For this week’s episode and the latest installment of the Self Care Series, I sat down with Dr. Leonard Sax to discuss his book Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers need to know about the science of Sex Differences. We started the Self Care series in honor of the late Mac Miller to address issues related to physical, mental, and social well-being. Understanding the differences between boys and girls, men and women, is paramount to self-care and your relationships with others. A little bit of background info on Dr. Sax: He graduated MIT at the age of 19, earned his Ph.D. and MD in psychology from University of Pennsylvania, and for 19 years he was a practicing family physician in Maryland. Dr. Sax has spoken on the issues of child and adolescent development throughout the US, Bermuda, Canada, England, and numerous other countries, and he has visited over 400 schools since 2001.
Now, what makes understanding gender differences so important? We live in a society where, according to Dr. Sax, “the lack of awareness of gender differences has had the unintended result of reinforcing gender stereotypes.” For example, did you know that for the average boy to hear you as well as the average girl, you have to speak about 8 decibels higher, which is equivalent to 3 clicks on the car radio? Or that on average, girls’ visual systems are better at picking up color, detail, and texture than boys? And boys are better at picking up on speed and direction? There are concrete differences between boys and girls, and there are millions of ways to be male and female. Gender differences do not equate to gender inequalities. We should be celebrating these differences and better understanding them, rather than pretending like they don’t exist.
Even if you have no interest in gender differences, I encourage you to listen to this conversation to broaden your perspective because these issues affect everyone, including me and you. And yes, people may disagree with some things said in this episode, and I want that. I encourage you to reach out to me and Dr. Sax with any thoughts you have on this episode. Both of our emails will be in the description of this podcast, along with a link to Dr. Sax’s book Why Gender Matters. No matter how difficult, politically incorrect, or polarizing a certain topic may be, the goal should always be to have a conversation grounded in facts.