A new study suggests that men aren’t so different from the fairer sex after all
If you’ve been blaming your gender for your seeming inability to avert your gaze from a butt clad in Lululemon yoga pants, you may have to come up with a new list of excuses. And posthaste! It seems that men and women aren’t so different north of the neck after all. New research from Tel Aviv University suggests that male and female minds are essentially indistinguishable from each other on brain scans.
Although neuroscience and its closely associated fields, like phrenology and the balancing of humors, may seem inscrutable to the layperson, I’m here to break it down for you: When images of the skull walnut are examined by a scientist, it looks like a Brussels sprout in varying degrees of ripeness. And when you’ve seen one Brussels sprout, you’ve seen them all.
Certain proclivities may seem to fall exclusively into the purview of one gender or the other: the Blueprint Cleanse, interest in what Riley Curry is up to on a day-to-day basis, cargo shorts. But according to SCIENCE, that’s more likely the result of other factors, such as hormones and social conditioning, than it is of any physical variation in the brain itself. When comparing their research to a similar study conducted in the United States, the team at Tel Aviv University found that even when subjected to stimuli that most people assumed would light up the brain like a heteronormative Christmas tree—like watching a video where a large group of sweaty people bang on the floor of a warehouse, or doing laundry while drinking a sunny rosé—brains don’t do a whole lot to identify themselves as those of dudes or ladies.
For you, Troy, that doesn’t mean you like Coors Light and Kylie Jenner because of your XY chromosomes; you like them because your parents were too busy working to pay for parochial school and your Magic: The Gathering addiction to teach you how to be a person of substance. “But I’m such a girly-girl!” you may say to yourself, Kristen, perhaps while smacking your gum and thinking about small dogs. Get over it; there’s nothing about your mind that a little encouragement to pursue a degree that isn’t communications wouldn’t fix.
Of course, there are those who will continue to argue that there are inherent differences in the brains of men and women. You’ll always have that one uncle who insists that leering at the barely legal waitresses at your local Chili’s has something to do with men being “visual creatures,” while you stealthily vomit into his fedora. And you’ll have no trouble finding a woman who insists that menstruation makes anyone who identifies as female far too dangerous and unpredictable to run for president. They’re garbage people, for sure, but they haven’t necessarily been proven right or wrong.
With all science being open to interpretation (just ask your closest Republican senator!), there’s bound to be some dissent about the findings. Just two years ago, a study from the University of Pennsylvania found that male brains were hard-wired to succeed at tasks requiring coordination and perception, while women were more emotionally responsive. Womp.
At the end of the day, the lesson we can all safely take from this is that science means nothing. So set fire to your air conditioner, host a smallpox party, and try to maintain some semblance of a normal life knowing that your gender is either irrelevant or possibly the single biggest factor determining your future. I know my eraser-pink lady brain is fired up just thinking about it.