Feminism and the Male Brain

For almost 40 years, the Western feminist critique of rigid sex-role stereotyping has prevailed, eliminating the kind of arbitrary constraints that turned peaceable boys into aggressive men and stuck ambitious girls in low-paying jobs. But, in view of recent scientific discoveries, the feminist critique of rigid gender norms appears to have gone too far.

NEW YORK – North Americans of my generation grew up with the 1970’s children’s record “Free to Be...You and Me,” on which Rosey Grier, an immense former football star, sang “It’s Alright to Cry.” The message: girls could be tough, and boys were allowed not to be.

For almost 40 years, that era’s Western feminist critique of rigid sex-role stereotyping has prevailed. In many ways, it has eroded or even eliminated the kind of arbitrary constraints that turned peaceable boys into aggressive men and stuck ambitious girls in low-paying jobs.

Feminists understandably have often shied away from scientific evidence that challenges this critique of sex roles. After all, because biology-based arguments about gender difference have historically been used to justify women’s subjugation, women have been reluctant to concede any innate difference, lest it be used against them. But, in view of recent scientific discoveries, has feminist resistance to accepting any signs of innate gender difference only created new biases?

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