Falling through the branches of the Ladybrain Tree

Years ago, back when New Labour were desperately trying to justify the invasion of Iraq, I remember the arguments being compared to a monkey falling from a tree. He clings to one branch (WMDs), but that branch breaks, so then he grasps on to the next (humanitarian principles). The branches keep on breaking but he keeps on believing that this one, the one in his hand right now, will hold firm. Crash, crash, crash. He does not learn from experience because it is not in his interests to learn. It is in his interests to cling on for as long as possible.

I’m reminded of this whenever the topic of male and female brains arises.

The belief that male and female brains are inherently different has been around for thousands of years. The same cannot be said for any proof. We know that there is another possible reason — perceived reproductive potential — for the construction of two social groups, male and female, with one dominating the other. But we don’t like to talk about that reason. It doesn’t seem a good enough justification for what men have done to women over the years. It makes men look bad. It makes women look exploited. There must have been better reasons, right? Continue reading