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#1 Yoruichi-san

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 10:11 AM

I've been reminiscing about the past, and I remember one incident that had a huge impact on me:

I used to do math contests, where you went in and took a test and then they had an awards ceremony where they called the top ten on stage and then gave out the awards from starting from 10th place. I'd always be fine when taking the test, but when it came time for the awards ceremony I'd get really really nervous, because I always felt like if I didn't do well, my parent's wouldn't love me...

Anyways, since I was so nervous, I'd never pay attention to the other contestants, I'd always be focused on listening to the announcer call out the names. After one particular time (which I succeeded in attaining 1st place :D), I was walking off-stage when this woman came up to me. She congratulated me and told me how nice it was to see a girl up there on stage and winning, and I realized that I had been the only girl in the top ten. I had never really thought about it before, but from then on out, I paid more attention, and I noticed the ratio was always in favor of guys. Where I went to college, the ratio was 2:1 guys to girls.

Since I don't believe that guys are inherently smarter than girls, especially since scientist have not found any significant differences in the male/female brains that would suggest such, I wondered why it is that females are often under-represented in intellectual circles. (Here at BrainDen, however, we have definitely proven that girls can be just as smart as guys ;P)

One of my theories is this:

Society pressures females to put extra time and energy into superficial concerns and stresses, such as makeup, clothing, dieting, etc, which occupies their minds and makes it difficult to focus on larger issues and more intellectual problems, whereas males have much less of these stresses and can spend more of their thought ability and focus on thinking about intellectual problems.

The fact that I've never really cared about said things may be what has given me an advantage compared to some of my fellow females ;P.


I'm wondering what other BrainDenizens' takes on the issue are...
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Women are definitely stronger. We are [Fe]males, after all...

Some of what makes me me is real, some of what makes me me is imaginary...I guess I'm just complex. ;P

<3 BBC's Sherlock, the series and the man. "Smart is the new sexy."

Chromatic Witch links now on my 'About Me' page! Episode 3 is finally here!

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#2 Brandonb

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 12:00 PM

I think you hit the nail on the head B))

I'll have an issue to share later, I'm sure. Just let me make it through the day and I'm sure I will have several by tonight :P
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#3 octopuppy

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 12:47 PM

I don't think it's so much to do with pressures to think about other stuff, boys have those too. But because intellectual pursuits are more traditionally the domain of males, men who choose to do that will not feel like the odd one out. Teenagers tend to have a strong drive to fit in. I can see how being the only girl doing something could be uncomfortable.

Also, I don't think it can be denied that women's brains are different from men's, and I think this is also partly responsible. Not to say that women are less smart. As I was so keen to point out in the Mensa topic, there's definitely more than one kind of smart. My maths teacher at secondary school was very much of the opinion that women naturally tend not to be as good at mathematics as men. She felt it was because men have a better ability to visualise. This may result from the natural role of men being a more physically active one, so men come slightly better equipped for thinking three-dimensionally. That's just one opinion of course.

In my experience women tend to be better organisers and are consequently better at multitasking. This comes at a price. Multitasking requires that you do not focus entirely on one thing, and therefore makes it harder to solve problems which require that level of focus. I have the kind of focus that enables me to forget to pick my boy up from nursery because I started thinking about something and a couple of hours of time just disappeared. That kind of thing seems more common among men.

Of course I am generalising and there are always exceptions.
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#4 andromeda

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 03:02 PM

One of my theories is this:

Society pressures females to put extra time and energy into superficial concerns and stresses, such as makeup, clothing, dieting, etc, which occupies their minds and makes it difficult to focus on larger issues and more intellectual problems, whereas males have much less of these stresses and can spend more of their thought ability and focus on thinking about intellectual problems.

The fact that I've never really cared about said things may be what has given me an advantage compared to some of my fellow females ;P.


Makeup, clothing, dieting - no distraction there :lol: (I don't even own any makeup, wait... I'm sure I have a misplaced stiffened nail polish somewhere... :huh: )


In my experience women tend to be better organisers and are consequently better at multitasking. This comes at a price. Multitasking requires that you do not focus entirely on one thing, and therefore makes it harder to solve problems which require that level of focus. I have the kind of focus that enables me to forget to pick my boy up from nursery because I started thinking about something and a couple of hours of time just disappeared. That kind of thing seems more common among men.

Of course I am generalising and there are always exceptions.


