Women’s Empathy

shutterstock_116321614 - 2We continue this week the series on differences in the female brain that give it an edge over the male brain in particular functions.  Last week I wrote about intuition and the neural networking of white matter cells that allow for a greater reach across different areas of the brain and more sources of information.

This week’s strength is empathy.  Empathy is the ability to recognize and share in other peoples’ experiences.  It is the ability to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”  Research (and most peoples’ experience) consistently concludes that women have an easier and more natural ability to empathize with others.

While this series is mainly focused on the science involved in brain function, I’d like to point out that Pope John Paul II recognized this difference between genders. Instead of the word empathy, JPII used the term tenderness.  In “Love and Responsibility,” he defined tenderness as “the ability to feel with and for the whole person, to feel even the most deeply hidden spiritual tremors,” which we can see is very similar to the concept of empathy.  He then went on to say about a woman;  “her emotional life is generally richer than a man’s, and so her need for tenderness is greater.”

One of the most recent types of brain cells to be discovered is called the “mirror neuron.”  It is a very interesting cell involved with the ability to empathize.  It translates observed experience into personalized and felt experience.  One study revealed how these cells are activated for a person while watching sad or scary movies and are correlated with an increased report of a feeling of sadness or fear.  As it turns out, the female brain has significantly more gray matter in the brain regions associated with mirror neurons compared to the male brain.  Remember from last week that gray matter means a higher concentration of actual brain cell bodies, as opposed to white matter that has a greater concentration of the communication parts between cells.  In general, females have a larger Prefrontal Cortex, which is the area associated with empathy.

There is also research that shows these differences are present from infancy.  Work by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen found that one-day old infant girls were significantly more people-oriented than infant boys, who were more interested in a mechanical mobile.  These findings are consistent with earlier studies that found a negative correlation between fetal testosterone levels and empathy.  (As testosterone increases, empathy decreases).  Other studies have found this same negative correlation even within the same gender groups.  Cohen’s research additionally found that higher testosterone is associated with less eye contact, fewer words and lower volume in the brain area involved with language.  These areas are all important in the development and use of empathy.

Finally, the connections between the parts of the brain associated with language and the parts of the brain associated with emotion are better developed in the female brain.  This is an important difference to understand especially in relationships between men and women.

When we first got married, my wife would be frustrated if she asked how my day was at work and all I had to say was, “good.”  If she asked a girlfriend about her day, the two of them could talk for 3 hours on the subject.  All she got out of me was one word.  Fortunately I had pictures of male and female brains to explain that this is really all I thought of saying.  What seemed like an effort to hold something back was actually just a lack of verbal processing.  Of course once we talked it through and I understood that sharing more with her was important, I could make the effort to come up with more.  And once she understood I wasn’t purposefully holding anything back, she wasn’t really frustrated by it anymore.  The important thing was to recognize the difference in our natural tendencies.  These differences are real, and they are differences God made us with!

For the purposes of this article though, we view this particular difference as a strength in favor of the female brain.  It is a strength that we men can stand to learn from.  Verbalizing emotions is an important aspect of empathy, because empathy needs to be communicated in order to be actually effective in relationship.  It’s one thing to feel the feeling, but it’s something else entirely to communicate the fact that you are feeling the feeling to the one you are empathizing with.  Both are necessary to move from an isolated experience to something that can bring people together.  Bringing people together and increasing collaboration is the next strength we will touch on next week.

 

Image credit: shutterstock.com

Dr. Greg Bottaro

By

Dr. Greg Bottaro is a clinical psychologist practicing in Manhattan serving the greater New York Metropolitan area and many others through web conferencing. He received his Psy.D. (Doctorate in Clinical Psychology) from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, a graduate school in Arlington, VA that integrates Catholic philosophy and theology with sound, empirically validated psychology. Before finishing his degree, Dr. Bottaro discerned a religious vocation with the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs). He lived almost four years in the Bronx, serving the poor in the tradition of St. Francis. These years were formative for him emotionally, spiritually, and professionally as he tested his vocation and ultimately felt the prompting of God’s will to pursue family life. Six years after leaving NYC as a friar Dr. Bottaro returned as a psychologist. His aim is fundamentally the same – to serve. Instead of serving those suffering material poverty, He now serves those with psychological needs. He blogs regularly at CatholicPsych.com.

