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Feminism and the Male Brain
Cyrprus Mail ^ | 6/11/09 | Naomi Wolf

Posted on 06/12/2009 10:21:11 PM PDT by bdeaner

NORTH AMERICANS of my generation grew up with the 1970s children’s record Free to Be...You and Me, on which Rosey Grier, an immense former football star, sang ‘It’s Alright to Cry’. The message: girls could be tough, and boys were allowed not to be.

For almost 40 years, that era’s Western feminist critique of rigid sex-role stereotyping has prevailed. In many ways, it has eroded or even eliminated the kind of arbitrary constraints that turned peaceable boys into aggressive men and stuck ambitious girls in low-paying jobs.

Feminists understandably have often shied away from scientific evidence that challenges this critique of sex roles. After all, because biology-based arguments about gender difference have historically been used to justify women’s subjugation, women have been reluctant to concede any innate difference, lest it be used against them. But, in view of recent scientific discoveries, has feminist resistance to accepting any signs of innate gender difference only created new biases?

The feminist critique, for example, has totally remade elementary-level education, where female decision-makers prevail: the construction of male hierarchies in the schoolyard is often redirected nowadays for fear of “bullying,” with boys and girls alike expected to “share” and “process” their emotions. But many educators have begun to argue that such intervention in what may be a hardwired aspect of “boy-ness” can lead to boys’ academic underperformance relative to girls, and to more frequent diagnoses of behavioural problems, attention deficit disorder, and so on.

And education is just the beginning. An entire academic discipline emerged out of the wholesale critique of the male tendency to create hierarchy, engage in territoriality, and be drawn to conflict. When I was in college, the feminist solution to “patriarchy” was an imagined world without hierarchy, where people verbalised all day long and created emotional bonds.

This critique of “masculinity” also dramatically affected intimate relationships: women were encouraged to express their dissatisfaction with men’s refusal to “share” their inner lives. Women complained of not being heard, of men disappearing after work to tinker in the garage or zone out in front of the TV. But, however heartfelt, such complaints assumed that men choose all of their behaviour.

Now a spate of scientific analyses, based on brain imaging technology and new anthropological and evolutionary discoveries, suggests that we may have had our heads in the sand, and that we must be willing to grapple with what seem to be at least some genuine, measurable differences between the sexes.

The most famous of these studies, anthropologist Helen Fisher’s The Anatomy of Love, explains the evolutionary impetus for human tendencies in courtship, marriage, adultery, divorce and childrearing. Some of her findings are provocative: it seems, for example, that we are hard-wired for serial monogamy and must work very to maintain pair-bonds; that highly orgasmic women enjoy an evolutionary advantage; and that flirtation among primates closely resembles the way young men and women in a bar show their sexual interest today.

Moreover, in her description of our evolution, Fisher notes that males who could tolerate long periods of silence (waiting for animals while in hunt mode) survived to pass on their genes, thus genetically selecting to prefer “space.” By contrast, females survived best by bonding with others and building community, since such groups were needed to gather roots, nuts, and berries, while caring for small children.

Reading Fisher, one is more inclined to leave boys alone to challenge one another and test their environment, and to accept that, as she puts it, nature designed men and women to collaborate for survival.

“Collaboration” implies free will and choice; even primate males do not succeed by dominating or controlling females. In her analysis, it serves everyone for men and women to share their sometimes different but often complementary strengths – a conclusion that seems reassuring, not oppressive.

What Could He Be Thinking?, by Michael Gurian, a consultant in the field of neurobiology, takes this set of insights further. Gurian argues that men’s brains can actually feel invaded and overwhelmed by too much verbal processing of emotion, so that men’s need to zone out or do something mechanical rather than emote is often not a rejection of their spouses, but a neural need.

Gurian even posits that the male brain actually can’t “see” dust or laundry piling up as the female brain often can, which explains why men and women tend to perform household tasks in different ways. Men often can’t hear women’s lower tones, and their brains, unlike women’s, have a “rest” state (he actually is sometimes thinking about “nothing”!).

