I had an uncomfortable conversation with a friend of mine at the weekend. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later because she is a feminist. She's really into Emma Watson's He for She movement - if anyone is familiar?
Anyhoo, she was saying it really annoys her how toys are marketed towards boys and girls (she has three beautiful boys) and how, for instance, marketing a train set towards boys is gender stereotyping. I tried to say, although I didn't do a very good job, that there was some validity in the way different toys are marketed for girls and boys because there are, overall, some differences in the male and female brain and the things that little boys and girls are often interested in.
I had no scientific basis for this. I think I was just quoting from an article I read somewhere.
Then we got to talking about jobs and I said that that overall women, for instance, tend to be more caring and therefore often enter jobs such as teaching and nursing, and men can be better at problem solving so they are very dominant in eg STEM fields. Again, I tried to argue that this is down to our brains and how we have evolved certain traits as males and females.
Please be aware - I wasn't trying to make blanket statements!!
Obviously everyone is different! There are many caring men and scientific women etc etc etc. But it was my understanding that overall men and women have a tendency towards certain behaviour traits. My understanding is also that the differences between us are biological, but that obviously society shapes who we are also.
My friend seemed like she was saying that there is no difference between the male and female brain and that differences between us are solely down to the way we are socialized and told we have to be a certain way by society.
Today she sent me these two articles about the male and female brain and told me she thought my ideas were 'limiting'.
I think it was my fault because I didn't get across what I was trying to say properly and basically came across as stuffy and old fashioned.
I've smoothed it over with her now, and I don't think we'll discuss it again, but I wanted to post on here to get an idea of what other people think.
Does anyone have anything to say on this? Any ideas or knowledge that might benefit my understanding?
Edit: I just want to make the point that I'm not trying to bitch about my friend in this post. She is a very brilliant women who I have a LOT of respect for.