On Male and Female Brain and The Gender Gap

Continuing on how should we then live in the end times and prophecies of the book of Revelation, here's another article, this one on the different workings of men and women brains.

Some words of understanding for the end times and prophecies we live in today, about the relentless often erroneous teaching of the differences between men’s and women’s brains.

In a church service I once attended, an upcoming marriage seminar was announced. In it was to be the often misunderstood topic of the differences between the brains of men and women. As they showed a preview of what people could expect to see, I was disturbed again by the erroneous teaching that is relentlessly going around in this particular subject matter. The video showed the seminar leader in action giving his presentation using two brain models. Pointing to the first “female” brain, he explained that it consisted of many boxes which were all totally connected with one another and which could communicate simultaneously at any time. Well, mine doesn’t work that way.

Then, moving to the next model which was that of a “male” brain, he explained that in this one were also many boxes, but these were not connected, as a matter of fact they didn’t even touch one another. This male brain, he continued to explain, had one more box in the middle which was called the “nothing” box. Supposedly this is where men can sit for periods of time without thinking about anything at all. The audience roared with laughter at the comedian’s presentation and humorous comments but which sadly and unfortunately gave the wrong teaching about the differences of male and female brains.

I leaned over to my husband and asked, “Have you ever been in a state of thinking about nothing at all?” His answer was what I expected, “No.” I’ve taken enough communication and psychological courses to know that the human brain always thinks of something, and it doesn’t matter if the thinker is male or female. Coincidentally, just a few days later, I heard a psychology expert say that people are always thinking of something. This confirmed even more my own limited knowledge about this chapter I’m writing about right now.

Not All Left and All Right

I recall a particular psychologist say that all women are right-brain and all men are left-brain. It just shows that even experts and professionals disagree on different ideas.

However, it is true that there is a difference between the way men and women think. Where I disagree is in the way that many teachers and seminar leaders present this difference. I strongly disagree that all men and all women are each described within one sweeping stroke as either one or the other brain type. As scientists in that discipline say, male and female brains are more similar than dissimilar. Dr. Louann Brizendine for one, an American scientist and neuropsychiatrist who is both a researcher and a clinician, shows in her book, The Male Brain, how through every phase of life, the male reality is fundamentally different from the female one.

As the founder of the first clinic in America to study gender differences in the brain, in behavior, and in hormones, she explores the latest breakthroughs in male psychology and neurology and reveals various results. For example, she says that the male brain is problem-solving, and when faced with a problem, will use analysis rather than emotion to find a solution. She explains that compared to the female, the male brain thrives under competition, plays rough, enjoys rank and hierarchy, and possesses an area for sexual pursuit that is 2.5 times larger than the female brain.

In my book Contextual Communication, Organization & Training, I mention that within the commonly agreed-upon differences between men and women there is generally an 80/20 ratio in various areas. For instance, if we say that women are more emotional than men, about 80 percent of women fit this statement and 20 percent the men (the Pareto Principle). One can’t say that all women are more emotional than men. However, it is a fact that most women are, in general, more emotional than men. Neither can one say that men are not emotional at all; some men are. Generally, men are not as emotional as women.

A lot of the differences stem from the stereotyped upbringing of society. For example, I think of Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Britain in the 80s. She was an outstanding politician whose background turned out to be one of closeness to her father who taught her from a child everything he knew about politics. She grew up with the mental and psychological strength of her father. There are even today other such great women, for example, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Governor Sarah Palin who was very popular during the US presidential run a few years ago. Even those last-mentioned women are very different in their personal delivery.

Societal Upbringing

It is important to realize that many of the emotional sides that women display are there because of societal upbringing, especially nowadays. In the old days, women were emotionally stronger because they lived lives that were much more rugged and independent than we do today. For example they lived on farms and pioneering lands, often losing their husbands at a young age, with many children to raise; even my mother’s generation had it much harder than we have today. Women (and men also) today are generally raised to be weaker—both emotionally and physically—because of today’s easier and more affluent lifestyles. We provide everything to children delivered on a silver platter based on the different emotional pressures going on around us, often coming short of necessary disciplinary action

Dr. Brizendine tells a funny story in one of her conference events of when she was young and part of the feminist movement of the 70s. She and some colleagues would talk about how they were going to change things by bringing up their little boys to be more gentle and sensitive. However, this idea changed when they did have their own sons and found out that there was more to the natural biology than they had expected. She tells of one Christmas, when she bought her young boy a Barbie doll as well as an action figure he had wanted. When he opened the doll box, he pulled it out by the torso and used the long legs as spears to fight imagined enemies. He was a typical boy.

