Gender differences are fun and sexy, indeed!

boy_girl_courtesy of raymond poort

Image courtesy of Raymon Poort

The most interesting and lively conversations I had about gender stereotypes and gender differences are definetly the ones with men and women whose way of thinking was practically opposite to mine. I am re-posting a comment to one of my reader here as my conversation with this reader has reminded me of all my past assumptions and believes about gender and it is somewhat amusing for me to see how my position regarding these issues has changed so drastically throughout the years.

The last twenty years of neuro-scientific research have highly disproved that there is actually much difference between male and female in term of how our brains are wired from birth. Lise Eliot (Pink Brain, Blue Brain) made a powerful example of this in her comparison of graphs (see page 12) regarding psychological /attitudinal gender differences compared to physical gender difference such height. While the difference in height is significant and cannot be denied, the difference in psychological and attitudinal characteristics are remarkably minimal and their distribution tend to overlap at all points of the curves: this means you can probably predict with reasonable degree of confidence on the basis on gender that a man will be taller than a woman, but in terms of psychological and attitudinal characteristics we cannot predict with confidence any of them on the basis of gender.


But what has been discovered by neuro-scientists in hundred and hundred of studies is something even more significant: it’s called ‘neuro-plasticity’. It means that while in previous years scientists thought that our brain characteristic (or ‘wiring’) was somehow fixed, now it is evident that the brain (its neurons and all its nervous pathways and connections, so-called ‘wiring’) develops and grows in response to the enviroinment, with the creation of new neurons and new pathways depending on the activities that we do, our thoughts, emotions, habits in response to our enviroinment. This means that our education, the messages we get from parents and society, the toys we play with and all other enviroinmental influences will mold and shape our brain from the day we born. This is why the brain differences between the two sexes are incredibly minimal at birth, to become something noticeable once adulthood is reached.


The trouble is GENDER DIFFERENCES ARE SEXY (to borrow again from Lise Eliot). How boring would be to think that we are not this explosive encounter and exciting clash of ‘Mars and Venus’? Our brain is naturally inclined to form categories and opposites. We love dichotomies and contrasts. Media and marketing thrive on this desire of men and women to be different, like being from different planets (see the incredible success of the 1992′s book “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” of John Gray – which conclusions are much more based on what people experience, feel and see in their relatioships and every day life, rather than on solid scientific evidences). After all, the marketing of any product is based on something called ‘segmentation’… dividing a big mass of consumers into well defined categories and niches of people with similar characteristics (in this sense, marketers LOVE stereotypes!). To be honest I was one of the most firmly convinced individual about gender differences until just a few years ago (funnily enough). Coming from Italy, I’ve been brought up in a society and culture with strong patriarchal values, further reinforced by a even stronger religious values based on Catholicism. Naturally then, I’ve always been tempted to believe in BIG, undeniable, innate differences between men and women’s psychology: afterall, this was my direct experience of relatioships with most boys and men in my life! (How can someone ever deny such an obvious difference I thought? How can someone deny my own experience of things?)

But when I DID stop and look at the real scientific evidence out there, I had to question my believes and I gradually started to appreciate the differences between men and women (/boys and girls) as something which is acquired and grow through many years of “molding” our brain and behaviour under social and enviroinmental expectations. Reflecting on how we become like we are is a fascinating phenomenon and I know these discoveries are positive in terms of making girls and boys (the women and men of tomorrow) much more close and similar than what has been in the past.

THIS WILL BRING MORE UNDERSTANDING AND LESS POLARISATION. It will also bring more freedom for each individual to grow their feminine and masculine sides at their own leisure (all the more so as scientist have also proved that individuals with a good mix of masculine and feminine attributes/attitudes – so-called androgynous – are generally advantaged in both their social and emotional life). But this does not mean that the ‘sexiness of difference’ will disappear in our relationships (oh no! we don’t want that!), because that ‘sexy tension’ will always exist: it is between our individual characteristics, feminine or masculines or a mix of them. So that a masculine type (either men or woman) will be always attracted by a feminine type (either man or woman) and a feminine type will be always attracted by a masculine type: so that, in truth, to beat gender stereotypes is only to leave every boy and girl (alas every man and woman) free to follow their natural inclinations towards femininity/masculinity and express their individuality without ‘gender molding’ constantly applied to them. 


