Walking from the bus to the office this morning, I tried an experiment. Instead of shifting my shoulders to avoid walking into people, I kept them square, and walked without dodging, head up, making eye contact. I wanted to see how many people would move out of my way. I walked in a straight line, to the right side of the sidewalk (as customarily expected, since we drive on the right here, too).
I walked into four people in the 200 meters between the bus stop and the office door. Six people swerved their shoulders to avoid me. One person walked into my shoulder so hard that we bounced off each other, both of our left shoulders hitting hard enough to hurt my already injured left shoulder.
What I found of particular note is that EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO WALKED INTO ME WAS MALE. Every person who avoided me was female.
Normally, I will swerve my shoulders to avoid walking into people. I will adjust my walking away from straight ahead so that we do not walk into each other, drifting to the side. In large crowds, I will twist my shoulders to avoid contact.
I am speculating here and about to do a gross generalization, but based on my empirical evidence this morning, women do this. We will accommodate the male, and twist away to avoid contact. This is a socially acceptable practice. Women defer to men in the physical realm. (Yes, totally a gross exaggeration, not all women. give me a break, you know that is an a--hole thing to say, of course not all women, I'm talking socially acceptable practices ingrained into little girls' heads that they defer to men.)
This morning, when I didn't follow that socially acceptable practice, I was physically hurt. I did it by choice, completely worthy of an experiment's results. I find my results fascinating. Before you tell me I was an asshole for not swerving, why did none of the men swerve, but all of the women did? Was it because of my gender? Because of my size? Because of my eye contact?
I would very much like to try this again with other subjects: a small man not deferring and a large man not deferring, to start. See if physical size has something to do with these results, and not just gender. My theory is, clearly, gender bias.