Hey ladies — the planets are aligning.
For decades, women have been the strongest consumers of astrology. Flip open popular women's magazines like Elle, Cosmopolitan or Marie Claire and you'll find delicately detailed horoscope sections, guiding women on the best times to find love, save money and achieve career success. The most famous astrologer in the world is Susan Miller, whose audience includes celebrities and the fashion world (she also has a column in Elle).
Research also shows that women actually tend to believe in astrology more than men. But why is that? Oddly enough, the answer might actually be the result of entrenched sexism.
Cafe Astrology is brimming with free articles, features, interpretations, and tools that will appeal to people with a casual interest in learning Astrology, as well as beginning through advanced students of Astrology. The site is run by astrologer Annie Heese.
See also: Women, You Don't Have to Be Loud to Be Good Leaders
According to psychologists H.J. Eysenck and D.K.B. Nias, astrology is defined as: “The study that deals with the connections believed to exist between the positions of the planets at the moment of someone’s birth and that person’s character, development, profession, marriage and general life history.”
Invented by the Babylonians in the second millenium B.C., according to author James H. Holden in his book A History of Horoscopic Astrology, it was practiced by literate 'wise men' of the society. Aside from identifying good and bad omens, astrology was also used to conduct exorcisms and appease various gods, Holden writes.
Today, fans of astrology use horoscopes to find out what is going to happen in their immediate life. Will they meet their soulmate soon? Can their friends be trusted? Should they buy the new iPhone?
Anyone can easily read a horoscope online, in a magazine or in a newspaper. Astrologer appointments can be arranged. Googling the phrase 'Free astrology report' surfaces more than 700,000 results.
All this, despite the fact that astrology has been largely shunned by the scientific community.
Dr. Gad Saad, a marketing professor at Concordia University and an evolutionary behavioral science expert, tells Mashable that astrology fails first and foremost because it cannot be tested. You can't prove that it works, or doesn't work.
'It’s like saying ‘It’s your destiny,’' he says in an interview. 'How do we falsify the concept of destiny?'
Modern astrology rests heavily on something called the Barnum Effect, he says. It's when people read a general statement or description that can slickly apply to their personal lives. Phrases like 'You will soon experience happiness' could technically be in your horoscope, but could also apply to millions of people.
'There would have to be a person who was given that astrological prediction who never experiences happiness forever more in their future for it to be falsified,' Dr. Saad says. 'You can’t falsify it — it's just nonsense.'
However, predictions like this appeal to humans because they show us patterns in the world. We are naturally pattern-seeking animals, Dr. Saad explains. The world is scary and complex, and anything the helps us deal with that is a welcome comfort — even if it isn't scientific.
Chinese Horoscope According to the Chinese Astrology Stem-Branch Calendar, 2021 is Xinchou year of the Ox. It comes after the Year of Metal Rat 2020 and is followed by the Year of Water Tiger 2022. The Chinese New Year of 2021 falls on February 12. You chinese astrology.
Approximately one in four Americans believes in astrology, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center poll. This figure grew slightly over the years, as a 2013 poll from Harris Interactive of 2,250 Americans showed 29% of people believe in astrology. However, a gender divide exists — according to a 2005 Gallup poll, about 28% of women believe in astrology, compared to 23% of men.
If astrology has a universal appeal toward all people, what's with the slant toward women? Well, according to polls and scientific research, women tend to believe more in the unproven and the supernatural than men. A 2009 Gallup poll, showed women are twice as likely as men to see a fortuneteller or psychic. They also tend to be more religious.
This could be considered a side effect of a male-dominated society. Dr. Phil Zuckerman, an author and sociology professor at Pitzer College, writes in Psychology Today that since men tend to globally dominate roles associated with power and privilege, women accept the 'psychological comfort and institutional support of religion.'
For a more scientific dive, Dr. Saad speculates that, like with religion, women subscribe to astrology more because of an external locus of control.
The 'locus of control' is a psychological concept that defines how much power people have over what happens in their lives. Someone with an external locus of control would believe they don't have much control over what happens; they succumb to fate. Someone with an internal locus believes they control their own life events.
'If women on average score higher than men on external locus of control, that is likely to be the mechanism that is driving why women believe in astrology more,' Dr. Saad explains.
Though he was theorizing, research shows that women statistically tend to be more external.
'The person who has an internal locus of control would not believe this nonsense,' Dr. Saad explains. 'They wouldn’t believe something in the sky is what’s determining whether they find love, or find Fido their lost dog, or get married tomorrow.'
Blogger Nicole A. Murray writes that scientific research like this and statistical polls have paved the way for astrology to be heavily marketed toward women. For example, if you want to look at a horoscope on The Huffington Post, you have to go to the Women's Voices section.
'By placing the horoscope section squarely in the Women’s Voices section of their site, [HuffPo] is reinforcing stereotypes that women are interested in pseudoscience and woo, not hard science and experiment; candles and palm reading instead of data and hard decision making,' she writes.
Murray is not the first woman to feel unfairly targeted by the female-leaning branding of astrology, and she won't be the last. Heavy-handed marketing seems to skews toward women, despite the fact not all believe in it.
Maybe it's time to rebrand astrology. But not right now — Mercury is in retrograde.