Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Female Brain, Part II

This book is so full of information. Here are a few more things I found interesting. It looks like a lot, but I'm hardly scratching the surface.

- Girls understand tone of voice right away, boys don't. This is why boys don’t respond when you tell them no sternly, and why girls realize when you’re sad and show empathy at such young ages (this is due to the high levels of estrogen that flow throughout girls for 24 months during infancy, while boys only have that for nine months).
- Baby girls need eye contact right away, while boys like to look at everything else. This stays with girls throughout life, so if parents/boyfriends/spouses don’t look us in the eye or don’t 'hear' us, we feel we’re doing something wrong and we try everything we can to make them see us.
- Baby girls in the womb and those just born can feel their mom’s stress and this affects the kind of child they become. If one daughter is born when mom is happy and carefree and another is born during a period of stress and depression, the two girls will take on those corresponding demeanors.
- The author also talks about why females tend to shy away from confrontation (we’re lovers, not fighters – seriously, hormones in our brains make us this way). She doesn’t leave out our bad traits either - how we can be bossy and manipulate others to get what we want. This starts at a very young age for girls, and whether we learn to curb it or not probably depends on our parents and ourselves.

- The next chapter dives in to the teenage years. Whoa. I now understand why I was the way I was when I was a teenager – and I wasn’t even as bad as some other girls. Our estrogen surges take a back seat between ages 3 and 13, and then it goes out of control again. These monthly fluctuations of estrogen are what makes us desire to be liked by the opposite sex and feel the need to have a close circle of girlfriends.
- I thought it was very interesting when the author talked about how teenage girls NEED to gossip and talk with their friends for hours each day because it gives off a major happiness in our brain. If our friends are taken away from us (either by moving, grounding, fighting, etc.) we’ll become impossible to deal with – moody, depressed and angry. She stresses that this doesn’t mean teenage daughters should have the run of the house, but that it’ll take a little understanding and compromise to keep them healthy and happy.
- She also talked about cliques. In the days of cavemen and women (and currently with primates as well), females banded together to protect their young from any sort of predators. Because we’re lacking in the confrontation department (we don’t want to risk ruining our relationships), these cliques are our way of protecting ourselves. We know our girlfriends will stand up with us against any bullies.

This all makes perfect sense to me. I’m so glad I’m learning this now because when my niece reaches this age (or if I were ever to have a daughter myself), I feel I’d be better prepared for the nightmare that can be teenage girls. But at the same time it also gives insight into boys, and I feel I understand my little nephews better, too.


Sarah said...

The author came into my office!! I loved her. We chatted about Knocked Up (she had just seen it). She loved it, which shocked me, but she thought it was a good demonstration of male/female differences. She is already writing The Male Brain. I can't wait. I loved this book and I found the chapter on menopause very enlightening regarding my mom (and my friends' moms)-CRAZY.

A. said...

That's so cool that you met her. I've been finding the chapters about love very interesting - as well as the chapters about motherhood, though I'm not in that stage of my life right now.

I'm sure I'll be enlightened by the menopause chapter as well.