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  • John

    For more visual folks, this 1:42 minute video expresses well the differences between the male and female brain, which Dr. Bottaro points to in his article. Enjoy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg

  • Lena S.

    “What seemed like an effort to hold something back was actually just a lack of verbal processing.”

    Or maybe it’s just that nothing particularly noteworthy happened. Why is it always framed as a lack if it’s not the feminine preference? This is weak, lazy, and pandering rubbish. The modern idea of empathy boils down to mirroring, pandering, and placating, with the assumption that men are not as deep as women, which is just ridiculous on its face.

  • 7man

    Society has increasingly listened to ‘empathetic’ women for the past 150 years and the result is more broken families and government intervention into every aspect of our lives. Evidence suggests that female ‘empathy’ is a self-serving act, whereby individual woman placate other women (due to the mirroring neuron) and other women return the placation. The herd placates, which is to the detriment of society, families, children and men.

  • Jim

    Why don’t you do some articles in the future on how male brains are better some functions? Or, would that be too politically incorrect?

  • Kevin Bailey

    It may very well be part of his overall plan. However in his first article he stated the premise of this series very clearly:

    “There are five main functions of the female brain that are overall
    better developed than man’s because of structural differences. These
    functions are intuition, empathy, collaboration, self-control, and a healthy dose of anxiety. I will focus on each one of these functions in individual posts.”

    He just prior to that made it clear “While this series will be all about the differences between the male and female brain, this is not to say that either one is better or smarter.”

    I don’t know if you intended to be a bit troll like with the last question but I think someone could see it that way. I don’t intend in any way to say you were a troll but share this in a friendly fashion to help you avoid any potential confusion in the future. The first question would have been sufficient to perhaps spur the author to consider your suggestion.

    I am not taking away from these articles the fact that men or women are better than the other. I think the point is that there is a difference and if we want to be better husbands we can understand our partners strengths and play into them and support them. We can’t just keep playing into our own strengths and expect the other side to just “be happy with that”. If we don’t understand that there are physical limitations to the ways both of us are really made the more we understand that neither of us can just stop being who we are. However we can adapt if we put effort into it.

  • Kevin Bailey

    This was good. I agree that this video hits the nail right on the head of what is trying to be expressed in these articles! ;-)

  • Victoria Havoc

    Absolutely right.

  • Victoria Havoc

    You are so right, I am so tired of these assumptions that the female side is automatically better or correct. Makes my blood boil.

  • Jim

    My intent was to state what I see in media, schools, businesses all the time. If that is being a troll, so be it. I consider it the truth.

  • Richard III

    I think “empathy”, as society uses and defines the term, has gone the way of “tolerance”, “potential”, “excellence”, achievement”, “explicit”, “inappropriate”, “empowerment”, “choice”, “mature”, “assertion”, “self-esteem/confidence/worth/image”, “cooperation”, “teamwork/player”, “diversity”, etc. ad nauseam, i.e. it’s used in a manner quite different from what Dr. Bottaro is describing; a manner that perhaps isn’t 100% grammatically incorrect, but tends to exaggerate, misapply, overuse, or strain the true definition of the word. Truly empathetic women use their empathy to strengthen families, friendships, partnerships, and societies. The women you describe, while unfortunately existent, are either not truly empathetic or else don’t understand what empathy really is and/or are severely misapplying it.

