Yesterday I had a interesting discussion on Twitter about male and female brains. I have to say it is very hard to have an interesting discussion using 140 character chunks of text when half of the 140 characters consists of Twitter IDs. I couldn’t really say what I wanted to say, so I’m going to look at the question of male and female brain similarity or otherwise in a little more than 140 characters.
I lied. I’m not going to look at the question of are there or are there not physiological, hormonal or other differences. I am going to ask and consider the question of why does it matter?
Rightly or wrongly, yesterday I was left with the impression people tended to feel if the research, showing male and female brains are not only different but also used differently, are right, then in some way it was feared this could be used to undermine equality of the sexes.
That is the bit that stumps me. Why does it matter? We happily acknowledge male and female genitals are different. We happily accept there are hormonal differences. Women aren’t all rushing out wanting to grow beards (until forced to at a certain age) as far as I know. Why would anyone find differences in the brain a threat?
I am not going to provide a list of references for both sides of the argument. There are many, many out there and no matter what links I provide, someone will have others! Research both sides of the debate yourself! 😛
What I AM interested in discussing is why this fear and what opportunities may we miss for the development of the species if we deny any difference, assuming for a moment it exists? Custom designed education, for example, is one potential issue to be considered that I read about.
NOTHING I read suggested either brain was superior. Studies have shown males and females use their brains differently as well: the end result being the same levels of intelligence – just different cognitive processes.
It was suggested to me that supporting the theory of gender differences in the brain was as bad as supporting the old theory of differences between the brains in different races. I’m not sure if that person knows the genetic composition of my family, but perhaps not. I decided not to interpret that observation as a personal dig at me, but rather the person’s genuine belief in her stance. Possibly the rationale was “How can she [i.e. me] possibly believe this when she doesn’t believe the race thing?” Well, because to me they are entirely different questions!
I don’t see the two debates as being similar at all. There are very distinct fundamental biological differences between males and females. The brain is the CPU of the human body. Quite apart from any scientific evidence, it is logical to me to think if a body does different things, then maybe, just maybe, the CPU is “programmed” differently too.
We did agree to disagree in the end with the comment scientific evidence appeared to be inconclusive. I think I just couldn’t find the right reference in the internet! 😉 😆
The question for discussion is, why might people fear brains being “gender aligned”? Do you?
- Equality does not mean sameness
- Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal (added December 3, 2013 – The Guardian)