Men and women ARE different. That's an obvious fact - or is it? The Manchester group had an animated discussion about the differences - and similarities - between the sexes.
On Wednesday 22nd November 2023, Politics in Pubs met at the Welcome Inn, Bury Old Road, Whitefield, Manchester M45 6TA (see here for location).
Our topic was: Men and women are different. We were delighted to welcome our guest speaker, Izzy S. Izzy shared some of her experience and concerns from working in the health service that services and some parts of society are failing men and women by ignoring the differences between them. She prefaced her introduction by explaining that the following points relate to the general population rather than to the exceptions.
Izzy drew attention to the mainstream push to ignore key differences between men and women. She has noticed that this narrative is being pushed everywhere, as though men and women are completely interchangeable.
Structural brain differences
Significant structural differences exist between male and female brains. Male and female brains evolved differently during the hunter-gather phase of human evolution. For example, female brains have two centres for communication whereas men have one. Male brains have two centres of spatial awareness; women have only one. Women have more fibre connections between the two halves of their brains.
Examples of how women, in general, benefit from their female brains include: better vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and spelling, more adept at additional languages, more focused on other people – and understanding of their body language, vocal tones and facial expressions, hence the commonly used term ‘women’s intuition’ – better at communicating, multi-tasking and caring for others. Able to see a larger range of colours, with wider peripheral vision. Well-suited to teaching, nursing, organising, logistics and caring roles.
Examples of how men, in general, benefit from their male brains include: interest in things and how they work, able to compartmentalise feelings, roles and experiences, able to achieve mastery of a task/role – and therefore better pay? – by undiluted focus and resistance to small-talk and other social/emotional ‘distractions’. Able to be tunnel-visioned. Better at spatial awareness, navigation and map-reading, sports, driving, physical targets (e.g. in games like shooting, darts, pool etc). Well-suited to occupations involving architecture, physics, physical strength and single-mindedness.
IQ tests – albeit with their cultural biases and other flaws – seem able to predict male prowess at chess. Only three women appear in the top 100 chess players.
In primary schools, boys’ verbal skills are generally one year behind girls, leading to an increase in behavioural issues and diagnosis of disorders such as ADHD (especially if among the youngest in the year group). In secondary schools, girls are more likely to fall behind in subjects like physics. With these sex differences in mind, is there a case for more schools to introduce single-sex lessons in certain subjects to address the separate learning needs of boys and girls?
Stereotypes have evolved for a reason: because, in general, they recognise key strengths and differences between men and women. Ignoring stereotypes can lead to square pegs being placed into round holes, especially in the workplace where the relatively recent notion of ‘quotas’ – which discriminate in favour of one human’s biology over another’s – can have the unintended consequence of lowering standards in order to satisfy the quota: equality of opportunity is increased but equality of outcome can decrease as a result. While roles should be open to both sexes based on merit, and many roles are suited to either sex, it makes no sense to deny biology: whatever the virtuous narrative claims, men can’t be turned into women and vice versa. Instead, society should celebrate the differences between men and women and value what each contributes.
- The push seems to be for men to become more feminine rather than the other way round. Some heterosexual women find this deeply unattractive. Perhaps it is less a case of toxic masculinity and more of toxic femininity?
- In sports, if men play for longer in a competition e.g. a men’s tennis tournament, it is right that they should be paid more.
- Variations in social class, environment and societal expectations almost certainly affect the perception of sex differences. Denial of biology is probably a middle class pastime.
- Science looks at biology, psychology and social structures and it is essential to acknowledge what this tells us, for example, that men commit more violent crime, women commit more crime in the home.
- Map-reading skills are not limited to men – many women are excellent navigators.
- We underestimate the extent of genetic programming and sex differences – infant humans are not born as a ‘blank slate’.
- Women are better at remembering negative emotions – and bearing grudges! Men tend to forget their conflicts much faster.
- Stereotypes shouldn’t be used to restrict people who don’t fit the stereotype e.g. girls who are good at STEM subjects should be encouraged to achieve their potential rather than funnelled into traditionally female pursuits.
- Positive discrimination in the workplace is now having the unfortunate effect of discriminating against people who are male and/or white.
- Engineers in teams comprising mostly men tend to follow one project at a time. Engineers in teams comprising mostly women tend to work on several projects. The (mostly) female administrative teams usually have exceptional organisations skills. Women are highly dedicated to their careers until they have children when the need for a better work/life balance takes priority.
- Multi-tasking is not an efficient way of working but, in general, women are much better at it.
- Can – and should – women use their superior communication skills to help men open up about their feelings?
- Men and women deal with things differently: women listen to another’s problems, men advise. Men are more likely to resolve an issue while engaged with an activity i.e. fishing with a friend.
- The male capacity for violence would have been an essential trait during hunter-gatherer times in order to secure prey and overcome other tribes.
- Why are more women left wing in their politics? Perhaps because left wing politics are presented with emotional arguments such as making society fairer.
- Is the narrative re: inversion of biological facts part of an attempt to cause conflict and make men and women repellant to one another in order to reduce the population? And is that why the LGBT community is doubling every generation?
- Census data shows that more people are identifying as bi-sexual – is it because they want to feel ‘special’?
- Although modern societies often undervalue women and roles which are traditionally carried out by women, Briffault’s Law stated in 1927 that: “The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.”
- Male and female monkeys choose toys designed for boys or girls in a similar way to human infants.
- Would a feminist on the top floor of a burning building prefer to be carried down a ladder by a male or female firefighter?
- Men have a much more simplistic outlook on life than women do.
- It is mind-boggling how stupid we can be in the face of a political agenda which encourages us to question ‘the bleeding obvious’ i.e. that men and women are different. Sex differences include hard-wired male and female traits. Nurture can try to moderate them but will be defeated by nature in the form of hormones – it is foolish to pretend otherwise.
- Middle-class stereotypes and working class stereotypes are different. Watching young people out on the town on a Saturday night should reassure us all that, in spite of the narrative, men and women appreciate their differences.
- A lot of generalisations have been made tonight about the differences between men and women.
- Women are much more interested than men in choosing colours. Children who are too young to understand the narrative know that men and women are different.
The discussion ended with a difference of opinion about whether the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are interchangeable. One person felt that humans are born a sex and learn a gender. Most felt that sex and gender mean the same thing. What do you think?
Politics in Pubs would like to thank Izzy for presenting some of the research on the differences between men and women, and for instigating a discussion filled with indignation and laughter in equal measure. As always, thank you to our wonderful hosts at The Welcome Inn. Cheers all!
The next Cancelling Cancel Culture event takes place on Sunday 21st January 2024.
The next Manchester Politics in Pubs event takes place on Wednesday 24th January 2024.
Further reading on tonight’s topic:
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