Category: Romance and Relationships
Samuel Thomas Poling, Blog 131, Gender Controversy
This blog is the speech I'll be giving in my Interpersonal Communications class this Thursday. Tommarow. I'll be part of a team of four members, all talking about Conflict Resolution. My speech will be last, and once they know how synical I am, they're going to be stateing a disclaimer before I speak. I get my very own disclaimer! Joy.
Samuel Thomas Poling
Wednesday, December 06, 2006 A.D.
Gender Conflict Differences (Or the Lack There Of)
Likely response to team's disclaimer:
Opinion? There is a huge difference between opinions and facts. Opinions are like if you like or dislike something, for example. A fact is a fact, despite any and all opinions. Here's my opinion: I don't like shallow minded bullshit. And now that my opinion is out of the way, the rest of my speech is going to be fact - whether you have a positive opinion about it or not.
Men and women, opposite genders of the human species, have always been the center of controversy. Bigoted statements, actions, laws, tests, societies, and personal feelings have always danced around these genders – appealing to the gender. After all, they're different, aren't they? Just at first glance they already are physically. So we humans have always appealed to the difference between the genders. Most of us even go further. Most of us, that is to say, almost every last one of us even attempt to make assumptions, and judgments, about other characteristics based on the gender. We try to make connections between gender and morality, gender and intelligence, gender and emotion, gender and ability, gender and cognitive ability.
We humans do this with everything. Race, hair color, region of birth, age... Everything. If there is a difference, we like to assume there is more. The word for this is bigotry. Or, in logic terms, Dicto Simpliciter. Dicto Simpliciter is a generalizing statement of bigotry, saying that all things are one way, ignoring any variations and/or refusing to make a justifiable connection.
Ladies and Gentlemen I am here today to talk about conflict. Conflict resolution, specifically the factor that gender has on it. Or the lack there of. To fully explain this I must define conflict. Conflict is, according to dictionary.com, a state of disharmony between incompatible ideas or interests. A clash. To be or to come into opposition. You don't have to have another person to be in a conflict. You can be in a conflict with your computer, with a lounge chair, with a math problem, almost anything. It is opposes you, in other words, if it poses you with a problem, you are conflicting with it. So when we say conflict resolution we don't just mean problem solving between people, but problem solving in general. Worry not, I realize this is an interpersonal class, and I will keep this to conflict between people for that reason. However conflict resolution, no matter what you're conflicting, relies on problem solving, by definition. To say men and women solve problems differently is to say they think differently. If they think differently that means there is a difference of intelligence. One way will be superior to the other. That is to say, one gender is generally smarter than the other. Well, if what most people say about gender differences is true, that is.
They imply men and women think differently, but equally. One has its strengths and the other it's weaknesses. No, if you think differently, you are at a different level of logic. And logic plays no favorites between issues, it applies equally. Nothing is ever separate and equal. If it's separate, in some way shape or form, it will be unequal. One will be overall superior. So yes, to say one gender thinks differently than another is to say one is smarter than another, no matter how you look at it.
Countless alleged "experts" claim there is difference in thinking, and some are honest enough to say that this would mean one gender is more intelligent than another. Some merely imply it and move on. I'll give you an example.
A member of the UC Irvine, a "renowned" university in California, found a significant difference in where men and women quote, "manifest" their intelligence. Richard Hair, a professor of psychology and long time human intelligence researcher who lead a study of colleagues at UCI and the University of New Mexico said, quote, "These findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior." According to their neuroimaging, men used 6.5 times the amount of gray matter for intelligence than women, whereas women used nearly ten times the amount in white matter. They could tell be measuring the activity in the brains of the subjects. Unfortunately for this long time researcher of human intelligence, he doesn't have any himself. For you see, gray matter is what human being think with, it's what they problem solve with. It's their consciousness. It's their intelligence. It's them. Damaging even a little of it, lobotomy, would render someone completely mindless. White matter is used for storing and transferring memory. Its brain connections. In other words, if Profession Hair ever opened a single book on neurology in his entire life he'd know that his study shows men are 6.5 times smarter than women. He made the claim himself that men have more and use more gray matter for reasoning than women do. He is stating men vastly out smart women. Not just by a little. Not just double the intelligence, not even double doubling the intelligence. But they are 6.5 times smarter. Now ask yourself, does that seem correct? Even if you believe one gender has an advantage over the other, do you honestly think it's 6.5 times? Or anywhere near that? Obviously something is wrong with the test, for it contradictions other obvious observation.
