Jun

17

2013

Neurosexism

Richard Edelson, Ph.D.

I just learned a new word and a new form of stereotype – neurosexism.  In short, this term refers to our tendency to believe that intellectual skills and strengths as determined by sex.  For example, boys are good at math, and hence, become engineers; girls have strong language skills, and thus, make excellent teachers.  This type of all or none thinking does not really help our children or ourselves to develop individual talents to the utmost.

Research shows that most cognitive skills are not divided into only two groups – those we’re good at and those we’re not – but rather, they fall on a continuum which ranges from weakness to strength, and all levels in between.  In any number of areas, men and women have abilities that overlap, some where men are stronger, some where women are, and most where we all have competent skills.  Instead of limiting ourselves by preexisting neurosexist beliefs, it would benefit all of us to look at each other as individuals, each of whom have our own set of talents.


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