Third, non-verbal forms of social exclusion may be powerful for girls because their relationships involve high levels of intimacy and self-disclosure (see Buhrmester and Prager, 1995, for a review), thus even subtle indicators of exclusion are threatening.Fourth, non-verbal forms of social exclusion may be powerful for girls because although they fiercely desire and defend popularity with other girls, they dread being labelled as ‘stuck up’ (Merten, 1997).Not only do girls engage in more non-verbal forms of social aggression than boys do, girls dissembled more than boys do, speaking nicely but making mean faces.In the research provided by Underwood (2004) in their laboratory observation studies where they watch girls and boys in an identical social context in which best friends respond to a provoking newcomer, gender differences emerge not for the verbal behaviours, but for the nonverbal expressions of disdain and contempt (which are so glaring that they were observed with high degrees of inter-coder reliability by both women and men, kappa’s exceeding .8; Underwood et al., 2003).One who is experiencing contempt would exhibit negative affective behaviors that may be labeled as “cold” – this simply meaning that one who is experiencing the emotion of contempt would tend to alienate those responsible.
Second, girls may hurt one another via non-verbal expressions of exclusion or disdain because girls and women may gaze at others more for reasons related to their lower social status, so as to learn as much as possible about others’ needs and desires (see La France, 2002, for a discussion of ‘Smile boycotts and other body politics’, p. Because girls and women gaze at others often, perhaps mean glares are more effective as a means of wielding power.
Findings on contempt are less clear, though there is at least some preliminary evidence that this emotion and its expression are universally recognized.
Contempt requires a judgment concerning the appearance or standing of the object of contempt.
This form of regard constitutes a psychological withdrawal from the object of contempt.
Contempt can be useful to being a functioning member of the moral community.