I have talked about gender difference here a number of times, and I have usually supported what I say with good science. There are those who deny men and women have any real differences, and there are even those who claim science backs them on that. In reality, science continues to show gender is more than skin deep.
My friend Felicity Dale put it this way:
“I studied medicine (I’m a physician by background) and not only are we anatomically different, nearly every system in our body is different in some way. The X and Y chromosomes make an impact. We obviously have different endocrine systems (hormones), but other systems differ too. For example, our skeletons are different. Our musculature is different. Our brains are different (men’s brains are larger, but women’s have more connections between right and left hemispheres.) When I studied diseases, I had to learn the differing rates at which diseases occur in men and women. Study any text book on pathology and you cannot get away from the differences.” [from the blog post We are different]
I have done a good deal of study on this issue over the years. I have also seen how gender differences play out in marriages. A great book about this is Sex on the Brain: 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life by Daniel G. Amen M.D..
On Pp 74 Dr. Amen says:
“Male-female communication styles are radically different, brain based, and hardwired. Many people think these differences are culturally defined, yet they appear very stable across almost all cultures studies, and have roots in the brain.”
– and –
“We expect our partners to be able to read our minds and think as we think. Unfortunately we are just not wired that way.”
Other facts from the book:
- The limbic system, the emotional bonding centre of the brain, is larger in women than in me.
- This makes bonding easier for women.
- Women tend to have more friends.
- Women go to church more and pray more.
- Because of the larger limbic size, women suffer more depression.
- The left side of the inferior parietal lobe is larger in men. This part of the brain estimates time, judges speed, and visualises objects in three dimensions. (In theory, this makes men safer drivers. In practice, we may over estimate our abilities and get in trouble.)
- Due to brain differences, women are more likely to get lost, while men are less likely to realise they are lost when they are lost. (See, he really does not think he is lost!)
- For men language happens in left side of the brain only; women have language skills on both sides. This makes women superior communicators, and superior listeners. (This may explain the glazed over look he gets when you talk for more than a few minutes.)
- Women are better at gauging the feelings of others and reading facial expressions because the part of the brain that does these things is more developed in women. (No, he does not know what you are thinking, and does not mean he does not love you.)
- Men as a whole have shorter attention spans than women. (You knew that, didn’t you?) However, men are better able to focus intently on one thing. (Like video games.)
- Due to brain differences, women have better peripheral vision, while men have better long-distance central vision, and better night vision. (Maybe he doesn’t need more light?)
- At rest, a woman’s brain is busier than a man’s is. (Yes, he can be thinking about nothing.)
- In men, exercise tends to stimulate the brain, while in women it tends to calm the brain. (This makes talking while you walk together a great plan.)
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I love the differences in how God made men and women.
By the Way: Felicity has edited and helped write The Black Swan Effect: A Response to Gender Hierarchy in the Church. This is an important book for anyone interested in the place of women in the church. I have a few minor quibbles with some of the authors on issues of husbands and wives, but outside that, the book is dead on.