Admitting that Men and Women are Inherently Different is a Modern Heresy

In my travels around the internet the other day two articles fell into my lap that touched on something I have been curious about for some time- why people react the way they do to the assertion that men and women are inherently different, why they feel the need to treat it as if it’s one of the worse things you could possibly say/think/feel. Of course I more or less already knew the answer but to have it come, in a sense, from the horse’s mouth was interesting to me.

Article the First

Tamara McClintock Greenberg, a psychologist of 20 years, wrote an article in Psychology Today late last year entitled ‘Differences Between Men and Women‘. But that’s not what the article ended up being about. Though she mentioned some differences in the beginning the bulk of the rather short article was a defense of that admission. It went something like this: “Men and women are different… it’s hard to hear that, here is why… we need to accept that it’s ok to talk about this.” That she couldn’t just pen an article about the inherent differences based on her 20 year experience as a psychologist without having to make something like 75% of it coaching readers through that observation really says something about where we are as a culture. However, what she talks about with regards to the fear and anxiety around the observation makes me thankful for the detour:

“There are those who wish there were no differences between men and women. In the 1970’s at the University of California, Berkeley, the buzzword among young women was “mandatory unisex,” which meant that it was politically incorrect even to mention sex difference.”

Something curious happened along the way for women exposed to feminist beliefs. Those of us in our 40’s and beyond were reared in a time in which we felt we had to deny differences between the sexes. This message had a purpose. We had to justify equal rights and equal pay. Although I can’t say that we have really achieved either, it certainly is better than it has been, at least in the United States. Yet, our current state of external inequality makes it harder to talk about internal and biological differences.

Article the Second

In the beginning of last year the Huffington Post ran an article about a new discovery about the sexes. The “new” discovery turned out to be another in the line of “didn’t we already know that?” revelations, of course, as the study showed that men and women are very different. Like “different species”, or so said one of the researchers, Paul Irwing. But we can’t have that, because equality!

Irwing thinks that some researchers in the past may have been biased in their methods, in order to reduce any gender difference. “It’s for totally laudable reasons,” he said. “People are very concerned, or were very concerned, that women didn’t get equal opportunities, and that there was a lot of bias in selection processes.”

“People are afraid that studies like ours will turn the clock back,” Irwing added.

Hyde is one of those people. “This huge difference is not only scientifically false,” she said, “it has unfortunate consequences for places like the workplace and education and heterosexual romantic relationships.”

I had to read Professor Hyde’s (a professor of women’s studies and psychology, naturally) response a few times. it has unfortunate consequences for places like the workplace and education and heterosexual romantic relationships. This shouldn’t even enter in to a scientific discussion. Social response to it is absolutely unquestionably besides the point. That she felt it was even worth mentioning shows that she is approaching this with a bias. We don’t get to decide truth based on the outcome we’d like to see, truth is truth. At least one of the authors of the study agrees:

“I think distorting science because of what you would like to believe, or because of what you think the political consequences are, is very dangerous,” said Irwing

So what does this tell us? It tells us that people have become more invested in in a dogmatic standard of political correctness than they have about actual truth. What’s worse, they are painting that dogmatic standard of political correctness as absolute truth and demanding we start from there, that that is our baseline. This convenient set-up means that if anything challenges that supposed absolute truth then it is automatically wrong. Men and women can’t naturally be different because equality is important. One thing has nothing to do with the other in the realm of fact, yet this has become a valid argument to far too many; one that has swayed scientific finding, public opinion, and public policy. Sentimentality reigns supreme.

If you want to watch how someone who has set their life around this dogma reacts when they are met with evidence to the contrary watch this documentary. It’s just over 38 minutes and you will have to read subtitles most of the time but it is absolutely worth it, a real eye opener. The part I am referencing happens at the end.

4 thoughts on “Admitting that Men and Women are Inherently Different is a Modern Heresy

  1. While I was reading this, an article about the point (myth) of income disparity between the sexes came to my mind. This article talks about how the claims of women earning 77 cents to a man’s dollar are false. Part of that is about the choices that are made by each gender. When one compares a single childless female to a single childless male of the same age, the women actually make more today. I will clarify it has political tone to it. The article also goes on to talk about feminism today. It seems like perfect food for your thought. My blog may write some more about Sommers’s five-step Freedom Feminism agenda with item #4 as a centerpiece: “Respect Female Diversity. Feminists should admit that working part-time, or not working outside the home, is as valid a choice for women” http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2013/06/18/women_and_the_unequal_pay_myth_100407.html

    • I have spent my free time today reading through your blog, Googling “Homeward Bound”, and thinking on the link you provided in your comment. Thanks for your comment and for your lovely blog! I am still enjoying reading through it and the links you provide there.

      • Thanks for giving me a look. I am just getting started on this and finding my voice and focus on a variety of issues. And of course as I write – self-discovery too.

  2. Pingback: Another Study Proves Nature is Sexist | Margery + The Man

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