Moreover, Gurian argues that men tend to rear children differently from women for similarly neurological reasons, encouraging more risk-taking and independence and with less awareness of the details of their nurture. One can see the advantages to children of having both parenting styles. He urges women to try side-by-side activities, not only face-to-face verbalisation, to experience closeness with their mates.

Somehow, all this is liberating rather than infuriating. So much that enrages women, or leads them to feel rejected or unheard, may not reflect men’s conscious neglect or even sexism, but simply their brains’ wiring!

According to Gurian, if women accept these biological differences and work around them in relationships, men respond with great appreciation and devotion (often expressed nonverbally). Women who have embraced these findings report that relations with the men in their lives become much smoother and, paradoxically, more intimate.

None of this means that men and women should not try to adjust to each other’s wishes, ask for shared responsibility with housework, or expect to be “heard.” But it may mean we can understand each other a bit better and be more patient as we seek communication.

Nor does recent scientific research imply that men (or women) are superior, much less justify invidious discrimination. But it does suggest that a more pluralistic society, open to all kinds of difference, can learn, work, and love better.

Naomi Wolf is a political activist and social critic whose most recent book is Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries


TOPICS: Conspiracy; Miscellaneous; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: brain; feminism; gender; neuroscience
A feminist talking about innate brain differences...Hmmmm...What is the hidden agenda here?
1 posted on 06/12/2009 10:21:11 PM PDT by bdeaner
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To: bdeaner
NORTH AMERICANS of my generation grew up with the 1970s children’s record...

Intellectual dishonesty and revisionism right out of the gate, supposedly aimed at the latest generation who wasn't there in the '70's. I never had one of those records, and know of none who did. Never even heard of the record, and wasn't "free to be" a Marlo Thomas thing anyway?

 

I do remember seeing pictures of Grier knitting, for what it's worth.

2 posted on 06/12/2009 10:52:28 PM PDT by JoJo Gunn (I don't suck the Hollyweird teat.)
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To: bdeaner
Men are just deeper thinkers.

Take this picture for instance, many women will simply pass over it while men generally will give some thought to the picture and try to analyze it and perhaps even meditate for a few moments about the person that is the subject of the photo image, some men will even go so far as to try and imagine what interaction with this person would be like.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

3 posted on 06/12/2009 10:54:02 PM PDT by ansel12 (Romney (guns)"instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people")
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To: ansel12

4 posted on 06/12/2009 10:58:55 PM PDT by bdeaner (The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Cor. 10:16))
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To: bdeaner
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
5 posted on 06/12/2009 11:02:43 PM PDT by txroadkill (Vote Democrat - it's easier than working!)
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To: bdeaner

Interesting article. Hard to believe it was written by Naomi Wolfe. James Dobson and others have been talking about these specific issues and research findings for years and have taken nothing but flack from feminists in the process. So, is this progress?? Maybe Naomi was just having a bad day.


6 posted on 06/12/2009 11:04:21 PM PDT by downtownconservative (As Obama lies, liberty dies!)
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To: bdeaner

7 posted on 06/12/2009 11:04:37 PM PDT by bdeaner (The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Cor. 10:16))
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To: downtownconservative
Interesting article. Hard to believe it was written by Naomi Wolfe. James Dobson and others have been talking about these specific issues and research findings for years and have taken nothing but flack from feminists in the process. So, is this progress?? Maybe Naomi was just having a bad day.

