I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” and probably have thought so at some point when frustrated by the other sex. But are men and women really all that different and mysterious?
Check out a typical forwarded e-mail joke:
How to Impress a Woman:
Compliment her. Cuddle her. Kiss her. Caress her. Love her. Comfort her. Protect her. Hug her. Hold her. Spend money on her. Wine and dine her. Listen to her. Care for her. Stand by her. Support her. Go to the ends of the earth for her.
How to Impress a Man:
Show up naked. Bring beer.
It’s pretty funny, right? Even though it may seem true at times, the truth is that men and women aren’t as opposite as the stereotype makes it out to be. Jokes like the one above reinforce the stereotype that women look for affection, while men just want unemotional sex (and beer).
Of course, men and women can vary quite a bit from each other, but the differences between the average man and woman are small. Truth is, both women and men usually want their intimate partners to give them plenty of warmth and affection.
Consequences of Believing the Stereotype
Are there any consequences of wrongly buying into the stereotype that men and women are complete opposites? Research says yes. When you think of the other sex as “opposite” and having little in common with you, this inaccurate view can prevent you from trying to understand a partner’s point of view. It can also keep you from collaborative problem-solving, since you might be less likely to try and fix your heterosexual relationships when conflicts come up (and if you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know they do!). This can all lead to pessimism and hopelessness about the other sex.
The Other Sex isn’t So Strange
To save yourself from all the headache and unnecessary drama, try to stop thinking of the other sex as being so opposite from yourself – you might find it a tad bit easier to understand them. You might even find resolving conflicts and problem-solving to be simpler than you anticipated…and you will have freed yourself from a damaging stereotype that can sabotage a relationship. Even though there will be times when the stereotype fits well, I hope that by reading this, you’ll gain some insight that will benefit your relationships. Do you think this knowledge will change how you perceive the other sex?
|This is a guest post by Stacey Yan, a good friend of mine. Stacey has just completed her MSW degree (also has a BA in Psychology) and is currently enjoying her off time hiking around the various trails of Southern California.|
Photo by dfrangi