Because of this scary research the fields of Psychology and Sociology took another look at what the model of psychological healthiness is for women and men. I.E., is there a different model of wellness for WOMEN AND MEN (a model of "optimal psychological functioning")? And is that okay? And are those models SO terribly different from one another? Or "Are Men From Mars And Women From Venus"?
WOMEN AND MEN HAVE THE SAME EXPERIENCES - BUT - WOMEN AND MEN MAY HAVE DIFFERENT STYLES FOR LIVING THOSE EXPERIENCES.
THAT WE HAVE FAR MORE IN COMMON WITH ONE ANOTHER THAN NOT IS THE OUTCOME OF THE SOLID PSYCH AND SOC. STUDIES.
NOTE: If you don't educate yourself on the special population of women and men, then you will need to rely on your stereotypes when confronted with concerns about gender - That holds true whether you are talking with someone of the opposite sex of the same sex. You will only have your stereotypes to rely upon. (Believe me - society has given us all many gender stereotypes upon which to draw).
So now - with all those qualifiers - on with our exploration:
Are women and men from different worlds or different cultures?
1. “Different worlds” means “as different as night and day.” It is a polarized way of looking at gender. And we know, society tries incessantly to indoctrinate us with polarized definitions of what it means to be male or female.
2. “Different worlds” is a paradigm that has sold any number of pop-psychology books this decade. The more extreme the differences, the more books authors sold.
3. The same thing happened with the rash of books on gender published after the October 1991 Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas sexual harassment challenge in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Clarence Thomas was being considered for Supreme Court Judge. Within months there was a whole generation of gender aware books available. None of these books, so far as I know, provided us with cutting edge, rigorous research on the real differences between women and men. (We call them “He Said/She Said” books.)
4. If we are to believe the latest pop-psychology trend in women’s and men’s communication, we would indeed be convinced that women and men are from different worlds. To hear John Gray, Ph.D. (who wrote a book entitled Men are from Mars and Women Are from Venus) tell it, we are as different as night and day.
Our Women's Center at CSUF believes this type of dichotomy -That is, thinking black and white about women and men - does us all a disservice.
So, pop-psychology books on gender, such as Men are from Mars & Women are from Venus on gender can easily serve to perpetuate stereotypes of men and oppression of women.
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