Wednesday, October 2, 2013
“Sex shocker! Men and women aren’t that different”
In this article for Salon, sociologist Lisa Wade talks about sexual dimorphism—“the degree to which males and females of a species differ.” She says that compared to many other creatures, human males and females are really very much alike. But instead of recognizing this, “we obsess over gender differences. We search for them in scientific studies, scour religious texts for hints from a higher power, and extrapolate from the behavior of our friends and loved ones.” Dr. Wade talks about the unending stream of books written on the topic and the unceasing arguments “over whether the differences we think we see are caused by nature or nurture.” But she says we need to keep things in perspective. And by comparing humans with many other species, we can see how much more alike than different we humans are— and why the term “’opposite sexes’ is obviously a misnomer.” To drive home her point, she makes comparisons and contrasts. For example, “If we were as sexually dimorphic as the blanket octopus, men would be 0.8% the size of a female, or about the size of a walnut.” Read her article to see her other comparisons, written with a great sense of humor.
Related: Dr. Wade followed up that article this week with a brief post on her own website, Sociological Images, and included a very funny science video on the reproductive behavior of the green spoonworm. (God must have a sense of humor!) You can also watch the video on YouTube; or better yet, read an article and watch it as part of a New York Times science series in partnership with Creature Cast: The Unexpected World of Biology. Believe me, you don’t want to miss this short video—especially after all our thinking and talking about sexuality and gender issues here on our own Christian Feminism Today website recently!