Maybe, but I am thinking there is a hidden agenda. There has been a lot of publicity about boys falling behind on every level in school and even in the public sphere--thanks in large part to the unfair advantages given to girls in education today. Now, when there are efforts to improve training of boys in education, Wolf is suddenly saying, "Well, they're just wired that way." How convenient.
8 posted on 06/12/2009 11:06:57 PM PDT by bdeaner (The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Cor. 10:16))
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To: bdeaner
Maybe it's because Obambi is president. Recall that when Bill Clinton sexually used (and abused) women, feminists suddenly decided that such behavior wasn't so bad after all. Now that Obambi is building a hierarchical dictatorship with himself on top, hierarchies aren't so bad after all.
9 posted on 06/12/2009 11:24:05 PM PDT by puroresu (Enjoy ASIAN CINEMA? See my Freeper page for recommendations (REALLY & TRULY updated!).)
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To: bdeaner
Naomi Wolf figuring out that she and her castrati manservant Algore are actually different. Re-discovering the wheel that was well known generations ago.
10 posted on 06/12/2009 11:26:40 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: potlatch

Well, this would explain a lot!


11 posted on 06/12/2009 11:27:28 PM PDT by ntnychik
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To: txroadkill

This is way cool. Thanks for the post.


12 posted on 06/12/2009 11:46:46 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: txroadkill; GOP Poet

http://www.snopes.com/language/document/goodwife.asp


13 posted on 06/13/2009 12:23:24 AM PDT by ansel12 (Romney (guns)"instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people")
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To: txroadkill

Awesome! Single women take notes. Those were the days. It was a man’s world. Now for the American male, it’s HELL on Earth. Former Communist Party recruiter Betty Friedan succeeded far beyond her dreams!


14 posted on 06/13/2009 12:28:16 AM PDT by Judges Gone Wild (Who is this uncircumcised, to oppose the armies of The Living God?)
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To: JoJo Gunn

I never heard of that crappy record, but I did see them singing on TV. I graduated high school in 1976. Marlo Thomas was involved all right, and they sang this stupid little song on TV that said “It’s all right for a boy to have a doll.” We all laughed ourselves silly.

We never imagined these people would be our rulers. Once McGovern got slaughtered we thought we were done with them.


15 posted on 06/13/2009 12:34:51 AM PDT by Luke21
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To: Grizzled Bear

ping for later read...


16 posted on 06/13/2009 12:36:17 AM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: bdeaner
A feminist talking about innate brain differences...Hmmmm...What is the hidden agenda here?

This is an astonishing article. The lack of sneering contempt for men, the acknowledgement that men may - just may - have some sort of value, the exploration of men's behavior without apparent intent to demean... the general air of something that actually approaches respect...

What the hell is going on?

17 posted on 06/13/2009 3:00:55 AM PDT by Talisker (When you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be damn sure it didn't get there on it's own.)
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To: Talisker

The author probably realizes that if Obama is successful, there will be shortages of everything and the only work will be traditional “manly” jobs, and she’s looking at the liberal girly-men and realizing that they’re going to starve.

So, now she’s trying to convince the liberal males to man-up because she knows that men that can exist in a “traditional male heirarchy” will succeed no matter how bad it gets while the metrosexuals will die complaining about their nails.


18 posted on 06/13/2009 4:05:54 AM PDT by Bryanw92 ( Question O-thority!)
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To: Bryanw92

Good theory. But my problem with it is that there isn’t any time for such an about-face in liberal men. They’re gone - they gave in long ago, in their adult development, and now they’re pretty incapable of changing even if they wanted to - and they don’t want to. A feminist might see the danger coming, because a feminist is about nothing but power (idiot liberal codependent women never get this little point). But a liberal man is a traitor to his own integrity, and lives each day selling out his self-worth to scathing female hate.

Well, we’ll see. Something is definitely up when a feminist rat starts backpeddling down the hawser...


19 posted on 06/13/2009 4:25:49 AM PDT by Talisker (When you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be damn sure it didn't get there on it's own.)
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To: Talisker

I agree. You can’t reverse a lifetime of psychological neutering, but that’s all she’s got. There aren’t enough real men to go around anymore, and they’re all taken by real women.

Her next article will probably declare that since there is a shortage of men with “man skills”, Obama should make them the property of the collective.


