Are men and women really that far apart?

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She says: “You never listen to me.”

He says: “You never want to take my advice.”

She says: “Why can’t you talk about your emotions?”

He says: “Here’s what I think you should do…”

She says: “Grr”

He says: “Grr”

The message he’s sending: “Oh, you need advice? I’ll focus on the details and facts, and offer a solution. I will help you solve your problem because I think I know something that might help.”

The message she’s sending: “I want to understand and talk about feelings.”

What the what?

Is it a male/female issue?

We’re all taught that men and women communicate emotions differently, so much so that we’re purportedly from different planets. Men are “solvers”, and women are “emoters”, and ne’er the twain shall meet. Now we’re finding out that this may be nothing but hype.

Women and men aren’t as different as you might think: A review of dozens of studies found that men and women are basically alike when it comes to personality, thinking ability and leadership. The differences that do exist may reflect social expectations, not biology. Despite this evidence, the media continue to spread the idea that the sexes are fundamentally different — with real-life consequences. Parents who believe that boys outdo girls in math, for instance, may have lower expectations and overlook mathematically talented daughters.

Adapted from “Men and women: no big difference

Research shows that gender differences aren’t nearly as significant as we are led to believe.  The problem is that beliefs often lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. The more we believe something is true, the more we are likely to act in a way that makes it true. Men are taught to believe that they aren’t good communicators, that they lack tact, and are not good at expressing emotions. Women are taught to believe that they’re not leaders, they’re bad at math, and should stick to careers that bring out their “natural” nurturing abilities.

So… what’s the problem then?

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Maybe it’s all about our perception. Misunderstandings come from how we’re taught to ‘think’ about things. Yes, some of that is gender based, but only because society teaches us that men and women SHOULD be different. Girls are raised to play nice, cooperate, show empathy, be nurturing. Boys are raised by playing sports, being competitive, and to not cry. Different world views and experiences = different perceptions.

Perceptions are a result of our past as a result, how we grew up, past experiences and beliefs are born out of what worked and what didn’t. Obviously even folks of the same gender have different perceptions. Very often two people can form two different views and meanings from the same situation. The difference in the views is caused by the filtering of the situation through the lens of your perceptions.

There is one fundamental flaw in our perceptions, whether you are male or female. Perception keeps us from fully understanding the present experience. They are all based on history, past experiences and beliefs and in no way account for the reality of NOW. 

The whole Venus/Mars theory may sell a ton of books, but maybe it’s time to stop focusing on the differences between men and women and look more at what we have in common.

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Most times we have the same goals. the same values, the same ideals. Seems like we’re just taught to express them differently.

We all desire to be heard and known.

We all want to be affirmed and validated.

We all  desire to be safe.

We all want to be praised for who we are and what we do.

We all need to be included.

I’d love to hear what you think! Are men and women more alike than different? What has your experience been? Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and let’s talk about it!

 

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