This semester I am taking an anthropology class called “Evolutionary Perspectives on Gender.” The class discusses the biological and cultural differences between men and women. Recently, something shocking caught my eye while we were watching a lecture by Harvard University and Yale University alumna Dr. Louann Brizendine. She was speaking on the neurological differences that make males and females innately separate. What struck me was Brizendine’s opening presentation: She showed a diagram of the female brain, with large spaces devoted to shopping and makeup, and a diagram of the male brain, which was almost completely devoted to sex. This immediately struck me as completely stereotypical and irresponsible because her lecture would lead people to believe that women don’t think about sex — and that the only reason women have sex is because men force them to have sex. What is this, the Stone Age? I, for one, think about sex all the time — maybe even more than most men. I wake up wondering if I’m going to get any, and with who; sometimes during class all I can think about is getting out of class so I can go get some. I can’t even go to bed at night without thinking, “I could be having sex right now.” I don’t believe I am some strange sexual anomaly, either. I believe many women think about sex just as much as men. Why? Becausewe like it, too.
It is 2010, and women have the right to express their sexuality without being called hoes or sluts. Why is there such a double standard with regard to female sexual behavior? Well, according to Dr. Brizendine, it is because we just don’t think about sex. And if we don’t think about sex, then the females who do should automatically be chastised. How is this fair to any woman? This argument is also unfair to men.
This type of stereotype places a great deal of pressure on men to be sexually adventurous. In the same way that it forces women to become docile, submissive and undersexed, it also forces men to live up to the macho-man attitude. If a man has only slept with four women, but his friend has slept with 10, then the pressure to treat women as numbers only increases. Just as some women are sexually active and some are not, the same is true for men. For some men, sex is not a priority — and they should not be made to feel like any less of a man for that.
This type of stereotyping is dangerous to society as a whole. Sex in America is such a taboo subject to begin with that to spread such misconceptions around really helps no one. Many sexual assaults happen because a man feels as though he is entitled to having sex with a woman. This idea of entitlement comes from the stereotypical expectation that men should be hyper-sexualized, dominant beings.
This lecture really opened my eyes to the types of stereotypes and sexual roles our society has created. I suggest we throw them to the wayside. Everyone is different, and how much a person thinks about sex is a part of his or her own personal lifestyle. It is ridiculous to try to stereotype sex. In addition, as an ivy-league educated doctor, I would expect Dr. Brizendine not to perpetuate potentially dangerous stereotypes to large groups of people. We are past the age of stereotyping men and women by their perceived sexuality.