May 2016 Discover Magazine: “Typical pain treatment research begins with an animal model – one that uses only male mice. The assumption is that males and females will respond he same way to new therapies.” Doh! Are you kidding me? When I first read this, I didn’t believe it. I mean, while connecting with my inner feminine side, I realized that:
a) menstrual cycles separate men from women in terms of monthly hormonal levels,
b) those hormones are different anyway between men and women, and
c) men and women have different anatomical features.
d) Different menstrual cycles and hormonal levels separate women from women.
So, the natural question that follows is, in what other ways has this assumption that male and female responses will be the same filtered into other areas of interest. For example, there is even today an assumption that men and women will react the same when in battle.
There’s an effort underway to allow women in the military to have access to certain battlefield job paths. That’s sounds fine and good until you realize that there are different physical tests that men and women must face in order to pass and proceed to the bf the front line is confronted with a women who isn’t up to the task (but passed her PT test), he is personally introduced to the relative strengths and weaknesses between genders, and physical strength is not in the female column.
So, anyone want to take a bet that this assumption was made by a group that included males only? Hell, the Catholic Church has even incorporated it into their sacrosanct dogma. No female priests. Huh? Who made those rules up? Oh yeah, a group of men.
And yes, it gets back to psychoanalysis and Carl Jung. I think we can all agree that as children we become aware of parental expectations, and then to a lesser (or greater) degree, societal expectations. Now, we don’t have to care about them. We can dismiss them. But they’re there, and we all know it. So my question is, if scientists can make such a basic error as assuming males and females will react the same to pain treatment drugs, what false assumptions are being fed to our young girls and boys via societal (and parental) expectations?
And what kind of warping/twisting-of-the-psyche could result from inordinate attention given to these expectations? I’ll deal with those answers more specifically in a later blog, but for now my point is that the results are different for men and women. The same source of grief will result in different manifestations of the ensuing dissonance from the dark chasm between reality and expectations.
But I wonder, would my assumption that women and men are different be accepted scientifically? It’s just an assumption. But I know one thing–if I were testing pain treatment drugs, I’d see if there was a difference by using the scientific method. To rephrase Reagan for my own purposes, “Assume, but verify.”
Visit StinkyUniverse to learn more!