So, did anyone else watch “Brain Sex” last night?

(I also posted this on Blog Sisters.)
The gist of the program was that, according to studies that used MRI technology to track energy surges in the brains of males and females exposed to the same stimuli, the brains of each gender function differently. The result is that we respond to our world-based experiences differently. However, we can learn to find greater common ground. That’s where nurturing, teaching, and modeling come in. I think that we all agree that we can learn to minimize the innate differences between genders so that we can work together to build better relationships and a better world in general; the problem, as many here have verbalized, is getting the guys to figure out how to neutralize some of that aggression-triggering testosterone. (And it’s not that women are not also affected by their own testosterone levels. However women tend to have much lower levels than men.) Again, biology dictates where we begin; but the rest of our brains, in concert with our hearts and souls, can chart a much more positively connected course for our shared lives.

8 thoughts on “So, did anyone else watch “Brain Sex” last night?

  1. “the problem, as many here have verbalized, is getting the guys to figure out how to neutralize some of that aggression-triggering testosterone.”
    That view, Elaine, is about as informed as many male views of women’s difficulties in coping with the emotional and physiological consequences of menstruation.
    Now that you’ve narrowed the problem down to just the 50% of the population that lacks ovaries, what do you propose is the solution?
    I’m a little disappointed.

  2. Well, the program also indicated that women are more prone to depression and the behavioral complications that go along with it. Aggression, depression, and other human tendencies that affect our interactions with the world seem to be based in brain chemistry and associated closely with hormone levels. So, while my phrasing was pretty female chauvinistic, the issue exists because most extremely aggressive behavior is exibited by men who have high testosterone levels. I believe the program also made the connection between female depression and estrogen; however, while depression occasionally leads to violence, aggression is almost synonymous with it. We seem to be making progress with controlling depression. Now can we concentrate a little more on controlling aggression?

  3. Dave’s comment and your own, Elaine, brought to mind an obscure, but hopefully interesting thought. I wonder about our “action hero” actors…Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwartzinegger(sic), etc. Do playing these action characters effect their testerone levels during the filming of these movies since so much male aggressive-ness is involved in these roles? Both of my examples have also played comic roles, so would their testerone levels drop during filming?
    Flip side of this would be actresses who are not mothers and have never been pregnant playing the role of pregnant women. Does the mindset that goes into playing that role effect their cycle and hormone levels?
    I think it would be really interesting to see a study of this type done, more as a curiousity on my part, than any real scientific relevance. But we have much better things to do with our tax dollars than to satisfy one person’s curiousity ;D

  4. Some psychologists use “role playing” to give individuals more insight into their negative behaviors and also to “vent” the emotions that trigger such behavior. Makes me wonder if some performers don’t wind up with their role playing doing the same thing for them. Heh. The mind-body connection makes it so hard to figure out where it all starts. Do emotions trigger brain chemistry and start some sort of self-perpetuating cycle or vice versa. Maybe figuring that out isn’t as important as figuring out what kind of methodologies we can use to help us keep ourselves better balanced so that we are motivated less by violence and more by caring.

  5. Elaine – i’m glad i stumbled across your site; i needed a good laugh. let me see if i get this straight: what’s wrong with relationships and the world in general is men. your idea of “working together” is getting men to act more like women, presumably through hormonal or chemical means. deeming that half of your species is defective and needs to be re-engineered – basically wiped out and reconstructed in your own idealistic vision, now that’s REAL aggression! a little tinker here, a tinker there, and voila!, the perfect little nice passive alter-ego you have, with chest hair. so tell us, how does it feel to be God? why don’t you just go straight to the castration chorus?
    i respect your right to your opinion, but please don’t try to pass off tired, naive, and incredibly simplistic “feminist” rhetoric as thoughtful social commentary. a real feminist is one who wants better lives for ALL women; involving them in a mindless, destructive war on the opposite gender is hardly a betterment, and certainly not very ladylike.
    Respectfully, Jeff Jones

  6. That’s strange Jeff – I didn’t notice Elaine say that men needed to be tinkered with at all.
    “the problem, as many here have verbalized, is getting the guys to figure out how to neutralize some of that aggression-triggering testosterone.”
    She then includes notes about female hormonal issues. To ameliorate the affect of a hormonal influence does not presuppose that physical intervention is required. Does it?
    For myself – I come from a very different place to that of either a genetic male or female. I was born in a middle place and so, have some insight into both. Though, far from making me an expert on either, it probably means I understand neither. So feel free to ignore me šŸ˜›

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