About the SA Blog Network

Guest Blog

Guest Blog

Commentary invited by editors of Scientific American
Guest Blog HomeAboutContact

Get Over It: Men and Women Are from the Same Planet

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Email   PrintPrint

Recent publication in PLoS ONE by psychologist Del Giudici and colleagues [i] has reignited the debate about just how “naturally” different men and women are.   Del Giudici et al. state that their findings of a “pattern of global sex differences…may help elucidate the meaning and generality of the broad dimension of individual differences known as “masculinity-femininity”.”

In a commentary, psychologist Dario Maestripieri [ii] gushes that this study has finally demonstrated that “when it comes to personality men and women belong to two different species.”  In spite of the hoopla and pronouncements that men are indeed from Mars and women for Venus this study, and the commentaries, ignore that trying to assess and explain similarities and differences between human genders and sexes is very complicated and quite messy.  Apparently, it also makes people act a little silly.

There are three major problems with the conclusions being drawn from study:  a) “gender” and “sex” are used interchangeably, b) evolved differences in men and women are not being measured, and c) relevant biological and anthropological datasets are ignored.  Let me just review these problems and leave you with a plea for a bit of sanity and some scientific integrity when it comes to thinking and talking about men and women.

“Sex” and “Gender” are not the same thing.  Sex is a biological state that is measure via chromosomal content and a variety of physiological and developmental measures.  Gender is the roles, expectations and perceptions that a given society has for the sexes.  Most societies have two genders on a masculinity-femininity continuum, some have more.  The two are interconnected, but not the same thing.  We are born with a sex, but acquire gender and there is great inter-individual diversity within societies and sexes in regards to how sex and gender play out in behavior and personality.  There is an extensive body of literature demonstrating this, but many researchers interested only in definitive distinctions between men and women choose to disregard it.

To measure evolutionary differences in behavior within a species is extremely difficult, but there are at least two basic methodological approaches that are required. First, assessments must be comparative across more than one population of the species of interest. Second the traits being measured must have some way of being linked or connected with heritable aspects of human physiology or behavior that has an effect on overall fitness, and they must be assessed via measures that are accessible, and replicable, across different populations in the species.  Del Giudici et al. used a large questionnaire sample of mostly white, educated Americans.  Relative to the global diversity in cultural structure, this is a limited sample and not a comparative evolutionary one for the species.

Their data come from assessments of 15 personality variables using scales such as “reserved vs. warm,” “serious vs lively,” “tolerates disorder vs. perfectionistic,” and “shy vs socially bold.”  These are indeed personality assessments but they are mired in cultural contexts and meanings, not easily transferable across human societies in time and space, and extremely difficult, if not impossible, to connect, quantitatively, to any aspect of human physiology, neurology, or other structured, identifiable, target for natural selection to act on.  Also, these are most likely not static traits of individuals, but rather dynamic states that are fluid over the lifetime.

Finally, when talking about evolved differences in behavior between males and females one cannot make statements like “when it comes to personality men and women belong to two different species”  without noting the biological reality that we are, indeed, the same species.  There are no consistent brain differences between the sexes [iii], there is incredible overlap in our physiological function [iv], we engage in sexual activity in more or less the same patterns [v], and we overlap extensively in most other behavior as well. There are some interesting re-occurring differences, particularly in patterns of aggression and certain physiological correlates of reproduction, muscle density, and body size.  However, anthropological datasets show enormous complexity in how and why men and women behave the ways that they do [vi].  Studies in human biology and anthropology regularly demonstrate a dynamic flexibility and complex biocultural context for all human behavior, and this is especially true for gender.

Del Giudici et al. and Maestripieri are trying to counter Janet Shibley-Hyde’s “gender similarities hypothesis” [vii] because they “know” that men and women are more different than similar.  There are many valid points of contention in regards to Shibley-Hyde’s seminal paper and Del Giudici et al. bring up an important methodological one, but do not provide an actual assessment and analysis of the overall data set and meta-analyses that Shibley-Hyde used [viii].   My concern is not so much with some good back and forth in the peer reviewed literature, rather it is with the blogospheres’ and the public’s response to the article and to yet another flare-up in over simplistic assertions about the way that men and women “are” by nature.

There is something about avidly trying to prove men and women are different, or the same, that makes people lose their mind a bit.  No matter how much some want it to be true, it is just not that simple; there are no clear cut and easy answers to why we do what we do, and why men and women sometimes have problems getting along. To ignore the enormous wealth of data on how men and women are similar AND different and to try to tackle this enormously complex reality via one-dimensional approaches is just poor science.

[i] Del Giudice, M., Booth, T., and Irwing, P. (2012). The distance between Mars and Venus: Measuring global sex differences in personality. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29265

[iii] Eliot, L.(2009) Pink brain Blue brain. Houhgton Mifflin Harcourt., Wood, J.L., Heitmiller, D., Andreasen, N.C., Nopoulos, P. (2008). Morphology of the ventral frontal cortex: relationship to femininity and social cognition. Cerebral Cortex, 18, 534–40., Bishop, K. and Wahlsten, D. (1997) Sex Differences in the Human Corpus Callosum: Myth or Reality? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 21(5):581-601

[iv] Anne Fausto-Sterling (2000) Sexing the Body: gender politics and the construction of sexuality Basic Books, P.T. Ellison and P.B. Gray Eds.(2009) The endocrinology of social relationships.  Harvard University Press Pp. 270-293

[v][v] Herbenick, D.,  Reece, M., Schick, V., Sanders, S.A., Dodge, B.,  Fortenberry, J.D. (2010) Sexual behavior in the united states: results form a national probability sample of men and women ages 14-94. J. Sex Med. 7(suppl. 5):255-265

[vi] Nanda, S. (2000) Gender diversity: cross-cultural variations Waveland Press, Donnan, H. and Magowan, F. (2010) The Anthropology of Sex Berg Publishers

[vii] Hyde JS (2005) The gender similarities hypothesis. Am Psychol 60: 581–592.

Agustín Fuentes About the Author: Agustín Fuentes completed a B.A. in Zoology and Anthropology, and an M.A.& Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. His current research includes cooperation and community in human evolution, ethnoprimatology and multispecies anthropology, evolutionary theory, and interdisciplinary approaches to human nature(s). Fuentes’ recent books include “Evolution of Human Behavior” (Oxford), “Biological Anthropology: concepts and connections” (McGraw-Hill), and the forthcoming “Race, Monogamy, and other lies they told you: busting myths about human nature” (U of California).

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Previous: The Canary in the Himalayas More
Guest Blog
Next: The Open Science Paradox

Comments 36 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. naya8 3:45 pm 01/20/2012

    It’s not so complicated to observe the mental difference betweem males and femals. Even in dogs I could observe the obvious difference.It’s true that we are the same species, but sure we have differwnt brain-microstructure.Biologically we have different hormones, then must be there outcomes, not only in muscles and other physical features but also in brain cutting.

    Link to this
  2. 2. kclancy 5:12 pm 01/20/2012

    Thanks for this thoughtful, comprehensive perspective Agustin. In addition to how well you address the current research, this post serves as a lovely explained for undergrads about why it’s so important to understand the difference between sex and gender, and why we shouldn’t conflate them. -Kate Clancy

    Link to this
  3. 3. kclancy 5:13 pm 01/20/2012

    Sorry, “explained” should be “explainer” – darn auto correct.

    Link to this
  4. 4. ec194010 10:43 am 01/21/2012

    If we decide to assert that men and women are not of the same species, then where does this distinction stop? For consistency’s sake, we would have to say that all males and females are of different species, which would throw away the definition of “species” entirely. Thank you for pointing out the inconsistencies and bias in this study: no matter how we argue the facts, men and women are both human, and no amount of passionate but incomplete research can change that.

    Link to this
  5. 5. nmtucson 12:03 pm 01/21/2012

    Thank you, Dr. Fuentes, for a cogent and reasoned analysis of the deficiencies of Del Guidice’s research and conclusions. It’s no coincidence that our first question about a new baby is “boy or girl?” Several recent studies have shown that our interactions with newborns differ based on our awareness of the answer to that question, which means we do not have access to subjects that have not already been exposed to gender training. Combined with our growing understanding of the plasticity of the brain in response to life experience, this suggests that any effort to detect genetic or biological differences between the sexes must aspire to a much higher and more exacting level of evidence. Research that attributes any and all detected behavior differences to biology, as opposed to something produced in response to gender acculturation, is clearly deficient. Since ethics and the pervasiveness of modern life prevent us from raising children without gender awareness, it may be very hard, if not impossible, to separate culture from biology in this case. That does not justify setting aside the standards of scientific evidence and leaping to unfounded conclusions.

