L´earning to Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall
EquityGender is ‘social sexuality’; the socio-cultural conditions that determine, what we consider ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ (not ‘male’ or female- which is physiology).
Although as far as 450BC, Plato described three sexes (male, female and androgynous), cultural and religious bias officially accept only two. In fact, up until 1986, when ‘homosexuality’ was removed from the Diagnostic Psychiatric Manual of Mental Health (DSM III), it was considered a psychiatric pathology.
Freud, among others, believed man/woman were intrinsically bisexual. He wasn´t too far off, for during our embryonic development we have both, female and male reproductive potential: women develop internal genitalia from their Mullerian conduct, cancelling out their male Wolff conduct; while men develop external genitalia from their Wolff conduct and cancel their Mullerian one. Magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) has allowed us to identify the parts of the brain that are activated during emotional and rational involvement. From these, left-hemisphere reactions have been described as being more rational and logical with linear thought formation, relating it to masculinity; and right-hemisphere reactions, are related to femininity, with imagination, creativity, flexibility and holistic thought integration. In autopsies, homosexuals prove greater activity in the corpus callosum, which is the neural bridge between both right and left hemispheres, suggesting greater use of both.
Whether embryologic, cerebral, or psychological, men and women have more in common than rigid, western societies care to admit. Among their similarities we find: both men and women have testosterone and estrogen. Women in power, prove to have higher levels of testosterone, with greater aggressiveness and control. Men who help women with their babies have higher estrogen levels, becoming emotional caretakers. Men can even be induced to produce breast-milk with hormonal stimulation, which proves similar physiologic responses.
Differences however include those discovered by NASA that prove women are more resistant to death-threatening conditions, while men are stronger. The Kinsey Institute proved women and men respond differently to sexual stimulation, involving different areas of the brain during orgasm. Women take longer than men for desire and erotic stimulation to prepare them for orgasm. They are more sexually stimulated by audition than sight, which stimulates men, more.
Whatever our differences and similarities, men have potential to develop their femininity and women, their masculinity to be whole. For that, we have each other.