The point is that nobody teaches boys and girls how to act like their own sex. Boys play rough and girls play solft, even throughout the animal kingdom we see similar behaviors. Boys and girls do a lot of things similarly but also a lot of things differently without having been taught. After the biological aspect at birth, culture and environment play a lot on gender behavior over our lives. Boys and girls are influenced by both the parents’ female and male differences to produce well-balanced individuals.

Physically Different Also

Similarly, there is an 80/20 ratio in the physical strength of men and women. I’ve heard people say that women are stronger than men. Well, again, there could be good arguments about the physical status of women. But as we discussed earlier, take 100 men and 100 women at random, and you will have more physical strength on the male side. It is a fact that men have more muscles than women. But, of course, there may be some women who are stronger than some men, but you would have to prematch them to show it as such. The 80/20 formula may fit here, too, but I would say it is more like 90/10, because we cannot influence the physical make-up of men and women as we can the mental and psychological make-up.

There is also another similar situation that I heard from a well-known preacher’s audio teaching some years ago, where he presented the errors of the “left brain/right brain” theory. Again there is no such thing as men’s brains being all left thinking and women’s brains all right thinking. Notice that, most top culinary chefs are men, and most top interior decorators are men, tailors are mostly men, lawyers, doctors, surgeons, radio talk shows are mostly men—all requiring right-brain activity and creativity, as well as left-brain logic of course. Politicians are also mostly men where the requirement is both the logic of the left brain and the creativity of the right brain.

I’m not saying that there are no women in these professions, just that most of them are men. However, that has been changing in the last decades because of the feminist push of women into roles that have been traditionally men’s in previous generations, as well as the necessity of women to take on professional careers. Unfortunately, this has also often had the result of replacing men in these areas, thus often raising the question, “where are the men in some of those professions now? The creative side of both men and women are right-brain, and the logic is left-brain. As a matter of fact, it is very interesting to see that men talk just as much as women when you put them together among themselves. They may not talk as much when they are paired with women, but that’s because of the differences of interest and often because the women won’t let them.

Often, it is difficult to converse with a group of women when one is interested in significant, productive, educational, and business matters and politics, rather than the often more trivial types of chatter that women engage in. Many women converse at length about an issue, extending the talk into never-ending dialogues. Some men will do that, too, but it is the 20 percent rather than the 80 percent.

I’m not saying that all women group discussions are trivial, but, from my observation and experience, they generally are—unless in a group focused on a specific topic. They will talk about domestic matters such as house plants and decoration, children, grandchildren and babies, clothing, shopping, and unending personal stories about family members and neighbors. You can do some of that with men, but the conversation quickly shifts to other more productive subjects.

Breaking the Cycle

Interestingly, while I was doing research on this whole subject, I came across a lively and fascinating video of Oprah Winfrey interviewing T. D. Jakes, pastor of the Potter’s House church. The subject was on how to break the cycle of fatherless children but quickly went to the issue of “talking” about it. From knowledge and experience in counseling men and working with their issues, Bishop T. D. Jakes said that the way to break the cycle is to talk about it. However, he indicated that this is very difficult because generally men won’t talk. He was then asked, “So how do we get men to talk?” With great passion, Jakes looked at the audience (the women specifically) and gave three important points, which I summarize:

1.When we, men, do talk, let us finish.

2.Don’t use what we tell you against us because that will teach us to never open our mouth again.

3.It is hard to get men to talk when you (women) keep changing the class. The first class you taught us is, “big boys don’t cry”; “stand up be a man”; “don’t show emotion.” Then later you say, “show emotion”; “open up”; “communicate.” You spent fifteen years telling us not to do that, so now give us a minute to learn how to do that, and don’t cut us off when we try.