  • Richard III

    Nobody assumed that. Dr. Bottaro simply meant that women are naturally more empathetic than men. He did not say that men can’t be or are not empathetic, or that women always exercise their empathetic powers or use them in the right way. And nowhere has he or anyone else here denied that men possess their own set of unique mental strengths (more powers of logical reasoning, better math and numbers skills, etc.). This series is simply focused on those of women, as he stated twice before.

  • Jim

    If anyone has not read the book “The War on Boys”, I suggest they.

  • Jim

    So will he do articles on men? If not, why not?

  • Lena S.

    The problem is, it’s not true. It seems like a desperate search to find women superior in some way, since we are evidently inferior in others (the most obvious being physically), but it doesn’t pan out in reality. It is mindless sentimentality, like the concept of the noble savage.

  • Lena S.

    If women are so naturally empathetic, why do they kill their own unborn children at such high rates? How do you know whether women are using genuine empathy, which is more like com-passion (suffering with), or simply pandering and placating? I submit that it’s the latter more often than not and anything else is wishful thinking.

  • 7man

    Theories are fine, but pay attention to the actions, implications and consequences.

    I have seen what happens in family courts. The female judges, female social workers, female psychologists placate to the emotional ex-wife. No one dares to challenge the validity of her emotional claims. It is typical to restrict the father just-in-case. Then he must prove himself innocent which is nigh unto impossible under the female run system. (Women file for 2/3 of the divorces and are awarded primary child custody over 90% of the time which means the father of the children must pay the mother money, which she has no accountability for how she spends. Throughout this it is common for the ex-wife to restrict a father’s access to his children and the females in the court system will again placate to the ex-wife because of their ‘empathy’.)

    Throughout, there is minimal empathy toward the children since their rights to have a relationship with their father are commonly trampled. The entire thing is self-serving to women with the reward going to the ex-wife and the state (which gets matching funds for any money they can extract from the father). Women are financially enslaving men through perpetual onerous exaggerated indentured servitude. The system destroys wealth. This happens predominantly to productive men that have jobs and can afford to pay.

    This is female ‘empathy’ in action.

  • BillinJax

    Gentlemen, especially any of you who have not been married,
    raised a family of both boys and girls, coached both boys and girls baseball
    and soccer plus lived with the same wonderful woman for sixty years moving from
    state to state and job to job; relax and enjoy this, you need to give Dr. Greg
    a little more time to explain HIS point about the simple and obvious fact that
    (thank) God indeed made man and woman a little different and part of the
    difference is the physical makeup of the brain among other wonderful
    dissimilarities. Having had the personal experiences noted above along with the
    gift of faith as God allowed his spirit to work overtime to help me cope with
    all of it I can attest that the good doctor is onto something here. Early on it
    took a while for me to realization that my wife often saw, felt, and heard
    things a little differently than I did and that her conclusions or evaluations
    often gave me pause to re-consider my own. I can not tell you how much time and
    money those times have saved for us. As I began to appreciate this my eyes were
    opened and my heart was softened to those differences and life became a lot
    easier live in spite of the bumps in the road to a successful marriage and
    family life. Example: I coached a lot of boys in little league, quite voluntarily
    and successfully, but got “snookered” into having to coach a first year girls
    soccer team once in order to have my own daughter play. They drove me nuts the
    first couple of weeks to where I was ready to throw in the towel. Thank God I came
    to see them as simply “little women” who would respond to instruction if they
    saw me more as a lovable teddy bear than someone telling them what they had to
    do. The more genuine love I showed for each of them the more they listened and
    they began to have fun practicing; we won the championship. I actually told my
    wife later I thought it was more rewarding to coach the girls even though they
    did spend more time looking for four leaf clovers and making clover blossom necklaces.
    Thank heaven for little girls they grow up to be the women we need to make us completely human.

  • drgreg

    Haha, this video actually sparked some of the encouragement to do this article series in the first place! Thanks for sharing.

