In an earlier post on the dignity of male and female, I offered some quotes of Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the “God-given qualities” specific to male and female. Many of my friends – most of them very devout and theologically orthodox Catholics – dismiss Sheen for representing an “out-of-date” and politically incorrect viewpoint. It should strike us as an oddity that we modern Catholics, who hold fast to Scripture and Tradition when it comes to our belief in the Eucharist (for example), would suddenly abandon both when it comes to gender.
These same people, however, step back when I address the matter from the perspective of science.
As it turns out, there is nothing wrong in speaking of the male brain and the female brain. One big difference between the two is how men and women react to sensory input. The brain itself is structured in an ascending order. At the base we find the brain stem where our instincts and “fight-or-flight” reflexes are handled. It is the lowest part. Moving upwards we find the cerebellum and limbic system. Here the sensory data from our eyes, ears, and taste are processed. At the highest point of the brain is located the cerebrum where our complex thinking occurs.
Now when women react to intense sensory data, the brain routs the data up and into the cerebrum where women think over and talk through the experience. In men, however, God decided that it would be better for us to route our reaction down rather than up. This means that the brain stem takes the helm, and men react through physical action rather than through talking. Sadly our psychology-driven society which stresses non-violence and merely talking through our issues fails to recognize basic characteristics of man. Thankfully our Faith has always known these truths even when there were no fancy brain scans existing to confirm them.
There are far more differences between the male brain and the female brain. For example, the female brain has a 20% larger corpus callosum connecting both hemispheres of the brain which in turn enables both hemispheres to work together more effectively, making women better communicators and more effective at multitasking. To learn more about these two brains of the two genders, check out a great book called Boys and Girls Learn Differently. And for a more humorous take on the matter, check out this clip from the show Seinfeld to see what happens when men use mantras and merely talk out their feelings.