He did not state how many subjects he used for the testing. Hum. Each individual is different, how can you tell if they represent the majority? Even if you take a large amount of tests, people's thoughts trail, maybe they just aren't trying to think as hard as someone else in another MRI. Maybe one subject is tired and doesn't want to think too hard. Maybe people have something else on their minds, or they're stressed. All would drastically alter brain activity. I contend you cannot test human intelligence by testing brain activity, because at any given time of a neuroimaging snap shot, any number of factors could be skewing it drastically. And even if you put that aside you still cannot attribute it definitely to gender, for it may not be gender, it may just be the way the gender is treated.
Which leads me to a blunt proposal. There is no decent proven difference between men and women's cognitive mental abilities. It's a fraud. It does not exist, and if it does, it is very slight and still far from proven. First let me say what the differences are. There are physical differences, obviously. For mating purposes they must exist. And some of these are chemical. And the human brain does respond to chemical influence. However what testosterone and estrogen do is very similar, almost identically. You see, according to discoverhealth.com, and pretty much everywhere else, hormones effect physical formation and sexual appetite. Nothing states anywhere behavioral effects of testosterone vs. estrogen. Sexual appetite is the only behavior the chemicals induce. Everything else is just physical effects. No where listed under either sex chemical is any difference is personality. And once they have similar effect on sexual appetite, if there is an effect on personality it's likely to be extremely similar anyways.
There are physical changes to the brain, however. Surely that changes personality and intelligence. Well, no, think again. Estrogen gives women better connected brains. White matter stuff. Men, over all, have larger brains, more gray matter. The mean weight of a male brain is 1347g, whereas a female brain is only 1223g. However, the difference matter is not used for intelligence or personality. It only aids in visuospatial skills. Yes, only in gray matter is thought found, however not all gray matter is used for thought. And this extra gray matter, although its purpose is ultimately unknown, is most likely just used for visuospatial abilities. In several species of monkies and primates, there is no difference in the brain matter between the genders, well, much anyways. However there are many with brain set ups like ours. Professor Falk, in 1999, wanted to see the difference as it existed in primates. She and colleagues examined several monkies. The species where males had the same size advantage over females as our species does always had something drastically in common. The males vastly out preformed the females in visuospatial abilities. Tests of us humans reveal the same thing, with men out performing women in terms of map use, direction, and spatial relations. Those activities invoked the use of that extra matter in the mind as well, although it is difficult to be certain. Women have more white matter, but knowing that due to the connections between the hemispheres, and knowing the use of white matter being memory transfer, we know this too is not personality or intelligence. The differences in the human brains, as so far discovered, do not include difference in personality or intelligence.
But wait, I thought the world of interpersonal communications was filled with people spouting that there are differences in thinking and personality. And I mean, isn't it obvious? Isn't the evidence all around us? Women all, or most of them anyways, act a certain way, and men act their certain way. Aren't guys aggressive brutes who love football and beer? Aren't they the ones who are good a math and cars? And women, they're the ones who really know how to attend to their appearance, as expensive as it might get. And they're outstanding with language and babies and pink cute things. They were skirts and dresses where men usually prefer to die than to wear skirts or dresses. Isn't that at least the mean, the average? It sure is. But it isn't in your hormones or brain structure. It isn't in your DNA. It's in society. You are raised around a world where women and men are expected to act a certain way. Worse, you are raised in a world where supposed experts assert you're going to be a certain way. And thus you are. It's a self fulfilling prophecy.
And once it governs your mind and personality, it will govern your problem solving and conflict resolution. So it is not in vain to teach you women are better at language and babies, and men are better at math and cars. It isn't in vain to teach you how women respond to being semi ignored, or how men respond to confrontation. Because it is true. Thanks to you and your society choosing it to be that way. It doesn't have to be that way. And if it wasn't asserted as such, it wouldn't be that way. But it's a cycle. And it will effect you, and through you your children. There is no reason for women to put on makeup and men to put on ties. No reason in your DNA. It's just in your head.
