No, this is not about Hillary getting a little tiredly teary eyed. That’s getting plenty of attention, both negative and positive.
This is about the current research comparing how male vs. female brains save emotional memories. The reports on this research began today on NBC’s Nightly News.
When it comes to storing emotionally-rich memories women’s brain place the memory in a part where emotions and details remain intertwined. For men the emotions get separated so the recall often becomes “just the facts”. This makes for some amusing scenarios like the couple we show with differing memories of their wedding day. But it could also have medical applications. Women suffer almost twice as much depression as men. This difference in brain function could account for that and someday suggest better treatments.
Actually, maybe this all does have something to do with Hillary’s tears, because the question arises whether it might be a good thing for a president to remember facts in the context of emotions/feelings, for a president’s approach to the handling of difficult situations to be more deeply nuanced than has been the case. Experience, after all, is never “just the facts.” And the ability to distill experience into a problem-solving context is essential to effective and humane leadership. Of course, that’s not the only essential quality, but that’s not what what this post is about.
We know from decades of research that, in general, boys and girls tend to learn differently. It’s as though there’s a continuum, with more boys on one end, more girls on the other, and an increased overlapping as they get to the middle of the spectrum.
NBC’s Nightly News announced that a future broadcast will look at whether single sex education works better for both boys and girls. As a former teacher, my position is that it might for some boys and some girls.
But, I believe that most kids benefit most from integrated classrooms with teachers who honor and provide for individual differences in learning styles. It seems like that’s asking a lot of teachers, but, after all, that’s what they had to do when there were one-room schoolhouses.
It seems that women are more likely to get teary than men because their brains are wired to keep emotions easily accessible, to perceive and react to a synthesis of facts and feelings. Our male dominated culture has programmed us to believe that a “female” approach to problem solving is not as good as “male” (which tends to focus on “just the facts”).
I read on Ronni Bennett’s Time Goes By that surveys and pundits are telling us that older women are voting for Senator Clinton in droves because she is a woman.
Ronni goes on to post this quote from the November 27 issue of The New York Times:
“’I told her that my grandmother was the first person in town to vote, and my mother was the second,’ said Mrs. Smith, who was born three months before the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920. ‘And I told her I was born before women could vote, and I want to live long enough to see a woman in the White House.’”
jWell, I would like to live long enough to see a woman in the White House too. And I don’t hold it against Hillary that she allowed herself to show some emotion.
There are other things I hold against her and her politics.