Horizon: ‘Is your brain male or female?’

One of the books which made a big impact on me a few years ago was The Essential Difference, a book written by a world-renowned Cambridge-based psychologist, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, and published in 2003. So I was pleased to learn that on BBC2 at 9pm tonight there’s going to be a Horizon programme purporting to explore the question, ‘Is your brain male or female?’

The cases for and against gendered brain differences being both significant and the basis of some key differences between the behaviours of men and women is overwhelming as a recent book by an unfortunately-named Dutch scientist, Dick Swaab, reveals.

In the Horizon programme the case for some gender-typical behaviour differences being at least partly attributable to brain differences will be put by Michael Mosley, the opposing case by a feminist, Alice Roberts. My strong expectation is – given this is a BBC programme – Roberts and other like-minded people will be given substantially more airtime than Michael Mosley and others in his camp. But hope springs eternal.

A piece written for the BBC website by Michael Mosley is here. I see that in this piece Mosley is described as ‘Dr’ and Roberts a ‘Professor’. The BBC couldn’t have chosen a male professor alongside a female doctor to present a programme on gendered brain differences, could it?

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • It is interesting in the piece that Prof. Alice opposes the idea due to the supposed effect. That it will prevent in some way girls from studying sciences and this contributes to differences in earnings. Apart from anything else these “objections” appear to be totally irrelevant to the study of the physical structure of the brain itself. This is revealing as it is starting from an undesired social effect and working backwards.
    And there is good news for feminists in

  • The good news being that in poor developing countries there are higher proportions of girls taking STEM subjects. It seems that comparative poverty and the need to pay your own way in life can help girls to choose subjects leading to work. Work that is full time and not at all “family friendly”. These are also counties with proportionately more women in senior positions in business and much greater variety of work done by women. Much more so than the beloved Sweden. There are still similar trends but without “arts and humanities” being available nor huge state sectors it appears practical choices are made. 
    The conclusion is that in societies that offer wide choice to women, due to their wealth, in fact the choices trend in the reverse direction to that desired by the feminists! 
    And of course frankly in those wealthy societies someone has to do the hard stuff, that would be the men!

  • Hey only took 5 minutes for the Prof. to mention the wage gap….20% this time…..

  • From what I have read about this, Alice Roberts favours the nurture over nature argument, because she is concerned that any suggestion that males have an ingrained predilection to analytical thought, might discourage girls from taking up the sciences.

    In other words she abandons dispassionate, objective scientific enquiry in favour of political correctness and in doing so makes an excellent argument AGAINST having more women in science.

  • By the way PROFESSOR Alice Roberts?

    I’d really like to know what ground-breaking research she has done to earn a Professorship?

    Or are they giving them out free with every packet of Corn Flakes these days?