And why wouldn't it be? Whenever junk science, like Hair's gray matter white matter bullshit comes out, you and the media lap it up. It sure is fun to read another "scientific" study showing how different the other gender is from me. It's fun. No, better, it's excuse why I fail my relationships. It's because they're different. They think different. They just don't get me. It's almost as if we're from different planets.
But we're not from different planets. We're all from Earth. And the only constant factor in all your unsuccessful relationships and communications isn't in the genes and DNA, it's in you.
Dr. Hyde, an increasingly famous psychologist, has conducted a number of studies over the last twenty years, with reviews of 46-meta-anaylses. The studies have looked at leadership, social interaction, verbal and non verbal communication, aggression, esteem, and several other areas including cognitive and moral reasoning. No differences were found. There were no, or very small variation in the psychological areas examined. Hyde also went out of the way, during these tests, to do everything in her power to take self fulfilling prophecies, that is to say, sexual stereotype, out of the picture. She did this by telling the subjects that sex wasn't the factor being tested. Neither sex conformed to a stereotype, and walla, they mentally preformed equally. They didn't even follow the stereotype of aggressive males and passive females, no. Females increased in aggressiveness, males decreased, and they were equal. For twenty years of study. Dr. Hyde concluded that scientists have been guilty of vastly over exaggerating sexual differences.
Believing men and women think differently is putting them in different places in society, it's treating them unequally. Idiots with no ground to stand on assert these invented stereotypes in countless novels and text books. And so long as they do men will think of and treat women a certain way, and women with think of and treat men a certain way. They'll attribute this heap of make believe in how the resolve conflicts with the other gender. But the worse part isn't how they treat and think of each other, but how the treat and think of themselves.
In problem solving and in interpersonal conflict resolution, there is no influence of gender. There is only influence of society and influence of self.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050121100142.htm http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/302152.stm http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4251968.stm http://biomed.gerontologyjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/59/1/M75 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testosterone Williams textbook of endocrinology, Jean D. Wilson pp. 535, 887 Mark Solms & Oliver Turnbull - The brain and the inner world. "Contraceptive efficacy of testosterone-induced azoospermia in normal men". Lancet." www.joy2meu.com/men_women_romance.html
Video: Penn and Teller: Bullshit!
Further reading, soruces, and the soruces of sources:
Archer, J. (2004). Sex differences in aggression in real-world settings: A meta-analytic review. Review of General Psychology, 8, 291-322.
Barnett, R. & Rivers, C. (2004). Same difference: How gender myths are hurting our relationships, our children, and our jobs. New York: Basic Books.
Eaton, W. O., & Enns, L. R. (1986). Sex differences in human motor activity level. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 19-28.
Feingold, A. (1994). Gender differences in personality: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 429-456.
Halpern, D. F. (2000). Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities (3rd Edition). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, Associates, Inc. Publishers.
Halpern, D. F. (2004). A cognitive-process taxonomy for sex differences in cognitive abilities. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13 (4), 135-139.
Hyde, J. S., Fennema, E., & Lamon, S. (1990). Gender differences in mathematics performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 139-155.
Hyde, J. S. (2005). The Gender Similarities Hypothesis. American Psychologist, Vol. 60, No. 6.
Leaper, C. & Smith, T. E. (2004). A meta-analytic review of gender variations in children's language use: Talkativeness, affiliative speech, and assertive speech. Developmental Psychology, 40, 993-1027.
Oliver, M. B. & Hyde, J. S. (1993). Gender differences in sexuality: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 29-51.
Spencer, S. J., Steele, C. M. & Quinn, D. M. (1999). Stereotype threat and women's math performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 4-28.
Voyer, D., Voyer, S., & Bryden, M. P., (1995). Magnitude of sex differences in spatial abilities: A meta-analysis and consideration of critical variables. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 250-270.
Spencer, S.J., Steele, C.M., & Quinn, D.M. (1999) Stereotype threat and women's math performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 4-28.
Samuel Thomas Poling, Blog 131, Gender Controversy