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This is one of a series of Lesson-2 articles on learning to think
and communicate effectively. It offers perspective on how gender affects
interpersonal communications. When communications are troublesome, use
awareness to see if gender-differences may be a factor.
In their interesting,
well-researched book Brain Sex (1991), geneticist Anne Moir
and David Jessel say
that the development of a person's brain and certain glands are mainly programmed early in
pregnancy by the presence or absence of male hormones - specially testosterone.
embryo brains start out wired "female" (!) Moir claims that social
programming is an important but much weaker factor in determining whether a person has
"male" or "female" traits and response patterns.
female brains are structured and process
information differently. Adults' and kids' brains are on a continuum from
"very male" to "very female," and function largely independently of
the gender of the body they're in (hence "tomboys" and
Because of this, Dr. Moir urges that we
the "battle of the sexes" - for
neither gender is right or better, we're just "wired"
differently. Thus in communicating, it would help if men and women stop
judging and trying to convert each other ("You are so illogical!;
Yeah? Well you have the sensitivity of a tree stump."), acceptour different abilities and skills as complementary, and blend them
cooperatively to manage our life
challenges! This seems to answer Henry Higgins' question in My Fair Lady
"Why Can't a Woman ... Be More Like a Man?!"
Some of these
largely biologicaldifferences seem to be:
("Male brains") prefer:
("Female brains") prefer:
_ facts, reason, and logic
_ power / rank / status
_ competing / achieving
_ analyzing / figuring out
_ assertion / aggression
_ reports / information
_ intellectual understanding
_ sex (intercourse /
_ companionship / doing
_ teaching / leading
_ being focused / specific /
_ order / rules / structure
_ how things work
_ feelings, senses, and meaning
_ harmony /
_ intuiting / "knowing"
_ co-operation, mutuality
_ rapports / bonding
_ love / intimacy
_ closeness / being
_ nurturing / growing
_ being "wide-angle" /
_ organic, fluid patterns
_ feeling / experiencing
_ personal and social impacts
partner's respective profiles and rankings of these factors shape how you communicate and react with each other. How would you rank-order yourself and your key
communication partners (including kids) on these attributes? How do your preference-patterns
(above) affect your
Implication - if
a communication partner has a different profile of these prioritiesthan you do, it's useless
and disrespectful to criticize or try to change them.
Trying to do so is
demanding that s/he change her or his fingerprints. What do you think?
Just Don't Understand - Women and Men in Conversation" (1990 Ballentine
paperback, by linguist Deborah Tannen, Ph.D.) for more interesting perspective on male/female
communication traits and differences.
aware of these gender-differences and how they affect
your communications is part of self-improvement Lesson 2 here. The goals of this vitalLesson are for your family adults to...
help each other become fluent in using the skills to
everyone getting more of their
primary needs met, in a mutual-respectful
way. As you do...
teach your kids to know
and use communication basics and these powerful skills. This will help
break the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
This article proposes that male and female brains are "wired differently"
and process information in different ways. It summarizes typical
priority-differences between typical males and females, and encourages you
to appreciate these complementary differences, rather than criticizing or
trying to convert communication partners of the other gender to be like you.