In the course of researching my dissertation, as I sought to show that Achilles’s rage represented an archetypal aspect of male behavior, I read many scientific studies on sexual difference as well as books considering those studies in the context of current cultural debates. In their book Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women, geneticist Anne Moir and journalist David Jessel articulate the essence of this tension between sound science and politically-correct attitudes:
Recent decades have witnessed two contradictory processes; the development of scientific research into the differences between the sexes, and the political denial that such differences exist.
They write that if the reality of these differences make women angry,
. . . it is not because science has set at naught their hard won struggle towards equality; their wrath should rather be directed at those who have sought to misdirect and deny them of their very essence. Many women in the last thirty or forty years have been brought up to believe that they are, or should be, ‘as good as the next man’, and in the process they have endured acute and unnecessary pain, frustration and disappointment.
Those passages came to mind earlier today when I was reading Christina Hoff Sommers’s, The WAR AGAINST BOYS: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men. That feminist scholar offered an argument similar to that put forward by Moir and Jessel:
I would argue that turning a blind eye to real differences and dogmatically insisting that masculinity and femininity are “created by culture” pose even more serious dangers of their own.
Science has shown that differences between men and women derive not from social construction, but our very biology. (more…)