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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Men Versus Women: Are they really that different?

I've always been aware of the way media portrays men and women and, most of the time, it adheres to conventional views of the way either should act. There is humor to be found in the way they are pitted against each other, and I've also noticed that many comedians get most of their laughs by highlighting "what men do" versus "what women do". It's evident that according to television shows, commercials, and especially nonsensical magazines that women are whiny, nagging, crazy, emotional bitches beings who continuously need to be educated on "How To Please Your Man", whereas men are emotionally unaware, sexually motivated, "never right, even though they're right" people who have to deal with women, and neither seem to understand each other because they are just oh so different. Wow. Where do I even begin to dissect this distorted view?

Are you shitting me with this?
First of all, looking at men and women in this way troubles me because I feel like it's an unfair depiction of both. It's amazing that, still to this day, so many people hold essentialist views about gender, meaning that they believe women and men are biologically built to act differently towards sex, relationships, and conflict, when that is so far from the truth. I can't blame people though, because before I read a few articles and educated myself on the matter, I had similar opinions and I was content to believe that differences could not always be controlled, nor could they change because that was the way we were biologically programmed. Little did I know that the very idea of gender itself has continuously been changing and that it is viewed differently in various cultures. I might discuss this in more detail in another blog, but for the sake of keeping each blog short, I will keep the focus of this one on the fact that, actually, no one has found any proof to suggest that men and women are all that different (with a few and very minor exceptions in their anatomies and level of hormones.) This means that being a woman or a man will not determine your personality or the choices that you make, so much that the idea of what it means to be a woman or a man might. That's an important distinction to make because it suggests that change is quite possible. However equally, it also suggest that change is difficult because ideas can be very powerful, due to the depth in which they are embedded into a society's belief system.

But I say it's time to switch it up already; it's time to shake the pot. The time has come to open our minds up about the, too often, rigid views we have about gender roles and expectations. Yes, it is possible for a man to be sensitive, not always sexually driven, and just as "complicated" and moody as a woman. Similarly, a woman can be quite logical, easy going, and at times, more concerned about her own sexual gratification than learning "10 Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with [her]" (can I get an amen?!! No not a man...urg never mind) The point is that people are a lot more fluid than most categories allow, especially in terms of gender and sexual orientation. Imagine the freedom people would feel if such categories were not simplified and then forced upon people to fit into them. Perhaps people could then let the fluid nature of their identities flow without anxiety and fear that they would be jeopardizing their positions within the society, and within their own personal lives. I say it's time to let ourselves (and others) flow.