Are boys more likely to have dedicated hobbies than girls?

When I was in school in the 80s and early 90s, most boys had a “thing” they did. Maybe it was football, or they were computer geeks, or they played guitar 4 hours a day. While most girls concentrated on fitting in and having friends and developing their social life. Many boys would be so into their hobbies that they didn’t have much of a social life except with those who shared those interests.

Are there any studies on whether boys are more prone to getting hardcore into an intellectual or physical hobby, such as computers, sports, music, gaming, etc.?

What counts as an “intellectual or physical hobby”?

If you think that, say, painting miniatures or model airplanes counts as a hobby but learning makeup techniques does not, or woodworking counts as a hobby but cooking does not, or arcade gaming counts as a hobby but clothes shopping does not, then you’re probably going to conclude that boys on average are more into hobbies than girls are.

That’s where the “dedicated” comes in. Is the purpose of the hobby an end in itself, or is it to improve your social life? To use the makeup example, if a person is really into makeup because they are fascinated by the subject, it’s different from if the person is learning how to use makeup so they can be prettier and improve their social standing. In other words, do you dedicate so much of your life to your hobby that it makes it hard to fit in outside groups of people who share the same passion?

How would you tell? Most people who are involved with any activity (that isn’t strictly solitary) tend to spend a lot of time with other people involved in that activity.

Why is the “boy” activity such as playing videogames called a “hobby”, while the “girl” activity such as hanging around together practicing makeup techniques is called “having a social life”? Why aren’t the makeup-practicing girls described as “hard to fit in” with the videogame-playing boys, as well as vice versa?

If clothes shopping is a serious “hobby” then so is smoking cigarettes.

If the girls are getting together to practice makeup techniques, then it’s a hobby. if the girls are getting together to get together and happen to do makeup, then it’s not.

Take athletes for example. When athletes get together to play ball, or to work out, that’s pursuing their hobby together. When athletes get together to drink beer or stuff geeks into lockers, that’s pursuing a social life.

As someone who has become heavily immersed in a local makerspace, you would be amazed how eclectic a bunch can be very social. Die hard woodworkers and manual machinists, pottery and glass artists all sitting around yapping with a few folks from the arduino and robotics groups that just finished their respective meetups.

One night A guy who makes skateboards was sitting with one of our welders learning how to create lichtenburg figures in wood.

Rather than derail the discussion by debating what is a hobby and what is not a hobby, I would rather rephrase.

It appears that boys generally engage in recreational activities to the detriment of (or possibly, in preference to) their social relationships. Do girls also engage in recreational activities which are detrimental to or in preference to their social relationships to the same degree?
Phrased this way, it boils down to “are girls more social than boys”. And anecdotally I think the answer is yes. Any recreational activity can have social aspects. You can join a Sudoku club if you like. But many boys don’t seem to seek out such social groups for their recreational activities, whereas girls do. Not all boys, though - think about anime clubs or whatever. Watching TV is pretty much as solitary an activity as you can get, but some people (both boys and girls) do form social groups around such solitary activities, and lord knows those anime clubs are full of boys.

Girls are more social than boys and there is a evolutionary aspect to it, just dont ask for a cite. I heard it on the radio and if you want a cite because it interests you go and look for it yourself.

The programme mentioned the reason. Men had to hunt. To become social and talk during a hunt was detrimental to a successful hunt as silence was paramount. When men hunted, women cooked in the villages. That was a social activity that needed much chatting and exchange of information in the verbal sense.

So after million years, jen who dont hunt stay silent with their own hobbies. Women havnt stopped talking.

I don’t think I ever met anyone in high school who was so into football or guitar that they could only associate with other football players or guitarists. I knew computer geeks who didn’t have many friends, but I think that has more to do with the “geek” aspect than the “computer” aspect.

I wouldn’t say that a football jock couldn’t have other friends, but they do tend to hand out mainly with one another off the field. Musicians are a little rarer than geeks or jocks so probably can’t avoid hanging out with non-musicians(which is probably why I had a couple of musician friends), but they also tend to have the least time, period. Following an artistic muse can consume a person. I’ve noticed that women pick up a guitar because they want to be able to compose and play their music, but guys will pick up a guitar because they want to get really awesome at the guitar and practice intensively for years. Most of the greatest guitar players started at a very young age and practiced for hours a day. And much as in computer science, it’s a male dominated profession. Women only really have parity in music in singing, which is why since about the 2000s the industry finally gave up on “girl bands” and moved more towards female-fronted bands instead. Tons of amazing female singers, not so many amazing female guitarists, keyboardists, bass players, or drummers. And my hypothesis is that that comes from women tending to learn instruments for a more utilitarian purpose(so they can perform their songs) than men do(learning an instrument for its own sake).