    Link to this
  6. 6. AdrianaH 1:07 pm 01/23/2012

    Thank you, Agustín, for a great article. As a scientist, I also tend to worry about the popular science press overinterpreting this type of articles. I think many lay people want clear-cut, definitive answers and do not really like to hear: “it’s complicated” “the science is not settled”, let alone critically review methodologies, assumptions, statistics, etc.
    I think people “lose their minds a bit” over the men-women differences (or lack thereof) because there is a lot at stake: gender stereotyping can lead to a lot of unhappiness and missed opportunities. With respect to Mastropieiri’s “bold” statement that women and men are two different species when it comes to personalities, I cannot interpret it as anything else but a desire for attention. Unfortunately, people pay much more attention when this kind of simplistic, supposedly provocative statements are dropped, than when we have an honest discussion of the difficulties discerning biology from environment when it comes to much of human biology, let alone the mind or a complex phenotype such as “personality”

    Link to this
  7. 7. AdrianaH 1:12 pm 01/23/2012

    Also, I forgot. One little glitch: the link on reference (i) points to this article here in Sci. Am, not the Del Giudice’s PLoS One article.

    Link to this
  8. 8. Grumpyoleman 9:10 pm 01/23/2012

    You obviously haven’t met my wife. I registered her with the MIB bureau.

    Link to this
  9. 9. American Muse 9:55 pm 01/23/2012

    Men and Women are different biologically. Live with it!

    Link to this
  10. 10. ferrox 10:36 pm 01/23/2012

    “Men and Women are different biologically. Live with it!”

    Especially ‘Judge Judy’ AND Kim-divorce-him-over-twitter-in-73-days-Kardashian. Ya know, when God finally holds court and has Judgement Day on December 21, 2012 (I have survived sixty of these raptures since birth!) , I just HAVE to ask Him, ‘ God, when you made woman, how were ya feeling? Was it another one of those days at the Office, God? Was Satan actin’ a royal fool, him and his henchmen-angels and things just kind of got off to a bad start? You made woman…what was it all about? What was it really looking like on the drawing board and fill me in on all the perks and positives. You had this image of Eve and the Kids. Women who never PMS, laugh at all your jokes and can throw a football. Women who KNOW you are not rich, but will marry you ANYWAY! Right Jesus, am I right?!? Women who love you like your daughter did before she hit puberty and lost her friggin’, frackin mind! Mass murderers, the Adolph Hitlers, the Al Capones, the corrupt and fatherless wall street thieving bankers – women poison, stab, kill and flush down the toilet good men so that they can be cheated on by the Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods Glee club members from hell AND then got on the Ophrah Winfrey show and acted like they never saw it coming despite having a college degree, being over 21, and having a small army of women telling them how to get on a talk show after they do it and their mom is their AGENT (Dad died a LONGGGG time ago)! God, do you sing while you work? Do you Like the Eurythmics? Sweet-dreams-are-made-of-this-Man-is-in-for-some-reality-TV! Desperate-housewives-profootball-hussies-will-not-let-the-camera-crew-use-one-of-thirteen-toilets…! Same planet…huh…wellll….PROVE IT!!

    Link to this
  11. 11. LiliaFuentes 6:09 am 01/24/2012

    Ok, practically men and women are from the same planet but seriously, sometimes the difference is way too obvious. I am a woman and sometimes I completely have no idea of what is going on in my hubby’s mind!
    audio editor free

    Link to this
  12. 12. MDG 5:22 am 01/25/2012

    I am one of the authors of the PLoS ONE paper. I wish to clarify a few points that may not be obvious from the post:

    1) In the paper, we do not use “sex” and “gender” interchangeably. True, the “gender similarities hypothesis” put forth by Janet Hyde has been mostly applied to studies of sex differences (e.g., in her 2005 meta-analysis), but the label was chosen by Hyde, not by us.

    2) We do not claim that our data, by themselves, support an evolutionary account of human sex differences. Instead, we explicitly note that some sociocultural accounts are also consistent with large differences. That said, I have several disagreements with Dr. Fuentes assessment of the magnitude of sex differences in humans, their explanation, and the neurobiological underpinnings of personality; but the disagreements are based on my own reading of the scientific literature, not on the results of this specific study.

    3) Dr. Fuentes writes: “Del Giudic[e] et al. and Maestripieri are trying to counter Janet Shibley-Hyde’s “gender similarities hypothesis” because they “know” that men and women are more different than similar.” This is Dr. Fuentes’ personal opinion. Speaking for myself, I certainly did not “know” the results of this study in advance. Of course, the existence of non-trivial sex differences in personality was already apparent from the technical literature (including the cross-cultural studies), and as we discuss in the paper, there are a number of common methodological artifacts that tend to deflate them. For these reasons, it was reasonable to expect that, by correcting those artifacts, we would find a larger effect size than usual. Finally, catchphrases such as “more different than similar” and “more similar than different” are virtually meaningless, unless they are tied to precise statistical criteria.

    4) Dr. Fuentes writes: “To ignore the enormous wealth of data on how men and women are similar AND different and to try to tackle this enormously complex reality via one-dimensional approaches is just poor science.” It is unclear what this senstence is about, but if it refers to our paper, I cannot see how it relates. First, we focus on sex differences in personality, not on sex differences across the board. Second, in the paper we report and discuss both similarities and differences in individual personality traits. Finally (and ironically), the method we used fully acknowledges the multidimensional nature of personality, in contrast with most previous studies in the field. The remark about “one-dimensional” approaches might refer to Hyde’s criticism of our paper, to which we replied at length on the PLoS website:

    Link to this
  13. 13. Mr. Peabody 10:28 am 01/25/2012

    Well, the commentary is certainly consistent with the hypothese that this topic “makes people lose their mind a bit”.
    Cultures around the world agree men and women are different, but disagree on how. I hypothese that if we could include historical but now extinct cultures that seem to have had different sex roles than most extant cultures (e.g. the Sarmatians), we’d find even greater variety.
    The interesting consistency is in the agreement on difference, and the persistence of gender based divison of labor. That would be an interesting topic to investigate! I have seen passing references in some human evolution articles in this magazine, but that’s all.
    On another note, I’ve neither the time nor interest to review the statistical approach in the original paper, but I agree with the author that “assessments must be comparative across more than one population of the species of interest”. When I was a science undergrad many years ago doing research to meet my Soc Sci reqts, I was surprised in the way research papers by Europeans were always full of “Germans do this, Italians do that” comparisons, while American authors always seemed to interview white upper middle class undergrads and then assume they were typical of all people everywhere. It always seemed a weakness from a methodological viewpoint.

    Link to this
  14. 14. afuentes 11:10 am 01/25/2012

    I appreciate all of the thoughtful comments and especially the response from Dr. Del Giudice. This is indeed an important topic and one that piques everyone’s interest.
    In direct response to Dr. Del Giudice I wish to clarify a few points. Firstly, my commentary was directed at the broader interpretation and popular treatment of the role of evolutionary histories and processes in sex and gender difference research and not directly at the article (Del Giudice et al. 2011). It was the response generated by the article I was responding to and I used the article as a focal point to present my main points. Dr. Del Giudice and colleagues are clear about the limited role the specific data they present in the article have and also point to the possibilities of multiple explanatory pathways. I think the article was clear and well-presented and, as I noted, think that the exchanges between Shibley-Hyde and Del Giudice et al. is exactly the kind of back and forth needed in the peer reviewed literature.
    However, since the author brought up a few points I do want to address them directly. The article, and many related articles in the genre, DO mix the concepts of sex and gender. Personality traits are gendered and thus their measurement is an assessment of a gender pattern. In this case it is nearly impossible to distinguish between actual sex differences (differences based on the genetic and physiological parameters of male or female) and those caused by socialization and the process of becoming gendered. The authors and I may disagree on this point, but I maintain that it is a crucial one, especially if data are then used to construct or evaluate evolutionary hypotheses.
    I state that Dr. Del Giudice and others have specific beliefs about the innateness of psychological differences in men and women based on their own statements (such as ), and I stand by that position. They could also make the statement that I believe the opposite: that while there are sex differences, gender differences are much larger and that we have little biological data to support most of the assertions about evolved psychological differences in males and females. I find no substantive support in the neurological literature for any claims of significant evolutionary divergence between male and female cognition and neurological functioning. I welcome any examples that I do not know of.
    I want to make the case that readers of this blog and anyone interested in this issue take it on themselves to read broadly in the topic. Don’t “believe” what I or anyone else says, rather, figure it out for yourself. But please be very careful to approach the subject critically and with an open mind: there are no simple answers.

