In the public mind, sex and gender are now separate, though the terms are often confused. Just to clarify, according to the dominant cultural narrative of our time sex (male or female) is biological while gender (masculine or feminine) is how one identifies.
Logically, it gets very messy, especially when considered through the lens of equality.
Despite the obvious external physiological differences between men and women, we are told we are equal. To many, the push for treating everyone as equal translates to the idea that we are the same. At any point that there might be a disparity between the participation rates of men and women in certain fields or occupations, such as in math and science or in physically rigorous activities such as firefighting or combat service, the standard argument is that such a disparity in male and female participation is a result of sexism on the part of a male-dominated society.
But what if it’s not?
The problem of equality and biology is on full display with the new feminist cause de jour: air conditioning in the office. Below is a video of a conversation between two women about women being cold in the office. They believe it is a result of biology. As the young woman in the video admits, “It is such a relief that there is actually proof that this is happening, that women do feel the cold more than men, and that the AC in offices is normally regulated more for a male’s temperature than a woman’s.”
Science is confirming what humanity has recognized all along: men and women are different. According to recent studies, even the male and female brains are different. Indeed, some researchers are now admitting that science (yes, science) confirms traditional stereotypes:
"Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women's brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men's brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions.
Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men's brains apparently wired more for perception and co-ordinated actions, and women's for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking.”
If the brains of men and women are different, then social constructs of gender are not actually constructs, but realities rooted in biology. This would also mean that there is more convergence than divergence between sex and gender.
Perhaps it’s time for men and women to accept our natural differences and focus on how to complement each other rather than to force each other to be the same. Maybe we’ll even find greater peace and happiness in the process. But are we willing to change our thinking?
Devin is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Charlemagne Institute, which operates Intellectual Takeout, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and the Alcuin Internship. He is a graduate of Hillsdale College where he studied history and political science. Prior to co-founding Charlemagne Institute, he served as the Director of Development at the Center of the American Experiment, a state-based think tank in Minnesota.
Devin is a contributor to local and national newspapers, a frequent guest on a variety of talk shows, such as Minneapolis' KTLK and NPR's Talk of the Nation, and regularly shares culture and education insights presenting to civic groups, schools, and other organizations. In 2011, he was named a Young Leader by the American Swiss Foundation.
Devin and his wife have been married for eighteen years and have six children. When he's not working, Devin enjoys time with family while also relaxing through reading, horticulture, home projects, and skiing and snowboarding.