Sex differences

Voice Card  -  Volume 3  -  Cliff Card Number 3  -  Sun, Dec 11, 1988 11:37 PM

This is ONE OF 4 responses to volume 2, John Card Number 34 ("Battle of the Sexes")...

I will respond to Dionne by responding to John's response. I certainly agree with John's observation that there are vast differences between members of the same sex. Psychologists (and others) often seem to ignore these differences willfully. They are more interested in stating generalizations that may hold of a (bare) majority of men and women than they are in accurately reflecting the true diversity of humanity. Of course, the fact that no one pays them to give the raw data may have something to do with it.

My own initial response, perhaps resulting from a philosopher's penchant for refutation, is to think of all the people I know who are not like that. I am also tempted to think that most male/female differences are culturally influenced or enhanced in some way.

For example, men are, to a large extent, encouraged to have male friends as children. They share male oriented activities (from which girls have been excluded). Women again enter the picture when sexual interests begin to dominate. It is not surprising from this sort of training that men would find friendship easier with other males than with females.

But, Dionne, you asked for particular cases and John asked about the things men and women talk about. It has not been my experience that men and women are so different in what they want to talk about. The truth of the matter for me is that it is rare indeed that I find someone to whom I can relate deeply in respect to things I care about. Given the general differences in upbringing between most men and most women, it is not unlikely that men will find more men to talk to than women.

In my own case I have two female friends with whom I can discuss most anything and three or four men. Luckily, one of the women is my wife.

On the general preference of men for action and women for talk, it is, I think, accurate to say that men are more quickly aroused sexually than women (on average). Combine that fact with the general difficulty of finding someone who cares about what you care about and a large part of the apparent differences between men and women may be explained.

[Editor's note: Hear! Hear! Well said!]