Then he was asked, “How do we begin to open the door to get men to feel vulnerable enough to share? Jakes replied that, first of all, men want to dispel the myth that they don’t have emotion. Men have intense emotions, but they are buried deep down. Then he said (in summary):

"What we need to know is, if you saw my failures would you still love me? That’s what we want. For every woman in this room, if you would love your man like you love your son, we’ll talk to you. If you love your son, you will fight for your son; you won’t care what he did wrong, you will come after him. If you would give us what you give to your son, then we’re good; we got you. We can do this."

The Point of All This

The point is just what I said earlier above, that men are often cut down by their wives, or women in general, verbally usurped and dominated at home, at work, or in public, so they rather shut up. And again, I have to say that this is common everywhere and even in the church. One day, in a church fellowship event, my husband and I planned to sit at a particular man’s table because we wanted to get to know him better. He was a strong leader-type man with an interesting business background. We managed to make our way to the table area and began to make conversation. His wife just took over and talked continuously about nothing. Next thing we knew, he slipped away to another table, and we were left stuck with her—well, as you can imagine not for long.

Often women don’t even realize they’re doing this to their men because they’ve been doing it for so long. Yet they wonder why he doesn’t talk. It’s sad. That’s what the scripture means when it says, “Wives, submit to your husbands.” It is for those who don’t. Joyce Meyer has a successful ministry, from her own personal experience, in that topic of how many women are struggling and how they can change, We find these kinds of conflicting differences going on in business as well, where women don’t know how to communicate. Speaking on this subject with a client of mine, one day, he said of his female partner divulging some confidential matters, “Women spill the beans.”

And then, of course, there is some times the reverse of this where women are married to domineering and possessive men who control their wives and overpower them. In this case, the men also need to give women some slack. As a friend of mine said to me, married men and women should work on cultivating interests they can share and talk about. She believes that a lot of men do not bother to make the effort to talk to their wives because they are self-focused with their own interests alone and they do not really want to do what she may want or to hear what she has to say.

Some people—both men and women—may not talk much in groups or gatherings because they are uncomfortable with socializing, so they leave it to their spouse purposely. If it is the man who is on the quieter side, often the wife will not want to seem as if she is trying to outtalk him when others are speaking to both of them. So there is a balance that needs to be discussed at home first. As long as the wife gives the husband a chance, then she can pick up the conversation if he wishes her to do so. That is to “become one.” The spouses know when to pick up and when to let it go to the other. It needs talking about it and getting to know each other’s minds as a married couple.

Different Personalities

It is also important to understand that we are different because of different personalities – not just because of different genders. I really feel that everybody should take personality courses throughout life from high school to retirement. We need to understand ourselves so that we can understand others. We all fit within one or two dominant personalities from the four basic styles. Most people will marry someone of the opposite personality, so you’ll have a healthy balance in life between the two.

But there’s no time and space to go into this further at this time. When I give a workshop on this subject, people are always amazed at what they learn about why they were having problems communicating or understanding one another. As we learn about our strengths and weaknesses of each our personalities, we learn to make necessary changes and adjustments as we grow and mature throughout life.

It is also important to consider why men get married. As a friend of mine suggested, often the sex drive is overpowering rationalism. In the early married days of “daily sex,” the man can overlook all the silly chatter of a talkative woman, but eventually, this becomes tiresome. Divorce and start-overs seem to be acceptable in a lot of cases today. This is why it is important to get to know one another well before marriage—as we used to do in the older days.

Both men and women have a left and a right brain, carrying on various functions. We also have front and back and high and low brain areas—all carrying out specialty functions. There are musicians, singers, scientists, historians, and so forth in both male and female, depending on the sum total of our biological birth and environmental upbringing, interests and experiences, and training and professional vocations whether at home or in the marketplace.

Any teaching on the errors of presentations of the differences between men’s and women’s brains and thought patterns can set up men and women at odds in the wrong understanding of each other. We already have enough problems as it is without adding these kinds of teachings by untrained laypeople or professionals who pick up on any new theories that come out of “newer studies.”


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