October 11, 2011

Battle of the Sex(es)

I'm currently taking a class called Gender and Communication. As a Communication Major, I actually prefer classes like Media Literacy, Communication in Small Groups, or Non-Verbal Communication. Sometimes, however, I end up in a class like Gender and Communication that I find a little, well, hard to believe.
So far, we have learned some pretty obvious and factual stuff. Like, for example, the fact that women are typically earning less money than men, and that men more often than women choose violence as a way to solve their problems. However, we have also been told that men only like to talk to big audiences because they feel a need to show power and don't see the value in one-on-one dialogue. Our class was also told that women, on the other hand, are unable to solve any problem without first discussing all of their emotions and analyzing each of the possible ideas with a one-on-one conversation.

Both of these are sometimes true, but I find it slightly ridiculous to assume that, with over 6 billion people in the world, there is almost anything that ALL males have in common or that ALL females have in common - well, besides one thing. While "sex" is biological (you either have a penis or you don't), "gender" is socially and culturally constructed (how you choose to use that piece of, um, equipment and what it defines about you). My class was taught that some cultures value men that are strong and violent, while others value men that are smart and sensitive. Even this is a huge exaggeration to me, because I think that each individual person values different things in men, women, and people in general. 

What I do find interesting, however, is how couples handle the balance between "feminine" and "masculine" traits. In my (albeit extremely humble) opinion, the most successful couples in this modern age are the ones where both partners have some traits that are typical of the other sex. In other words, a couple where the man is overly masculine and the woman is overly feminine is probably not too successful because the man will always be dominant which will probably cause the woman to be resentful.This would lead to either big fights and a break-up or a relationship that did not have a very deep, emotional connection with mutual respect. Rather, couples where the woman has some independence and decision-making power and the man is able to show some vulnerability and emotion are (in my experience) much more likely to last for the long-term. 
I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with a girly-girl or a man that is strong or extremely powerful. However, people in relationships need to be able to empathize with each other and be more of a cohesive team than a set of two completely opposite people. I think that if each person in the couple has a good balance of responsibility and confidence while still being nurturing and vulnerable, the pair is much more likely to be able to adapt to whatever speed bumps might come their way and live a happy life together. They can each protect, inspire, support, and encourage each other through any situation, letting them excel as individuals and grow closer as a couple.

Do you agree? What do you think it takes for a couple to work long-term?



  1. I completely agree! I get frustrated when people make huge over-generalizations about genders. My husband loves to cook and I love that he loves to cook. It's something fun that we like to do together. I like watching basketball with him - again something fun that we like to do together. :) And yet, I'm still love my sparkles and girly stuff and he still has his workshop in the garage. Lots of intersecting common ground. :)

  2. I am real girls girl I don't think I have any masculine traits if I am honest and I am attracted to men who are strong and a real mans man. I have to admit I could not be with a man who cries at films and silly things (like I would ha ha) but then again I would not want someone who was violent and aggressive all the time. My husband is a typical mans man, he is not girly at all BUT he loves cooking!
    I think its about give and take.