“Can’t Live With Them and Can’t Live Without Them-”
The Behavioral Differences Between
Men and Women
Even though neither sex would ever admit it, men and women are reliant on one another. We expect them to want what we want, feel what we feel, see what we see, and think what we think. We seem to have forgotten that men and women are supposed to be different and that our similarities are what define our relationship with one another. Whether it is a loving or friendly relationship with the opposite sex, this forgetfulness has caused major conflict and friction between the sexes since the beginning of time. In order for there to ever be peace between the sexes there needs to be understanding and acceptance of the differences and similarities between men and women. Once we are able to understand this we can use our new insight to approach situations in a more proactive matter as opposed to trying to change one another. Major differences between men and women influence our behavior and develop throughout the course of our lives. These differences should be considered when attempting to deal with the opposite sex.
In preschool years, children are faced with a major identity crisis: gender identity. According to Berk (2010), gender identity is “a full understanding of the biologically based permanence of their gender, including the realization that sex remains the same even if clothing, hairstyles, and play activities change”. Basically, the child learns to determine whether their characteristics are masculine or feminine. Society doesn’t leave much room for imagination in creating your own identity. While growing up, children see gender-typed behaviors modeled for them every day by the adults they interact with. For instance, as a girl; the types of toys that are normally played with are Barbie dolls or dress up clothes. Boys, on the other hand, play with trucks, trains, or action figures. Children organize behaviors, thoughts, and experiences into gender schemas. According to Berk (2010), “The gender schema theory is an information-processing approach to gender typing that combines social learning and cognitive-developing features”. Gender identities and gender schemas help explain how external and internal factors work together to shape a child’s belief of their gender role.
As early adolescence approaches, children go through a phase of gender intensification. Berk (2010) describes this stage as “increased gender stereotyping of attitudes and behavior and movement toward a more traditional gender identity”. Gender intensification is evident in both sexes, but is more prominent in females than it is in males. Girls tend react to gender intensification more strongly than boys because girls feel more uncomfortable engaging in activities that oppose their idea of normal “girl behavior”. The biggest factor impacting gender intensification is puberty. Not only do we see physical differences between genders, but also we start to think of ourselves in more gender stereotypical ways. Throughout puberty, males and females begin to experience gender-typed peer pressure. Since, puberty is the point in life when males and females begin to develop relationships with the opposite sex, the difficulty understanding one another begins to intensify. BIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES
The most obvious difference between men and women besides our physical differences are our genetic makeup. Every person has two chromosomes which are single coiled pieces of DNA that contain the blueprints for our body. Men have a chromosomal makeup of XY and women have a chromosomal makeup of XX. The Y in the male chromosomal make up is solely responsible for male specific characteristics such as male reproductive organs (Penn State, 2005).
One of the most difficult differences for men and women to overcome is the brain anatomy and processes of the opposite sex. There are 9 main differences...
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