Venus vs. Mars

Excerpts of a typically excellent post at Public Discourse, “Women, Abortion, and the Brain“:

Women’s brains are, of course, in many fundamental ways the same as men’s. Men and women think and reason in similar ways. But recent research shows that there are some significant differences in the brain and brain-related psychology of the two sexes. And a few of these differences can make a very large difference with regard to decision-making and its emotional consequences.

The part of the brain that processes emotion, generally called the limbic system, of women functions differently than that of men. Women experience emotions largely in relation to other people: what moves women most is relationships. Females are more personal and interpersonal than men. (Differences show up as early as a day after an infant’s birth: newborn baby girls look at faces relatively more than boys, who focus more on moving robotic figures.) There is wide consensus among scientists and researchers on this fundamental issue.

Recent research has also studied the ways in which males and females cope with stress. Whereas men’s behavior under stress is generally characterized by what is called “fight or flight,” women respond to stress by turning toward nurturing behavior, nicknamed “tend and befriend.”

Men’s and women’s brains also work differently in handling memory and memories. Men are more apt to recall facts of all kinds, on the one hand, and a global picture of events, on the other. By contrast, women remember people (for example, faces), details of all kinds, and emotion-laden narratives—and they may return to them obsessively.

I am only passingly familiar with the research that supports these observations, but they comport well with what I have seen in five decades as an adult. I offer, as just one of many possible examples, my daughter, who — untypically, for a woman — is much better with numbers than with words, and who has succeeded in the male-dominated field of investment banking. She is nevertheless strongly “feminine” in her emotions.

Radical feminists and egalitarians to the contrary, women aren’t just men with different anatomical features. There is a good case to be made for the injection of “feminine” traits into the worlds of business and politics. But there is no case to be made for enforced equality of pay or representation.

Individuals should be dealt with as individuals, not as “group members.” It is the levelers who are guilty of group bias, given their insistence that males and females are alike in their stock of mental and physical abilities — except that females are superior, of course.

Related posts:
Sexist Nonsense
Cornered by Gender?