This post is part of the "Modern Male Brains & the Young, Powerful Women Who Love Them" series compiled by Dr. Louann Brizendine, neuroscientist and author of the recent book, The Male Brain. The series explores how the next generation of women relates to love while balancing complex, stressful lives.
When I was a college student at UC Berkeley I was adamant that my generation was going to turn the construct of gender upside down. Years later, after extensively researching male and female brains as a neuroscientist and founding the first-of-its-kind Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic at UCSF, it's fascinating and encouraging to see young women now eschewing the same social paradigms I challenged with my peers -- and cultivating norms of their own.
I have to wonder: Did we lay the foundation for a generation of overextended, so-empowered-I-don't-need-you women with a closet full of power suits? Did we confuse and "emasculate" their prospective mates to the point where they refuse to tie the knot, preferring to intermittently cohabitate and stalk each other on Facebook? Are they actually finding these balanced partnerships we promised them were possible?
While things have changed, many have held constant, including the frustrations and lack of understanding between men and women who are grappling with the practical applications of how the equality so many have fought for translates into daily life. We can pass laws, produce thought-provoking essays and entertainment that challenge existing systems and encounter examples of progress in our broader culture and immediate communities, but evolution doesn't move as quickly as the Twitter accounts we check on our iPads. There's going to be a gap for us to creatively, respectfully fill.
Many "nature vs. nurture" debates were sparked among feminists responding to my first book, The Female Brain and similarly fervent conversations ensued last month, when I released its companion, The Male Brain. As modern society continues its evolutionary process, we'll always discuss the line where biology, anthropology and our high-minded selves push and pull each other toward the direction we want to go.
To that end, I've invited some of the young women who are leading the next generation in politics, technology, entertainment and beyond to share their stories of how the male brains they encounter in their busy, high-powered lives are fitting into their definitions of what a contemporary woman can and should expect from her partner.
Beginning today with three posts from conservative commentator and pollster Kristin Soltis, Communications Director to Newark Mayor Cory Booker Desiree Peterkin Bell and San Francisco tech CEO Marissa Louie, we'll see a mix of optimism, skepticism and fortitude. Come back to hear from six other amazing women, who have succeeded (hooray!) and flopped (next time!) at finding Mr. Right -- be he older, younger, funnier, smarter, more low-key or presently invisible.
In the weeks since The Male Brain debuted I've had the chance to explain to many people the neuroscience behind what makes men behave like men, which you can check out here on Rachel Ray, CNN or Dr. Phil.
Of course, all of these facts and theories make more sense when it becomes personal. I hope you'll enjoy the glimpses into these young women's hearts and be reminded of what makes their strong female brains so special: the ability to see below the surface and to passionately articulate complex feelings.
Are men and women exactly the same? No. Does this mean we can't reach for the same stars in our society? No. Will we get there using different techniques and skills, and experience the journey in unique, sometimes contradicting, ways? Probably.
We haven't solved all society's problems since I began my research, adamant that women's unique physiology should not be left out of textbooks, data-gathering and treatment options. With ladies like these running the show these days, I'm more confident than ever that we're on the verge of extensive progress, especially when we put our heads together and use our collective brain power.