The difference between men and women is insurmountable and has been something that’s been researched and talked about for as long as there’s been science. While some science has been faulty, with people changing experiments to get the results that reinforce their hypothesis, instead of changing the hypothesis to suit results. Recently, due to the works of Dr John Money, who falsified records and experiments on gender being a social construct, there is more belief in his work than lack thereof.
While the topic of gender has extremely different viewpoints, the work of Dr John Money which caused the discussion is never discussed. He’s the first person to bring up the idea that gender is a social construct, and is learned rather than something you’re born with. The reason is his falsified academic paper where he claimed “success” on the involuntary gender reassignment of the child David Reimer and the questionable sexual practices he demanded his twin, Brian, to commit on David. Both the brothers have since committed suicide.
As such, the differences between men and women are more comically seen in other media like movies and shows. Men and women have a huge problem communicating with each other effectively.
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The Scientific American discussed the differences to some degree!
Few topics in psychology are more controversial than sex differences. Debates can be classified into two main types: (a) The description of sex differences, including both the size and variability of sex differences across a multitude of physical and psychological traits, and (b) The origins and development of sex differences, including the complex interplay between social, cultural, genetic, and biological factors that influence sex differences.
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These lines often get blurred. Researchers who emphasize sociocultural factors in their research tend to conceptualize sex differences as small and worry that if we exaggerate the differences, then all hell will break loose in society. On the other side, those who emphasize biological influences tend to emphasize how differences in personality and behavior can be quite large.
I believe that this blurring between the descriptive and the explanatory levels of analysis has stunted the field and distorted public debates over these complex and sensitive issues. In order to make real long-lasting changes that actually have an effect on desired outcomes, our knowledge of the truth needs to be as clear as possible.
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A large number of well-done studies have painted a rather consistent picture of sex differences in personality that are strikingly consistent across cultures. It turns out that the most pervasive sex differences are seen at the “narrow” level of personality traits, not the “broad” level (see here for a great example of this basic pattern).
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At the broad level, we have traits such as extraversion, neuroticism, and agreeableness. But when you look at the specific facets of each of these broad factors, you realize that there are some traits that males score higher on (on average), and some traits that females score higher on (on average), so the differences cancel each other out. This canceling out gives the appearance that sex differences in personality don’t exist when in reality they very much do exist.
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For instance, males and females on average don’t differ much on extraversion. However, at the narrow level, you can see that males on average are more assertive (an aspect of extraversion) whereas females on average are more sociable and friendly (another aspect of extraversion). So what does the overall picture look like for males and females on average when going deeper than the broad level of personality?
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On average, males tend to be more dominant, assertive, risk-prone, thrill-seeking, tough-minded, emotionally stable, utilitarian, and open to abstract ideas. Males also tend to score higher on self-estimates of intelligence, even though sex differences in general intelligence measured as an ability are negligible. Men also tend to form larger, competitive groups in which hierarchies tend to be stable and in which individual relationships tend to require little emotional investment. In terms of communication style, males tend to use more assertive speech and are more likely to interrupt people (both men and women) more often– especially intrusive interruptions– which can be interpreted as a form of dominant behavior.
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Of course, there are many men who don’t display high levels of all of these traits. But that fact doesn’t contradict the broader pattern. For instance, I can recognize that I am a man who has quite a mix of extremely masculine and extremely feminine personality traits and also recognize that my own personal experience doesn’t invalidate the generalizable findings. Which is why I will keep italicizing on average to emphasize that point.
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In contrast, females, on average, tend to be more sociable, sensitive, warm, compassionate, polite, anxious, self-doubting, and more open to aesthetics. On average, women are more interested in intimate, cooperative dyadic relationships that are more emotion-focused and characterized by unstable hierarchies and strong egalitarian norms. Where aggression does arise, it tends to be more indirect and less openly confrontational.
Females also tend to display better communication skills, displaying higher verbal ability and the ability to decode other people’s nonverbal behavior. Women also tend to use more affiliative and tentative speech in their language, and tend to be more expressive in both their facial expressions and bodily language (although men tend to adopt a more expansive, open posture). On average, women also tend to smile and cry more frequently than men, although these effects are very contextual and the differences are substantially larger when males and females believe they are being observed than when they believe they are alone.
What about you? Did any of these apply to you? Tell us down in the comments!