Gender conceit can hurt relationships. Open minds about gender can make relationships last.
Battle of the Genders How does it work?
Open minds about gender can make relationships last. Gender conceit can hurt relationships
The battle of the genders, Anglo-American style, has it roots in the premise that dependence on others is immature, weak, and uniquely feminine.
Most of the world never agreed with this premise. The balance of the world sees independence as antisocial. These people see expressing one’s neediness as the way of social accord as well as personal satisfaction.
Since the industrial revolution, however, Anglo-American women have historically reconciled competition and individualism in our society with subservience and nurturance.
Anglo-American society opines that dependence on others is immature, weak, and uniquely feminine. How does that work?
The Intimacy Story
The intimacy story helps explain the battle between the genders.
Women cared for others; therefore, personal autonomy was denied women.
Men enjoyed personal autonomy. However, dependency and caring for others was permissible only at home. It became a negative, disgraceful quality in public.
When boys exhibited these "feminine" traits, as they all do naturally from birth, our Anglo-American society penalized them by teasing and jeering. Ask any Anglo-American man and he will tell you the phrase, "You’re acting like a girl" must be avoided at all costs.
For example, in our society, "Mamma’s boy" is a general cliche that has a different meaning from "Daddy’s girl."
"Daddy’s girl" is a more individualistic term describing a relationship between a particular father and his particular daughter. As a term it can be degrading; it can be flattering. You must know the particular father and daughter to know what "Daddy’s girl" means in their case.
"Mamma’s boy" is always degrading. It’s on a par with sissy, crybaby, or worse.
Until the women’s movement, women’s lives remained based more in relationships and nonmarket interactions. Men’s lives were primarily based in the competitive world of the marketplace.
This meant (and still means) that society, government, parents, media, churches, and schools taught women one thing while it taught men something else.
Now each gender seems to think it is basically right and the other gender is basically wrong. This set in motion a chain reaction of defense and disparagement.
We’re right; they’re wrong. This is "gender conceit" talking.
We all feel obligated to defend the ways of our gender. Many of us seem to feel obligated to disparage the ways of the other gender.
Much of our self-esteem is derived from gender identification. And something that is related to self-esteem will not change easily. In addition, something that has been ingrained from our birth will not change easily.
So, it is not enough to know that boys and girls are different. We must understand the differences in the genders and be prepared to bridge those genders before our relationships can be successful.
Despite the difficulty in making gender changes, though, it is happening. Young men and women are more alike than their parents were.
But age is not the whole story. Some people, regardless of age, are more receptive to new ideas and ways of doing things than others. We all know people who hang on to the status quo tooth and toenail. We all know a few people who keep an open mind for most of their lives.
Unfortunately, those people who think, "All men are…" or "All women are…" will miss some good people, for friendship as well as relationships. Many of them will start to look "old and quaint" or slightly ridiculous, even to their peers.
Those people with open minds about gender will not only have a better chance of making their relationships work, they will also maintain a young attitude and be less "set in their ways" as they age.
Therefore, it’s advantageous to keep an open mind and take each person met as an individual, not as a man or a woman or his/her gender stereotype.