I have to agree, male and female brain evolved differently, and I recently read that women are better managers for the reasons mentioned by octopuppy!
The best case scenario is to have both man and women in a team... Two different ways of perceiving merged together! It doesn't get better than that! :D
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#5 puzzlegirl

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 03:38 PM

I agree with Octopuppy. There's no doubt that our brains are wired differently. This occurrs early-on within the womb when the Y chromosome kicks in and does it's thing by generating the "testosterone wash" that breaks down the barrier between the right & left sides of the brain and changes the cell structure in the hypothalumus. Men may not be any "smarter" per-say, but because of the way their brains are wired they are more equipped to excell in certain areas (like math and spacial skills) more than women.

I think for girls, besides brain differences I already mentioned, because they are naturally better nurturers and have an innate "mothering" sense this occupies their thinking more than the kind of "drive" that men have for success. For me personally, I was very successful early in my career...climbing the ladder rather quickly...but this was due only to my capabilities, NOT my drive. I gladly abandoned my career when it was time to start a family and I don't feel any less important as a human. What I'm trying to say is that most women are more interested in "relational" type careers due to their nurturing instict whereas men, like O-Pup said, are more "visual" and lean toward careers like Engineering, Math, and the sciences.
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#6 Impervious

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 04:20 PM

So far I agree with all of you. Just recently I realized my father is a bit of a chauvinist. the realization shocked me and made me realize how different he and I are. I've always been close to my mom, so I suppose I developed a different way of viewing women a long time ago. In high school that changed. I became a typical high school male and that continued into my first 2 years of college. I didn't lie dating women that were smarter than me. It made me feel inferior and often times those that were attempted to do such. Thankfully I matured and now I'm turning more women away because they aren't intelligent. I love a woman who works, and doesn't expect the guy to pay for everything. I still pay for things, but i like it to be unexpected. I also have to be mentally stimulated, and only women who have wit and intelligence can do so now. it the ladies on here, young and old-er :P who actually attracted me to BD. It gave me hope that there are smart women out there. :D
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#7 Prof. Templeton

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 05:56 PM

I had always been a proponent of nurture over nature, meaning outside stimuli played a larger role in development of individuals than "pre-wired" responses or reactions did. After the birth of my fraternal twins (one boy and one girl) I've had to reevaluate my thinking. From a very early age my daughter has tended toward more stereotypical "female" behavior while my son has tended toward the opposite. My daughter is more outwardly affectionate, loves giving hugs, carries around stuffed animals, and likes to put on other peoples shoes and walk around. My son on the other hand is not as outwardly affectionate, likes to play with cars (or anything with wheels). He tries to figure out how things work, while my daughter will just accept that they do. All of their toys are in one playroom and my wife and I have done our best to not influence their actions by reinforcing one behavior over another. In short we've tried hard to treat them equally in all aspects.

So I'm left wondering how much of our behavior is carried over from our parents in our DNA and is not a result of our environment.

In response to Yoruichi-san's question, studies have shown that there is little difference between males and females with respect to intellect throughout most of adolescence; only during the teen-age years when peer pressure starts to exert itself do any differences appear. By differences, I mean only that enrolment in certain types of programs change. A female may not attend the advanced math class because her friends don't think it's cool or she may not pursue a particular career because of discriminatory hiring practices and can see no future in it.

It seems these types or trends are changing. There are more women in the science and math fields today than ever before. As the old guard is rotated out I think some of these perceptions will evolve, but as with anything it will take time.
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#8 itachi-san

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 02:48 AM

I easily blame the ratio on society. All throughout school I was in top-level math and no class was even close to Y-San's 2:1. I would say more like 4:1. Now if I think about high-school, it was totally acceptable to be in the 'cool' group and get high grades for guys. But thinking about the girls in my HS, all the 'cool' ones were nowhere near the high-level classes, with slight exception, but it really was almost entirely. By 'cool' I mean went to the hot parties, popular, HS blah blah. I just remember though that as a guy, it was seen as really cool to be able to pull off high grades and party at the same time. Girls did not have that societal influence at all.
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#9 Yoruichi-san

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 03:32 AM

Thank you for sharing your opinions, I hope more ppl will do so as well, some thoughts I have:


I don't think it's so much to do with pressures to think about other stuff, boys have those too. But because intellectual pursuits are more traditionally the domain of males, men who choose to do that will not feel like the odd one out. Teenagers tend to have a strong drive to fit in. I can see how being the only girl doing something could be uncomfortable.

