Home » Why We Love, Why We Cheat: Helen Fisher (Transcript)

Why We Love, Why We Cheat: Helen Fisher (Transcript)

For every trend on this planet, there’s a counter-trend. We all know of them, but nevertheless — the Arabs say, “The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.” And, indeed, that caravan is moving on. Women are moving back into the job market.

And I say back into the job market, because this is not new. For millions of years, on the grasslands of Africa, women commuted to work to gather their vegetables. They came home with 60% to 80% of the evening meal. The double income family was the standard.

And women were regarded as just as economically, socially and sexually powerful as men. In short, we’re really moving forward to the past.

Then, women’s worst invention was the plow. With the beginning of plow agriculture, men’s roles became extremely powerful. Women lost their ancient jobs as collectors, but then with the industrial revolution and the post-industrial revolution they’re moving back into the job market.

In short, they are acquiring the status that they had a million years ago, 10,000 years ago, 100,000 years ago. We are seeing now one of the most remarkable traditions in the history of the human animal. And it’s going to have an impact.

I generally give a whole lecture on the impact of women on the business community. I’ll say just a couple of things, and then go on to sex and love. There’s a lot of gender differences; anybody who thinks men and women are alike simply never had a boy and a girl child.

I don’t know why they want to think that men and women are alike. There’s much we have in common, but there’s a whole lot that we do not have in common. We are — in the words of Ted Hughes, “I think that we are like two feet. We need each other to get ahead.”

But we did not evolve to have the same brain. And we’re finding more and more gender differences in the brain. I’ll only just use a couple and then move on to sex and love. One of them is women’s verbal ability. Women can talk.

ALSO READ:   Jia Jiang: What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection at TED Talk (Transcript)

Women’s ability to find the right word rapidly, basic articulation goes up in the middle of the menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels peak. But even at menstruation, they’re better than the average man. Women can talk. They’ve been doing it for a million years; words were women’s tools. They held that baby in front of their face, cajoling it, reprimanding it, educating it with words.

And, indeed, they’re becoming a very powerful force. Even in places like India and Japan, where women are not moving rapidly into the regular job market, they’re moving into journalism. And I think that the television is like the global campfire. We sit around it and it shapes our minds.

Almost always, when I’m on TV, the producer who calls me, who negotiates what we’re going to say, is a woman. In fact, Solzhenitsyn once said, “To have a great writer is to have another government.”

Today 54% of people who are writers in America are women. It’s one of many, many characteristics that women have that they will bring into the job market. They’ve got incredible people skills, negotiating skills. They’re highly imaginative.

We now know the brain circuitry of imagination, of long-term planning. They tend to be web thinkers. Because the female parts of the brain are better connected, they tend to collect more pieces of data when they think, put them into more complex patterns, see more options and outcomes. They tend to be contextual, holistic thinkers, what I call web thinkers.

Men tend to — and these are averages — tend to get rid of what they regard as extraneous, focus on what they do, and move in a more step-by-step thinking pattern. They’re both perfectly good ways of thinking. We need both of them to get ahead.

In fact, there’s many more male geniuses in the world. And there’s also many more male idiots in the world. When the male brain works well, it works extremely well.

ALSO READ:   The "Gay Agenda": LZ Granderson at TEDxGrandRapids (Transcript)

And what I really think that we’re doing is, we’re moving towards a collaborative society, a society in which the talents of both men and women are becoming understood and valued and employed.

But in fact, women moving into the job market is having a huge impact on sex and romance and family life. Foremost, women are starting to express their sexuality. I’m always astonished when people come to me and say, “Why is it that men are so adulterous?”

“Why do you think more men are adulterous than women?”

“Well, men are more adulterous!”

And I say, “Who do you think these men are sleeping with?”

And — basic math! Anyway.

In the Western world, women start sooner at sex, have more partners, express less remorse for the partners that they do, marry later, have fewer children, leave bad marriages in order to get good ones.

We are seeing the rise of female sexual expression. And, indeed, once again we’re moving forward to the kind of sexual expression that we probably saw on the grasslands of Africa a million years ago, because this is the kind of sexual expression that we see in hunting and gathering societies today.

Pages: First | ← Previous | ... | 2 |3 | 4 | ... | Next → | Last | Single Page View