Posted on April 13, 2019
The most surprised thing I have learned is that stereotype of women being lesser than man in chess can psychologically affect women. When a woman plays against a woman, they perform better than when a woman play against a man. The stereotype causes women to lose confidence in themselves. In article, “Are Girls Bad at Chess?”, the author Daisy Grewal talks about “stereotype threat” and she defines as “..a phenomenon in which a person experiences anxiety because of the fear of confirming a negative stereotype.” Researchers have found that “stereotype threat” can cause a person to perform poorly than one would expect to. The author gives an example of the stereotype threat, where women make more mistakes in math when they were reminded of stereotype that men are better at math and science.
In the article, it also mentions that stereotype causes “shy away” from those specific activities. If a woman felt the stereotype threat in math for example as a young girl, she will avoid the math oriented career. Rothgerber and Wolsifer, psychologists researched on female chess player to find out that was case in chess as well. They found out that as the months passed female chess players competed in fewer number of tournaments. Female chess player also waited longer to compete in the next tournament unlike the male chess players. Male chess players’ decision to compete in the next tournament don’t have anything to do with how they perform at the current tournament. However, when a girl performs poorly, they tend to back-off from playing in the next tournament due to the stereotype threat. They are at the risk of giving up chess at that point, which explains why they are fewer women who play chess.
My thinking haven’t really changed about my topic between writing my I-Search Essay and now. But now, I know fewer women chess, not only because women were suppressed by men throughout the history when it came to chess. But now social anxiety and stereotype threat are putting women behind. They are being affected at a psychological level.