Also, I don't think it can be denied that women's brains are different from men's, and I think this is also partly responsible. Not to say that women are less smart. As I was so keen to point out in the Mensa topic, there's definitely more than one kind of smart. My maths teacher at secondary school was very much of the opinion that women naturally tend not to be as good at mathematics as men. She felt it was because men have a better ability to visualise. This may result from the natural role of men being a more physically active one, so men come slightly better equipped for thinking three-dimensionally. That's just one opinion of course.

In my experience women tend to be better organisers and are consequently better at multitasking. This comes at a price. Multitasking requires that you do not focus entirely on one thing, and therefore makes it harder to solve problems which require that level of focus. I have the kind of focus that enables me to forget to pick my boy up from nursery because I started thinking about something and a couple of hours of time just disappeared. That kind of thing seems more common among men.

Of course I am generalising and there are always exceptions.


I agree that we are different, we definitely have different hormones (which are brain chemicals) ;P, but I have yet to see a study that shows that these differences actually effect our intelligence, whether measured by IQ or otherwise...

And your math teacher never met me...:P

But I agree the ability to visualize helps with math, that's why I tested out of geometry and love Calculus :D, but I haven't seen anything that proves that that ability is related to our DNA or brain structure. It could be attributed to women having too much of their brain power used up on social stresses.

And I didn't say men don't have social stresses, just that women tend to have MORE social stresses, much more...they have the same stresses of social relationships but add to that the stresses of maintaining society's standard of beauty...


I had always been a proponent of nurture over nature, meaning outside stimuli played a larger role in development of individuals than "pre-wired" responses or reactions did. After the birth of my fraternal twins (one boy and one girl) I've had to reevaluate my thinking. From a very early age my daughter has tended toward more stereotypical "female" behavior while my son has tended toward the opposite. My daughter is more outwardly affectionate, loves giving hugs, carries around stuffed animals, and likes to put on other peoples shoes and walk around. My son on the other hand is not as outwardly affectionate, likes to play with cars (or anything with wheels). He tries to figure out how things work, while my daughter will just accept that they do. All of their toys are in one playroom and my wife and I have done our best to not influence their actions by reinforcing one behavior over another. In short we've tried hard to treat them equally in all aspects.

So I'm left wondering how much of our behavior is carried over from our parents in our DNA and is not a result of our environment.

In response to Yoruichi-san's question, studies have shown that there is little difference between males and females with respect to intellect throughout most of adolescence; only during the teen-age years when peer pressure starts to exert itself do any differences appear. By differences, I mean only that enrolment in certain types of programs change. A female may not attend the advanced math class because her friends don't think it's cool or she may not pursue a particular career because of discriminatory hiring practices and can see no future in it.

It seems these types or trends are changing. There are more women in the science and math fields today than ever before. As the old guard is rotated out I think some of these perceptions will evolve, but as with anything it will take time.


That's interesting. While I'm sure you and your wife tried your best to treat your children equally, unless they were kept in a bubble ;P, there were probably social influences that you couldn't control, such as television and of course, peer pressure...i.e. if your son's peers are playing with cars or he sees boys playing with cars on TV, he may think be influenced by that. Also, does "stereotypically feminine" or "stereotypically masculine" behaviors change someone's level of intelligence? Does being outwardly affectionate make one less likely to do well in math than not being outwardly affectionate?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that while I have no doubt there are inherent differences in males and females, none of these inherent differences seem to explain why females tend to be under-represented in intellectual circles, so I believe, as some others, that it has to do with society and culture.
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Women are definitely stronger. We are [Fe]males, after all...

Some of what makes me me is real, some of what makes me me is imaginary...I guess I'm just complex. ;P

<3 BBC's Sherlock, the series and the man. "Smart is the new sexy."

Chromatic Witch links now on my 'About Me' page! Episode 3 is finally here!

When life hands me lemons, I make invisible ink.

#10 crazypainter

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 03:49 AM

well I think this says a lot...
my brother and I were given 5k each when born and had it put into stocks. My grandfather
played the market till we wanted the money for college. My bro had 5x as much as me.
He played my bros money with higher risk because I was a girl and girls are taken care of by men.
Good thing my mom had none of that. She pushed me very hard. She pushed my brother as well.
But many parents dont push their kids equally.
So many people you run into in life will push you one way or the other. But I think it ultimately comes down to
your parents. My bro is an archeologist and I am an artist...when I can.
My partners father also drove her hard. He said there was nothing she couldnt do. He wanted her or be a
doctor or lawyer.
That was in Puerto Rico. So you never know. Her brother is the failure.

Edited by crazypainter, 08 October 2008 - 03:52 AM.

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