20 posted on 06/13/2009 4:35:17 AM PDT by Bryanw92 ( Question O-thority!)
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To: Bryanw92
Her next article will probably declare that since there is a shortage of men with “man skills”, Obama should make them the property of the collective.

LOL! I'm laughing, but it's all too possible...

21 posted on 06/13/2009 4:37:52 AM PDT by Talisker (When you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be damn sure it didn't get there on it's own.)
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To: bdeaner
Funny, if women had constructed these things, there would be a national "Women in Construction/Engineering Week". As such. men built all of these things, so it is insignificant. A few examples.

Since men invented everything useful in civilization could they a least acknowledge that?

22 posted on 06/13/2009 5:35:11 AM PDT by central_va (www.15thVirginia.org Co. C, Patrick Henry Rifles)
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To: bdeaner
Agree. We have learned over time to never take the sentiments of liberals at face value as we never really know what their meaning of “is” is. Ulterior motives abound.
23 posted on 06/13/2009 7:55:48 AM PDT by downtownconservative (As Obama lies, liberty dies!)
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To: ansel12
I think snopes is only partially right on this one, I believe it came from an ad that ran in Good Housekeeping or another similar magazine for a company that made prefab kitchens.
24 posted on 06/13/2009 10:34:22 AM PDT by txroadkill (Vote Democrat - it's easier than working!)
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To: ntnychik
[Well, this would explain a lot!]

Lol. I read this in my newspaper a few days ago and thought it was written by a local woman named Wolf, who also writes books!

Men and women are different, that's for sure, but I won't agree that the "brains wiring" MAKES someone do things. It may cause them to "want" to do something but they have to make the conscious decision then to do it or not do it.

I believe it's called "free will".

An interesting article;

LINK

Behavior is an 'expression' of neural activity. I grapple each day about 'expressing' myself - or not!

Engraved at the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi was the famous maxim, "Know thyself".

25 posted on 06/13/2009 11:22:47 AM PDT by potlatch ( When You Change The Way You Look At Things - The Things You Look At Change)
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To: Luke21
"boy..have a doll"

I don't know what toy company it was, but in the seventies one of them tried to market a doll for boys called "My Buddy." I remember being in my twenties and laughing at the idea some kid was going to carry around this huge doll like girls did with their dolls. The only toy human figures boys liked were army men and cowboys. And were constantly playing war or cowboys and indians. No real boy over five wanted to lug around a large doll as a "friend to talk to." That toy company must have thought the wiring in the brains of boys could be readjusted to make them sissies. Maybe they got pressure from femi-nazis to market that garbage. I hope they lost their shirts on that one.

26 posted on 06/13/2009 12:28:59 PM PDT by driftless2 (four)
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To: bdeaner; AdmSmith; Berosus; bigheadfred; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ...
...many educators have begun to argue that such intervention in what may be a hardwired aspect of "boy-ness" can lead to boys' academic underperformance relative to girls, and to more frequent diagnoses of behavioural problems, attention deficit disorder, and so on.
IOW, now having a Y chromosome will be reclassified as a disorder; but at least it may be protected under the ADA.

Michelle Obama will succeed her husband (or try at least).
27 posted on 06/13/2009 3:42:13 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: txroadkill
Until someone can prove differently we have to assume it is false. This is what snopes says.

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28 posted on 06/14/2009 9:47:44 AM PDT by ansel12 (Romney (guns)"instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people")
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To: Judges Gone Wild

If I had to find a wife in today’s society I would GLADLY remain single, they are just to narcissistic.


29 posted on 06/14/2009 9:52:07 AM PDT by Snurple (VEGETARIAN, OLD INDIAN WORD FOR BAD HUNTER.)
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To: ansel12
That's a perfect 10....at least!


30 posted on 06/14/2009 9:52:35 AM PDT by newfreep ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." - P.J. O'Rourke)
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