I am also convinced that the emphasis should not be so much on censorship, or an array of strict regulations and limitations applied to businesses, marketing and media productions (with exceptions of course, as I would gladly see Photoshop manipulations disappear from advertising practice) : after all, the profit interests at the basis of the system would make very unlikely a drastic change of direction, at least in the immediate future. I propose that the emphasis should be much more on making young girls and boys more critical towards media and marketing messages: by changing the way our boys and girls react to the environment we will allow them to be sophisticated and independent consumers, who will be able to shape the economic and ideological fabric of tomorrow ‘s world through their informed demand or rejection for certain products /media /marketing practices, their patterns of consumption. In other words, by educating children on concepts such as ‘gender stereotypes’, ‘objectification’, ‘sexism’ or ‘sexualisation’ we will be able to eventually affect the system from the inside out.

Additional reading:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2273972/Men-Mars-Women-Venus-Actually-planet.html

32 thoughts on “Gender differences are fun and sexy, indeed!

  1. This is an interesting topic. I do wonder how long it took to complete the experiment to dispel the myth concerning differences about both sexes and what studies were used.
    Personally, in my opinion, a successful and thorough study would involve raising a child from birth in a society that has no prejudice involving gender in all aspects in life (I.e. employment, all sports, etc.).

  2. Interesting perspective. Katy, I don’t think such an experiment is possible because there is no prejudiceless society. A really interesting read that explores this subject is “Left Hand of Darkness” — set in a world where everyone is essentially the same gender.

  3. For myself, it’s not that I think there shouldn’t be any differences between men and women but more that I think it’s healthier to concentrate on the similarities and also I don’t think for me the differences are sexy – otherwise I would be attracted to all men (as a heterosexual woman) and this is not the case – only certain men, based on their specific attributes are attractive to me. Also let us not forget those who blur these boundaries – bisexual people or those who are transgender – there are really no ‘rules’ on attraction!

    • Louisa, interesting thoughts. I like your idea of concentrating on our similarities. There is often division in all areas of life rather than a call for unity. Men and women do have common characteristics, interests, and goals. There is plenty of common ground.
      Focusing on a person’s individual characteristics and judging them based on those will give us a more accurate picture of them anyway (versus “oh, a girl, that must mean she is xyz”).
      Great post!

  4. What makes this topic interesting for me is the fact that if this study is true then men and women are not hard wired differently in any sort of way, but it is the upbringing the environment that change the neurons and help differential growth… then attraction really does mean nothing in accordance to gender typical roles that our society flaunts! I think more studies should be done though as I’ve seen friends (males) growing up in a household of women and still come out being more manly and less feminine, although you’d think the opposite would be true due to environment.

    I think it is healthier to reflect on the similarities between men and women instead of focusing on the differences. With this said, new research should focus on how the external influences affect the babies and how their neurons react to these stimulations. It’s such a fascinating subject that I would love to learn more on.

  5. Francesca nice post, I’m from Italy too! I find it fascinating that you hold these views after being raised Catholic in a patriarchal culture. What prompted you to embark into this line of research? Did you have much support initially? I’m really interested in your story.

  6. I struggle with this subject because whilst I believe in tolerance and don’t think we should be molded by stereotypical behaviours, i.e “You can’t wear pink, you’re a boy!” or “You can’t play with a pram, they’re for girls!”. I wonder, what would happen if we had nothing left to define who we are, how would we recognize ourselves as male or female? Yes, anatomically we could but then what about Transgender people who say they are in the wrong body?

    I don’t know if as a mother I want to mess around with psychological changes that are not even tested properly. I do however let my kids play with any sort of toys and when someone comments I simply state the opposite benefit or I ignore them completely, depending on my mood.

    I don’t believe that boys should be a certain way because they are boys or the same for girls. I just don’t know how far I’d push social expectation right now. Like I wouldn’t send my son to school in a dress, if that explains my stance.

    I’d love to hear feed back as I feel slightly sat on the fence and very undecided.

    • I believe that if we didn’t have anything left to define who we are – pink, blue, girls toys, boys toys, etc. we would still face the same thing we do today. It would just be something else. I have a boy and a girl and I do not limit what toys they play with, BUT I do recognize my daughter picks up the baby doll and pushes the stroller over playing with the cars and they are in the same toys basket. 🙂

  7. I believe that just about every human condition is brought about by a combination of nature and nurture– in other words a combination of genetics and environment. It is said that human behavior is so complex that the most advanced computers can not accurately predict it. This, I believe, is true because of that complicated interaction between genetic predisposition and an ever changing and complex environment. Two people will react very differently to the very same nurturing (environment.) This is one reason that two kids, raised the same way, in the same family, can turn out so very differently. On the other hand, two genetically similar people can become two very different people based upon their environment.
    This concept, of course, has as impact on gender identification and differences.
    There are differences between the genders and I believe we should celebrate those differences, but I believe that the biggest celebration should be reserved for our common humanity

    • You make a good point and it’s actually one that we can see everywhere around us. Do yo really think that children are genetically predispositioned to end up one way over another even in the exact same environment?

