Men are not from mars and women are not from venus: we are the same species and from the same planet get used to it! Agustín Fuentes U of Notre Dame
2-5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and [there was] not a man to till the ground.…2-7 And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul What do you make of the two versions of Genesis? 1-27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 18 And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof.20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man
“Men are equipped to impregnate women. There is no cost to a man in impregnating someone. Women, on the other hand, are equipped to be impregnated and produce babies. As soon as a woman gets pregnant she has just signed on for a 20 year tour of duty taking care of the resulting child. Her goal, going back millions of years, is to help that baby survive. For a woman pregnancy carries an extremely high cost. Furthermore, the woman’s mind and body also know, instinctively at some level, that a baby needs two people to survive. Women are therefore designed to wait for a strong commitment prior to getting pregnant. In our culture that commitment is called "marriage," and women are smart to wait for it. Many men seem to have little or no such programming. This basic anatomical difference, by itself, leads to rather strong differences in priorities between men and women. In addition, men and women clearly have different programming in other parts of their brains. For example, men are much more aggressive, in general, than women, while women tend to be much more nurturing. Men are more individualistic, while women are more social. Men tend to rely more on rational thought, while women rely more on feelings. These observations are generalizations, of course, but they are fairly obvious. You can see these tendencies in children at play. Girls play with dolls and work with each other socially, while boys wage mock wars with one another. Neither mode is "better" than the other. They are simply different, and they have their own places” • Marshall Brain (1997) The Teenagers guide to the Real WorldBYG Publishing.
sexuality? • “When it comes to the matter of desire, evolution leaves little to chance. Human sexual behavior is not a free-form performance, biologists are finding, but is guided at every turn by genetic programs.” –Nicholas Wade (journalist) in the New York Times April 10, 2007 BUT • “Although sex is a biological urge, it is rarely experienced in the same ways by people everywhere: it is differently practiced and felt depending on the social and cultural settings in which it occurs” Hastings Donnana and Fiona Magowan (Anthropologists) F. (2010) The Anthropology of Sex Berg Publishers
But…data? • “The gender similarities hypothesis holds that males and females are similar on most, but not all, psychological variables. That is, men and women, as well as boys and girls, are more alike than they are different….Results from a review of 46 meta-analyses support the gender similarities hypothesis. Gender differences can vary substantially in magnitude at different ages and depend on the context in which measurement occurs…. The question of the magnitude of psychological gender differences is more than just an academic concern. There are serious costs of overinflated claims of gender differences. These costs occur in many areas, including work, parenting, and relationships.” • Janet Shibley Hyde (2005) The Gender Similarities Hypothesis American Psychologist Vol. 60, No. 6, 581–592
male and female biology: we’re made of the same stuff • Hormones! Variation on a theme • Genitals! Variation on a theme • Bones/body! Variation on a theme • Growth and development patterns! Variation on a theme • Biology and Perception: variation versus differentiation
Brain? Data… • “…what I found after an exhaustive search, was surprisingly little solid evidence of sex differences in children’s brains. Sure, there are studies that do find differences, but when I looked closely at all the data—not just the research that confirms what we already know about boys’ and girls’ behavior but a truly balanced collection of findings—I had to admit that only two facts have been reliably proven: boys’ brains are larger than girls and girls’ brains finish growing earlier than boys’.” - Lise Eliot (Neuroscientist)(2009) Pink brain Blue brain. Houhgton Mifflin Harcourt
SG Brain diifs? • straight gyrus (SG) and “femininity” (part of ventral frontal cortex (VFC) “The origins of the relationship between sexual dimorphism of SG morphology and social cognition have not yet been elucidated.” Wood, J.L. Murko,V., and Nopoulos, P. (2008) Ventral frontal cortex in children: morphology, social cognition and femininity/masculinity. SCAN (2008) 3,168–176 • CC • “A meta-analysis of 49 studies published since 1980 reveals no significant sex difference in the size or shape of the splenium of the corpus callosum, whether or not an appropriate adjustment is made for brain size using analysis of covariance or linear regression…. The wide spread belief that women have a larger splenium than men and consequently think differently is untenable.” Bishop, K. and Wahlsten, D. (1997) Sex Differences in the Human Corpus Callosum: Myth or Reality? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 21(5):581-601
Biology: we are all Homo sapiens AND we are a sexually reproducing species --sexes are like as much, if not more, than they differ. • Modern gender context: substantial differences between men and women, but very few of those elements match the actual biological patterns in our species. • There are important Real patterns: • Males are often larger with denser muscles than females • aspects of our skeletons are variations on a theme but have an impact • Fat distribution and use • Reproductive aspects: gestation and lactation • males and females are no the same…BUT biological differences between the sexes are much smaller than the behavioral differences between the genders.
