June 11, 2011
Sex differences are real but not the “be all and end all.” “We no longer have the excuse that “boys will be boys” and “girls will be girls” says a recent article in NewScientist magazine.
Biologists used to believe sex determination was over at birth. But, new evidence is leading them to conclude that, throughout our lives, our brain is constantly remoulded. As a result, the less we identify with being male or female, the less it will be true.
So it’s not so much about the differences between the sexes. Instead, it’s how our thoughts and expectations about being male or female affect our behaviors and our environment that gives that form.
The article quoted a study from the US National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. It found that there was a correlation between gender and height, as well as preference for toys. After that, the behavior/sex correlation dropped off dramatically.
Reinforcing this research was some anecdotal evidence in a post-media news interview with Tyseer Aboulnasr, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science at UBC.
This woman has had an impressive engineering career in a male-dominated field. Not only has she risen to top ranks in academia, she led research on digital sound processing, which advanced the quality of hearing aids.
In considering her working life she said, “There is no question in my mind that I have changed because I work consistently with men.”
She proves what NewScientist says…that men and women will be different and exhibit different behaviors based on how they “think” that they should act.
In certain environments, men may tend to be one way and women another, but the role played by nurture can be more significant than nature. Maybe it’s time to quit identifying with our sex and just be ourselves instead, right?