  • drgreg

    I do intend to write a series on men. Of course there are also implications implicit in the articles on women, since the articles are simply pointing out physiological differences. In the big picture, sometimes those differences can mean that women have the “strength” and sometimes the man does. Thank you for the encouragement though to make this more explicit, I have received numerous requests asking the same and agree as you said below that there does seem to be an anti-men swing trying to combat misogyny. Women’s hatred of men btw is called “misandry.” If you’ve never heard it used before that’s because there are only 23 instances of its use in the English Oxford Corpus. Your point is well taken.

  • drgreg

    Empathy is merely a state of understanding. What a person does with that empathy is an entirely different question. Let’s not forget that John Paul II called all of us to greater TENDERNESS, which is in effect, no different than empathy. However, once we feel what others are feeling, and spend time with women’s (and men’s) feelings and experiences, it is also our duty to move appropriately towards what is True, Good, and Beautiful. Depending on the context (marriage, family, classroom, soccer field as mentioned below, or courtroom), we all have this duty and need to exercise it appropriately. But this is the complementarity between the man and woman. Women can feel these things much more naturally. We need to feel. It is human (and therefore Christlike) to feel. But then we also need to reason, and separate from these feelings when the feelings don’t lead to the True, Good, and Beautiful (which requires compartmentalization – a male strength.)

  • drgreg

    Women often ignore their empathetic nature to get to the point where they can kill their own baby. That is why Post-Abortive Trauma Syndrome is so prevalent. Those feelings that were stuffed down and ignored come back with terrifying force one way or another.

  • drgreg

    Thank you Richard, it is not my intention to say that women are better than men. I do intend on writing a series on the strengths of a man’s mind as well. These articles are simply pointing out physiological differences. Females do feel more deeply. They do come up with more words than men to describe the same things. (Even if there was nothing that happened in a day, a woman can *generally* come up with vast more ways than a man to describe it. These are just observed facts, not meant to be judgments on what gender is better or worse. Men have strengths that women can learn from and women have strengths that men can learn from. This happens to be the article series on women’s strengths.

  • drgreg

    I’m so tired of those assumptions too. Who would make such assumptions???

  • Lena S.

    See your own words quoted above.

    The point is, we
    don’t really need more of this when men are already so disrespected in this
    culture. It’s out of whack and beyond tiresome, which is why you are
    getting the backlash here.

    Men have written virtually all the great Western literature, poetry, philosophy, theology, etc., yet we are supposed to believe that they are deficient in language and verbal skills? Verbosity is not superiority.

  • Lena S.

    Neither is verbosity a sign of empathy, more to the point.

  • Lena S.

    I think you are grasping at straws here. You seem to be invested in this idea that women are more empathetic (whatever that might mean) than men, and I just don’t see the evidence to support it. Why don’t you just give a go at entertaining the idea that you might be wrong? Those of us finding fault with this notion have likely been where you are.

    What comes back with terrifying force is not some kind of supernatural empathy but the guilt of having murdered her own defenceless child. One doesn’t need a lot of empathy to know that this is wrong, and the fact that they could go through with it in the first place doesn’t really speak to any natural empathy but to ultimate selfishness.

  • drgreg

    True, and those are two different skills as I mentioned – Feeling the feeling, and then expressing the feeling. I wish this was a tiresome conversation, but unfortunately the support and praise I have received for simply relaying these very basic recent physiological observations outweighs the “backlash” 50 to 1, indicating to me that more women have felt the need for articles like this than not. Men are not deficient in language skills, and I did not make that claim. Men are also not inferior, and it would be in error to say that because men and women are different, one is superior to the other. I am certainly not saying that. (Even though in certain circumstances, certain functions may be a particular strength for men or women). Once again I will refer you to the words of JPII who I draw from, who pointed out that women have a deeper capacity for emotional experience, and a greater need for a sharing in that experience. This is one of the differences. It doesn’t mean women are better, but it is extremely important especially for men to know that this is how God created women.

