I didn’t make this startling observation. A feminist called Camille Paglia did. Well, nearly. What she actually said was, “There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.” Her point was that men are creatures of extremes, showing greater variation than women in matters as diverse as IQ, happiness and deviance.
This was the sort of insight I shared with my class of women last Saturday. They got it straight from the stallion’s mouth. It was a great day with plenty of frank views exchanged, stories shared, and a wicked humour revealed… often at my expense. We looked at the place of gender in self-help literature, the latest research on the science of brain difference, and how this plays out in communication and conflict between the sexes.
I was busy this week with radio interviews to promote the workshop. As a topic, it certainly tickled the fancy of a lot of punters in the province. I think we’re starting to get to a situation now where we can talk about the differences between the sexes as well as the equalities. This is healthy, exciting and useful.
Women have led the way in this new openness. Only last week the Daily Mail ran an interesting article about a new book, The Sexual Paradox by Susan Pinker. The review was written by a feminist and challenged the traditional view that women don’t get the top jobs because of male prejudice; rather, they simply don’t want them due to a preference for a decent quality-of-life. Click here to read it: Why Women Don’t Want the Top Jobs, by a feminist.
My favourite writer on this topic is a Cambridge Prof called Simon Baron-Cohen (the cousin of Ali G and Borat, believe it or not!). He has conducted major work on the typical psychological sex differences in terms of ‘empathy’ (for women) and ‘systemizing’ (in men). He is also known for the theory that autism is an extreme form of the ‘male brain’ behaviour. Check out his articles in The Guardian They Just Can’t Help It and the New York Times The Male Condition. You can also take his brain test.
What I’m especially interested in is how all this applies to the workplace. Thoughts, anyone?