If you’ve ever ended a conversation with the opposite sex wondering, “What were they thinking?” now science has an answer for you. Supporting the years –long debate that men and women think differently, is a new study that found real differences in ways the male/female brains are wired. Using MRI brain scans, scientists determined that for women, the fiber pathways that route information around the brain tend to repeatedly zig-zag across both hemispheres of the brain. In normal thought, these highways for information hop back and forth between the left, “logical” side of the brain and the right, “creative” side of the brain. When examining the aggregate scans for men, the fiber pathways tended to run up and down the same hemisphere more, rather than jumping back and forth.
While researchers don’t yet understand how this may impact behavior differences, they believe that men may over-engage one part of the brain, assessing situations very logically, while women may be more able to connecting logical and emotional dots. For example, a man might take action to resolve a situation, while a woman could resolve the situation, and come to the realization that the reason the task isn’t complete originally is because Susan was having a bad day. Additionally, this research supports previous research that indicates women are better at multitasking. So next time you find yourself perplexed with your significant other, take a minute to have a breather – they may just be thinking about things differently than you.
With all of the focus on women in the workplace that the Lean In movement generated, a natural area for investigation is the lady boss. With all the encouragement for women to strive for the corner office, there is bound to be exploration into what it’s like to work for, and have a woman in charge. Luckily, there is Gallup poll data evaluating how people in 2013 feel about working for a woman instead of a man when compared to how they felt in 1953. As you’d imagine, there have been some noticeable changes.
The Atlantic analyzed the data, and found a few interesting trends. First, more than half of all people (in all of the demographic groupings) preferred a lady boss, as opposed to earlier times when 2/3 of people preferred working under men. Surprisingly, one of the two groups with the lowest percentage of people wanting female leadership was women. The other group, somewhat unsurprisingly, was Republicans. Finally, there are two groups who want a woman in charge more than the others: Democrats, and people who have previously had a female boss. That, to me, says once you try it, you’ll probably like it– all the more ammunition to give women more access to leadership positions.
There has been a lot of press lately about the new feminism. Journalists revealed that many women (and celebs) of this generation feel distanced from the old feminist movement, which was labeled as, or associated with bra-burning man haters. Women of today don’t identify with this outdated trope, and often shun feminism on principle as a result. New feminists want to bring the ladies back into the fold by creating new labels and associations with feminism, effectively re-branding the movement to draw in more support. Enter SexyFeminist. It started as a blog, and has morphed into a new book, Sexy Feminism: A Girl’s Guide to Love, Success and Style, by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Health Wood Rudolph that draws on the precepts of previous feminist leaders. It seeks to appeal to women who think being feminist isn’t sexy, cool, attractive, or fun. Their audience is women who already align with feminist values, but may not realize they are feminist. They hope to change the way women think of feminism, and transform how younger ladies identify with the movement.
When I was growing up, I owned a Kirsten doll and her accompanying stories about the trials the Swedish immigrant girl faced living on a farm after many of her friends died during the voyage to America. She made me actually care about tensions between Native Americans and settlers through her friendship with Singing Bird (a feat I can’t say that history class ever accomplished). My sister owned a Samantha doll, and we both read the series for most of the American Girls that addressed issues was wide ranging as living in the American Revolution (Felicity), and learning through her friends about poverty and class struggle while living in an affluent childhood (Samantha). While the dolls and all of their matching outfits were a fun complement to the novels, the books were the real stars, taking me through different historical periods, and embedding life lessons into the back stories that went along with my toys. Sadly, American Girl has decided to “archive” the classic dolls in favor of a new line.
Anndddd the new line comes with new story lines. The fresh “Girl of the Year,” and “My American Girl” dolls are designed to be more relatable to modern children. They are modeled after their images and the characters, living in present day, face challenges like not making the gymnastics team rather than navigating the complex social landscape of cross-class friendships during the industrial period. Additionally, the brand has cut back from the previous 6 books for each character to a measly 2, suggesting that these American girls? Well, they just don’t read as much. While it’s always sad to see a classic toy from your childhood retired, I’m not the only one who was saddened by the changes in the brand. Check out the opinions on The Daily Beast, NY Mag The Cut, and The Atlantic.
What do you think about the changes America Girl is making?