  8. I taught in North Carolina for many years in the 1990’s. I then taught internationally in Thailand. The Thai’s have a lot to teach us about acceptance of a person’s sexual identity development and inclusion based on that identity. I’ll speak specifically about transgender youth. In NC, USA the boys who had physical traits that could be deemed effeminate, were often told to ‘toughen up’ or almost allowed to be disruptive as their aggressive behavior was almost a social sign of heterosexuality, in that they had to prove their manhood by acting out, since their height, facial feature or whatever seemed not manly enough. Girls were encouraged and praised on their dating choices by how manly the boys were. There was a very narrow range of image acceptance and a wide range of harassing peer pressure behaviors that were tolerate in the name of ‘toughening up’ the effeminate boys.
    After arriving in Thailand, it didn’t take me long to notice how here the “girly” boys seems to have a choice in developing their sexual identities. Boys who chose to emphasize their effeminate feature could be seen at the girls’ table having their nails done and chatting just like one of the girls (although the schools do make them wear a gender correct uniform). So these boys would be wearing a boy’s uniform, but would sit with the girls and touch up make-up or do each other’s nails. Literally. The interesting fact is that the other boys didn’t tease or harass them and the girls seems to totally accept them, sharing secrets – whispered in another girl’s ear or the transgender boy’s ear just the same. These boys were also happy to openly discuss their confused sexual feelings with their schoolmates, and to the extent their English allowed, with me. I’d like to see more studies done on Thai early childhood socialization for sexual identity. It might be an interesting contrast for you as the sexualization of the media is just as saturated as it is in the USA.

  9. Very interesting scientific research behind the psychological similarities between males and females. I do tend to believe that myself. It’s the society, parental brought up, and environment that make the huge differences between girls and boys. As babies, our parents gear us towards being one way or another. If there is a little girl involved, parents automatically get pink everything! Not to mention girl specific toys, such as barbies. With boys, It’s all about blue and monster trucks and army fatigue clothing. Fathers take their sons to baseball games while moms take their daughters to ballet classes. We are conditioned from birth to have a certain mindset.
    I feel like in this generation, more and more parents are gearing towards non gender specific things. I’ve seen a lot more greens and oranges at baby showers, regardless of gender. Mothers are more prone to giving their sons dolls and daughters trucks, in order to let them find their own way. Dads tend to be the opposite, living in a past generation of gender specific objects.

    I’m also from Italy, so I was born and raised with certain values and beliefs of how to act like a true lady. Also, religion teaches us how to be a certain way. As a teacher, I used to do the whole pink/blue thing in my classroom for girls and boys. The past year or so I have kind of steered away from that, and instead have incorporated other colors. Children should have the freedom of deciding on their own what they like or don’t like. So what if your daughter likes the color blue and army toys? It doesn’t make one ounce of difference!

  10. I have read Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus and it did really apply to the things that were and still are going on with my current relationship but I do also see what you mean about people being attracted to opposites. It’s most noticeable for me in same sex relationships. One of the partners tends to be more masculine and the other tends to have more feminine qualities and after speaking with them for a short while one can usually tell which role each is playing. I have dated men that have leaned either way. The men with the more feminine qualities seem to be better listeners are more in touch with their emotions and seem to be more gentle lovers while the more masculine guys can be a little more stubborn and aren’t always the best listeners. From my personal experience they are a little more rough around the edges. Either way there have still been plenty of opposites and differences in any relationship I have been in even when the two of us share many commonalities or interests.

  11. Very interesting post and comments. In regards to marketing, I totally agree with this: “I propose that the emphasis should be much more on making young girls and boys more critical towards media and marketing messages: by changing the way our boys and girls react to the environment we will allow them to be sophisticated and independent consumers”. We do need to start teaching our children to be smart and critical and go with their natural inclinations instead of being guided by media and marketing. The media has SO MUCH POWER over all of this; sometimes it’s overwhelming to think about. But the truth is, no one stops them. We are the ones who let the media get away with what they do. It’s just a vicious circle. How do we cut it off if it’s hard to find the beginning?

