Why there is nothing different between a man and a woman…

There is an issue for which we don’t give much thought to and we just carry on with our lives. That issue is gender. Just look around you. Everything is gendered. Starting from names, toilets, clothes, accessories, to behaviours, practices, and code of conduct. Movies exhibit these gender differences very well, and the media has been a major contributing factor for instilling notions of maleness or femaleness in our minds.
Take an example of going out on a date with a guy/girl. Girls usually dress up for the guys. Guys open doors for the girls and pull out the chairs for them to sit. Guys pay for the dinner. A very typical gendered notion comes into our minds when we think of a setting in a date. This is just an example. Infact, everything in our lives is gendered in one way or another. Even the way we dress.
But come to think of it, why do these differences in roles, behaviours and practices exist in the first place? The main reason is that it has been a social construct. All these behaviours and so-called rules on how a man and a woman are supposed to behave have been construed by the society. Things like a man should not cry or display emotions, a woman should be submissive and sensitive, etc.
Let’s look at this objectively. The only thing that is different between a man and a woman is the biological role. Man can provide one part of the haploid cell that can fuse with the other part of the haploid cell in the woman and the woman can give birth to a child. That is all the difference. The difference stops there. Consider the rest, with regards to rights, education, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, etc. They are all the same for both men and women. No one has a particular superiority or inferiority title attached to them. Because after the child, it becomes the responsibility of BOTH the men and the women to take care of the child, not just the women.
So my fellow humans, let’s break down this polarity. Let’s break down these differences. Men and women are both humans, that’s all. There are no differences between them. The roles might be different biologically, but that doesn’t confer a difference in cognition and expression of emotions. Because there are women out their who are emotionally strong and there are men out there who are emotionally weak. So we cannot generalise and demarcate the differences.
It is ok for guys to cry too. It is alright for women to speak out loud. It is alright for guys to put on make-up to present themselves better. It is alright if girls don’t put make-up on or dress nicely in uncomfortable clothes. Let’s just deconstruct all these differences and the next time you do anything, think if your behaviour is in any way gendered. If it is, then understand that you needn’t necessarily label it as such.

The gullibility of children

It has been a long time since I’ve posted. Most of the time, I was busy and even when I had the time, I was not in the mood to blog. Not to mention not having any topic at hand to discuss. But now I have.

I have always been wondering why so many scientists in our labs and other labs believe in their religions. Being so educated and having seen the scientific explanation of life in our universe, how is it possible that they can still believe (have blind faith with no irrefutable evidence) in their religion, be it christianity, islam, or hindu?

One of my colleagues is a post-doc. She is now working on a paper. I went home with her on one of the days and we talked about hindu temples. She seems to have gone to a lot of temples in the southern part of India. She also seems to be religious. She told me that she grew up in a street where there was a ‘powerful’ temple, to which she used to go to a lot. And then I understand why she is so religious despite being a scientist.

Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion, explains it clearly in his hypothesis, ‘gullibility of the child mind’:

“Natural selection builds child brains with a tendency to believe whatever their parents and tribal elders tell them. Such trusting obedience is valuable for survival… But the flip side of trusting obedience is slavish gullibility. The inevitable by-product is vulnerability to infection by mind viruses.”

He refers to religious beliefs as viruses. So therefore, a child’s mind is like a sponge that absorbs anything and everything that they see or hear. That might have been the reason why I was so religious just until last year or so. That is the reason why so many of them today, well-educated people, are religious and have blind faith in their beliefs. My colleague falls under the same category. She was brought in a community where such religious beliefs were abundant. No wonder she is still commited to the beliefs of her religion.

Moreover, nobody wants to denounce their beliefs and later feel that they have no purpose to live, other than worshipping and praising someone. All along we have been believing in something. And now that we know that it is false, we have nowhere to lean onto. But I say why not lean onto science? Science has not totally disproved god, but if offers a better explanation than the theory of ‘intelligent design’. The explanation for how life came about in our earth. Though not everything is yet known, it will soon be.

Here’s a youtube video of Richard Dawkins, my favourite author:

[related article]

On Racism

Human beings come in many different sizes, shapes and colours. However, under the skin, our skeletons and our genes show that we are all closely related. The variations we see today probably all developed within the last 200,000 years as our species diversified from an ancestral African population. Humans have evolved into different ‘races’ according to the climate of the environment they live in. The book, The Complete World of Human Evolution, says:

People with a shorter and rounder body physique will retain heat better than those with taller, lankier physique. However, a distinctively smaller body may be favoured in closed tropical forest environments.

Therefore, such evolved obvious external differences between human populations in features have formed the basis of racial classifications. Because of this, as well as the views of some scientists that there are fundamental differences between races in characteristics such as behaviour and intelligence, the whole concept of ‘race’ has become highly controversial.

I am more interested in knowing how these different so-called races evolved. We all have a common ancestral root in Africa. But how did humans start to show regional differences. Darwin’s natural selection is certainly one of the reasons accounting, for example, the variations in skin colour, the book says. However, it seems that other factors have also influenced the evolution of variations in humans. One of them is sexual selection. Darwin thought that this mechanism could be used to account for the evolution of some ‘racial’ characteristics. In such cases, mate selection influenced by cultural preferences can gradually steer a population in a particular direction. Repeated over thousands of genrations, such individual choices can accumulate in a population, changing its typical characteristics.

Other factors include genetic drift and founder effect. Australian Aborigines arose when individuals from Southeast Asian islands travelled to the completely uninhabited continent of Australia-New Guinea, and their particular characteristics multiplied over many thousands of times in their descendants.

Evolution and natural selection played a fundemental role in the rise of ‘races’. But it is interesting how the concept of social construct, has introduced some of the taboos that we see and hear of today. It is also interesting to notice that there are classifications within an individual ‘race’. Like in India. Hinduism is a race in itself. However, it has a caste system of itself. Religion has also become a part of the ‘race’. If you are an Indian, you can be either Hindu or Muslim or Christian. If you are an European, you can be a Catholic or Protestant and so on. Becaue of such divisions and classifications, a lot of stereotypes, generalizations and prejudices have arised.

I would like to read more on such topics and I would also like my friends and visitors to recommend me some books or websites to read about such topics. Thanks:)