Your sex doesn’t matter…..REALLY???

your sex doesn't matter

By Kenneth Justice

~One of the great things about the 20th century in Western Society is the way women were finally given more freedom and equality.

For so much of human history women were treated like second class citizens;

—)  the property of their fathers

—) commodities used by kings and landowners to trade amongst each other

—) the slaves of their husbands

The 20th century brought women’s rights to the front page and encouraged humanity to rethink our beliefs regarding women; their mind’s, their abilities, and their equal footing in society with regard to men.

Now, as we are more than a decade into the 21st century I fear that we are moving toward an equally scary place as when women were treated unjustly;

Scientists are now trying to argue that gender doesn’t matter…….REALLY???

When I was studying psychology in college one of the most difficult phases of my degree programs was the subject of gender. Textbook after textbook argued that ‘Gender is nothing more than the creation of people’.

Psychologists and Genetic Scientists want to convince us that there are no differences between women and men genetically; femininity, masculinity, and any other perceived differences are nothing more than the flawed creations of our culture.

REALLY???

I was something of a rebel in my graduating class in that I argued quite vocally that I believe there are differences between men and women and that those differences aren’t a bad thing. Just because women and men are different, it doesn’t mean men and women aren’t equal.

Somehow, scientists have gotten it into their mind that if women and men are different; than it means women are second-class citizens again……and thus geneticists and social psychologists are trying to convince us that the data points toward no differences between the genders.

Although we may like to live in a bubble and believe scientists are never influenced by their own biases; the reality of the situation is that scientists are no different than you and I. They are human and flawed, and when it comes to the subject of gender I believe their motivation to preserve equality for women (which is a good thing) is causing them to create the false equation that there are no differences between the sexes.

Consider some of these differences;

—) Females are better at interpreting facial expressions. A study by Cambridge University involving 101 babies found that new born females preferred looking at a live young woman and new born males preferred looking at a dangling mobile

—) Females are more likely to navigate using landmarks that can be seen or heard, males are more likely to use absolute directions such as north and south (Dr. Leonard Sax)

This list is endless. There are lots of differences between males and females and this is not a bad thing. It’s okay that men and are women are different; it doesn’t mean that men are better than women and it doesn’t mean women are better than men. We don’t need to get upset about it and we don’t need to print false equations in textbooks.

This has been my problem with science in recent years; too many biases are motivating the direction with which scientists are taking their various fields of study.

Bias is a dangerous thing.

—) Media bias

—) Political bias

—) Gender bias

—) Race bias

Bias can lead to discrimination, injustice, and in radical situations it can lead to war. The reality of the situation is that we are all biased in various degrees. Some of our biases are potentially good and some of our biases are potentially bad. The important thing is whether or not we are open to self-examining ourselves objectively. Are we willing to move beyond our biases…toward the truth?

Truth is a big deal for me. People who say that ‘women are not as smart as men’ are downright wrong; the evidence doesn’t support their conclusion. People who say that ‘sex doesn’t matter, there are no differences between men and women’ are downright wrong; the evidence doesn’t support their conclusion.

Rather than becoming a culture that propagates a falsehood, why not be a culture that celebrates the differences between men and women? Why not be a culture that says, ‘Yes, men and women are different but that is okay!”

Justice involves accepting the truth; that men and women are equal. But it also means we must demonstrate equality to women.

I simply want to know the truth and not live in a lie….don’t you?

Time for another cup of coffee

Kenneth

 



Categories: Culture & Society

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39 replies

  1. It is weird that differences bring out the ‘better then’ words as well. Why do we fear differences so much. (a post i am working on) That is why those biases are made. Who or what is better, a very scientific question but why fear the results.

  2. Many people are writing about how the failure of marriages are due to the differences between men and women. Although the partnership is best when the pair complement each other in strengths. Sometimes I believe that the bias instilled in each of us about the unappealing attributes of the other, interfere with our positive communications. My kids father fed, diapered, nursed, carried and taught our children equally with myself. If women want a partner that treats her equally than she had best choose wisely.

