Scientific labs have been really busy in the last few years showing how very different males and females are. Not just sexually, but in many respects. They have looked at parts of the brain and, surprise, surprise, they have seen differences. What they have not done is prove whether these perceived differences are genetic or culturally induced, but that does not seem to matter to them.
These discoveries are bleated forth by newspaper, TV and authors of books that claim differences in the genders so huge that woman and man can hardly be of the same specie, say nothing of coming from the same planet. Yet, we KNOW we are indigenous to Earth and cannot help but wonder what they are trying to demonstrate with all this divisiveness.
They run the gamut in assertions. In our opinion, the most idiotic one is that women and men speak a different language. Another states that men are practical and women are emotional. Well la-de-da. Who among you has not known men who speak and understand woman's language [if there is one specific to women]; and who among us has not known practical women and emotional men?
So either these people are genetic screw-ups of monumental proportions, or something else is going on. In addition, we've found that even the males who purport NOT to understand woman-speak really do if certain topics are present. For example, most males respond to food and beer and immediately HEAR these words no matter how softly they are spoken. What most of us [women or men] know is that he can hear and understand perfectly well when he chooses to.
Many males learned early on not to be distracted by women's voices. Their culture told them they didn't have to. But we do not see this as gender specific because women turn a conscious deaf ear to men also. This isn't made as much of because women's conversations and issues are not USUALLY deemed worth commenting on our culture while men's are.
Recently, the Repugnant candidate for president, W. Bush made a comment to his running mate and didn't appear to notice that the mike was open so the whole world heard him say that a certain reporter was a "major league a$$hole." Now the media is laughing about it and we are hearing the usual stuff about it being guy talk, and it will be understood and excused on that basis. However, it served to conceal still another one of the many grammatical stumbles by Bush. While they were all busy laughing, scarcely a reporter noticed or mentioned that when Bush was commenting on the peacekeeping function of our troops, he called them pacemakers.
Even members of his own party are expressing concern that the wheels are beginning to come off of the "W - Mobile." Well, of course, anyone can make a slip or two, can't they? Sure. It can happen when things get hairy in the campaign, but this guy is frightening us. Being a president is no bed of roses. If he's shook up now what's he going to do when, if elected president, he has to face a Chinese ambassador or a horny intern in the oval office?
Reporters will have their fun with the a$$hole comment and some will pick up on his many malapropos, but think how they would react if a woman presidential candidate had said the A-word! What if she had had a testosterone moment? Decidedly, what is sauce for the gander is not sauce for the goose in our society. Cursing is gender specific. It's in their genes. It's Martian!
Sometimes those scientific claims of absolute differences between the genders can backfire and it's rather fun to note them from time to time. A recent case involves the pituitary gland [which both genders have, and which contain the same kinds of cells]. One cell type manufactures PROLACTIN that stimulates the mammary glands to produce milk.
"Whatever is this cell doing in males? Males don't produce milk," was the question. And the answer became "probably nothing, just a vestigial formation of cells, as much use as tits on a bull."
And so it was thought until evolutionary endocrinologist Katherine Wynne-Edwards and graduate student Sandra Berg at Queen's University in Kingston Ontario discovered that "expectant fathers" levels of estrogen rose markedly as the birth approached and afterward as testosterone levels fell. They also found that prolactin increases in BOTH PARENTS before birth.
Wynne-Edwards suggests that the occurrence of prolactin, along with the rise in estrogen in these men, help the expectant fathers to become more nurturing. That would fit with animal studies that have linked nurturing with lower testosterone levels. The best animal fathers, birds, will stop feeding their chicks if they are given testosterone.
What! Men secreting women's hormones? Don't let this get out to the coaches, drill sergeants, Oprah or the WWF. Males actually producing female hormones and performing gentle acts? However will they handle this scandalous information on Mars?
Copyright 2000 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: email@example.com.
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