DHTML Menu, (c)2004 Apycom
image
spacer
spacerbulletspacerPirate's Talebullet

Editorial

Around Our Town...Family


The Battle of the Sexes Part 3


04/01/2006 - As we begin the third installment of this series and continue this discussion on gender differences, I want to clarify that I am not suggesting that anyone avoid reading materials related to marriage and relationships or seminars and workshops that address these issues. I know from experience that there are very positive results when couples invest in learning more about relationships and about each other and I respect the work that has been done by every author, teacher, therapist and minister to promote a better understanding of the differences between men and women and how they affect a relationship with the opposite sex. I am merely suggesting that we use caution when attempting to define masculinity and femininity in a rigid, stereotypical manner without considering the context in which these ideas and concepts were formed.

First, I know there are indeed differences between men and women other than the obvious physiological ones. I also have to admit to you that I am having trouble coming up with hard, fast characteristics that are applicable to all men or all women. For example the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has a dimension that measures whether an individual is a "thinker" or a "feeler". According to Kiersey and Bates in their book Please Understand Me, 60% of women prefer making a decision on the basis of personal impact or "feeling" and 60% of men prefer to make decisions on the basis of principles (logically and objectively) or "thinking".

This is the only scale out of four that indicated any sort of gender difference and the percentage gap is not that wide.

In an article that I have quoted from previously (in the February edition of Our Town Casper) entitled "Are you man enough? Exposing the Male Myth" (Gary J. Oliver, Christian Counseling Today, Winter 1995, p.15-18), Dr. Oliver comments:

"Many men's issues come from cultural expectations and myths that have imprisoned men, shaped their perception of what it means to be a man, and set them up for emotional and relational problems . . . . The most devastating loss men have suffered by accepting these distortions is the loss of their hearts the ability to feel, to be tender as well as tough, to be whole people."

The focus in these articles is mainly on the definition of masculinity primarily because much more has been done in the area of helping women break out of the confines of stereotyping in the past. I think the men's movements (Promise Keepers, for example) have attempted to help men to open up to each other and to their wives and children. There seems to be, however, a "neutralizing" effect when we begin to reinforce with men that they are "from Mars" and women are "from Venus" or that "his needs" are radically different than "her needs". We seem to validate that the majority of men do not need to be relational and aren't really capable of being emotionally vulnerable unless there is something to be gained from it (be it respect, sex, or whatever). To illustrate how upbringing and socialization impact a man's view of masculinity, Dr. Oliver discusses the differences between how girls and boys are trained to think about relationships at a very young age.

"In childhood, girls are encouraged to develop relational abilities but boys are pushed to develop a competitive and independent spirit. As they grow up, learning to build friendships is difficult because they have never learned to communicate on an intimate level. Some may view close relationships as a threat, as evidence that they might be gay, or as something that could reveal their inadequacies and weaknesses. As a result, men tend to have fewer skills for developing close relationships and many feel lonely."

In my opinion, it would be far better to help men and women understand what healthy relationships look like, and how their different personality types can complement one another in a marriage relationship rather than solidifying the "battle lines" that already exist!

What do healthy relationships look like and how do we let our differences complement one another and promote unity rather than division in the context of a relationship with the opposite sex? I plan to share some of my observations and perspectives along with a couple of hypothetical cases in the fourth and final article in this series next month.

Comments or suggestions for future

topics? Mailing address:

The Healing Place,

Highland Park

Community Church

411 S. Walsh,

Casper, Wyoming 82601

Site Search


Home Page
Around Our Town...April Gardening Calendar
Around Our Town...Ask the Decorator
Around Our Town...Business Spotlight
Around Our Town...Business Spotlight
Around Our Town...Casper's Cool Kids
Around Our Town...Game and Fish
Around Our Town...Gentle Virtues
Around Our Town...Heroes
Around Our Town...Legally Speaking
Around Our Town...Music to My Ears
Around Our Town...Our Cover Family
Around Our Town...To Your Health
Around Our Town...To Your Health
Extras
email e-mail this article link to a friend
letters letter to the editor about this article
print print this article
facebook facebook
twitter twitter
digg digg it
share share
font size Larger | Smaller

Moreno's Custom Dreams Construction

Ark Animal Hospital

Slide-Lok

Grapevine Design and Secretarial
Thanks for visiting Our Town Casper
Questions or Comments? Email us here.