I was talking to a friend the other day, and she mentioned the fact that she likes to read the summaries of events for the soap operas she watches that can be found in television magazines. This is not news to me – I know a fair few people who do the same thing. But as always I felt compelled to ask what, to me, is the obvious question:
“What’s the point of watching the program if you already know what’s going to happen?”
The rarity here is that I got a simple reply that started me thinking. To paraphrase, her response was something like:
“That’s such a bloke thing to say! It’s only men who are obsessed with not knowing what’s going to happen in films and TV. Us girls just aren’t as bothered – we tend to get more enjoyment out of seeing how the events unfold, rather than discovering the events as novelties in themselves.”
When I started thinking about it (which killed the conversation a bit dead, to be honest), I realised she may have a valid point. Almost all the people I know who get upset by spoilers are men – many of whom will quite purposefully not read any reviews of films or books in case their enjoyment is compromised – while the women I know tend to be quite proactive about finding out the basic framework of events in a piece of entertainment media before they actually see/hear/read it.
Now, I’m not a psychologist (nor do I play one on television), and I have no idea if this is mirrored in other spheres of human behaviour. And I’m certainly not going to make some divisive and chauvinistic generalisation about the different mindsets of men and women! But I am curious to know whether this is a case of ‘seek and ye shall find’ – in other words, me discovering evidence to fit a theory by subconscious cherry-picking – or whether this is something that anyone else has observed in their own circles of friends and colleagues.
So – are you bothered by spoilers? If so, why? What about people you know, men and women? Is there a marked demographical division here, or have I spun a correlation out of thin air and the chance comment of one person? Discuss.