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Nov 20: Rebecca Jordan-Young – Are Sex Differences Hardwired?
Nov 18th, 2010 by Sam

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Men are Mars and women are Venus, right? That’s what we ‘know.’ That’s what the research says. Men don’t ask directions. Women can’t do math as well. Men don’t talk about their feelings. All women want to do it talk.

It’s all in fun, until parents and teachers and Larry Summers make decisions that affect lives based on … the science.

Except, is that what the science actually says? How rigorous has the research been? Has the peer review system really worked?

Rebecca Jordan-Young, a Barnard College professor of women’s studies, joins us to discuss her book “Brain Storm,” where she sets out to debunk the proliferating “brain-organization” studies that attempt to explain in purely biological terms (since XX and XY seem not to be enough) why males and females differ in one way or another. Or, in some cases, fail to differ.

The book.

Reviews:

LA Times: Book review: ‘Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences’ by Rebecca M. Jordan-Young

“Issues of gender understandably provoke a lot of red-faced uproar in all sorts of warring quarters. Neuroscientist Simon LeVay’s 1991 report in Science locating male homosexuality in an area of the hypothalamus and Lawrence H. Summers’ suggestion, while he was still president of Harvard, that the unequal number of tenured male and female scientists indicates “a difference in aptitude” are signal examples.”

Powell’s Books: Brainstorm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences by Rebecca M. Jordan-young – Powell

“Jordan-Young interviewed virtually every major researcher in the field and reviewed hundreds of published scientific papers. Her conclusion: ‘Brain organization theory is little more than an elaboration of long-standing folk tales about antagonistic male and female essences and how they connect to antagonistic male and female natures.’ She explains, in exquisite detail, the flaws in the underlying science, from experimental designs that make no statistical sense to ‘conceptually sloppy’ definitions of male and female sexuality, contradictory results, and the social construction of normality. Her conclusion that the patterns we see are far more complicated than previously believed and due to a wider range of variables will shake up the research community and alter public perception. “

Jun 19: Spew baby, spew & what does it mean to be a dad?
Jun 19th, 2010 by Sam

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Who is apologizing to BP and why?

And Father’s Day – paternity leave in Sweden? Primate Dad’s strutting their stuff with babies? Should there be a presumption of joint custody when parents divorce? Sperm donors? Is this a good idea? How many half-siblings are out there who don’t know it?

What’s on your mind?

Do we need affirmative action for guys?
Feb 16th, 2010 by Sam

“…in The Atlantic, Don Peck reports that last November nearly a fifth of all men between 25 and 54 did not have jobs, the highest figure since the labor bureau began counting in 1948. We are either at or about to reach a historical marker: for the first time there will be more women in the work force than men.”  David Brooks, New York Times, February 15, 2010

Unhappy, angsty guys… Funny… I bet a lot of them are conservatives, so following their logic, my response should be “Not MY problem!!!”

Except, it is. And will be. Angsty guys cause problems. The only positive… China has more of them and there aren’t enough women around, so their problem is worse.

You know it’s bad when they’re talking about love
Jul 29th, 2008 by Sam

OK, I loved both columns. But, it’s just a little scary when both Maureen Dowd and Ben Stein are talking about love. And both articles are on the New York Times’ top ten most emailed list.

Maureen writes about a priest’s description of An Ideal Husband, advice he gives to young women:

  • Never marry a man who has no friends. This usually means he’s incapable of the intimacy that marriage demands. (my comment – be sure to check and make sure he’s not just shy).
  • What do your friends and family think of him?
  • Does he use money responsibly? Is he stingy?
  • Steer clear of someone whose life you can run, i.e. no doormats
  • Is he overly attached to his mother?
  • Does he have a sense of humor?
  • Is he the ‘strong/silent’ type? (run away)
  • Are bad family habits? Racism, sexism, prejudice?
  • Do you share the same deepest values?
  • Does he possess the character traits that add up to being a good person? Is he wiling to forgive, praise, be courteous? or is he inclined to be a fibber, to fits of rage, to be a control freak, to be envious, to be secretive?

Then, Ben Stein:

My primary life study has been about love. Second comes economics, so here, in the form of a few rules, is a little amalgam of the two fields: the economics of love…

In general, and with rare exceptions, the returns in love situations are roughly proportional to the amount of time and devotion invested. The amount of love you get from an investment in love is correlated, if only roughly, to the amount of yourself you invest in the relationship.

If you invest caring, patience and unselfishness, you get those things back.

Are you kidding me?  Ben Stein?  He goes on:

  • With people and bonds – stick with high quality
  • Do your research
  • If you have to compete with others, even after a short while, forget the whole thing
  • Returns should equal investment
  • Love is a long-term investment – day traders will have many days of love but years of agony
  • Realistic expectations are everything
  • Stick with a winner
  • Have dogs and cats in your life

And he closes with this:

And let me close with another thought. I am far from glib about the economy. It has a lot of pitfalls facing it. As workers and investors, we know that many dangers lurk in our paths.

But so far, these things have always worked themselves out and this one will, too. In the meantime, they say that falling in love is wonderful, and that the best is falling in love with what you have.

So there you go.  The economy is so bad, that pundits and economists are writing about love.  Who said it?  Love is all you need?

Brainy grrls have more fun!
Feb 19th, 2007 by Sam

Can it possibly be true?  Is this the era of the brainy grrl?  Even in love?

In The Romantic Life of BrainiacsBoston Globe Magazine, 2/2/2007, Stephanie Coontz reports that college graduates and high-earning women are now more likely to marry than women with less education and lower earnings.

Furthermore, and perhaps more shockingly, men’s preferences have also changed.  Many studies show that men now want a wife who is at a similar educational or occupational level.  The 2001 Journal of Marriage and Family paper found that:

“…in mate-preference surveys taken in 1985 and 1996, intelligence and education had moved up to number 5 on men’s list of desirable qualities in a mate in both surveys, ahead of good looks….And in choosing a spouse, males with a college degree rate good looks much lower in importance than do high school graduates.”

But, it even gets better.  In the past, employed wives tended to divorce at higher rates than non-employed wives.  According to Coontz, this wasn’t because of the employment itself, it was because the wives had more options to leave a bad marriage.  But, just last year, a study discovered that wives’ full-time employment is now associated withincreased marital stability.

And, now, the icing on the cake.  The sex is better too.  As you might suspect, educated couples have more variety in their sex lives, most notably participating in oral sex (turns out the more educated a women is, the more likely she is to receive (!) oral sex.  You go grrl.)  But, here is the best part:

“Educated husbands are also more likely to help with housework, which turns out to be a potent aphrodisiac.

Ladies, were truer words ever spoken?  Is there anything hotter than your darlin’ cleaning the house followed by …?  Ahem.

And the good news just keeps coming:

  • marriages where women outearn their husbands are just as stable as other marriages,
  • men view the quality of their marriage higher the more the wife works outside the home, and
  • well-educated men have increased their housework more than less-educated ones.

It’s all great news for girls who have the genes and the resources to get that education.

So, this is a timely moment to share a great new blog that I’ve encountered called Memoirs of a SkepChick: Critical Thinking for the Masses.  I met a couple of the bloggers at a Darwin Birthday event, and they are fun, happening, brainy grrls who are destined for happy, stable marriages with lots of great sex (and the clean houses that go with it!).

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