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Innate Differences Between the Sexes: Fact, Not Fantasy (Part 1)

By Lisa J. Lehr

"Is it a boy or a girl? It's the first question asked about us when we are born, and gender identity remains throughout our lives the most integral, unalterable aspect of our being.

For at least a generation, it's been considered unfashionable by the more "enlightened among us to raise our children according to rigid, traditional gender roles. Male and female are made, not born, the thinking goes, the product of brainwashed parents and other members of an antiquated, male-dominated society.

This presents a challenge to those of us who really want the best for our children, not just use them to make some sort of socio-political statement: we don't want limit their options in life, putting them at a competitive disadvantage in a complicated world; yet we don't want to force them into a mold that doesn't fit. And most of us believe, deep down, that boys and girls are different.

It's the natural order of things.

With few if any exceptions, males have held the authority roles in all societies, throughout history and across geography. In fact, males and females differ from one another long before society has the opportunity to make an impression upon us, and the reason is rooted in biology.

The male brain is bathed in testosterone and other male hormones, which make men competitive and driven to dominance, while the female brain secretes the powerful bonding hormone oxytocin and the calming chemical serotonin, leading women to more nurturing roles. Male and female minds are radically different because they are"well, made that way.

Even to label one sex as superior to the other in any given area is to venture into dangerous territory. Certainly a wide range of abilities is found in both genders, with a significant percentage of people being more gifted in non-traditional roles. So let's consider just a couple of commonly accepted "sex stereotypes, explore any basis in reality, and extrapolate some generalizations: Women have better linguistic and emotional skills (read: women talk about their feelings and men don't); men have superior spatial awareness (read: men are good at parallel parking and women aren't).

Please continue to Part 2

About The Author

Lisa J. Lehr is a freelance writer with a specialty in business and marketing communications. She holds a biology degree and has worked in a variety of fields, including the pharmaceutical industry and teaching, and has a particular interest in health matters. She is also a graduate of American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI), America's leading course on copywriting.

This article ©Lisa J. Lehr 2006.

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