Posts Tagged ‘Gender differences’

Political correctness is based on fear and a lack of values

January 5, 2016

Offense is ultimately in the minds of those who take offense.

A female (but far from androgynous) MP in the UK wants passports and driving licences to exclude the gender of the holder. “Gender – neutral” is apparently the politically correct term. I suppose a photograph which could be taken as an unflattering or gender-defining image could also be banned.

Maria Miller (Getty)

Maria Miller (Getty)

Passports and driving licences should not state if the holder is male or female to avoid causing issues for transgender people, a former Tory cabinet minister has said. Maria Miller, the former culture secretary and chair of the new women and equalities committee, said the Government should “strip back” talking about gender unless it was necessary.

Even the Washington Post actually finds something half-good to say about Donald Trump

Why Trump may be winning the war on ‘political correctness’
Cathy Cuthbertson once worked at what might be thought of as a command post of political correctness — the campus of a prestigious liberal arts college in Ohio.
“You know, I couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas.’ And when we wrote things, we couldn’t even say ‘he’ or ‘she,’ because we had transgender. People of color. I mean, we had to watch every word that came out of our mouth, because we were afraid of offending someone, but nobody’s afraid of offending me,” the former administrator said. ……. One thing is clear: Trump is channeling a very mainstream frustration.In an October poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University, 68 percent agreed with the proposition that “a big problem this country has is being politically correct.” It was a sentiment felt strongly across the political spectrum, by 62 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans. Among whites, 72 percent said they felt that way, but so did 61 percent of nonwhites.

“People feel tremendous cultural condescension directed at them,” and that their values are being “smirked at, laughed at” by the political and media elite, said GOP strategist Steve Schmidt.

In Stockholm, the Managing Director of the Kulturhuset City Theatre overruled his Cultural Director to ban the title of a work by an artist (Makode Linde) called “The Return of the Negro King”. 
The gender axis of the human species may be a continuum but it is bimodal. Gender is part of an individual’s identity – like it or not.
Bimodal gender Blackless et al

Bimodal gender Blackless et al

I find nothing wrong in using “negro” as an adjective or in stating that women are attractive (mostly). No doubt that is sexist. “Mongolian” and “Eskimo” and “Chinese” or “Indian” are descriptive. The word gora (pink) is used in Hindi to describe white people and is primarily descriptive. Tall people remain tall and pink people remain pink whether the adjective is politically correct or not. Adjectives describe. As long as the description is not false, offense can only be taken in the minds of those offended. I am not supposed to express my convictions that while most religions can be twisted to give support to the use of violence, Islam today does that better than most. Feminism is (or should be) about combating the unfairness of prejudice not about denying femininity. Gender difference exists and cannot be legislated away. “Affirmative action” and “reservations” try to use unfair practices to try and compensate for some other unfair practice. (In actuality they only entrench either the original unfair practice or the compensating one). It is not correct to admit that intelligence is affected by genes (race) but it is perfectly acceptable to state that running the 100m is.

Political correctness is colourless, sexless, emotionless and without values. Not referring to race and gender and religion may avoid thin-skinned and frightened people from taking offense, but it does not remove the realities of race and gender and religion. The point of having values is to use them to make judgements. Political correctness is mindless. It is censure. It displays fear not courage.

 

Good Grief! Scientists uncover a difference between the sexes

August 16, 2015

Perhaps somebody could tell the politically correct that “different” is not an issue of “better” or “worse”. It is about not being the same. Vive la différence.

From the “science is wonderful” category.

Scientists have discovered there are fundamental differences between the brains of men and women. You cannot blame the scientists for the headlines of course, otherwise I would not know whether to be worried or relieved. In any case we could always pass a law saying this is not so.

N. Tabatadze, G. Huang, R. M. May, A. Jain, C. S. Woolley. Sex Differences in Molecular Signaling at Inhibitory Synapses in the Hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience, 2015; 35 (32): 11252 DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1067-15.2015

Press Release from Northwestern University:

Scientists Uncover a Difference Between the Sexes

Male and female brains operate differently at a molecular level, a Northwestern University research team reports in a new study of a brain region involved in learning and memory, responses to stress and epilepsy.