    Link to this
  15. 15. MDG 1:00 pm 01/25/2012

    many thanks for your response. I guess I’ll go for a short meta-clarification:

    1) There are multiple ways of defining “sex” and “gender”, and this may be at the root of our apparent disagreement. In some of the psychological literature, people talk about “sex differences” when they compare people based on biological (chromosomal) sex (usually self-reported); the term “gender differences” is reserved for instances in which one also measures individual differences in gender roles or sex-typicality (e.g., “masculinity-femininity”). In this specific sense, our study is about sex differences. I know that this operational distinction does not reflect the complexity of the concepts discussed in your post. However, the definition presented here is also problematic; if followed strictly, it would make it virtually impossible to isolate “pure” sex differences, because genetic factors and socialization interact at all times across development. This is especially true if social roles and expectations are themselves based on evolved differences, so that one cannot treat them as independent causal factors.

    2) I do believe that evolution has played a role in shaping male and female psychologies. Of course this is not the right place for making a detailed argument in support of this statement, and there is no individual study I can cite that offers indisputable proof (as is the case with most scientific issues). My general argument is that the hypothesis that (some) psychological sex differences have an evolved basis fits the evidence (and the theoretical models) better than a 100% socialization account. For an engaging and balanced review of the evidence, I strongly recommend this book:
    On the evolutionary side, here are two fine books I can recommend:

    3) My problem was not with you ascribing me those beliefs, but with the implications of the sentence “[they] are trying to counter Janet Shibley-Hyde’s “gender similarities hypothesis” because they “know” that men and women are more different than similar.” I trust you see the difference between this sentence and “[they] have specific beliefs about the innateness of psychological differences in men and women”.

    Again, thanks for the stimulating discussion and for discussing our paper in your post.

    Link to this
  16. 16. afuentes 6:25 pm 01/26/2012

    Thanks for the response post Marco. It is indeed a difficult area to quantify but, as you note, one where it is very important to at least try. This is exactly the kind of back and forth that is needed on these topics. Hopefuly this inspires our readers to look at all the references noted here and get a good idea what is out there.

    Link to this
  17. 17. Nag nostic 2:15 am 01/27/2012

    For 95 percent of us humans, “gender” and “sex” are the same thing. Only for those who deviate towards the fringe, does “gender” and “sex” become so complicated.

    It’s so nice being normal.

    Link to this
  18. 18. D'Bogat 7:09 am 01/29/2012

    I just have a simple question: Are we males closer to the (male) chimpanzees or to a human female? I have read that the genetic difference between the first is a mere porcentage points.
    (Sorry for the clumsiness of my vocabulary)

    Link to this
  19. 19. nmtucson 3:08 pm 01/30/2012

    Many statements around this issue remind me of another group believed to be biologically different–Jews. In the middle ages, Jews were forbidden to do most kinds of work by law. They *were* allowed to handle money–lend it, trade it, manage it, etc, so they did, in order to feed their families. Not long after this, we find increasing negative references to Jews’ alleged “obsession” with money. They were thus hated for doing the only work allowed to them. It seems to me that many of the differences between men and women, especially those we seem to relish, come about in much the same way. We grow our little girls to be sensitive and tender, then slam them for not being tough enough to work in the business world. We grow our little boys to play rough and aspire to physical dominance, then slam them for obsessing about sports and war. As I said above, unless you can find a population of humans that has somehow avoided imposing gender differences on their infants, you will have a really difficult time proving that apparent differences are biological and not simply cultural.

    Link to this
  20. 20. lj237209 2:51 pm 02/16/2012

    Dario Maestripieri made an attempt to tackle an issue in which there are several variables that are difficult to define correctly. With that said, I agree that he did poor job in the process, however I think the topic is overall one that will need to be taken using several approaches. Though the data he collected was skewed and no the most reliable it provided data none the less. I think it is important to look at the data he collected as a basis for further and more accurate research. In other words, after reading his article I now know what not to do when doing research. Also, I now have a better understanding for how to approach this topic in regards to research and analysis.

    Link to this
  21. 21. js274608 2:50 pm 02/24/2012

    I agree that it’s difficult to study the differences between men and women cross-culturally, using the same terms. Cultural context is very important to a study trying to define the level of similarities and differences between men and women. Personality traits and the words we use to describe them can vary in meaning between societies.

    I also agree that trying to come up with definitive results is unreasonable. It is obvious that men and women are different, but to globally label a degree in which that is true wouldn’t be accurate in my opinion. I like the title of this article because it sort of sums up how much we can really say about sex difference; very little outside of general statements.

    Link to this
  22. 22. Cindi 5:44 am 01/18/2015

    Below is a presentation by Eastern College Christian and Gender Scholar psychology professor Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen which talks about how much abundant consistent psychological research studies find few gender differences,and much more overlap similarities between them.I don’t have a link to this article because I can’t find it online anymore.

    Trinity 2007

    Opposite Sexes or Neighboring Sexes?
    C.S. Lewis, Dorothy L. Sayers, and
    the Psychology of Gender

    Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen

    Gender and Modern Social Science

    C. S. Lewis was no fan of the emerging social sciences. He saw practitioners of the social sciences mainly as lackeys of technologically-minded natural scientists, bent on reducing individual freedom and moral accountability to mere epiphenomena of natural processes (See Lewis 1943 and 1970 b). And not surprisingly (given his passion for gender-essentialist archetypes), aside from a qualified appreciation of some aspects of Freudian psychoanalysis (See Lewis 1952 (Book III, Chapter 4) and 1969). “Carl Jung was the only philosopher [sic] of the Viennese school for whose work [Lewis] had much respect” (Sayer 102).

    But the social sciences concerned with the psychology of gender have since shown that Sayers was right, and Lewis and Jung were wrong: women and men are not opposite sexes but neighboring sexes—and very close neighbors indeed. There are, it turns out, virtually no large, consistent sex differences in any psychological traits and behaviors, even when we consider the usual stereotypical suspects: that men are more aggressive, or just, or rational than women, and women are more empathic, verbal, or nurturing than men.

    When differences are found, they are always average—not absolute—differences. And in virtually all cases the small, average—and often decreasing—difference between the sexes is greatly exceeded by the amount of variability on that trait within members of each sex. Most of the “bell curves” for women and men (showing the distribution of a given psychological trait or behavior) overlap almost completely. So it is naïve at best (and deceptive at worst) to make even average—let alone absolute—pronouncements about essential archetypes in either sex when there is much more variability within than between the sexes on all the trait and behavior measures for which we have abundant data.

    This criticism applies as much to C. S. Lewis and Carl Jung as it does to their currently most visible descendent, John Gray, who continues to claim (with no systematic empirical warrant) that men are from Mars and women are from Venus (Gray 1992).

    And what about Lewis’s claims about the overriding masculinity of God? Even the late Carl Henry (a theologian with impeccable credentials as a conservative evangelical) noted a quarter of a century ago that:Masculine and feminine elements are excluded from both the Old Testament and New Testament doctrine of deity. The God of the Bible is a sexless God. When Scripture speaks of God as “he” the pronoun is primarily personal (generic) rather than masculine (specific); it emphasizes God’s personal nature—and, in turn, that of the Father, Son and Spirit as Trinitarian distinctions in contrast to impersonal entities… Biblical religion is quite uninterested in any discussion of God’s masculinity or femininity… Scripture does not depict God either as ontologically masculine or feminine. (Henry 1982, 159–60)

    However well-intentioned, attempts to read a kind of mystical gendering into God—whether stereotypically masculine, feminine, or both—reflect not so much careful biblical theology as “the long arm of Paganism” (Martin 11). For it is pagan worldviews, the Jewish commentator Nahum Sarna reminds us, that are “unable to conceive of any primal creative force other than in terms of sex… [In Paganism] the sex element existed before the cosmos came into being and all the gods themselves were creatures of sex. On the other hand, the Creator in Genesis is uniquely without any female counterpart, and the very association of sex with God is utterly alien to the religion of the Bible” (Sarna 76).

    And if the God of creation does not privilege maleness or stereotypical masculinity, neither did the Lord of redemption. Sayers’s response to the cultural assumption that women were human-not-quite-human has become rightly famous:Perhaps it is no wonder that women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man—there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for beingfemale; who had no axe to grind or no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is not act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel which borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about women’s nature. (Sayers 1975, 46)

    It is quite likely that Lewis’s changing views on gender owed something to the intellectual and Christian ties that he forged with Dorothy L. Sayers. And indeed, in 1955—two years before her death, Lewis confessed to Sayers that he had only “dimly realised that the old-fashioned way… of talking to all young women was v[ery] like an adult way of talking to young boys. It explains,” he wrote, “not only why some women grew up vapid, but also why others grew up (if we may coin the word) viricidal [i.e., wanting to kill men]” (Lewis 2007, 676; Lewis’s emphasis). The Lewis who in his younger years so adamantly had defended the doctrine of gender essentialism was beginning to acknowledge the extent to which gendered behavior is socially conditioned. In another letter that same year, he expressed a concern to Sayers that some of the first illustrations for the Narnia Chronicles were a bit too effeminate. “I don’t like either the ultra feminine or the ultra masculine,” he added. “I prefer people” (Lewis 2007, 639; Lewis’s emphasis).

