Girls just want to have connections
Michael Gurian's new book, 'The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters,' offers us a reflection from the pool of female biology.
Gurian provides readers with a detailed neurobiology lesson to show that the compelling desire and motivation of every girl Ñ and woman Ñ is attachment.
This is a smack in the face to old feminist ideology, which holds onto the mantra that independence, not attachment, is of paramount value. Gurian is unapologetic.
'Let's take the best of feminism and move on,' he says in an interview. 'Feminism got women out of the kitchen. Now it's time to understand women on a level of biology, so that we can nurture the true nature of the child.'
According to Gurian, inadequate attachment threatens brain development. And, he warns, girls today do not experience enough profound attachment with caregivers at crucial times in their lives Ñ their first three years and the first five years of adolescence, beginning at age 10.
Gurian, who has coined the term 'intimacy imperative,' thinks this lack of bonding drives girls and women toward loneliness and various health disorders. 'Anorexia, bulimia and depression are diseases of loneliness in our girls,' he says, not diseases caused by the media.
'The press has been obsessed for 15 years about proving that the self-esteem of our girls is a result of gender stereotyping and the media,' he says. 'However, science now tells us that what really affects brain development and esteem is healthy connections to family and extended family.'
In addition, Gurian says that while long-standing feminist ideology holds that marriage is an inherently flawed institution, secondary to a woman's needs, he believes that the female brain craves bonding.
With the advent of the MRI and PET scans, Gurian says, scientists now can discern unmistakable differences between male and female brains that produce biological differences between men and women. While feminists focused on a gender androgyny theory, or equality of the sexes, Gurian thinks that ignoring the differences does a disservice to both genders.
'The Wonder of Girls' is the newest in Gurian's quiver of literary arrows that aim to shoot down old thinking and encourage new ways of looking at gender. His theme Ñ that there is a correlation between the developing biology of girls and their psychological struggles Ñ offers a framework for parents seeking to understand their daughters as they progress through the stages of their lives.