Science, Not Sexism


Friday, March 30, 2018

When it comes to institutional sexism, I often think of the honeybee. These insects form some of the most complex social structures in all of the animal kingdom, with any one colony operating as a grand-scale machine with thousands of small moving parts. Each individual bee has a specific task to contribute to the colony, just as we humans work specific occupations to contribute to the welfare of society.

However, the distribution of roles in a honeybee colony is clearly sexist. First, the Queen Bee, the monarchical leader of the hive and the mother to all of its bees, is always female. Secondly, worker bees, who are tasked with the critical role of exiting the hive and returning with necessary outside resources, are entirely female. What exactly then do the male bees do? The males, also called “drones,” are left totally unemployed, spending their entire irrelevant lives reproducing with the colony’s queen, only to die shortly after.

It’s nearly impossible for a male bee to succeed in such a society if, when it’s born it’s almost instantaneously doomed to earning less work than any female bee that exhibits the same physical competence. How can honeybees get away with such blatant sexism? Considering that every single honeybee colony on earth shares the same matriarchal, female-worker type organization, how have male honeybees not led a 3rd-wave-feminism-esque revolt against the system?

Okay, so maybe it’s obvious that honeybees lack the cognitive sophistication to establish institutional sexism. Could it possibly be that maybe, just maybe, the distribution of roles in a honeybee colony is entirely based on biological predispositions and not on societal norms?

As scientifically simple as it is, honeybee behavior can teach us a valuable lesson about basic biology and the innate roles of males and females in our society. We humans are obviously much more complex organisms than honeybees. But we share with these insects the same principles of genetic coding and trait determination, as we do with all others in the animal kingdom. Our patterns of DNA dictate how we look, how we behave (mostly), and most relevantly, how we think. And along with that, it’s a clear-cut fact that different sexes share a different typical genetic makeup.

The female dominance of important roles in a honeybee colony is not motivated by sexism. It exists because females are genetically built for those roles. Exhibiting a smaller, more versatile body type compared to male drones, female workers are naturally suited to perform the colony’s busy work. Similarly, male and female humans share clear anatomical differences in our brains, which translate to different ways of thinking and consequently different skills. Certain portions of the brain are typically larger in females, while others are larger in males, leading to differences in how the sexes process information and interact with the surrounding world.

A heavily debated topic in relation to gender equality is the explanation for why there are so few women that hold high-ranking executive roles professionally compared to men. The answer is plain and simply, basic biology. Think about it, if men and women do in fact differ in natural skill sets, then wouldn’t it be logical to assume that there should be differences in their standard work production? There is a slew of scientific explanations regarding the makeup of the male brain that prove that men innately hold traits that lead them to be, on average, genetically more adept to assuming leadership roles. These anatomical differences are nonetheless scientific fact and therefore irrefutable. Men are more prominent in executive roles because of how their brains are hardwired, giving them the upper hand when it comes to having natural management skills. Societal and cultural pressures also play a hand in the discrepancy, but their influence is negligible in comparison to genetics (see Stanford Medicine study). This of course is speaking from the standpoint of averages, as many women hold executive positions. But the point is that men are more inclined to attain leadership roles due to genetics, a much more substantiated reasoning than alleged institutional sexism.

Yes, it’s unfair and nobody disagrees with that, but this is what the facts point to. The beauty of science is that it’s true and factual, regardless of whether or not you accept it or believe in it.

This is still no reason for any woman to feel discouraged from pursuing an executive role in the workforce. Instead, this should drive a woman to work harder to make up for any such genetic misfortunes. After all, hard work almost always supersedes natural talent in the end. Unfortunately we live in an unfair world, but that doesn’t mean that certain leadership roles are out of a woman’s reach. I believe that a female U.S. President is imminent, but she’ll be elected because she’s better qualified and harder working than her male and female counterparts, and not for the simple sake of electing a woman.

Women are undoubtedly on the rise in growing their roles in government and in the workforce, and I for one am welcoming of it. Will women genetically evolve over time to overtake men and become the more leadership-capable sex of the species? It could happen, but that’s a separate discussion.

Jimmy is an 18 year old Biology Pre-Medicine major at Ohio State University. He has lived his entire life in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Being the son of two Chinese immigrants, he is a passionate patriot and an aspiring public servant.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jimmy Gao

Ohio State University

Jimmy is an 18 year old Biology Pre-Medicine major at Ohio State University. He has lived his entire life in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Being the son of two Chinese immigrants, he is a passionate patriot and an aspiring public servant.

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