    Dorothy Sayers surely must have rejoiced to read this declaration. Many of Lewis’s later readers, including myself, wish that his shift on this issue had occurred earlier and found its way into his better-selling apologetic works and his novels for children and adults. But better late than never. And it would be better still if those who keep trying to turn C. S. Lewis into an icon for traditionalist views on gender essentialism and gender hierarchy would stop mining his earlier works for isolated proof-texts and instead read what he wrote at every stage of his life.

    Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen is Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

    This essay originally was presented as the Tenth Annual Warren Rubel Lecture on Christianity and Higher Learning at Valparaiso University on 1 February 2007.

    The Cresset


    Evans, C. Stephen. Wisdom and Humanness in Psychology: Prospects for a Christian Approach. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989.
    Gray, John. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
    Hannay, Margaret. C. S. Lewis. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1981.
    Henry, Carl F. H. God, Revelation, and Authority. Vol. V. Waco, Texas: Word, 1982.
    Lewis, C. S. The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. III. Walter Hooper, ed. San Francisco:
    HarperSanFrancisco, 2007.
    _____. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1964.
    _____. The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. I: 1905–1931. Walter Hooper, ed. San Francisco:
    HarperSanFrancisco, 2004a.
    _____. The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. II: 1931–1949. Walter Hooper, ed. San Francisco:
    HarperSanFrancisco, 2004b.
    _____. “On Three Ways of Writing for Children,”[1952] Reprinted in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories, ed., Walter Hooper, 22–34. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975.
    _____. “Priestesses in the Church?” [1948]. Reprinted in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. Walter Hooper, 234–39. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970a.
    _____. “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment,”[1954]. Reprinted in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. Walter Hooper, 287–300. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970b.
    _____. “Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism,”[1942]. Reprinted in Selected Literary Essays, ed. Walter Hooper, 286–300. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1969.
    _____. [N. W. Clerk, pseudo.] A Grief Observed. London: Faber and Faber, 1961.
    _____. The Four Loves. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960.
    _____. Till We Have Faces. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1956.
    _____. Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. London: Collins, 1955.
    _____. Mere Christianity. London: Collins, 1952.
    _____. That Hideous Strength. London: John Lane the Bodley Head, 1945.
    _____. The Abolition of Man. Oxford: Oxford University, 1943.
    _____. A Preface to Paradise Lost. Oxford: Oxford University, 1942.
    The Cresset
    _____. Perelandra. London: The Bodley Head, 1942.
    Martin, Faith. “Mystical Masculinity: The New Question Facing Women,” Priscilla Papers, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Winter 1998), 6–12.
    Reynolds, Barbara. Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul. New York: St. Martins, 1993.
    Sarna, Nahum M. Understanding Genesis: The Heritage of Biblical Israel. New York: Schocken, 1966.
    Sayer, George. Jack: C. S. Lewis and His Times. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.
    Sayers, Dorothy L. “The Human-Not-Quite-Human,”[1946]. Reprinted in Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women
    Human?, 37–47. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1975.
    Sayers, Dorothy L. Gaudy Night. London: Victor Gollancz, 1935.
    Sterk, Helen. “Gender and Relations and Narrative in a Reformed Church Setting.” In After Eden: Facing the Challenge of Gender Reconciliation, ed., Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, 184–221. Grand Rapids:

    Eerdmans, 1993.
    Copyright © 2007 Valparaiso University Press

    Link to this
  23. 23. Cindi 5:45 am 01/18/2015

    Sword between the Sexes?, A: C. S. Lewis and the Gender Debates – Page 188 -

    Google Books Result
    Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen – 2010 – Religion
    C. S. Lewis and the Gender Debates Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen … indicates that women and men, boys and girls, are overwhelmingly more alike than different

    Link to this
  24. 24. Cindi 5:46 am 01/18/2015

    I have an excellent book from 1979 written by 2 parent child development psychologists Dr. Wendy Schemp Matthews and award winning psychologist from Columbia University, Dr.Jeane Brooks-Gunn, called He & She How Children Develop Their Sex Role Identity.

    They thoroughly demonstrate with tons of great studies and experiments by parent child psychologists that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike than different with very few differences but they are still perceived and treated systematically very different from the moment of birth on by parents and other adult care givers. They go up to the teen years.

    They also show that surveys show that boys are overwhelmingly preferred over girls,(sadly nothing has changed and sexist woman-hating,girl-hating Tee shirts that say( I’m Too Pretty For Homework So I Let My Brother Do It For Me) (and other sexist anti-female ads,pornography,etc do too) like these both reflect and contribute to this injustice.They also explain that when people guess if a pregnant woman is having a girl or a boy,and they list a whole bunch of false unproven sexist, gender myth,gender stereotyped,old wives tales,that assign all negative characteristics to a woman if they think she’s having a girl,and the imagined girls or given all of the negative characteristics.

    For example they say that author Elana Belotti(1977) explained these examples, The man and woman each take hold of one end of a wishbone and pull it apart.If the longest part comes away in the man’s hand,the baby will be a boy. If you suddenly ask a pregnant woman what she has in her hand and she looks at her right hand first ,she will have a boy;if she looks at her left hand it will be a girl.If the mother’s belly is bigger on the right-hand side a boy will be born,and also if her right breast is bigger than her left,or if her right foot is more restless.

    If a woman is placid during pregnancy she will have a boy,but if she is bad-tempered or cries a lot,she will have a girl.If her complexion is rosy she’s going to have a son;if she is pale a daughter. If her looks improve,she’s expecting a boy;if they worsen,a girl.If the fetal heartbeat is fast,it is a boy;if it is slow it is a girl.If the fetus has started to move by the fortieth day it will be a boy and the birth will be easy,but if it doesn’t move until the ninetieth day it will be a girl.( Belotti 1977,pp.22-23)

    Dr.Brooks-Gunn and Wendy Schempp Matthews then say, now rate each of the characteristics above as positive or negative. A woman expecting a girl is pale,her looks deteriorate,she is cross and ill-tempered,and she gets the short end of the wishbone,all negative characteristics. They then say,furthermore ,a girl is symbolized by the left-the left hand,the left side of the belly,the left foot,the left breast. They say,left connotes evil,a bad omen,or sinister,again the girls have all of the negative characteristics.

    They then say,that sex-role stereotypes about activity also characterize Belotti’s recipes:boys are believed to be active from the very beginning and girls have slower heartbeats and begin to move around later.They then say,the message although contradictory(girls cause more trouble even though they are more passive) is clear in that it reflects the sex-role stereotype that boys “do” while girls “are” and the belief that boys are more desirable than girls.

    They also say that parents have gender stereotyped reasons for wanting a girl or a boy,obviously if they didn’t it wouldn’t matter if it’s a girl or boy.When my first cousin was pregnant with her first of two girls people even strangers said such false ridiculous things to her,that they were sure she was going to have a boy because she was carrying low or how stomach looked.

    I once spoke with Dr.Brooks-Gunn in 1994 and I asked her how she could explain all of these great studies that show that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike with few differences but are still perceived and treated so differently anyway, and she said that’s due to socialization and she said there is no question, that socialization plays a very big part.

    I know that many scientists know that the brain is plastic and can be shaped and changed by different life experiences and different environments too and Eastern College gender and Christian psychology professor Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leewuen told this to me too when I spoke to her 15 years ago. Dr.Van Leeuwen also said that human beings don’t have sex fixed in the brain and she told me that humans have a unique highly developed cerebral cortex that allows us to make choices in our behaviors and we can learn things that animals can’t.

    There was another case in Canada that I read about online some years ago about another case in which a normal genetic male baby’s penis was destroyed when he was an infant and in this case he was raised as a girl from the much younger age of only 7 months old,not as late as 21 months as was David Reimer,and research shows that the core gender identity is learned by as early as 18 months old.

    In this other case,it was reported in 1998 he was still living as a woman in his 20′s but a bisexual woman. With David Reimer they raised him as a girl too late after he learned most of his gender identity as a boy from the moment he was born and put into blue clothes, treated totally differently, given gender stereotyped toys, perceived and treated totally differently than girls are in every way(in the great book,He and She:How Children Develop Their Sex Role Identity it explains that a lot of research studies and tests by parent child psychologists found that they give 3 month old babies gender stereotyped toys long before they are able to develop these kinds of preferences or ask for these toys. They also found that when adults interacted with the same exact baby they didn’t know was a girl or boy who was dressed in gender neutral clothes,they decided if they *believed* it was a girl or boy.