  • Lena S.

    “women have a deeper capacity for emotional experience, and a greater need for a sharing in that experience”

    I am not necessarily arguing that, although I find it a bit suspect, but that this constitutes empathy or indicates better empathetic capabilities than those of men.

    Of course women are going to be pleased with these articles – it feeds their egos and women like to be pandered to. Do you let popularity determine the truth or what you write?

  • Lena S.

    I wish this had an edit function – Of course women are going to be pleased with these articles – it feeds their egos and women like to be pandered to because women are insecure and like to be supported in their rationalisations.

  • 7man

    “… women have a deeper capacity for emotional experience, and a greater need for a sharing in that experience.”
    This leads to pandering and placating where other women support a woman exhibiting emotionality or rationalization. (Also known as acting like a herd.) A woman claiming victim status also elicits support of other women and foolish men (who do not use their rational mind to apply principles and logic).

  • 7man

    “… the support and praise I have received for simply relaying these very basic recent physiological observations outweighs the “backlash” 50 to 1, indicating to me that more women have felt the need for articles like this than not.”

    Women value being pandered to because most women are insecure therefore they crave to be supported in their rationalizations.
    Also women’s feelings do not determine what is actually needed or what is actually truthful.

  • Richard III

    Amen.

    You’re Welcome.

    and

    Thank YOU.

  • Richard III

    Studies on your points show that women TEND to be better at language and verbal skills, NOT that all women are better here, NOT that women who are better always make use of their skills, and last but not least, NOT THAT MEN ARE “DEFICIENT” IN THIS DEPARTMENT. It’s just that the “average” woman TENDS to be better at verbal than the “average” man.

    You are quite right that most great Western literature was written by men, but of course they were men who were exceptional (from both women and other men) not just in verbal and language skills, but also in knowledge, wisdom, and faith. Just because linguistic skills tend to be a feminine strength doesn’t mean that men can’t possess them too.

    And I firmly believe that Dr. Bottaro has been unfailingly respectful to men here. He’s just doing a series on women’s strengths; a subject which has been so cliched and preached by lesser other “experts” that it understandably is rather touchy. But explaining and celebrating women’s true strengths does not in any way amount to slamming or degrading men. Women do have real unique skills, some of which they really are better at than men, and the reverse is equally true.

  • Richard III

    Abortion, like all other sins, is unnatural, a violation of nature. A woman violates her natural empathy (as well as her other natural virtues and the Natural Law) when she kills her child.

    For your second question, I’d say you know it’s real empathy if the woman shows compassion and gives you good help and advice. If anything she says or does strikes you weird (goes against your better judgment or conscience, makes you angry, bitter, or vengeful rather than calmed, charitable, forgiving, etc.), it’s not true empathy, though she may think it is. Like I said above, society has so abused this word that it is very difficult to truly understand it, so what society considers empathy is not infrequently quite different from what Dr. Bottaro, Blessed JPII, and I are describing. Does this help?

  • 7man

    So exceptional men are more skilled at language than women but average women are more skilled than average men?
    Now, how does this relate to empathy?
    And explain why, as women are more acclaimed and recognized for their better skills at emotional language (which is assumed to correlate to empathy), that there are such an astounding amount of children that have little to no contact with their fathers.
    I will celebrate women’s strengths when there are MORE children that are wake up under the roof where their father resides. Why do women (with their greater empathy) not address this problem (if they really care)?
    Women should use their “real unique skills” and empathy to see that children are not deprived of fathers (due to pandering to the emotionality of other women or never challenging any woman claiming victim status).
    The truth is all around us.

  • Martlet

    Well said, Kevin.

  • Martlet

    And yet… have any studies been done to demonstrate a father’s remorse after he drives his girlfriend to an abortion clinic? My guess is that such men just forget that it ever happened.

