Are Boys Really the Tough Sex?

Biologically...not quite

By on June 16th, 2007 11:31 GMT
The data does not lie. Girls learn to read before boys, get better marks in college, and even their brain contains more gray matter. Medically, boys are clearly weaker.

Children receive an asexuate education, but the neurological, chemical and hormonal differences are a reality. Even from the fetal state, males are weaker than females. The sex ratio at birth is slightly in the favor of the boys. But from the womb, boys are more vulnerable to the maternal stress, and the male fetus is more predisposed to premature birth, congenital malformations, cerebral paralysis.

After birth, boys are four times more likely to experience disorders of the development and learning (autism, stuttering, dyslexia) and ten times more likely to develop some type of attention condition with hyperactivity).

It is surprising that boys are more affected by emotions (more sensitive), as they show it less. With four years old, boys speak about sharing their possessions and their feelings. If we put a boy and a girl close to a speaker spreading a baby cry, the heart rhythm of the boy increases more than that of the girl.

However, they try to suppress their biological reaction: they will usually shut off the speaker. That's because they are educated to behave "like men do" or they see it around.

Still, the boys are made for action: you can entertain girls reading them fairy tales, but the boys can be controlled by putting them to play football or practice judo. It has been proven that boys think or react better to stress while practicing a sport, while women cope better with boredom and precision manual tasks.

This cocktail of aggressiveness and vulnerability is explained by their neurons.

The brain is masculinized from the womb by testosterone (its lack determines the feminization of the brain), generating anatomical differences that explain why the males find it harder to read facial expressions than women do, but explain their higher ability to visualize objects in three dimensions or read maps, labyrinths and diagrams.

In women - the corpus callosum that connects the two brain hemispheres, allowing their intercommunication - is much wider. That's why women have their brain functions more distributed, while men have a more "asymmetrical" brain, with more specialized areas and, for example, a lesion on the left hemisphere, which can induce speech loss, it is more devastating for men.

But this also explains why women have better concrete thinking while men a better abstract one (and are better at chess and composing music); why women prefer to repeat loudly what they are learning while men must learn in silence.

The female brain is 11 % lighter than the male brain, still IQ coefficients of the women are similar to those of the men. That's because men have less gray matter (that processes information) and more white matter (that transmits information). This explains why the female brain learns easier and men have more motor ability.

But why do women express better their emotions?

That's because their emotional thinking centers are close to the speech centers, so they can verbalize better their emotions. Men have a simpler limbic system, and their emotions are bound to action.

In today's world, male traits like physical power are obsolete, faced to female traits, like verbal and emotional ability. Still, the boys are educated with obsolete male values: in media, video, games, the male heroes are killing machines with muscular hypertrophy that solve their problems through force by annihilating their opponents. And even men trying to stay apart from this type of masculinity are pressed by the other men not to do it.

Today's primary educational system in many western countries is very anti-masculine: it stresses reading and restricts physical activity in boys, which are more active and need more time to learn reading.

Boys are punished more harshly than girls are, and parents expect them to be tough, protective while male friends reject those that cry.