    And those adults who thought the baby was a boy,always handed the baby a toy foot ball,but never a doll and were asked what made them think it was a girl or boy and they said they used characteristics of the baby to make the judgement . Those who thought the baby was a boy described characteristics such as strength,those who thought the baby was a girl described the baby as having softness and fragility,and as the Dr.Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Wendy Schempp Mathews explain,Again remember that the same infant was being characterized as strong or soft,the actual distinction by sex characteristics being only in the minds of the adults.

    They also explain that in the toy preference studies,girl toddlers often show an initial interest in the trucks,but eventually abandon them for a more familiar type of toy. Also check out Kate Bornstein’s books,Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook,and recently a co-written book,Gender Outlaws. Kate used to be a heterosexual married man who fathered a daughter and then had a sex change and became a lesbian woman who now doesn’t indemnity as a man or a woman. I heard Kate interview in 1998 on a local NPR show and she totally debunks gender myths,and rejects the “feminine” and “masculine” categories as the mostly socially constructed categories that they really are.She even said,what does it mean to feel or think like a woman(or man) she said what does that really mean.

    Link to this
  25. 25. Cindi 5:52 am 01/18/2015

    Below is an email I wrote to Oxford University Gender communication professor Deborah Cameron author of the great important book,The Myth Of Mars and Venus Do Men and women Really Speak Different Languages?.

    Dear Deborah,

    I recently read your great important book, The Myth Of Mars & Venus. I read a bad review of the book, The Female Brain on US by psychologist David H.Perterzell he called it junk

    I also thought you would want to know that John Gray got his “Ph.D” from Columbia Pacific University which was closed down in March 2001 by the California Attorney General’s Office because he called it a diploma mill and a phony operation offering totally worthless degrees!

    Also there is a Christian gender and psychology scholar and author psychology professor Dr. Mary Stewart Van Leewuen who teaches the psychology and Philosophy of Gender at the Christian College Eastern College in Pa. She has several online presentations that were done at different colleges from 2005- the present debunking the Mars & Venus myth.

    One is called , Opposite Sexes Or Neighboring Sexes and sometimes adds, Beyond The Mars/Venus Rhetoric in which she explains that all of the large amount of research evidence from the social and behavorial sciences shows that the sexes are very close neighbors and that there are only small average differences between them many of which have gotten even smaller over the last several decades and in her great even longer article that isn’t online anymore called,What Do We Mean By “Male-Female Complentarity”? A Review Of Ronald W.Pierce,Rebecca M.Groothuis,and Gordon D.Fee,eds Discovering Biblical Equality:Complentarity Without Hierarchy, which she says happened after 1973 when gender roles were less rigid and that genetic differences can’t shrink like this and in such a short period of time, and that most large differences that are found are between individual people and that for almost every trait and behavior there is a large overlap between them and she said so it is naive at best and deceptive at worst to make claims about natural sex differences. etc.

    She says he claims Men are From Mars & Women are From Venus with no emperical warrant and that his claim gets virtually no support from the large amount of psychological and behavioral sciences and that in keeping in line with the Christian Ethic and with what a bumper sticker she saw said and evidence from the behavioral and social sciences is , Men Are From,Earth ,Women Are From Earth Get Used To It. Comedian George Carlin said this too.

    She also said that such dichotomous views of the sexes are apparently popular because people like simple answers to complex issues including relationships between men and women. She should have said especially relationships between them.She also said when I spoke wit her in 1998 and 1999 that human beings don’t have sex fixed in the brain,she said human beings adapt to their environments,and they develop certain characteristics in response to those environments but they are not fixed and unchangeable. Dr.Van Leeuwen also said that I’m correct that the human female and male brain is more alike than different and she said the brain is plastic and easily molded and shaped throughout life by different life experiences and environments.She said humans have a unique highly developed cerebal cortex which animals don’t and this enables people to learn things and make choices that animals can’t.

    Sociologist Dr.Michael Kimmel writes and talks about this also including in his Media Education Foundation educational video. And he explains that all of the evidence from the psychological and behavioral sciences indicates that women and men are far more alike than different. He also demonstrated with a lot of research studies and evidence from the behavioral and social sciences that the sexes are more alike than different in his very good 2000 book,The Gendered Society which he updated several times in more extensive academic volumes called,The Gendered Society Reader.

    Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leewuen says that there are no consistent large psychological sex differences found.

    I have an excellent book from 1979 written by 2 parent child development psychologists Dr. Wendy Schemp Matthews and award winning psychologist from Columbia University, Dr.Jeane Brooks-Gunn, called He & She How Children Develop Their Sex Role Idenity.

    They thoroughly demonstrate with tons of great studies and experiments by parent child psychologists that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike than different with very few differences but they are still perceived and treated systematically very different from the moment of birth on by parents and other adult care givers. They go up to the teen years.

    I once spoke with Dr.Brooks-Gunn in 1994 and I asked her how she could explain all of these great studies that show that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike with few differences but are still perceived and treated so differently anyway, and she said that’s due to socialization and she
    said there is no question, that socialization plays a very big part.

    I know that many scientists(the good responsible ones) know that the brain is plastic and can be shaped and changed by different life experiences and different life time environments.

    Also there are 2 great online rebuttals of the Mars & Venus myth by Susan Hamson called, The Rebuttal From Uranus and Out Of The Cave: Exploring Gray’s Anatomy by Kathleen Trigiani.

    Also have you read the excellent book by social psychologist Dr.Gary Wood at The University of Birmingham called, Sex Lies & Stereotypes:Challenging Views Of Women, Men & Relationships? He clearly demonstrates with all of the research studies from psychology what Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leewuen does, and he debunks The Mars & Venus myth and shows that the sexes are biologically and psychologically more alike than different and how gender roles and differences are mostly socially created and how they are very limiting and emotionally damaging to both sexes mental and physical health and don’t only allow are encourage them to become more than only a half of a person instead of a whole human person with all of our shared*human* qualities!

    Anyway, if you could write back when you have a chance I would
    really appreciate it.

    Thank You

    Link to this
  26. 26. Cindi 5:57 am 01/18/2015

    ISBN: 0262720310
    ISBN-13: 9780262720311
    Pub. Date: February 1999
    Publisher: MIT Press

    Why So Slow?: The Advancement of Women
    by Virginia Valian

    Why do so few women occupy positions of power and prestige? Virginia Valian uses concepts and data from psychology, sociology, economics, and biology to explain the disparity in the professional advancement of men and women. According to Valian, men and women alike have implicit hypotheses about gender differences — gender schemas — that create small sex differences in characteristics, behaviors, perceptions, and evaluations of men and women. Those small imbalances accumulate to advantage men and disadvantage women. The most important consequence of gender schemas for professional life is that men tend to be overrated and women underrated. Valian’s goal is to make the invisible factors that retard women’s progress visible, so that fair treatment of men and women will be possible. The book makes its case with experimental and observational data from laboratory and field studies of children and adults, and with statistical documentation on men and women in the professions. The many anecdotal examples throughout provide a lively counterpoint.

    What People Are Saying

    The MIT Press

    Editorial Reviews

    From the Publisher

    Publishers Weekly
    Social psychologist Valian thinks that the Western world has gotten gender all wrong. “As social beings we tend to perceive the genders as alternatives to each other, as occupying opposite and contrasting ends of a continuum,” she writes, “even though the sexes are not opposite but are much more alike than they are different.” Indeed, despite nearly three decades of feminism, “gender schema”the assumption that masculine and feminine characteristics determine personality and ability continue to influence the expectations and thinking of most Americans. Just about everyone, Valian writes, assumes that men are independent, task-oriented and assertive, while women are tagged as expressive and nurturing. As such, women lag behind in many professions and continue to do the lion’s share of housework and child-rearing. Girls remain less attentive in math and science, while even women who attend medical school tend to steer themselves into “gender appropriate” slots such as family practice or pediatrics. Valian bases her findings on research conducted by social scientists in fields as disparate as psychology, education, sociology and economics, and the result is a work that is both scholarly and anecdotally rich. But it also posits concrete suggestions for changing the way we view the sexes, from stepped-up affirmative action programs, to timetables for rectifying gender-based valuations. Accessible and lively, Why So Slow? is a breakthrough in the discourse on gender and has great potential to move the women’s movement to a new, more productive phase. (Jan.)

    Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9780262720311
    Publisher: MIT Press
    Publication date: 2/5/1999
    Edition description: Reprint
    Pages: 421
    Sales rank: 726,586

    Table of Contents
    A Note on Method and Scope
    1 Gender Schemas at Work 1
    2 Gender Begins – and Continues – at Home 23
    3 Learning About Gender 47
    4 Biology and Behavior 67
    5 Biology and Cognition 81
    6 Schemas That Explain Behavior 103
    7 Evaluating Women and Men 125
    8 Effects on the Self 145
    9 Interpreting Success and Failure 167
    10 Women in the Professions 187
    11 Women in Academia 217
    12 Professional Performance and Human Values 251
    13 Affirmative Action and the Law 277
    14 Remedies 303
    Notes 333
    References 353
    Author Index 385
    Subject Index 393

    © 1997-2013 llc

    Link to this
  27. 27. Cindi 6:01 am 01/18/2015

    There is an excellent online article that I printed out 13 years ago,by Jungian psychologist Dr.Gary S.Toub,called,Jung and Gender:Masculine and Feminine Revisted. On his site it now only has part of this article and it says you have to register to read the full article. I emailed Dr.Toub years ago and he wrote me back several nice emails,in one he said he really liked my letter,and that it was filled to the brim with excellent points and references.

    In this article he talks about what parts of Jungian thought he finds useful and what he finds problematic. The first thing he says he finds useful is, In the course of Jungian analysis, he often assists female clients to discover traditionally,masculine qualities in their psyche and that he likewise frequently assist male clients to recognize traditionally feminine qualities in their psyche. He says this process frees each gender from the straight-jacket of stereotyped sex roles and expands his clients identities. He then said that the process also mirrors and furthers the breakdown of male-female polarization in our culture,and the cultural shifts towards androgyny.

    He also says that most importantly, his practice of Jungian analysis places the greatest emphasis on facilitating his clients individuation process. He says this means that he tries to assist clients,male or female,to search for their authentic self-definition,distinct from society’s gender expectations.He also says that many Jungian definitions of masculine and feminine are narrow,outdated and sexist.

    He also says that he has found that generalizing about what is masculine and what is feminine is dangerous,often perpetuating gender myths that are discriminatory and damaging.He says while there is some research supporting biological roots to personality differences,the majority of studies suggest that much of what is considered masculine or feminine is culture determined.

    He also says that viewing masculine and feminine as complementary opposites,while useful at times,is problematic. He then says as his gay,lesbian, and transsexual clients have taught him,gender is more accurately viewed as encompassing a wide-ranging continuum. He then says that likewise,the more people he sees in his practice,the more he is impressed at the great diversity in human nature. He says he has seen men of all types and varieties,and women of all kinds. He then says,he is hard-pressed to come up with very many generalizations based on gender.He says he knows that there are some statistical patterns,but how useful are they when he works with individuals and in a rapidly changing society? He says if each person is unique,no statistical norm or average will be able to define who my client is.

    He then says,from a psychological perspective,men and women are not, in fact,opposite. He says his clinical experience is that they are much more psychologically alike than different,and the differences that exist are not necessarily opposing.

    Link to this
  28. 28. Cindi 6:18 am 01/18/2015

    Interview with long time feminist Letty Cottin Pogrebin about her teaching and erasing her two twin daughters and her son with non-sexist non-gender roles and gender stereotypes.

    Feminist Letty Cottin Pogrebin’s son didn’t reject playing with dolls and tea sets, just as her identical twin daughters didn’t reject the non-gender stereotyped toys and behaviors she encouraged them to have. And her son didn’t grow up gay or transgendered he’s married and I think has children,but he didn’t grow up to be a macho football player either,as Letty said he’s a chef and loves to cook.

    And there is a lot wrong with sexist very limiting gender roles,gender myths and gender stereotypes that are mostly artificially created by the very sexist,gender divided,gender stereotyped,woman-hating male dominated family and society we all live in,which makes both sexes,into only half of a person,instead of full human people able to develop and express their full shared *human* traits,abilities,and behaviors etc. And then these artificial gender differences continue to reinforce gender inequalities,male dominance and men’s violence against women,children and even each other.

    There is a great 2005 book,Sex Lies And Stereotypes Challenging Views Of Women,Men and Relationships by social and cognitive British psychologist Dr.Gary Wood.He too shows plenty of great important research studies done over decades by many different psychologists that finds small average sex differences,and the sexes are much more similar than different.He also thoroughly demonstrates that gender roles,gender myths and gender stereotypes which are mostly socially and culturally constructed,harm both sexes because they are very liming,cause conflicts and misunderstands between women and men,and only allow each of them to become half of a person which can cause mental and physical conditions and diseases.

    Link to this
  29. 29. Cindi 6:19 am 01/18/2015

    Also there is a lot of evidence from sociologists and anthropologists that there are androgynous cultures. Many anthropologists like Walter Williams author of the award winning,The Spirit and The Flesh,and many other anthropologists have done field work for decades in places like Tahiti and Malaysia, women and men are encouraged to have androgynous roles there and they are not polarized into “opposite” categories and gender roles,and they are more alike in their personalities and behaviors. This is thoroughly explained in the good book,
    Manhood In The Making:Cultural Concepts Of Masculinity.

    And the men there unlike in our very gender divided,gender stereotyped, sexist male dominated society ,aren’t punished for being similar to women or appearing so-called “feminine”, they are encouraged and rewarded for it! And it’s in the very gender divided, gender stereotyped sexist male dominated societies where the sexes are polarized into “opposite” categories and gender roles that makes *more* gender differences!

    Link to this
  30. 30. Cindi 7:04 am 01/18/2015

    Thisis still on The American Psychological Association’s web site since 2005.

    Dr.Janet Shibley Hyde in this 2005 major meta-analysis of hundreds of studies by all different psychologists from decades that was written in American psychologist,the journal of The American Psychological Association,found that the sexes are more alike than different in almost all personality traits,abilities,etc.

    Link to this
  31. 31. Cindi 7:06 am 01/18/2015

    In these extensive studies by psychologist Dr. Janet Shibley Hyde and others that is still on the American Psychological Association’s web site since 2006 and that was published in American psychologist the journal of The American Psychological Association,Think Again:Men and women Share Cognitive Skills.

    It’s reported that Psychologists have gathered solid evidence that boys or girls or men and women differ in very few significant ways– differences that would matter in school or at work–in how,and how well they think.

    Link to this
  32. 32. Cindi 7:07 am 01/18/2015


    Study debunks notion that men and women are psychologically distinct
    By Eric W. Dolan

    Monday, February 4, 2013 17:33 EDT

    A first-of-its-kind study to be published in the February issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychologyhas dealt a devastating blow to the notion that men and women are fundamentally different when it comes to how they think and act.

    “Although gender differences on average are not under dispute, the idea of consistently and inflexibly gender-typed individuals is,” Bobbi J. Carothers of Washington University in St. Louis and Harry T. Reis of the University of Rochester explained in their study. “That is, there are not two distinct genders, but instead there are linear gradations of variables associated with sex, such as masculinity or intimacy, all of which are continuous.”

    Analyzing 122 different characteristics from 13,301 individuals in 13 studies, the researchers concluded that differences between men and women were best seen as dimensional rather than categorical. In other words, the differences between men and women should be viewed as a matter of degree rather than a sign of consistent differences between two distinct groups.

    Numerous studies have examined gender differences between men and women. Carothers and Reis were able to find a whopping 3,370 articles on the topic in 2011 alone. The vast majority of the research examined the average differences between men and women. The research can easily be misinterpreted as finding that “Men are better at X” or “Women are worst at Y” — ignoring the fact that the studies are comparing averages and contain variance.

    “The world presents us with a huge amount of information, so we often take shortcuts to help process it all (this is known as the ‘cognitive miser’),” Carothers explained to Raw Story in an email. “One of those shortcuts is a tendency to categorize things — it’s easier to think of 2 things (men are one way and women are another) than it is to think of all of the nuances of overlapping distributions, particularly if they’re not brought to our attention when we hear about an average difference.”

    Many researchers, particularly those who were “evolutionarily oriented,” appeared to “favor a more categorical interpretation of gender differences,” Carothers and Reis wrote. They speculated this was because no research had actually addressed the specific question of whether gender differences were categorical or dimensional.

    If men and women were psychologically distinct from one another, then their scores on psychological measures should form large clusters at either end of a spectrum with little overlap between the two groups.

    This is the case for physical characteristics such as height, shoulder breadth, arm circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio. Men tend to be tall, have broad shoulders, large arm circumference, and a small waist-to-hip ratio, while the inverse is true for women. A man is extremely unlikely to be taller than a woman, yet have narrower shoulders, for instance.

