Gender Stereotypes Don't Always Hold Up in Our Modern World

Article excerpt

"Now that's a typical male response!"

I was in the middle of watching the Olympics. My outburst was not in response to anything I had heard on TV, but to what I was "hearing" myself think.

The sports reporter was in the midst of a long piece about the family trauma of a U.S. athlete. And rather than appreciating such a personal slant on things, I found myself protesting: Enough human interest already; let's get back to the action!

Well, so much for my being sensitive, empathic or a liberated male.

I don't know that we'll ever be able to sort out how much of being male and female is heredity, environment or choice. But I think it is fair to say that, for whatever reasons, men generally tend to be more oriented to the concrete, problem solving, action. Women, on the other hand, tend to be more intuitive, emotive and reflective.

There is, of course, a great deal of variety among men and women in such tendencies. Men can be reflective; women can act quite forcefully. Again, we're talking in broad generalizations.

Certainly there have been times when such gender differences were valuable. When "he" was away fighting saber toothed tigers, there wasn't much time to reflect on the experience. …