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At four months old, if babies are frightened in a strange room, twice as many girls as boys cry.
Children’s play provides further evidence for genetic differences.
I have set out to look at the important biological evidence we may have been ignoring. All men in the world today are essentially biologically modified women, because we all start our embryonic lives as females (that is why, for example, men still have breasts, even though they serve no function).
The biological differences that can be found between the bodies and brains of males and females are largely due to the way these embryos develop in the womb.
Exactly how different men and women are is, of course, a controversial subject.
The view that there are inborn differences between the minds of men and women is being challenged by others who call this the pseudoscience of “neurosexism”, and are raising concerns about its implications.
At 12, 18 or 24 months, girls look at dolls much more than boys, while boys look at cars much more than girls.
It is hard to attribute these basic differences at such young ages to purely social influences.
The early development of the human embryo is similar in males and females, and is essentially female, with male features appearing only at later stages.
They emphasise instead social influences, such as stereotyping, in determining the differences in the behaviour of the sexes.
It has been suggested by Deborah Cameron, professor of language and communication at Oxford University, in her book The Myth of Mars and Venus “that some writers on this subject can be thought of as latter-day Galileos, braving the wrath of the ‘political correctness’ lobby by daring to challenge the feminist orthodoxy which denies that men and women are by nature profoundly different”.
Cameron also recounts how Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University, set aside his book The Essential Difference for several years because “the topic was just too politically sensitive”.
In recent years the politically correct argument has emphasised social causes to such an extent that it has sometimes virtually ignored our genetic inheritance and the role of genes.