There’s a lot of this sort of “evolutionary psychology” speculation (sometimes known as “Just So Stories”) floating around in attempts to explain observed cultural phenomena. It should be noted that very little of it is backed up by hard data.

In particular, the common notion that male-only hunting was a major factor in the lives of early humans is questioned by researchers:

:dubious: All of which ass-extracted speculation completely falls to the ground when we consider, for example, gender disparities in other types of instrumental study, such as certain orchestral instruments like violin and flute, which tend to be dominated by girls. Girls aren’t studying classical violin and piano (in many cases with obsessive dedication) in order to “perform their own songs”.

Likewise, if we count reading as a hobby (which definitely tends to be more solitary than social), that’s something that girls do more than boys. But when we see a girl reading a book, we’re less likely to think “hobby” than when we see a boy playing videogames.

I’m not in any way intrinsically against the notion that there may be significant group differences among girls and boys in engagement with hobbies. I’m just saying that we need to be careful to account for ubiquitous cultural gender stereotypes that tend to interpret boy behavior as automatically more interesting or aspirational or adventurous/exploratory than girl behavior.

This is a really bad example. Guitarists almost invariably become famous because they are in famous bands. Other than a very few (Yngwie comes to mind) guitarists don’t transcend the fame of their bands.

Chris DeGarmo was unquestionably the driving force behind Queensryche during the band’s heyday, but even people who consider themselves metalheads are unlikely to be able to name anyone in the band other than Geoff Tate. David Lee Roth wasn’t a very good singer, but he’s more famous than Eddie though the latter totally transformed the way American rock bands sounded.

Well, most of what I’m saying is just observation in my limited part of the world. That’s why I wanted to know if there were any studies on the issue.

How so? Clothes shopping was my hobby for many years. Among the elements of that hobby:

  • Reading a variety of magazines and website to obtain ideas for what clothing was in style and what pieces I might want to add to my collection.

  • Visiting numerous stores to browse clothing options or search for individual items I needed (often for as much as 5-6 hours at a time).

  • Maintaining inventory lists of my clothing separated by category and indicating designer, item type, fabric, color, etc.

  • Spending 2-4 hours every weekend planning out outfits, complete with shoes and jewelry, that I then recorded on a system of cards to have available for future wearing (this is one aspect of my hobby that still continues – I am currently wearing an outfit off a card, and have already received three compliments this morning).

  • Planning special shopping excursions with friends or family for sales or celebratory events months in advance, using vacation from work.

I can’t imagine anyone putting that kind of time and effort into cigarette smoking.

Not sure about studies, but these two recent threads on loosely related topics bring out some points.

One of the points made is boys/men are more obsessive than girls/women. So there’s greater tendency for dedication/specialization in one or two things rather than more omnivorous activities.

Note also that a lot of these elements are similar to the activities of people who collect and display rare or specialized items of one sort or another.

A man who creates and curates a collection of, say, antique lightbulbs or baseball cards or Star Wars figurines is routinely described as pursuing a hobby. A woman who does the same for a collection of, say, clothes or shoes is not.

Again, the “cigarette smoking” comparison is typical of the dismissiveness towards women’s activities inculcated by traditional gender stereotypes. When men shop for stuff, it’s a “hobby”, a deliberate engagement with acquiring objects of interest to them. When women shop for stuff, it’s a mindless addiction like cigarette smoking.

Shopping can be part of a hobby, but not a hobby in itself. Shopping is more often a social activity, often done with friends, and often not done if friends are not available. What SpoilerVirgin describes is a passion for clothing and fashion which is certainly a serious hobby, and one which boys engage in too(although girls probably a lot more).

Even smoking can be a passion if you’re so into it that you try all kinds of different tobaccos and want to learn about the process of growing it and such. Haven’t really met many tobacco smokers with that kind of an interest,but you do sometimes see it with marijuana enthusiasts. The reason tobacco smoking is often regarded with such derision is precisely because people start doing it as a social activity, not out of any partcular interest in what isn’t really justifiable on any level. It’s not a drug that anyone would consider fun or mind altering. It just sometimes gets associated with being “grown up” so teens, ever eager to rush into adulthood, usually their stupid caricature of what adulthood means, take it up.

It’s also worth noting that kids tend to pull their casual friends from their own gender. This means that for a boy, the “social” girls are likely the only ones that are visible, whereas the asocial boys are still at least vaguely on their radar.

The fact men can convert the chore of face shaving into a life-consuming hobby pretty well says men are hard-wired to obsessive hobbification of damn near anything regardless of its merits as entertainment be that group or solo.