  12. This is fascinating… though I’m not sure if I agree that a feminine type will ALWAYS be attracted to a masculine type. But that may be because I don’t think those types are clearly delineated most of the time. I certainly can’t pinpoint it for myself. My husband and I are both self-proclaimed nerds, which is a weird stereotype because it’s sometimes derided for being both not masculine enough AND not feminine enough.

    I’m not sure you can ever say “this type will always attract this type,” because people are more complex than that and are attracted to others for all sorts of reasons. And I think *that* is sexy 🙂

  13. Are men and women really so different? When it comes to marketing things that are gender specific, we seem to have been trained to respond to different marketing techniques. But when it comes to marketing items such as fast food, home loans, animal products, telephone products and appliances etc, the marketing seems to be more neutral. Which leads me to the conclusion that we have been taught to respond to each product differently.
    Think about those KFC or soda advertisements, who are they targeting? Both men and women are equally obese and enjoy these foods, so it would stand to reason that the people responsible for marketing these items had no specific gender in mind.

  14. This is an interesting debate and it ties into a lot of our believes today. My personal bias was always we are all a product of our environment. I don’t know if there can ever be enough studies to truly give us a unbiased and accurate answer to this. My bias comes from my own experience with a relative: his mom always wanted a girl and would dress him in girlie things and do girl’s things with him until he was about 5, thinking he would not remember once she stops. The idea was he would be too young to remember any of this anyway so she thought it was harmless. Needless to say he does remember; not only does he remember but he always says he feels more comfortable in women’s attire. I would love to see more studies however, it’s something I really find fascinating. Would a born female identify herself as female if she wasn’t told that she is and what she ought to be….I really don’t think so.

  15. Very interesting read… As a person who comes from a colorful family of sexual orientation I find that I am on the fence. I have one brother who is gay, two others who are straight. I have one cousin who is a lesbian, of the more masculine nature. My youngest brother is very metro, the other a typical football loving man’s man. I am extremely petite, feminine and yet surprisingly masculine in my approach to life – a go-getter, fearless, adrenaline junkie, DIYer. I also love to wear heels and be “pretty” but I’m not going fuss if I happen to come across a puddle – I’ll jump it gracefully in 5″ heels – no problem!

    I’ve dated men of all kinds and find that when it comes right down to it, we all have the same core needs, wants, desires. The differences seem to lie in the upbringing. Men I’ve dated who come from articulate, open-minded, creative families seem to be more capable of articulating their human experience. Men who came from close-minded, strict or stodgy backgrounds seemed to be closed off and out of touch with themselves. I’m a patient person, so eventually I break through the soft underbelly to find the person within.. I’ve dated my share of Shreks, and peeled back the onions to find the teddy-bear underneath, each one afraid of something, vulnerable and even effeminate in some way or another.

    Women/girls, these days are seemingly more masculine, testosterone driven – active, athletic, (T)earless and insensitive, all about the money, the future and the status. I think that this is both good and bad. In one sense we are now more motivated than ever to take care of ourselves and no longer leave our survival, well-being to that of our mate – good an idea in a divorce driven society. At the same time we are emasculating men, stripping of them of their bread-winner status and then belittling them because they aren’t the breadwinner, or they aren’t masculine enough. Women are attracted to virile, macho men; yet we want to be the boss in every aspect of our relationships.. Not speaking for everyone – just speaking from having seen a LOT of marriages fail, usually because the woman decides her man isn’t man enough anymore, yet she kind of made him that.

    As an empowered woman I could;t be happier for my gender, by the same token, I feel bad for men right now and I am certain most boys are totally confused about what a MAN is supposed to look like anymore…

    • “We all have the same core needs, wants and desires.” I agree with this idea to a certain extent. I think that our polarisation of the feminine and masculine as two distinct categories, without linking or acknowledging a whole person as someone who embodies both these traits in constant flux has lead to things such as hypermasculinity. Have you heard of @thegoodmanproject? I think the the emergence of resources and platforms such as this, for men to discuss topics and projections placed upon them by the media is a powerful way forward towards more open expression and guidance for boys and men. The traditional roles of men and women have been so challenged, especially with the emergence of strong, powerful, driven women in the workplace. Which is definitely not a bad thing. But makes me wonder, what would work and relationships look like if women embodied both the masculine forward moving driven energy at work, but also embodied her natural soft, kind flow of receiving energy? In turn, giving men the permission to soften more into their feminine, learning how to connect with the heart.

