Thursday, June 13, 2013

Twelfth Night

"Oh, I'm not like a typical girl," I would say hurriedly. "I think I think more like a man, y'know? More rational." 

I used to make the mistake believing that rationality was the province of males, but then one day I realized: Hold the phone, I don't know any rational men. 

I ticked thoroughly through the list of the dudes in my life, family, friends, business associates, dates, the UPS guy—I couldn't come up with one who was solely controlled by his brain, as opposed to his emotions. So much for that. Rationality is not a quality specific to men; it is merely a quality, equally present in men or women. 
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Viola and Sebastian
Not to say I am emotionally devoid, like Data; nay, I am more like Spock, schooling my rationality to master my passionate emotions. Go Vulcans!  
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I'm still working on my Spock eyebrow.
Men and women, as Jews believe, are equal, but not the same. Even in the Gemara, men are supposed to celebrate holidays with meat and fish, whereas women are given free reign to purchase new finery. Men and women derive joy from different avenues, so sayeth our ancient texts (nothing much has changed in 2,000+ years).
Unfortunately, the continuing belief in “categorical differences” — men are aggressive, women are caring — reinforces traditional stereotypes by treating certain behaviors as immutable. And, it turns out, this belief is based on a scientifically indefensible model of human behavior.  
As Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis report, while of course men and women are different, they are not stereotypically so. Additionally, every time a man and woman (a couple) disagree, the actual issues end up being ignored as soon as accusations of gender-specific behavior are flung about. Meaning, problems cannot be addressed as engrained gender-specific qualities, which in turn are "impossible" to change, being biological in nature, a fact of life as opposed to a choice. 
The Mars/Venus view describes a world that does not exist, at least here on earth. Our work shows that sex does not define qualitatively distinct categories of psychological characteristics. We need to look at individuals as individuals. 
It does us a disservice to focus strictly on the "typical" gender personality traits, as that mindset restricts the possibility of overcoming negative qualities.  

Ergo, if I am rational (I like to think I am, but then again, how honest can one be with oneself?) then I must be so without throwing the entirety of femalekind under the bus, nor simultaneously placing all of mankind on an undeserved pedestal of logical thought. 

You guys can get just as emotional, if not more, than girls (quite a few dates have indulged in hysterics, just saying).   

3 comments:

FrumGeek said...

Perhaps. But the one thing I've noticed that's a constant, when men complain about a problem more often than not they want solutions, while women usually just want sympathy.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

> Hold the phone, I don't know any rational men

Ahem! And I'll repeat that: AHEM!

Princess Lea said...

FG: No no, you are looking at it the wrong way. Women aren't necessarily complaining; they're making conversation. Whenever I tell my father a story from way back when, just to make a walk more entertaining, he starts saying all the things I did wrong. Men want sympathy too, but not the same way women do. If a men stubs a toe, I never hear the end of it. Never mind a cold.

MGI: Mmmmm? (Wide-eyed innocence)