Behavior and potential? • “It does appear that on many, many different human attributes-height, weight, propensity for criminality, overall IQ, mathematical ability, scientific ability-there is relatively clear evidence that whatever the difference in means-which can be debated-there is a difference in the standard deviation, and variability of a male and a female population.” -Lawrence Summers (former president of Harvard University) remarks at NBER Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce January 14 2005
Behavior and potential- the misrepresented dataset • Maccobyand Jacklin1974 meta-analysis • 2,000 reports of gender differences • Vast majority of societal assumptions about differences were not supported • Found core differences in four specific areas: verbal ability, visual-spatial ability, mathematical ability, and aggression. …we tend to forget that Maccoby and Jacklin’s main point was of gender similarities. • Maccoby, E. E., & Jacklin, C. N. (1974). The psychology of sex differences. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press
Shibley Hyde’s dataJanet Shibley Hyde (2005) The Gender Similarities Hypothesis American Psychologist Vol. 60, No. 6, 581–592 • 46 previous meta-analyses of male-female differences (published between 1980-2004) consisting of nearly 5000 reports and assessing 128 psychological measures. • gender similarities hypothesis supported if “most psychological gender differences are in the close-to zero (d ≤0.10) or small (0.11 < d <0.35) range, a few are in the moderate range (0.36 <d <0.65), and very few are large (d <0.66 <1.00) or very large (d >1.00).” • Results: 78% of the d measures are small or close to zero (38% d ≤0.10, and 40% 0.11 < d <0.35). Most between male and female differences are extremely slight. • Where are the large gender differences? Males scored noticeably higher (d>0.35) in grip strength, sprinting, throwing velocity and throwing distance, masturbation, views on casual sex, physical aggression, and mental rotation of objects. Females scored noticeably higher on indirect aggression, agreeableness, and smiling.
one can easily see that the vast majority of the assumed male-female differences in the psychological and skill variables overlap, extensively. This is even more impressive when you consider that this graph is the overall mean of the entire dataset and that 78% of the actual measures have even less difference and more overlap than shown in the graph!
Aggression: aha, differences! • Males generally display more physical aggression than females • Males display slightly more verbal aggression than females • There is no difference in the rates of anger displayed by males and females • As young girls females display more indirect aggression than males, but this drops to equal levels by adulthood. • Meta-analyses by John Archer: Archer, J. (2009) Does sexual selection explain human sex differences in aggression? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32:249-311 and Archer, J. (2004) Sex differences in aggression in real world settings: a meta-analytic review. Review of general Psychology 8:291-322
However….not so clear • greater variability in males’ display of physical aggression than in females’ physical aggression: but this is not true for other types of aggression • gender differences start around 2 years of age. Rates of physical aggression peak (2-3 years of age) and then decline until about 9-11 years of age in both males and females. At 2 years of age and even after the decline, overall rates of physical aggression are generally higher in males. • On average, males do seem to show more physical aggression than females in same-gender conflicts and in general use of aggression. • nearly half of males who displayed high rates aggression in early childhood retained that aggression pattern into middle adulthood, whereas only 18% of females who displayed high aggression in early childhood maintained it into middle adulthood. BUT both males and females who displayed low aggression during early childhood had the same pattern of retention into middle adulthood (38% and 36% respectively). • differential socialization for males and females is especially interesting given that there does not seem to be a link between physical aggression and the testosterone spike in males at puberty, which might have been an explanation for the maintenance of increased high aggression into adulthood by males. • Huesmann, L.R, Dubow, E.F., and Boxer, P. (2011) The transmission of aggressiveness across generations: biological, contextual, and social learning processes. In Shaver, P.R. and Mikulincer, M. Eds. Human Aggression and Violence: causes, manifestations, and consequences. American Psychological Association Pp.123-142 and Archer, J. (2009) Does sexual selection explain human sex differences in aggression? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32:249-311
aggression differences between males and females in heterosexual partner relationships…hmm. • Little differences between genders in rates of physical aggression in heterosexual couples • Except: overall use of physical aggression slightly higher in females than males.: women were significantly more likely to commit most acts of physical aggression, except for using weapons and actually beating up partners • However, males were higher in extreme violence (serious psychical aggression resulting in injury) and women were more likely to receive serious injuries . • “this relative equality between the sexes in acts of physical aggression was confined to nations where women have higher levels of societal power…. The magnitude and direction of the sex difference followed a measure of societal gender empowerment and beliefs about gender roles.” –John Archer • meta-analyses of cross cultural partner physical aggression demonstrates a direct tie to the Gender empowerment index: the lower the female empowerment rating the higher the male bias in partner based physical aggression. • worth noting that overviews of crime statistics from North America and Europe indicate that males are more likely to be involved in violent crimes and same-gender homicides. Nearly 80% of those involved in weapon based crimes are male and about 97% of same-gender homicides involve males.