      A quote from Rita Mae Brown: “Women need to feel loved and men need to feel needed.” I’ve seen this in my personal relationships and those of my friends too. I think relationships need to be a balance between yin/yang, give/receive, talk/listen etc. If we are always striving for the power and wanting to show our independence as strong women in every situation, then men will never have the opportunity to serve women in the way they deeply desire (and believe me, they desire it so much). I think there is true power and grace when a woman is able to step back and let the man take control and step up. I think a lot of marriages fail because despite the love the two people feel for eachother, there is no open channel to express that love and therefore, it is the lack of intimacy and deep understanding that creates such a disconnect.

  16. This was a thought provoking topic. I liked the comment by Lousia Chandler – she said that it’s not just the gender difference that’s sexy, otherwise you’d be attracted to all men or all women. It’s a combination of mental, emotional and physical attributes that draw us to certain people.
    As for raising people in a genderless society to see how they’d develop, I’m not a scientist, but have had some pesonal experience with this. As a young mother, I determined not to have guns in my home. I gave my first born, a boy, a variety of toys to play with, one of which was a doll. He had no interest in the doll, but would pick up Lincoln Logs or Lego’s and pretend they were guns and swords. At this point he’d had minimal exposure to T.V. or other media. Where does this come from? Any ideas?

  17. I agree a lot about what Laurie said. I too have seen much of what she has seen. Women complain about their men in that they aren’t a “Real Man”, but made their husbands home life hell if he didn’t do exactly what she wanted when she wanted. He then had a choice, ether neuter himself or divorce. I chose the latter.

    On the other hand I’ve seen many men take for granted a wonderful wife then be shocked when she wasn’t there any more.

    Maybe my opinion can’t be backed up by scientific studies, but as a husband and father my 50 something years has shown me that boys and girls, men and women, are different. That difference though should be celebrated. As a man I find women attractive, not men or an androgyne. Life would be boring indeed if we were all expected to be gender neutral.

    The thing that society needs the most is simply tolerance. I honestly don’t care who sleeps with who. If a guy happens to be a little effeminate, or a girl happens to be a little masculine; so what. How does it matter? Who does it really threaten? To those with a strong healthy ego, if someone happens to be gay, it shouldn’t/wouldn’t bother them in the least. The best thing we can do for our society is appreciation and tolerance of our fellow human beings.

  18. All of these comments and this post are just so involved and I am trying to wrap my head around it all. Where do I stand…I have no idea!! I never really gave this much thought until I read this post and now I am sitting here debating with myself wondering what it would be like in a genderless society. I haven’t dated in years because I just haven’t had the “urge” to date (it’s a hormonal thing, don’t get me started LOL) so I am kind of in a genderless society of my own!

    This post has really enlightened me and has me thinking about a few things and I will address them to myself. Very interesting….

  19. I really like the idea and it is an interesting topic that everyone would like to have discussion. Both men and women have plenty of similar characteristic though they are same in many ways. This difference was essential otherwise it would be a very boring world. There are many similarities and dissimilarities among the two sexes and they are important if we look around. Researchers focus on the dissimilarities as I have seen many times on Discovery channel shows. The thing that creates differences in my view is the upbringing of the girls and boys. Otherwise all the different factors among the two sexes come innate with the birth.

  20. I kind of sit on the fence about the whole gender-as-innate thing. I think that, frankly, most late wave feminists and proponents of Queer Theory take things to the extreme. I have read several studies that prove there are differences and that gender is not just ‘a social construct’.

    I do have to clarify that I believe it IS a social construct – but only to an extent. I look at my own life, as a homeschooled, religious-but-not-staunchly-so older sister of two younger sisters. Me? I’m super girly and love when my fiance calls me a princess. My twenty year old sister? Pretty feminine, but less drawn to ‘traditional’ things than I am. My youngest sister, sixteen, is into lego, comics, video games, etcetera. We were all raised in a very similar environment. I do believe kids are ‘drawn’ to certain things.

    HOWEVER, I also grew up with close family friends who had mostly sons. We all played dolls, house, and did nail polish. They’re all now pretty typical male teens with typical male interests. I think parents take it too far in both directions, to be honest.

  21. Differences are sexy? I never heard that one. Yes, men and women are different. We have different parts and different emotional buttons. The biggest difference between the two is that women need to feel loved to want sex and men need sex to feel loved. The media knows this. That is a huge difference. They use this in marketing every day. Look at a chick flick and compare it to a high action film.

