The Sydney Morning Herald (which Unexplained Mysteries uses as a source):
Studies have also shown that men are also more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, creationism and the notions of historical revisionists, while women are more likely to believe in telepathy and New Age theories.
Sturgess has completed a masters dissertation based on a survey that she and her research partner, Professor Martin Bridgstock of Griffith University, conducted on the paranormal beliefs of 1243 Australians across Queensland.
One of the more interesting things she found during the course of her research is that the belief that the September 11 terrorist attacks were an inside job is on the wane. Sturgess says the release of the official 9/11 Commission Report in 2004 and the election of Barack Obama in 2008 are among the things that have contributed to a general decline in interest in the subject.
There is no concensus on the apparent male/female division of interest in these subjects. It’s still contentious to even suggest that such a demographic split exists for some people.
It’s interesting to note that the archetypal ‘magic user ‘in western society is more commonly a Witch than a Wizard. Perhaps this debate ties into the notion that women are more in tune with their ‘supernatural abilities’ than men. I can’t be the only person who has been told anecdotally that this is why society tends to oppress the feminine!
On the other hand I’ve always struggled to understand why there should be such a male bias towards interest in UFO’s/Conspiracy theories. Perhaps it’s because those subjects often involve a masculine crusader like pose and the archetypal ‘defender of society’ is a distinctly male Knight in shining armour.
The debate continues.