Many brain disorders vary between the sexes, but how biology and culture contribute to these differences has been unclear. Now Northwestern neuroscientists have found an intrinsic biological difference between males and females in the molecular regulation of synapses in the hippocampus. This provides a scientific reason to believe that female and male brains may respond differently to drugs targeting certain synaptic pathways. 

“The importance of studying sex differences in the brain is about making biology and medicine relevant to everyone, to both men and women,” said Catherine S. Woolley, senior author of the study. “It is not about things such as who is better at reading a map or why more men than women choose to enter certain professions.”

Among their findings, the scientists found that a drug called URB-597, which regulates a molecule important in neurotransmitter release, had an effect in females that it did not have in males. While the study was done in rats, it has broad implications for humans because this drug and others like it are currently being tested in clinical trials in humans.

“Our study starts to put some specifics on what types of molecular differences there are in male and female brains,” Woolley said. 

 

Math and Reading gender differences are not affected by level of gender equality

March 18, 2013

A new paper suggests that  math and reading differences between the genders persist  regardless of a country’s “gender equality” level. Though I am not sure why there should be so much surprise about such a finding. That the genders are fundamentally different – I would have thought – was self-evident. That some of the biological differences between the sexes must lie in the brain also seems obvious. It has always confused me as to why legislation – which should be for ensuring the equality of opportunity between the genders – often tries to suppress or deny gender differences in futile attempts to try and make the genders “equal”. We will – I think – only achieve a real equality of opportunity when we truly understand and acknowledge all the inherent differences between the sexes. Legislation can surely help to address behaviour but it cannot do away with the inherent differences. As Prof. Geary states “Educational systems could be improved by acknowledging that, in general, boys and girls are different.” And I would add that equality of opportunity between the genders has to start by acknowledging that men and women are different. It could well be that “Swedish boys fall behind in reading more so than in most other highly developed nations” just because Sweden spends so much effort to create gender equality by suppressing gender difference.

Stoet G, Geary DC (2013) Sex Differences in Mathematics and Reading Achievement Are Inversely Related: Within- and Across-Nation Assessment of 10 Years of PISA Data. PLoS ONE 8(3): e57988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057988

The University of Missouri has a press release:

… even in countries with high gender equality, sex differences in math and reading scores persisted in the 75 nations examined by a University of Missouri and University of Leeds study. Girls consistently scored higher in reading, while boys got higher scores in math, but these gaps are linked and vary with overall social and economic conditions of the nation. 

“Educational systems could be improved by acknowledging that, in general, boys and girls are different,” said David Geary, MU professor of psychological science. “For example, in trying to close the sex gap in math scores, the reading gap was left behind. Now, our study has found that the difference between girls’ and boys’ reading scores was three times larger than the sex difference in math scores. Girls’ higher scores in reading could lead to advantages in admissions to certain university programs, such as marketing, journalism or literature, and subsequently careers in those fields. Boys lower reading scores could correlate to problems in any career, since reading is essential in most jobs.”

Generally, when conditions are good, the math gap increases and the reading gap decreases and when conditions are bad the math gap decreases and the reading gap increases. This pattern remained consistent within nations as well as among them, according to the study by Geary and Gijsbert Stoet of the University of Leeds that included testing performance data from 1.5 million 15-year-olds in 75 nations. The top five percent of scores within nations generally showed girls to be lower in math and boys to be lower in reading. That pattern continued in lower scoring groups until reaching the lowest scoring students, where the math achievement of boys and girls evened out but the reading gap increased, according to Geary.

“The consistent pattern within nations suggests the sex differences are not simply related to socio-economic factors,” said Geary. Socio-economic and cultural factors are important in that they influence the performance of all students, but boys, as a group, respond more strongly than girls, perhaps due to a biological difference in sensitivity to wider conditions.”  For example, in nations with impoverished or violent conditions, boys’ scores tended to fall faster and further than girls. On the other hand, in wealthier, socially stable nations boys’ scores benefitted more than girls. This resulted in boys reducing the reading gap and widening the math gap.

“This finding has important implications for how we interpret the math gap of other countries,” said co-author Gijsbert Stoet of the University of Leeds. “For example, policy makers often take Sweden as an example of being particularly good for reducing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math, but they do not realize that Swedish boys fall behind in reading more so than in most other highly developed nations. This is a good example of the inverse relation between the math and reading gaps. This phenomenon urgently needs more attention.” ……


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