    I think we should be who we are, not aim to be different. Different doesn’t get you far. When you are who you are and you are loved for that reason, that is rewarding. When you are being told what you SHOULD do and how your SHOULD act, and all that mess, you forget to be who you are. This is why so many teens are all over the place. They don’t know who the heck they are!

  22. I love the between the lines insight in this post. Adding to the excellent points the author makes, allow me to share with you a key study from the American Psychological Association:

    http://www.apa.org/research/action/difference.aspx

    And, isn’t it interesting (see under 2nd heading of that study: Learning Gender-Difference Myths)… that ONCE AGAIN we’re talking about negative “media depictions”. Perhaps the most important question that this excellent article raises would be as follows. If there wasn’t a biased media telling women what to do with THEIR bodies, would men and women be so adversarial?

  23. It’s good to embrace gender differences, but not all of those gender differences are constants. Some boys like “girly” things and some girls like “manly” things, and it’s perfectly okay. I feel like by embracing gender roles too much ,we are showing boys and girls that they must act as their gender typically acts instead of how they wish to act. We shouldn’t be showing kids especially that “this is who they’re supposed to be”, because then if they don’t fit that “mold”, they feel like something is wrong with them.

  24. I think gender differences is part genetics and part environment. I also think that men and women are more like each other than they realize. For instance, men always talk about how women like to gossip. However, if you’ve been around a group of male friends long enough you realize they gossip just like women! In some environments men are taught to never show their feelings, while in others it’s perfectly acceptable. That’s why I say gender differences are sometimes taught. While gender differences do add to sexual tension, they’re not always fun. Especially when you’re in your 20s. It is so hard to figure out what men are thinking sometimes or why they act the way they do.
    They call women moody? However, men are even worse sometimes when they bottle everything up inside and then explode their aggression on to you. I’m not trying to bash men here, but it’s frustrating. As a women sometimes, it’s nice to have the strength of man protecting you when you need it the most. I’m sure as I get older, the differences won’t bother me as much, once I figure out how to get around them that is.

  25. This is an intriguing study with equally intriguing results. I can’t give a scientific assessment of this, but I can say by way of observation, that my son acted much differently than his four older sisters, despite the heavily feminine influence in the household. As he ages and his testosterone levels increase, the differences are even stronger, despite adding two younger sisters to the mix.

    I wonder, therefore, if at birth the differences aren’t that intense because up until that point the testosterone was only washed over the boy to begin his male development in a merely physical manner. As the big T increases, so does his “maleness.” That’s just a mom theory. I really have no idea.

    Another interesting non-study is assessing my family growing up versus my husband’s family growing up. Both sides are divorced. We were raised by my mom, and my brothers are less aggressive and more sensitive than my husband and his brother who were raised by their dad through the teen years. Still, my brothers are far more masculine than I am. Just an intriguing observation.

    Still, I for one am glad the man in my life is a manly man, even though I wouldn’t necessarily complain if a little extra sensitivity (a typical female trait) and an added dose of nurturing (considered maternal) manifested themselves in him without chipping away at any of his manliness. And I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t mind too terribly much if I grew a thicker skin and didn’t need to “discuss” every little stinkin’ thing. Grin.

    Men and women–it keeps life interesting.

  26. Interesting topic indeed. Gender differences and their exploitation have became so natural to us, that we rarely do think about them.
    I have been taught by my mother that to be supported financially by a man is a bad thing, while at the same time, my mum hasn’t been working and my father was the one making the money for us. I have been taught that girls should be ladies and boys should be machos. I have been taught that by the age of 25 I should have a career and kids and at the same time I should find time to cook, clean and look stunning while doing everything at the same time.
    Now I am 28 and still at the beginning of my career, with no kids and no husband. (I have a boyfriend that I live with, but nothing more) 🙂
    I have never taken any of the gender roles that my family tried to ingrain in me.
    What I did is something much more fun and if it weren’t for this article I would have never figured it out so clearly.
    All my life I have been assuming all those roles whenever I wanted. Like a little game of mine. I have been a sexy lady and a boring housewife in one same day. I have gathered all these roles and transformed them into something new – I have made them part of my crazy, schizophrenic personality…lol
    In two words I think that we, humans are much more complicated and need a much more diverse characterization than by gender. In my opinion “Boys vs girls” is just way to simple!

  27. I love the cartoon you used in this article. I also think that this will bring more understanding to all the differences that we have on both gender. I must say the idea of neuro-plasticity is new to me and I’ve only read about it in in site. It really got me thinking because if all of the genes that makes us who we are have already been fixed then how about those who grow up to be gays and lesbians?

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