Gendered Intelligence

When reading the textbook, I came across the passage talking about intelligence differences between genders, and I was immediately inspired to write this blog post. As a feminist, I of course would like to think that men and women are equal in all instances, but the fact remains that biologically, this is not the case. I appreciated that the text did amend its statement by saying that men and women are each better at certain ways of thinking, doing away with the assumption that one gender is simply inherently more intelligent than the other. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

One common assumption I seem to come across very often is that men are naturally better at mathematics and the sciences, while women are naturally more astute in the fine arts. This is essentially incorrect, but as this article states, there are “recognised, small but observable and replicable, sex differences at all stages at life” that seem to lend some credence to this assumption. Women are more emotionally and socially attuned to their surroundings with, on average, better hearing and a predilection to be more vocal. They are also better with words than males, being able to read more fluently and develop larger vocabularies. On the other hand, males are more interested in systems and physical stimuli; they show narrow interests and use language primarily to get what they want. Males also are less communicative and are more concerned with dominance than females are. As stated in this article, males are also better at mathematical reasoning, which lends a modicum of truth to the common assumption stated earlier. The author stresses that all these observable gendered traits are not true for all individuals, and that intelligence cannot be measured by such small differences. If it were, then only boys would become math majors in college! All these differences must be taken with a grain of salt. The age-old argument of nature vs. nurture thus comes up in this conversation, as it usually does with any other. Though males may be more naturally inclined to enjoy rough-and-tumble play while girls are more sedentary, this does not prove true for all girls and boys.

Additionally, as stated in this article, intelligence is not only judged by natural predilections – it’s determined by opportunities presented by the real world. Men and women may differ in these small ways simply because women are historically given worse educations and less opportunities to expand their minds and gain knowledge. Thus we can determine that intelligence has nothing to do with gender – it’s purely reliant on the individual’s ability to gain and retain information and the opportunities they have been given to do so. Yes, much of intelligence is biological, but as stated in the text and the article above, personal and societal expectations are what play into performances and advancements (or stunting) of intelligence. Intelligence itself has absolutely nothing to do with gender, other than the small observable differences that don’t even apply to every single human being in existence. Gender is on a spectrum, and so must be intelligence.

One thought on “Gendered Intelligence

  1. Kendra Ganser

    I find this very interesting, I remember reading this in the textbook as well and I was always interested in that notion that girls are better with fine arts and guys are more mathematically minded. I’ve secretly always agreed with that because I find myself better at English and foreign languages than I do with science or math. As the textbook says, not at people fit into those “preconceived” categories.

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