Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Women think with their brains. Men, with their penises?
I had an assignment for one of my modules, "Understanding Relationship" whereby we had to talk about gender differences. How exactly does that work? Here's my take on it.
There has been a conflict to the definition of gender and sex differences for most of us. We tend to relate both of these definitions as referring to the physical being of oneself. However, they are different. Sex differences simply refer to the physical being of oneself; whether they are born as a male or a female. On the other hand, gender differences refer to the society mindset of how each gender is supposed to act, forcing them to conformity. The latter is what we are focusing on for this assignment.
To me, sometimes things in life don’t work out the way we want it. The society has somehow drafted out how we should behave and we simply conform to it most of the time. After marriage, men are supposed to work and support the family while the wife just stays at home and takes care of the children. Another example of how society has carved out the way gender roles work is when only men are supposed to be good at handy work (like fixing bulbs and broken toilet bowls) while women are exceedingly good at housework and sewing.
In my opinion, this all boils down to stereotyping. As such, we are less inclined to performing activities that are deemed too “manly” or too “feminine”. With that, it seems that men are only allowed to behave and feel in a certain way while women have their own set of code of conduct in which they have to live with. Gender difference may be something that we can change but as mentioned earlier, we are too rigid. This ends up with men and women feeling more inclined about their practice of being right about doing something.
Women tend to talk more about their emotions and focus on creating a rapport in their communication. On the other hand, men are only concerned about analysing issues and solving problems. As such, women always complain that men don’t listen to what they say and then men would always say that women always don’t listen to their advices. The end result would be harsh accusations on each others’ part.
One perfect example would be between me and Sarah.
I have always been a perfectionist when it comes to projects. To me, I have always wanted to be the best and nothing is wrong unless I acknowledge it. There was once during a project that Sarah highlighted about something being wrong.
Sarah: Eh, the sentence structure looks wrong. Should we tweak it?
Me: Are you sure? It looks fine to me. I got distinction in English leh.
Sarah: Well, I was just saying. Relax ah.
At that point of time, it came across to me that she was putting me down and I got defensive. I felt insulted and couldn’t take the amendment. However, another friend came to me and told me that Sarah had meant no harm and was only trying to fix the way the sentence flowed. While I was more focused on finishing the task (and thus in the process though that everything was already well done), Sarah was more focused on the minute details in ensuring that the whole report would flow breezing. There was an issue of interpretation and understanding on both sides. After Sarah explained her case, indeed I had phrased the sentence wrongly. As a matter of fact, there had been other mistakes done as well.
While a women means A, the men would interpret it as B and vice versa. That’s when miscommunication comes to play.
Just last September, I was on a Community Trip to Cambodia. Two weeks passed just like that and we have to leave for home. The girls were crying (and so did some guys) as we bade them farewell. However, one of my bosom buddies, Charles, didn’t. My curiosity got the better of me and I asked him why he didn’t cry. I knew he was sad to leave but his facial expression was nonchalant. His reply simply told me about how his facade in general portrays how men feel.
“Boys don’t cry. We shed blood. Why should I cry and be like a woman?”
That alone, highlights what most men are made of. There was a need to save their face value. For women, the society views them as vulnerable beings and hence, it is normal to see girls expressing their sadness through their tears. In comparison, men are made to be of steel, and are expected to comfort girls as opposed to crying in such a situation. Men, in this context, want to be on the upper hand and not looked down at. Hence, they do not want to share their feelings for fear of being put in a disadvantage; possibly by other men as well as women. In Charles’ case, he was obviously veering to the society perception that women are more emotionally challenged. Well, this of course is subjective.
In all, gender difference is something we just have to live with. We can try to change it, but conformity is something that society just can’t get rid of easily. In today’s world, more women have turned to being career minded while some of the top chefs are easily men. As such, stereotyping and gender difference is slowly being eradicated; though as much as we would like to eliminate it, the presence is still imminent.
What do you think about it? I want to know your take.