  3. We are still a long way from being there…but at least we have begun the journey.

  4. I think you’re a bit behind the times here. I read about real gender differences all the time. You even cite a couple of these kinds of studies. Dead horse?

    • Nope; not at the academically level. My degrees are all in various veins of psychology and there is a very real pressure coming from “the top” to teach gender studies in the way I presented it. Grab any current psychology textbook on gender and you’ll see that nearly 100% of the explanation for gender differences is said to be “external influences”. Thus, the scientific egg heads believe that gender is nothing more than something we teach children……obviously I do not share that view

    • Bizarre. Still, discounting psychology, there are many neurological studies demonstrating gender differences, without imputing value differences. Psych has to catch up!

    • It’s not that psychology needs to catch up….its that the field of psychology (namely the APA) has a very clear agenda they are trying to accomplish. Take for instance the fact that the APA has now become the standard for more than 70% of university essays….the MLA has been tossed to the side which is really strange; why would universities demand that students use American psychological standards for writing an English paper and not a literary organization?

    • Hmm.. I wonder. As an archaeologist, I find APA much cleaner than some MLA formats. Maybe it’s just easier because APA has only one format, reducing confusion. On gender, though, there certainly is a large component of gender that is culturally defined, and not inherent. Perhaps it’s just a confusion of which aspects we’re on about? Why does it have to be either/or?

  5. When I was younger, I used to think that there were no differences between genders. 18 years of marriage and becoming the father of two boys have certainly changed my thinking. The innate differences can be profound and it is only in appreciating the other can we be truly ourselves.

    Peace,
    W. Ockham

  6. As a woman who grew up in the company of men I can attest that men and women are different. Despite learning many traits usually attributed to men the stamp of my estrogen filled DNA shines through. I appreciate the legal freedoms now granted to me as a woman (if I was sent back in time too far I would almost immediately get myself killed with my “far too presumptious for a woman” manner) but have never once even tried to pretend that men and women are created the same. It is ridiculous to even suggest that. Much like how I believe that none of us are created equal, I especially believe that men and women are genetically inclined to be different far beyond the differing reproductive organs. There is a reason that anyone that studies the body and skeleton can easily differentiate the sex of dead people that are decomposed past the point of facial recognition. We can alter some things to bridge the gap between men and women like training women to use street names for directions, etc, but we will never be able to erase gender. The bigger question is why on earth would you even want to?

    • That is definitely the question; and as I hypothesized in my post, i suspect it is because people at the academic level fear that if we accept that the genders aren’t exactly the same, that shallow minded people could use that to restrict the rights and equality of women.

  7. Another great post.
    A few years back, I read a book written by Dr. Louann Brizendine called “The Female Brain”. In her book, she did a great job of explaining the physiological differences between the female and male brains, and the different chemical processes that occur in the different brains. She explained the different responses that males and females have to the same hormones, and also the different chemicals that the female brain uses as apposed to the mail brain. It’s astounding that many anthropologists choose, as they have for so long, to develop their opinions of the matter first, and then pull whatever they can out of their ass to try to prove their preconceived notions.
    I say follow the evidence. And be honest about it.
    I read your work every day. Love what you do here.

    • Well said. When I was in college it really annoyed me that there was this wealth of information and scientific data (such as the example that you gave) which pointed to very clear differences between the genders, yet despite having that knowledge so many of the academic elite wanted to ignore it and say “any differences between gender is merely related to external influences..,”

  8. Kenneth, a wonderful and thoughtful article as always. I’ve actually been pondering this topic myself. When growing up I was filled with all kinds of preconceptions, stereotypes and cynical tidbits about the genders; mostly by my mother. As I’ve aged I have realized that we have more in common than I was originally led to believe and that when it comes to our emotions, drives and desires. Yet, realizing that we’re all just people on the inside has never made me consider that I would have to be the ‘same’ as a man. We’re physically different for very specific and necessary reasons and while gender shouldn’t matter when it comes to jobs, schools and rights, it should matter that we appreciate our differences for what they are.

