Women have smaller brains than that of their male counterpart. Since the ability to think is partly determined by the size of the brain it is obvious to an accurate researcher if I were to ignore the differences between the male and female brain. The question to be posed is, with the knowledge of the function of the human brain, can a scientist accurately determine if the differences in the way males and females perform various tasks is a biological phenomena, or rather as a result of social persuasion?
All kinds of research have shown that the bigger the brain, generally, the smarter the animal. (1) However, as Emily Dickinson might agree, it is not the size of the brain that counts, but rather what is contained within the brain. Human male brains are, on average, approximately 10% larger than that of the female, but this is because of men's larger body size: more muscle cells imply more neurons to control them. (3) If the size of the brain is not the determinate factor of the differences between the male and female brain what is?
Of special interest to researchers of this subject was the amount of gray matter, the part of the brain that allows us to think. The researchers wanted to know if women have as much gray matter as men. (1) It would be logical to conclude that if there is less gray matter, the component of the brain associated with the thinking process, than obviously, biologically men and superior in intellect to women. However, as is the case with many biological researches, more questions arose than were answered. According to one psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, there is no difference in the amount of gray matter in men and women. To make up for the smaller brain size, women have 55.4% gray matter vs. 50.8% in men. (1) Thus disputing the hypothesis that the difference in amount of gray matter is the reason for the difference in the way men and woman perform various tasks. If this is an accurate conclusion, the question still remains, why are men more inclined to perform better on spatial, intuitive, nonverbal tasks, such as mathematics, while woman tend to excel at verbal, sorting, detail-oriented tasks such as English? (4) Some scientists believe that the answer to this question lies in the evolutionary development of the brain.
Over the last couple of decades, proponents of evolutionary psychology have been piecing together a case that the mind is naturally sexed. Our male and female forebears faced different evolutionary pressures in their struggle to survive and reproduce in the Pleistocene grasslands, and as a result they have different mental aptitudes and even differently organized brains. (5) This would suggest that since men were the ones that hunted they are better equipped to analyze spatial-oriented tasks. At first this appears a logical conclusion. In order to hunt for food the male would have to be aware of how far the prey is. However, I have to question, if humans are simply animals, then why can this logical not be applied to all animals? In the jungle the lioness is the one that hunts, not the lion. Yet, although the lioness is the provider, and is capable of defending herself, since they travel in packs, the lion is considered the King of the jungle. I believe that it would be viewed as preposterous to suggest that we would have a Queen of the jungle instead of a King. The reason for this is not biological, but rather a social aspect.
Recent decades have witnessed two contradictory processes: the development of scientific research into the differences between the sexes, and the political denial that such differences exist. A hundred years ago, the observation that men were different from women, in a whole range of aptitudes, skills, and abilities, would have been leaden truism, a statement of the yawning obvious. Such a remark, uttered today, would evoke very different reactions. Said by a man, it would suggest a certain social ineptitude, a na´vetÚ in matters of sexual politics. A woman venturing such an opinion would be scorned as a traitor to her sex, betraying the hard-fought "victories" of recent decades as women have sought equality of status, opportunity and respect. (2) Imagine a Bryn Mawr woman saying that biologically women are inferior to men. This would be an affront to the feminist movement that our "politically correct" society has been forced to include.
Yes, women tend to be more verbal; this has been supported by tests, which revealed that females speak twice as many words as the man, and has done so even before the age of two. (4) Yes, men tend to receive higher scores on logic-oriented tests; comparing the scores of SATs can support this. Women score significantly lower than men on the SAT. In 1994, the most recent information available, they had an average score of 881 (out of a possible 1600 points, 400 is the minimum), while men scored an average of 926 points, nearly 50 points higher. (6) Despite the information presented to show that there is a difference in the way the male and female brain operates, I still fail to see how any of the information presented proves that one sex is superior to that of another. There are several well-known female mathematicians and scientists. This fact disproves the idea that men are superior to women in logical tasks. Langston Hughes is a famous male poet, which would disprove the idea that females are superior to men linguistically. However, the addition of the word "generally" does make a difference. I would have to agree that generally there are intellectual tasks that men are better at than females. However, I am not convinced that this is a biological superiority, rather than social.
Are women naturally more inclined to play with Barbie Dolls, or is the societal expectation to do this the cause. Is it the societal expectation for a man to use his wit to be the "bread winner" in the family, the real reason why male dancers are not as respected as a male scientist? What is biological predisposition, and societal demand? So far, research has only been able to point out the aesthetic differences of the male and female brain, and to speculate what these differences mean in terms of the way in which the two sexes perform various tasks. Therefore I must still maintain the phrase that was instilled in me by my father; I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to.
1}Gender gaps on the Brain,Size of brain not determinate factor of intelligence.
2. 2}Excerpts From Brain Sex,The biological vs. The political brain.
3. 3}Are There Differences between the Brains of Males and Females?,Intellectual differences among the sexes.
4. 4}Left/Right Brain?,Left or right brained.
5. 5}La Difference,Who is the better sex?
6. 6}Traumatic Tests: Gender Bias and the SATs,SAT statistics.conclude that men are superior to women in intellect, right? Now I would not be a proud Bryn Mawr woman if I were to agree with this logic. However, I would not be
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