  • Jim

    drgreg, thankyou for the response and I am glad to hear you will do a series on men. I believe there are differences and the differences you cite in articles favoring women are real, but the male strenghts (like certain spatial abilities) are not often mentioned or attempts to silence them are made. I read somewhere that the area of Einstein’s brain dealing with spatial ability was highly developed in him.
    I believe there was a professor at Harvard who asked why there were so many more male engineers than women and he was quickly silenced. The book “The War on Boys” disturbed me.

  • DownWithTOB

    Lena, you proclaim both misandry and misogyny in your comments. Dr. Bottaro hasn’t said anything to attack men, devalue men in society, or declare that women are a superior sex, but for some reason you seem to keep hanging onto that idea. Try adoration for the healing and answers you’re looking for, and I’m sure we’ll all be praying for you and for an openness to your hardness of heart. The Theology of the Body is also a good resource for you to better understand the complimentarily of the sexes, and the true dignity of woman.

  • DownWithTOB

    *complementarity

  • Lena S.

    Let’s see, according to you, I hate both women and men and have a hard heart and should learn the true dignity of women (but no mention for of men). I hate myself as well. I am egalitarian in my hatred of both men and women and should learn about complementarity so I can discover the superiority of women.

    Come on, something upset you didn’t it toots. I know I’ve hit a nerve when I am accused of “hardness of heart” from someone who barely knows me. You write in an emotional and pandering way, which seems to be a trait of women.

  • Lena S.

    Men do that too. Is that your only point?

    The problem is this: Due to the supposed greater ‘empathy’ of women, she has more responsibility for killing a human being. Does she not sign her name agreeing to such thing? Is this not a death contract that she is signing? Does she have free agency or not?

  • DownWithTOB

    “…learn about complementarity so I can discover the superiority of women” I’m not sure that you really have a pulse on the concept here.

  • Lena S.

    @DownWithTOB

    I don’t think you have a handle on jest and interpretation of words. It is what you reveal about your own beliefs, not what I actually believe.

  • DownWithTOB

    ah.

  • DownWithTOB

    Too bad.

  • TJ

    It sees to me that God created man and woman like puzzle parts. They fit harmoniously together when each fills the gaps that the other has. This article shows how a woman can fit a gap that many (but not all) men have.

  • TJ

    No irony intended here, but I do “empathize” with Jim as we males have been really pounded down by political correctness. However, this is a well written and useful article.

  • Emily

    I love Dr. Greg!

  • Richard III

    And I should have said this sooner. When I first read the title of this article, I was a little apprehensive about the word “empathy”, because it has been so abused by society. But because this is a good Catholic website, I figured things couldn’t be to bad, and they weren’t. I thought this was a wonderful and informative article, entirely insult and PC free.

  • Martin

    Does not at least some of this depend upon our being ‘right’ or ‘left brain’ dominant ?

    I had the pleasure of having to see a Consultant Clinical Psychologist for four years – being treated for past ‘clerical sexual abuse’. No I am not anti Catholic. I am still very faithful.

    I am also male and had this man, the clinical psychologist tell me, “You have an amazing capacity to empathize. A real gift. You could likely tell others what they are feeling before they even tried to articulate it to you.” He then asked if I had myself ever considered working in the mental health profession.

    There’s an expression, humorous or maybe for some derogatory, ‘you’re wired up’. I believe the entire nervous system operates in all of this. Our central nervous system depends on what what is received from the peripheries. Again, if I go into a room I do pick up on the emotions of others at times. If positive or negative. At times can be overwhelmed. Only recently understanding this and learning how to manage it. I know others, male and female, like this. Indeed I think most of us are ‘wired’ to receive of much more than we imagine we are, might be capable.

    I don’t think we are ‘made differently’ – rather conditioned, socialized and/or raised to think, believe ourselves different on many levels to what we really are. Not dismissing that we are of course different too in real ways at certain levels.

    I believe you yourself are a case in point, Dr Greg. At the least, having read three of your pieces, I would opine you seem at times to be quite sexist in your clinical appraisals.