  9. We can’t possibly know how much alike we are because we are conditioned by society to be female or male. In cultures where women are in charge, (there is one that I know of and I have a video of it somewhere), ) the men fill the role that women play in our society. The punishments and rewards that our culture gives out makes us what we are.

    • I definitely agree with you that western culture has many external influences that “condition” gender; like parents who dress girls in pink and boys in blue…..

      But there is very clear scientific data that point to cognitive differences between the genders in the way we think and act unrelated to external differences

  10. I like how you show how our misguided efforts to compensate for our historical pointy-headedness about women has swung the other way, to our pointy-headedness that there is no difference.

    You said, “Textbook after textbook argued that ‘Gender is nothing more than the creation of people’.” I would say, what if their idea that there is no difference is a creation of people?

    Personally, I LOVE the differences. What a sad one-dimensional world it would be if we were all the same! My wife is a brilliant woman, creative, beautiful, and totally equal to me. She is strong where I am weak, and visa versa. We don’t need to be so powerless and insecure or competitive about those differences. We can just be free to enjoy them and our differences. Great post. 🙂

  11. I was taught that there’s a difference between sex and gender. Sex stands for the biological distinction (you’re either male or female), and gender has to do with social distinctions (you feel male or female)… But whether you apply this or not, you’ll always find differences between men and women, in both biological and social aspects. And I think there’s nothing wrong with that. We are different – everyone is different actually – it would be so boring if everyone was the same… I’m happy these differences exist!

  12. Sorry, I’d love to comment but I’m still laughing about the “dangling mobile”… that’s what fascinates grown men too, isn’t it?

  13. I am sure our differences are all on a spectrum…but my biggest problem with the “we’re all the same” argument is that it allows us to continue to expect women to BE more like men, rather than creating a world fluid enough for all of our strengths!

  14. Bravo! This is a great post, a subject that needs to be discussed alot more. Your words “Just because women and men are different, it doesn’t mean men and women aren’t equal.” is absolutely true. Men and women are different, we have different hormone levels, our bodies can do different things, our brains analyze and interpret things differently. That’s what helps create balance. Even on a team of all one gender, for example, each has a slightly different role to play, based on their strengths/abilities, and that’s what helps the entire team succeed. I’m glad men and women are different; the opposite sex, while at times is frustrating, is also intriguing, and helpful, and enticing! We should celebrate the fact that we are different, not try to create a false sense of equality by claiming we’re the same.

  15. I used to be of the belief that there are no differences but as I read and heard about certain information regarding certain differences, I realized men and women are different BUT that doesn’t mean one is less important than the other. There’s always going to be the joking of how men are from Mars and women from Venus and the battle of the sexes, etc., but that’s different. I have been saying this for a while, in fact I just said it in my Hispanic Heritage Month post, about yes it’s good to come together but it’s okay to celebrate differences too. This goes for all differences, whatever they may be – height, race, sex or gender (as they’re not necessarily exclusive to each other), intelligence, religion, etc. If we were all the same, life would simply get boring. Who needs that? The only other thing I might add is that be careful with the word truth. Something I’m realizing is that the truth is subjective. There are some truths I would like to believe are not but mostly it is – it’s about a person’s perspective on it and it complicates things. Just a thought.

  16. Surely any parent of just one child of each sex has noticed that boys and girls are very different, even without any cultural influences? Cars for boys and dolls for girls isn’t something we have invented, it’s what babies go for.instinctively.

  17. I get so frustrated with “equality” sometimes. Often, I feel like instead of making women “equal” as a society (and as women), we are trying to make them “better than.” God created Man and Woman, equal—but different. To say that femininity and masculinity are not innate, but culturally conditioned is ridiculous.

  18. Great post – very thought provoking. Rather than going for a “no difference” model, I’d think scientists would be looking at the fact that EVERY individual is different, not just the males and females. I have LBTG friends and their levels of masculine/feminine are all over the place. I’ve seen the same kind of lumping everyone together model in medicine (“your blood pressure is different than the norm so it must be treated”, “let’s kill your thyroid and put you on lifelong meds because your natural levels don’t match the norms”). How ridiculous is that? Shouldn’t we look at the individual AS an individual and determine how happy/healthy/productive they are in and of themselves? We don’t look at a forest and say, “oops, that tree isn’t exactly like the one next to it, let’s fix it.” . . . oh crap – is that where we’re headed?!?!?