    Yet the same could not be said for the myriad of psychological characteristics examined by the two researchers, including fear of success, sexual attitudes, mate selection criteria, sexual behaviors, empathy, and personality. A man could be aggressive, but verbally skilled and poor at math, for example, combining stereotypical masculine and feminine traits.

    “It’s not enough that men, on average, score higher than women on a scale of masculinity,” Carothers told Raw Story. “Nearly all of the men would have to score higher than nearly all of the women on nearly every item of the scale. We did not see that level of consistency with the psychological variables we had.”

    – –
    [Man and woman in bed with gender symbols via Shutterstock]

    Share this story

    Link to this
  33. 33. Cindi 7:12 am 01/18/2015

    “Feminine” and “masculine” are really *HUMAN* traits,thoughts,feelings and behaviors!

    And there is plenty of decades worth of great psychological research studies by many different psychologists that shows that the sexes are much more alike than different in most traits,abilities and behaviors with a very large overlap between them,and that most of the differences between them are really small average differences,many of which have shrunk even smaller,and they find much greater individual *people* differences! Biologically the sexes are more alike than different too! As I said comedian Elaine Boosler said in the 1980′s,I’m only a person trapped in a woman’s body.

    Feminists(such as Robin Morgan,Janice Raymond,Gloria Steinem,Germain’e Greer Sheila Jeffreys etc) who have rightfully pointed this fact out,are not afraid of transsexuals or prejudiced against them,the issue is what I said it is. The only transsexual woman who actually debunks these common sexist gender myths,and gender stereotypes is Kate Bornstein author of Gender Outlaw:On Men,Women And The Rest Of Us,Gender Outlaws,My Gender Workbook etc. She was a heterosexual man who was married and had a daughter,then had a sex change and became a lesbian woman and then decided not to idenify as a man or a woman.

    I heard Kate interviewed in 1998 on a local NPR show and she totally debunks gender myths,and rejects the “feminine” and “masculine” categories as the mostly socially constructed categories that they really are.She even said,what does it mean to feel or think like a woman(or man) she said what does that really mean.

    And as cultural anthropologist Roger Lancaster wrote in his introduction, in his very good 2003 book,The Trouble With Nature sex In Science when he’s talking about how scientists constantly search for a ”gay brain”,a ”gay gene” or ”gay intergovernmental” patterns. Roger came out as a gay man in college.

    He then says (One can hardly understate the naive literalism of present-day science on these matters: Scientists still look for the supposed anatomical attributes of the opposite sex embedded somewhere in the inverts brain or nervous system.) He then says and this notion now enjoys a second,third,and even fourth life in political discourses.He then says it is by appeal to such conceits that Aaron Hans,a Washington,D.C.- based transgender activist,reflects on his uncomfortable life as a girl:”I didn’t *think* I was a boy,I *knew* I was a boy.” He says,Hans elaborates: ”You look at pictures of me- I actually have great pictures of me in drag-and I literally look like a little boy in a dress.

    Roger then says,Far,far be it from me to cast doubt on anyone’s sense of discomfort with the ascribed gender roles.Nor would I question anyone’s sense that sexual identity is a deeply seated aspect of who they are .But testimonies of this sort and appeals to the self-evidence of perception beg the obvious question:Just what is a little boy or girl * supposed* to look like? The photograph that accompanies Han’s interview shows a somewhat robust girl.Is this to say that (real) girls are necessarily delicate and (real) boys athletic? He then says (If so,virtually all of my nieces are ”really” boys,since not a one of them is delicate or un presupposing)

    Roger then says,There is indeed something compelling about such intensely felt and oft- involved experiences-”I knew I was gay all along”; ”I felt like a girl” – but that compulsion belongs to the realm of outer culture,not nature.That is, if ”inappropriate” acts,feelings,body types,or desires seem to throw us into the bodies or minds other genders,it is because acts,feelings,and so on are associated with gender by dint of the same all-enveloping cultural logic that gives us pink blankets ( or caps,or crib cards,I.D. bracelets) for girls and blue for boys in maternity ward cribs.He then says,when we diverge one way or another from those totalizing associations,we feel-we really feel;in the depths of our being-”different”.Therein lies the basis for an existential opposition to the established order of gendered associations.

    Roger then says But therein also lies the perpetual trap: Every essentialist claim about the ”nature” of same sex desire in turn refers to and reinforces suppositions about the ”nature” of ”real” men and women (from whom the invert differs), about the ”naturalness” of their mutual attraction(demonstrated nowhere so much as in the inverts inversion),about the scope of their acts,feelings,body types,and so on( again, marked off by the deviation of the deviant). Aping the worst elements of gender/sexual conservatism,every such proposition takes culturally constituted meanings -the correlative associations of masculinity and femininity,active and passive,blue and pink- as ”natural facts”.

    Roger then says,In a twist as ironic as the winding of a double helix that goes first this way,then that,the search for gay identify gradually finds it’s closure in the normalcy of the norm as a natural law.In the end,I am not convinced of the basic suppositions here. I doubt that most men are unfamiliar with the sentiment given poetic form by Pablo Neruda:”It happens that I became tired of being a man. ”Even psychiatrists who treat ”gender dysphoria”- a slick term for rebellion against conventional gender roles -admit that at least 50% of children at some point exhibit signs of mixed or crossed gender identify or express a desire to be the ”opposite” sex. Roger has a note number to the reference in his notes section to a March 22,1994 New York Times article by Daniel Goleman called,The ‘Wrong’ Sex:A New Definition of Childhood Pain.

    Roger also said how the the way the media typically reported the David Reimer case was with typical gender stereotypes and biological determinism.

    Link to this
  34. 34. Cindi 7:19 am 01/18/2015

    A young woman’s great review of the book Gender Hurts:A Feminist Analysis Of Transgendism by Sheila Jeffreys.

    Link to this
  35. 35. Cindi 7:21 am 01/18/2015

    John Lennon is a great example of people can change and are not fixed to be a certain way as a man or a woman.Yoko changed John into a much better person as a pro-feminist man and the feminist changes *are* for the better,and many pro-feminist men have recognized this too! They say it has freed them and allowed them to develop and express more of all of the shared common *human* traits,emotions,behaviors,abilities and reduce and prevent male violence against women and children etc. Definitions of “masculine” and “feminine” differ across time periods,and in different societies.

    John Lennon is a great example of how feminism changing limited artificial gender definitions and roles,changed him for the much better. John as a child and teenager had a lot of traumas that permanently psychologically damaged him,but because of his and Yoko’s beautiful loving relationship,and as he said she was a feminist before he met her,(and he said that because she was a feminist before he met her,they were going to have to have a 50/50 equal relationship which he never had before) he went in to primal scream therapy and Yoko went with him and he dealt with all of his pain and anger for the very first time at age 29.

    When John was a young guy,he was often drunk getting into fist fights with men,hitting women,and womanizing including cheating on his girlfriends and then his first wife Cynthia.Of course Paul,George and Ringo did the same with all of the groupies all 4 of them had while touring from 1963-1966. I hadn’t watched these Mike Douglas shows in years until December 2010 when it was the 30th anniversary of John’s tragic crazy murder.

    Out of the 5 Mike Douglas shows that John and Yoko co-hosted for a week that was taped in January 1972 and aired in February,a young criminal lawyer Rena Uviller(she went on to become a Supreme Court Judge) who worked with juveniles, and she,Mike Douglas,John and Yoko were discussing the then very recent women’s liberation movement. George Carlin was on too.

    Rena said,she agrees with Yoko,that the idea of Women’s lib is to liberate all of us,and she said ,I mean we could talk hours on the way men really suffer under the sex role definitions.Yoko agreed with what she said too. Rena said that men don’t really realize they have only to gain from Women’s Lib,and that she thinks that maybe with a little more propaganda we can convince them.

    John then said,yeah there is a lot to gain from it,just the fact that you can relax and not have to play that male role,he said we can do that,and he said that I can be weak,( but notice how then in a male dominated gender divided,gender stereotyped,sexist society,and even unfortunately still now in a lot of ways,the “female” role was defined as the weak one,and the male role as the strong one) I don’t have to protect her all the time and play you know that super hero,I don’t have to play that,she allows me to be weak sometimes and for me to cry,and for her to be the strong one,and for me to be the weak one. John then said,and it really is a great relief,after 28 years of trying to be tough,you know trying to show them,I don’t give a da*n and I’m this and I’m that,to be able to relax.and just be able to say,OK I’m no tough guy forget it.

    Rena then said,I think in some funny way,I think girls even as children,have a greater lattitude because a little girl can be sort of frilly and feminine or she can be a tomboy and it’s acceptable,but a little boy if he’s not tossing that football,there’s a lot of pressure on him.John said,there’s a lot of pressure,not to show emotion,and he said that there was a lot of pressure on me not to be an artist,to be a chemist and he said he discussed this on another Mike Douglas episode.

