On Wednesday, March 28th, graduate student Morgan Krug conducted a Brown Bag Discussion on “Neurosexism” in VCU’s Student Commons. She raised issues such as sexism in media advertisements, Charles Darwin’s theories on the differences between the male and female brain, and possible biases that take place in current studies done on the male and female brain.
When asked what her mission for conducting the discussion was, Krug replied “I want (people) to question everything that society is taught when it comes to gender. None of it is cut and dry.” The audience was approximately 10 to 12 people, all being females except two.
“Charles Darwin believed women were intellectually and physically inferior,” Krug began. “But so much evidence today shows that males and females actually have the same basic wiring of the brain.” She addressed all studies and statistical analyses debating this statement and proceeded to show the audience sources that substantiated her information.
Krug showed the audience examples of numerous advertisements in magazines and newspapers that market products in a way that can be considered “gender specific.” One example was an ad for a woman’s toolbox; which included the average American’s set of hammers and screwdrivers, except everything was entirely pink.
The point Krug was trying to make in conjunction with this picture was that advertisers target a specific gender by making their products into what they think is most attractive to that gen
She went on to discuss the physical differences of the male and female brain; more specifically brain lateralization and understanding the functions of the brain.
In her findings, Krug noted that the corpus callosum in the female brain is bigger than the one in the male brain, inferring that this may be the reason females are inclined to be better at communication and speech than males.Krug asked the audience to consider why certain behaviors and mannerisms are also gender specific. For example, why is it more acceptable for a woman to show emotion than a man? “It cannot be explained by socialization,” she declared. “Hormones often play a role in human behavior. They are constantly fluctuating and respond to environmental cues.”
When asked their opinion of the discussion on neurosexism, VCU students Brittany Spillane and Lauryn Hutchinson both had extremely positive reactions to Krug’s session.
“I just came to check it out for fun,” Spillane said, “but it definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things. Like how I look at hormones. It was so interesting.”
Hutchinson came to the discussion to get more information on a paper she is writing, focusing on homosexuality verses heterosexuality. The subjects ended up complimenting each other very well. She exclaimed, “It was so intriguing! I absolutely want to continue learning about this subject.”
Morgan Krug has recently instructed a similar Brown Bag Discussion on “Commodification of Queer Bodies and Capitalism”. She is also currently involved in Queer Action, a LBGT activist group at VCU, and Lips Richmond magazine.
When asked what her favorite thing is about conducting this meeting, she replied, “I love going through the ‘unnecessary gendered’ products. I find that those are really what open people’s eyes to a deeper meaning of today’s advertisements.”
Source: Heyrman, Dr. Hugo. "Male-Female Brain Differences." Brain and Mind Maps. N.p., n.
d. Web. 1 Apr. 2012. <http://www.doctorhugo.org/brain4.html>.