Mosaics alternative to male / female binary brain view


EXCERPT: . . . Of course, once upon a time, the guiding hand was God and now it’s Nature. Never mind that, in the God version, it was women who discovered the space of knowledge and invited men into it, and that Nature herself is a mother who birthed a world of astonishing diversity that defies binaries more often than not.

The unfulfilled wish is, of course, that men’s brains differ from – and by the usual implications are superior to – those of women in just the same way as men’s physiques differ and are superior. Stronger body, stronger mind, as though the brain were not, at a minimum, a pack of neurons with a wide and varied cast of support cells but instead a mass of contractile tissue, easily built up and broken down simply by following the rules dictated in Men’s Health.

And of course, the perceived binary of human anatomy offers thin scaffolding for the facile argument. Penile genitalia must mean a penile brain, evidently, just as a vulva and a vagina must mean a vulvo-vaginal brain. Nature, you see, in building the genitalia, which are much less complex than our minds, apparently defaulted to a super-lazy setting, and created brains on the binary.

So if you’re a Silicon Valley brogrammer who wants to drive women out of your manspace, or a Bernie Bro who thought that ‘Bern the witch’ was the summit of wit, then you’re more likely to rush to the rationale that society and culture – ie, things that we create outside of biology – don’t shape the male spaces that exclude women. No, you desperately want Nature to be responsible.

Appealing to a higher power and cherrypicking ‘evidence’ to support a convenient claim of superiority over others of your species is as human as scratching your butt. In this false iteration of that desperate measure of a failing privileged class, Nature created men to like and do certain man things, and naturally, therefore, men are simply better at these things. In complement, goes this wish-fulfilment rationale, Nature created women to like and do certain lesser things, and women are condescendingly told how great they are at it, especially the talking part, and please stay in the kitchen and make a sandwich because all of this analysis is over your head, Sweetie.

But Nature made me. And I am not rare. Indeed, an entire category of girl and woman exists that is large enough to warrant the now-archaic category of tomboy. We are legion, and most of us likely wished fervently at some point that we could be boys so we could simply gain access to what interested us most. How could nature both create an entire legion of girls whose interests and abilities cross into manworld, yet somehow be capable of producing brains only on a binary?

Nature doesn’t do binaries nearly as often as people think. But she’s a whiz with mosaics. Mosaics are taking shape as the scientific metaphor of the moment. Genetic mosaics – people with only a proportion of body cells carrying specific mutations – might be far more common than we realised. Habitats are mosaics of features, such as a meadow fading into a forest’s edge. And our brains, rather than fitting neatly into some binary of being ‘male’ or ‘female’, might also be mosaics, quilted together from pieces with varying hues of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ expression. You know, just like human behaviour, the result of these brains....

Heart it! Bravo!
Why do gender brain differences have to imply superiority at all? Maybe women wouldn't be as adverse to studies showing clear differences if they didn't make inferences based on feelings of inferiority.
(Jan 4, 2018 10:35 PM)Syne Wrote: Why do gender brain differences have to imply superiority at all? Maybe women wouldn't be as adverse to studies showing clear differences if they didn't make inferences based on feelings of inferiority.

They're not based on an inferiority complex.  It’s pride.

I am my father's daughter
I have his eyes
I am the product of his sacrifice
I am the accumulation of the dreams of generations
And their stories live in me like holy water
I am my father's daughter
Are "feelings or inferiority" equivalent to an "inferiority complex"?

"An inferiority complex occurs when the feelings of inferiority are intensified in the individual through discouragement or failure. ...It becomes a pathological condition only when the sense of inadequacy overwhelms the individual and, far from stimulating him to useful activity, makes him depressed and incapable of development." -

Why would you infer pathology? O_o
I guess that would explain why gendered brain differences have to imply superiority.
I don’t think we’re passive recipients of gender roles and stereotypes.  A personal and voluntary aspect is our lack of pride.
Really? So you chose to have your opinions largely informed by emotion?
Have you just sublimated your pride in not conforming to gendered stereotypes with pride in your "emotional intelligence"?
And? O_o
(Jan 5, 2018 11:56 PM)Syne Wrote: And? O_o

And what?  O_o

Pink or Blue…hmm

It would be nice to see an experiment in which the gender is masked. One that researches the researchers.

It was a good article.  I also thought that Elizabeth Spelke did nice job at presenting her argument.

Steven Pinker & Elizabeth Spelke debate

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