From Lighthearted Jokes to Serious Discourse: The Evolution of ‘Girl Math’ and ‘Boy Math’

The online trend of “girl math” started as a humorous take on women’s internal calculations, but it quickly evolved into a broader conversation about gender stereotypes when “boy math” entered the scene.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: “Girl math” began as a social media trend where women shared amusing internal calculations about their daily decisions.
  • Evolution: The concept faced criticism, leading to the introduction of “boy math” which further complicated the discourse.
  • Impact: Both “girl math” and “boy math” have been used to comment on deeper societal issues, including gender roles and stereotypes.

The internet is a breeding ground for trends, and “girl math” was no exception. Originating as a light-hearted jest about the internal calculations women make, it highlighted decisions like timing hair washes with weekend plans or spending more to avail free shipping. The trend was meant to be a humorous reflection of the internal feminine logic, often amusing yet sometimes perplexing.

However, as with many online trends, the narrative soon shifted. The innocent jokes of “girl math” were criticized by some, suggesting that such humor indicated financial illiteracy or questioned women’s decision-making abilities. Brands also jumped on the bandwagon, further stretching the original intent of the trend. This led to the inevitable introduction of “boy math”, which was used to highlight stereotypical male behaviors and thought processes. Examples included men’s overconfidence in their abilities or their skewed perceptions of height. The discourse around “boy math” became less jovial, with some using it to comment on deeper societal issues.

As the conversation evolved, experts weighed in on the deeper implications of these trends. Mary Louise Adams, a sociology expert, suggested that these jokes reflect our profoundly gendered world. The humor in “girl math” might be seen as a reclamation of stereotypes, serving as a form of bonding and shared identity among women. The jokes, while humorous on the surface, could be a subtle resistance against cultural belittling of women’s habits and the age-old stereotype that women are less adept at math and technical subjects.

For Further Reading Gender Stereotypes: Deep-rooted beliefs and generalized views about genders, gender stereotypes can influence behaviors and perceptions. Historically, women have been stereotyped as being less competent in subjects like math. Such stereotypes can limit opportunities and perpetuate biases. For a comprehensive understanding, refer to the Wikipedia article on Gender Stereotypes.


What is the origin of “girl math”?
“Girl math” began as a social media trend where women humorously shared the internal calculations they make about everyday decisions, often related to their daily routines or spending habits.

How did “boy math” come into the picture?
As “girl math” faced criticism and misinterpretation, the discourse led to the creation of “boy math”, which highlighted stereotypical male behaviors and thought processes.

What do experts say about these trends?
Experts like Mary Louise Adams suggest that such trends reflect our gendered world. The humor in “girl math” might be a way for women to reclaim stereotypes, serving as a form of bonding and shared identity.

Original article source: CNN

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