Gender? • The Psychologists Wendy Wood and Alice H. Eagly argue for a biosocial approach to gender that attempts to fuse biological and cultural developments together to better understand certain patterns in gendered difference. • anthropological records of hundreds of societies: gender roles, division of labor and patterns of sex/gender differences over time. • gender emerges from the combination of our bodies, cultures and individual experiences. Our bodies are shaped by our evolutionary histories, resulting in some important differences, but so are our brains resulting in important similarities in behavior and potential. • Wood and Eagly found that there is variation in the roles males and females play across societies, with high degrees of overlap in many areas, but greater differences being found in aspects of those societies that deal directly with size and strength or giving birth and taking care of young children, and that other patterns become associated or emerge from, these differences. • Wood, W. and Eagly, A.H (2002) A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Behavior of Women and Men: Implications for the Origins of Sex Differences. Psychological Bulletin 128(5):699–727.
The fact that aspects of our societies are biased towards male control is not part of our evolutionary heritage, it is part of our cultural reality. • “The Global Gender Gap Report 2010 : over 96% of the gap on health outcomes, 93% of the gap on educational attainment, 59% of the gap on economic participation and 18% of the gap on political empowerment have been closed. No country in the world has achieved gender equality.” • There is a gender gap in economic and political power that constructs and helps maintain gender roles and inequality. • USA? • 19thplace (up from 31stout of 134 in 2009), with an overall gap index of 74% • overall score reflects the percentage attainment by females relative to males in the areas of interest. • parity in educational attainment (we are tied for #1) and participation in the workforce (we are tied for 6th place). • But…income and wage inequality we are 64th • political empowerment – we are 40th • The Global Gender Gap Report 2010 Hausmann,R., Tyson, L.D., and Zahidi, S. (2010) World Economic Forum
Men make more money for similar work, hold more positions of power and predominate in political roles. This is a global pattern, but not an evolutionary one. There are no patterns of biological or behavioral differences between males and females that make males run companies or societies better. These are aspects of societal structures that act to maintain broadly held ideas about gender. When children grow up within them, they acquire the templates that are around them. These contexts set the stage for our biosocial development to produce what we experience on a day to day basis.
Sexual behavior? 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, a nationally representative study of 5,865adolesecnts and adults Center for Sexual Health Promotion at the University of Indiana- Journal of Sexual Medicine volume 7, supplement 5. • Masturbation: Patterns statistically similar, males slightly higher and females in 20-29 age group reported the highest rates of solo masturbation. • Vaginal intercourse: This measure varied substantially across the lifetime but females and males almost identical in frequency except with later ages • Partnered non-coital behavior: Again almost no differences in frequencies • Anal intercourse: in men and women the numbers are almost identical except that females report slightly higher frequencies of anal sex over a larger age range (18-69) than males. • Two interesting differences : • Same-sex sexual behavior:. Across all age categories about 8-10% of men reported engaging in same-sex sexual activity during their lifetime, with higher numbers (13-15%) reported in the 40-59 age groups. About 5-9% of women report participation in same sex sexual behavior during their lifetime, with much higher figures (up to 17%) for the 20-39 age group. One key difference between males and females is that a higher percentage of males reported same-sex encounters in the past month or year than did females (except for females 20-24 and 30-39). • decline in sexual activity with age (especially over 60) in both sexes. However, the female decline is bit larger than the males’. This is a pattern observed in other studies where as females age their overall participation in sex goes down (on average). This is especially acute in married couples with females’ participation in sexual activity with their partners negatively correlated with the length of time married. • See Lindau, S.T., Schumm, L.P., Laumann, E.O., Levinson, W., O'Muircheartaigh,C.A., and Waite, L.J. (2007) A Study of Sexuality and Health among Older Adults in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine 357(8):762-774 and Brewis, A. and Meyer, M (2005) Marital coitus across the life course. Journal of Biocultural Science 37:499-518
Socio-sexuality? • “In the present study, the most consistent finding was that men scored higher on sociosexuality than women across cultures. Several different theories were evaluated concerning why men and women differ in this way. They all received at least some empirical support. As a result, we are left with the relatively unsatisfying conclusion that sociosexual sex differences are predictable from several theoretical perspectives, none of which is conspicuously superior to the others…At present, it appears that multiple perspectives are required to more fully explain the cultural and gender-linked variance in sociosexuality.” --David P. Schmitt (Psychologist) (2005) Sociosexuality from Argentina to Zimbabwe: A 48-nation study of sex, culture, and strategies of human mating Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28:247–311
Basic conclusions Not that there are no differences…rather that we need to carefully construct our questions and collect data…common sense and cultural schemata are “real” but they are not biological facts We really are the same species…that means something
categories of interest: what are we asking and why are we asking it? • Male-Female patterns • Gender patterns • Masculine-feminine issues • Human patterns • Sex • Age • Health • Sexuality • Economic status • Political power • Athletic ability • No simple or single explanation…the answer cannot be “because we are different”
So why do many find this funny?And what does it say about us?Tackling myths is difficult but really important
Being human is pretty complex, but thanks for listening