    Rena said that unfortunately some of the leaders in the Women’s Liberation movement fall victim to being spokesmen,for Women’s Lib, and yet at least in public personality they seem to really have a certain amount of contempt for the hair curled housewife and there is a kind of sneering contempt,and she said I think it’s a measure of their own lack of liberation.And Yoko said it’s snobbery,and Rena said yeah,they really don’t like other women,but I’m sympathetic,and Mike Douglas then said a sexist woman-hating statement,saying,well women don’t like other women period.Rena said,no see that’s very unliberated and Yoko said, in response to what Mike Douglas said,that’s not true,that’s not true.And John said,you see they are brought up to
    compete with men.

    Yoko said that even though in Japan they say they don’t have much of a woman problem and women already had some liberation,there is still a long way to go that she really agrees with Rena that so many female liberation movement people basically hate women,and we have to first start to understand women and love them whether they are housewives or not,and she said that snobbery is very bad and we have to somehow find out a way to co-existing with men,and she asked Rena don’t you think so and she said most definitely. George Carlin said,that actually many successful women are acting out male roles just like a lot of blacks think they escaped are acting out white roles.John also said that he thinks that women have to try twice as hard as to make it as men,and he said you know they have to be on their toes much more than a man.

    On another Mike Douglas episode from the same week,former actress and acclaimed film maker Barbara Loden was on and Yoko had requested her as a guest.John asked her ,Did you have any problems working with the men,you know like giving them instructions and things like that and Barbara said,I did, but I think it was because I was afraid that they would not accept what I said,and I wasn’t quite that authoritative in my own self.John said it’s certainly a brave thing to do,and Yoko said it is.

    Mike Douglas asked Yoko if John’s attitude had changed much towards her since The Female Liberation Movement,and at first Yoko says John’s attitude from the beginning was the same,and that they met on that level.John then says,twice, I was a male chauvinist and Yoko says,yes he was a male chauvinist but,and then John says,Can I say how you taught me,and Yoko says yes.John says,How I did it in my head was,would I ask Paul or George,or would I treat them the way I would treat a woman? John then said,it’s a very simple thing maybe it’s fetch that or do that ,and I started thinking if I said that to them,they’d say come on get it yourself,and if you put your wife or your girl friend in the position of your best friend,and say now would I say that to him,then you know when you’re treading on some delicate feelings.

    Mike Douglas said years later that after this week of John and Yoko co-hosting his show,many young people who had never watched his show before,(and his main audience was middle America and people older than their 20′s and even mostly their 30′s) told him they loved the show,and that it was great and his ratings went up high for those shows.Even if John didn’t always live up to his feminist ideals and beliefs in his personal life,(although he did with Yoko because of her and this why and how he emotionally evolved into a caring,nurturing,house husband and father to Yoko and Sean),just the fact that he spoke out as a man in support of the feminist movement on a popular TV show back in early 1972 when most of the sexist male dominated woman-hating society looked down at it and considered it crazy which in some ways it’s still unfortunately wrongly misunderstood(and it’s really the male dominated,sexist,woman-hating society that has always been so wrong and crazy!),and the fact that John was (and still is) greatly admired and influential to many young people male and female,he did *a lot* to legitimize it and show it was rational,reasonable,needed and right!

    A few months later he was performing Woman Is The Ni**er Of The World on The Dick Cavett Show and then months after that live in Madison Square Garden.In his very last radio interview done by Dave Sholin etc from RKO Radio just hours before he was tragically shot and killed, John said I’m more feminist now than I was when I sang Woman Is The N**ger,I was intellectually feminist then but now I feel as though at least I’ve put not my own money,but my body where my mouth is and I’m living up to my own preachings as it were. He also said what is this BS men are this way, women are that way,we’re all human.

    Even if John didn’t always live up to his feminist ideals and beliefs in his personal life,(although he did with Yoko because of her and this why and how he emotionally evolved into a caring,nurturing,house husband and father to Yoko and Sean),just the fact that he spoke out as a man in support of the feminist movement on a popular TV show back in early 1972 when most of the sexist male dominated woman-hating society looked down at it and considered it crazy which in some ways it’s still unfortunately wrongly misunderstood(and it’s really the male dominated,sexist,woman-hating society that has always been so wrong and crazy!),and the fact that John was (and still is) greatly admired and influential to many young people male and female,he did *a lot* to legitimize it and show it was rational,reasonable,needed and right!

    A few months later he was performing Woman Is The Ni**er Of The World on The Dick Cavett Show and then months after that live in Madison Square Garden.In his very last radio interview done by Dave Sholin etc from RKO Radio just hours before he was tragically shot and killed, John said I’m more feminist now than I was when I sang Woman Is The N**ger,I was intellectually feminist then but now I feel as though at least I’ve put not my own money,but my body where my mouth is and I’m living up to my own preachings as it were.

    He also said what is this BS men are this way, women are that way,we’re all human.He had also said that he comes from the macho school of pretense of course *all* men really are they are just too conditioned all of their lives to realize and admit it.And he said that men are trained to be like they are in the army,and that it’s more like that in England but he knows it’s this way over here too,he said that they are taught as boys and men don’t react,don’t feel,don’t cry,and he said he thinks that’s what screwed us all up and that he thinks it’s time for a change.

    In his September 1980 Newsweek interview the interviewer said to John aren’t you the guy who said in 1963 that women should be obscene and not heard,and John said yes and I’m thankful to Yoko for the feminist education.

    Link to this
  36. 36. Cindi 7:29 am 01/18/2015

    Mike Douglas also said to John and Yoko,You’re both so different,you had such different childhoods. John said,it’s incredible isn’t it? Yoko said,Yes! Mike asked,What do you think has attracted you to each other? Yoko said,We’re very similar.John then said,She came from a Japanese upper-middle class family.Her parents were bankers and all that jazz,very straight.He said they were trying to get her off with an ambassador when she was 18.You know,now is the time you marry the ambassador and we get all settled. I come from a an upper-working class family in Liverpool,the other end of the world. John then said,we met but our minds are so similar,our ideas are so similar.It was incredible that we could be so alike from different enviornments,and I don’t know what it is,but we’re very similar in our heads.And we look alike too!

    Mike also asked John about his painful childhood,and how his father left him when he was 5,and John said how he only came back into his life when he was successful and famous(20 years later!),and John said he knew that I was living all those years in the same house with my auntie,but he never visited him.He said when he came back into his life all those years later,he looked after his father for the same amount of time he looked after him,about 4 years.

    He also talked about how his beloved mother Julia,who encouraged his music by teaching him to play the banjo,got hit and killed by a car driven by an off duty drunk cop when John was only 17 and just getting to have a realtionship with her after she had given him away to be raised by her older sister Mimi when he was 5.

    And John also said,And in spite of all that,I still don’t have a hate-the-pigs attitude or hate-cops attitude.He then said, I think everybody’s human you know,but it was very hard for me at that time,and I really had a chip on my shoulder,and it still comes out now and then,because it’s a strange life to lead .He then said,But in general ah,I’ve got my own family now …I got Yoko and she made up for all that pain.

    John’s psychologist Dr. Arthur Janov told Mojo Magazine in 2000( parts of this interview is on a great UK John Lennon fan site,You Are The Plastic Ono Band) that John had as much pain as he had ever seen in his life,and he was a psychologist for at least 18 years when John and Yoko saw him in 1970! He said John was a very dedicated patient. He also said that John left therapy too early though and that they opened him up,but didn’t get a chance to put him back together again and Dr. Janov told John he need to finish the therapy,he said because of the immigration services and he thought Nixon was after him,he said we have to get out of the country.John asked if he could send a therapist to Mexico with him,and Dr. Janov told him we can’t do that because they had too many patients to take care of,and he said they cut the therapy off just as it started really,and we were just getting going.

    Also this great article by long time anti-sexist,anti-men’s violence,anti-pornography former all star high scholl player Jackson Katz.John Lennon on Fatherfood,Feminism,and Phony Tough Guy Posturing

    Also Cynthia Lennon is quoted in the great John Lennon biography Lennon,by award winning music journalist and former editor of The Melody Maker Magazine and good friend of John’s for 18 years,Ray Coleman as saying somethings like she knew as soon as she saw John and Yoko together she knew that she lost him,and that it was a meeting of the minds and that she knew that they were right for each other.She also said that she told John before he started his relationship with Yoko that she sees and incedible similarity between him and Yoko and said to him that there is something about her that is just like you.She told him that he may say that she’s this crazy woman etc and that he’s not interested in her,but that she can see more into John’s future with Yoko then he can.

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Email this Article