The Independent reports today that: “A pioneering study has shown for the first time that the brains of men and women are wired up differently.”
The story continues: “Researchers found that many of the connections in a typical male brain run between the front and the back of the same side of the brain, whereas in women the connections are more likely to run from side to side between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.”
Interesting, but is any of this really earth-shattering?
The study goes on to report that “many of the secondary sexual characteristics such as facial hair in men and breasts in women develop under the influence of sex hormones.” Hmm. Who’d-a thunk it?
“Men are in general better at spatial tasks involving muscle control,” the article says, “while women are better at verbal tasks involving memory and intuition.”
I don’t think anyone is much surprised, though the Independent has gained substantial attention for its piece, due perhaps in large-part to its controversial headline: “The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are ‘better at map reading’.”
So men are big and strong and good at manly things, and women are emotionally intelligent and nurturing and good at motherly things. Men excel at spatial tasks and women outperform men in intuitive tasks. We use different parts of the brain. Ragini Verma, professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, called the differences “complimentary.”
Maybe God had a plan after all?
Let us finally acknowledge that men and women are not equals, at least not at everything. Science has finally gotten around to proving the obvious – something superhero movie-makers caught onto ages ago. I have a theory that the truth of such stereotypes accounts for the popularity of superhero films, and provides us with a model worth emulating.
So many movies based on comic book superheroes manage to draw into theatres not only teenage boys, but also young ladies, young gentlemen, old gentlemen, middle-aged moms, their children, and everyone in between.
Violence, action, suspense, and witty one-liners are typical of such flicks. The story lines are fairly fundamental, devoid of many deep, artistic expressions or much complicated symbolism. All of these movies are fun, but none have “Academy Award for Best Motion Picture” written on them. They aren’t often taken seriously by many outside the Comic-Con set, and they appear with such regularity that one would suppose that they aren’t great masterpieces, but more likely recurring, run-of-the-mill moneymakers.
Why, then, do we come back time after time to spend 120-ish minutes spellbound by brutish men performing acts of daring-do and by the pretty ladies who are the lucky beneficiaries? And what does the popularity of these ideas and images say about us as a society?
Here’s an idea: each one of these movies possesses a strong, elementary theme of good versus evil, with a wicked protagonist the audience can hate together, and a cool hero guys can look up to and girls can ogle. Even more basic than that, though, these films represent a refreshing return to traditional and natural roles of society to which both men and women can relate and aspire.
It all sounds a little primitive, but there’s no denying that men enjoy punching things, beating the bad guy, and violence in general, and women enjoy looking at the Jackedmen of the world and their flexing muscles which make them feel petite, feminine, and desirable.
There’s more to it than Brawny Man eye-candy. Non-moviestar male viewers like to envision themselves in these roles- saving the damsel in distress. That’s what testosterone is for, and guys have lots to spare. They need to know how to use it, and females can help with that. Boys will be boys, and they will be gentlemen if we let them.
Women should let the men in their lives be their heroes (as cheesy as that sounds), even in little ways. If he wants to open the door for you, let him. If he offers to let you go ahead of him in the elevator, oblige his offer. Sure you can manage that grocery easily, and you might be perfectly content standing on the metro instead of sitting, but if a man is going out of his way to be chivalrous, shouldn’t we go out of our way to encourage it?
People say that chivalry is dead, or dying, but it will only die if we let it. Chivalry isn’t just the gentleman’s job; men need ladies for whom to act gallantly. Don’t act awkwardly when a man treats you differently. Embrace it as a perk to being a lady. It’s nice, and men like doing it.
Teresa Mull is the managing editor of Human Events.