When Harry’s Brain Met Sally’s

They’re the sort of questions that countless parents have asked themselves at one time another. What makes our girls and our boys seem so dramatically different from one another? Is there a girl gene responsible for “sugar and spice and everything nice” and a corresponding boy gene for “frogs and snails and puppy dog tails”? Or is it the environment — those prim-and-proper tea parties vs. those rough-and-tumble wrestling matches — which pull the sexes in opposite directions from such an early age.

Some of us have accepted the differences between our girls and our boys as a given, many others have struggled against it, and not a few of us have wondered about our own hand in making it so. How critical is that first blue or pink onesie in the life of a baby, the toy airplane mobile hanging above its crib compared with the beatific teddy bear beside it – and how much does all that amount to when paired against the confluences and constraints of human biology? The Nature vs. Nurture question is one that has captured our attention for centuries and continues to fascinate us to this day.

In certain circles however, it’s a question that can be hazardous to your professional health. Take the case of recently appointed senior White House economic adviser Larry Summers. When Summers last made national headlines, it was in 2006 as the first president in the illustrious 370-year history of Harvard University to be forced out of the school’s chief administrative post. His sin was nothing quite as juicy or salacious as sexual indiscretions with a junior faculty member, plagiarism, or secretly rooting for Yale’s football team at The Game.

Rather, Summers committed the unforgivable academic crime of wondering out loud (at an economics conference, no less) whether the female and male brain might be naturally predisposed towards different types of thinking. Within a few hours of his presentation at the conference, the writing was already on the ivy-covered walls. His resignation was a foregone conclusion. 

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Speak Your Mind