    But then, we are all ‘wired’ differently and that’s what accounts for so much at the end of the day.

    Irony in it all too. It was through my own capacity to empathize, years later – well decades actually, that I learned to understand the priest, forgive him and help in my own recovery and healing. Helping others too and for some in their reconciling with faith life and the Church. Wishing that the man be embraced, re ‘wired’ – and made whole again in the Light of Christ.

    What happens to any child which makes of any of us the adults we become ?

    I think Dr Greg you do yourself a very great disservice in not allowing for your own great capacity to empathtize – raise the emotional IQ. It’s there. :)

    Martin

  • drgreg

    Hi Martin, thank you for your comments. I am very sorry to hear about what you’ve been through in your life, but I am also really edified and encouraged by your witness that you remain faithful to the Church. I will never be able to understand how hurtful an experience like clerical sex abuse can be to faith (putting aside all discussion on empathy and gender based capacities for a minute.) It’s just really a devastating experience – having worked with others who have gone through it and yes, empathizing with them, I just wanted to thank you for that witness.

    Your point about your own natural inclination for empathy is well taken. Yes, there are many personality traits that can be conditioned, and yes, men can learn how to have great empathy. However, two things remain true. 1) I don’t think a man’s subjective experience of emotion can be equated to a woman’s (and there really is no way to know this unless a man could actually spend a day in a woman’s body). We can only guess that because the things that cause feelings in the human body happen to be very different in a man’s body and a woman’s. This is not sexist. This is observation. Through a microscope, and maybe an fMRI or SPECT scan. Simple observation. 2) As I have said, these observations are generalizations, and not always the case. There certainly are women with more testosterone than normal. That extra testosterone actually translates into different kinds of behavior. There are also men with different patterns of brain activity that correlates with more empathy. The point is, these are outside the “norm.”

    As a clinical psychologist, I spent 6 years in intensive training, being supervised for more hours than I’d like to remember, learning how to empathize among other “modules.” Of course empathy wasn’t all I learned, but I’m pretty sure that most of the women in my classes picked up on that piece easier than I did. I know that because we’ve looked at enough brains to know there are differences between men’s and women’s brains.

    These differences push so many sensitive buttons because of all the hurt that is caused between the sexes. That’s what our society doesn’t get. Yes, sexism exists and it has caused great pain. But pretending there are no differences will not make the problems go away. We need to understand what the differences are, to truly appreciate each other. I get all sorts of responses comparing my reports of the science to racism and discrimination. Gender is not the same as race, religion, or creed. “In the beginning,” “Man and Woman He created them.” Someone thought it was pretty important to point out that distinction from the beginning. Genesis doesn’t say “black and white He created them.” It doesn’t say “Muslim and Christian He created them.” There is a fundamental difference in our very being as man and woman that is rooted in our very humanity. Our bodies proclaim this difference. We are not dualists that believe we are souls trapped in bodies. Our souls ARE our bodies, our bodies are our souls, they are one in the same! To put it another way, what you see is what you get. Just as any 2 or 3 year old boy has to figure out, there’s something really different about mommy. Children don’t naturally think skin color should make a difference, but they most certainly see that.

  • drgreg

    If you would like to hear more of my distinctions and observations about the Church and the brain differences between men and women – including certain strengths of men – see my article here, http://www.catholicpsych.com/2012/09/28/should-women-man-up-in-response-to-holding-back-tears/

  • MotherOf10

    Thanks, Dr. Greg, for an excellent article. I, for one, am happy that someone has the decency to lay out a scientific basis for some womanly strengths. Maybe pointing out some scientific basis will cause some boorish (yet “scientific”) men to value women more, e.g. those who take for granted stay-at-home moms who don’t have a paycheck to contribute to the family at the end of the day. Our work is just as or more important.

  • jenny

    ..great article…….

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