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Women’s Gray Matter Isn’t Pink? – The ConsumHERist

Posted on | September 17, 2009 | No Comments

by Delia Passi

This week’s Newsweek magazine had a column by science editor Sharon Begley that discussed a new book by neuroscientist Lise Eliot, entitled Pink Brain, Blue Brain:  How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps – And What We Can Do About It.  The book throws doubt upon (debunks according to Begley) the many scientific findings that assert that there are innate differences in women’s and men’s brains.

I really must read this book.  It doesn’t sound like the book argues that women are not different from men, just that there isn’t indisputable scientific proof that the genders start from very different biological places.  From a marketer’s or seller’s standpoint, all that really matters is that women and men are different when they buy, not that they could have been just like men, or vice versa.

Personally, I have always believed that evolution had a lot to do with the formation of basic behaviors, and not just the influences of our parents’ treatment of us as children.  It’s the nature versus nurture argument taken to its core – is the brain at birth different?

If the argument made in Eliot’s book is correct, I will have to reconsider my belief in the evolutionary foundation that I have long considered to be a rational explanation for many gender differences.  I certainly hope the books offers a reasonable alternative.  It’s one thing to accuse modern parents of planting a seed in a little girl’s mind that she must be more diligent in her buying behavior, and more sensitive to the buying experience.  It’s another thing to infer that parents have been making similar suggestions to little girls since primitive times. 

I can’t help but wonder if the book was written as a defense against the increasing evidence in support of gender differences.  In my experience as a proponent of gender differences in communications, I have met a lot of women who simply don’t want to accept that women are indeed different from men and always have been. 

My position has always been easy to defend.  So I am very interested in this book.  I will let you know what I think when I’ve finished it.

Delia Passi, Founder of WomenCertified® and author of Winning the Toughest Customer: The Essential Guide to Selling to Women is a regular columnist on ReachingWomenDaily.  Delia can be reached at


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