    • I am a man of B orientation married to a woman of B orientation. When we were part of a LBTG student group early in our marriage, to be honest… I don’t think the group knew what to make of us, or what to do with us. When the group had downtime, individuals physically split into gender-segregated groups (unconsciously, I think) and that made things all the more awkward for us (we’d just bounce back and forth between the divide).

  19. Kenneth, Your point about academia supporting a specific bias is right on the money. It looks to me as though the no-diff-tween-male-&-female thing is part of a campaign to set the stage to get society to accept as equals persons who are GLBTQ. I agree that these people should be accepted as equals, but we don’t have to create academic lies about the basic facts of life in order for that to happen.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, regardless of what the “experts” might say, differences between male and female will persist, otherwise the human race will die out. The fact that only females can get pregnant and bear children is not going to change, and this is of course a crucial societal role that is unique to women. But this role is minimized and devalued by academia in favor of traditionally “masculine values.” This all gets political very quickly, but I’m shooting for a society where the innate life giving and nurturing female contribution to the world is exalted, appreciated, and accommodated; and where a woman isn’t made to feel shallow for wanting to embrace her innate, biological femininity.

    I am honored to know a lot of brilliant, noble women who have the clarity and courage to refuse to let academia tell them how to think and live, and who instead embrace life and truth as they see it. After all, “academia” is just one more made-up, cultural construct that we can choose to disregard.

  20. “Somehow, scientists have gotten it into their mind that if women and men are different; than it means women are second-class citizens again…”

    I’m not so sure about that, Kenneth. In my Internet travels, I ran into women that seemed determined to punish men for sins of the past, real and/or perceived. Some of this was on a site for “radical” approaches to mental health. It seemed a bit ironic that for a community that perceived itself as marginalized, that they would encourage more fighting. (I had to leave, because the community was that bitter, and I was disillusioned.)

    Wandering about YouTube, I found debates containing keywords of “feminism”, “atheism+”, “men’s rights activism”, and so on. This led me to believe that there was more “battle of the sexes” going on than I had realized, along political, social, religious, and economic lines. There is definitely a power struggle going on.

  21. Three things:

    1st. These jokers should stop focusing on trying to align science with ethics and look at the glaring fact that there are still inequalities. I love reading your perspectives Culture Monk, and yet I get the sneaky suspicion that you were, shall we say, “careful” in how you described differences – playing toward the positives toward women. If we’re equal, doesn’t it stand to reason that we have the capacity to see the truth in the less than favorable differences too? In most cases, men are physically stronger, and typically given the same diet and exercise, men will excel in physical strength. I’m a woman – I can accept that at truth. Men can also pee standing up. You’ve got to recognize the benefits to that. 🙂

    2nd. “The important thing is whether or not we are open to self-examining ourselves objectively. Are we willing to move beyond our biases…toward the truth?” AMEN BROTHER!

    3rd. In the workplace – especially in leadership (corporate or otherwise) we are still overlooked, in many cases by the “good ole boy” structure … as are non-Caucasian men. In one of Malcolm Gladwell’s books (can’t remember if it was Tipping Point or Blink) he mentioned a study that showed without a doubt the huge gap between white men and everyone else in CEO positions, for example. It’s all changing, of course. And I’ve heard somewhere that women are more patient. I don’t believe that one.

  22. I agree. The topic of men and women has always been a touchy one (seeing as how most people believe that one is greater than the other). I personally believe that, although men and women have their differences, they are also very similar. Usually the females are seen as the much more emotional ones, but that doesn’t stop them from enlisting in military service and participating in grunt work. Men are always seen as the brutal ones, but what about the doctors and the nurses and the therapists? I witness men everyday who express themselves by showing their emotions to the world. We certainly do have differences though.
    Sileo

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