Men And Women: Why Are We So Different? Essay, Research Paper
It is an undeniable fact that there are many differences between males and females, but we should be weary of making claims of superiority placing the importance of one gender over another. We should not view these differences as an absence of equality, but rather as the driving force that enables society to function in a more complete and diverse manner. When interviewed by Natalie Angier, professor Virginia Valian showed that these differences are inherent by saying “You can take a person at random and list a bunch of adjectives- “assertive”, “has high leadership ability”, “is kind to children” – and the person would have no trouble matching them up with one sex or the other.” This shows that society views certain characteristics as being distinctly male and others as being distinctly female. We, as men, should be careful not to undervalue women as Dr. Valian says we do. We should hold them as equals and as partners. In doing this, it is necessary to examine some of these differences and to show that though these do exist, neither is superior to the other, and society should strive to reflect this. The first difference that we will examine is the very core that makes us different. That core is biology. In biology, there are two distinct sets of genes: male (XX) and female (XY). Though these are distinctly different, there can already be seen some similarity in the two. Both carry the X chromosome. These different sets of chromosomes cause us to form distinct male and female physical characteristics. These differences enable males to be more suited to certain tasks. Males usually develop stronger muscles than do females, making us more suited to certain tasks such as heavy lifting. This in turn leads to genderization of careers. Jobs that utilize this extra strength, such as construction or auto-mechanics are therefore classified as basically masculine careers.Other jobs, such as librarians or beauticians, are classified as feminine. Though some would argue that the distinction between masculine and feminine careers stems from societal influence, it can be seen that biology plays a huge role in making this differentiation. Another biological difference unites the two sexes in importance. That difference is in our reproductive systems. “It’s a given that humans, like most other species-bananas, sharks, ducks, any rabbit you pull out of a hat- rely on two sexes for reproduction. So basic is that requirement that we have chromosomes whose primary purpose is to deliver the genes that order up a male or female”(Blum 46). Here, there is no distinction of importance. Both are equally necessary for the continuation of the human race.
Though biology may account for many of the differences between males and females, it can by no means, account for all of them. Many outside factors cause these differences. These factors are influenced by “hidden assumptions about sex and gender [that] remain embedded in cultural discourses, social institutions, and individual psyches”. They influence and “shape how people perceive, conceive, and discuss social reality”(Greenbaum 97). The articles by Sanders and Farrell seemed to cast men as “victims” of these cultural influences. I believe it important to look at us, not as victims, but rather as inheritors of a sociological gift that enables and ensures the continuance of humanity as a whole. Angier uses the term “gender gap” in making these distinctions. Indeed, there is a gap, but this should not necessarily be viewed as a negative thing. I believe the concepts of masculinity and femininity to walk hand in hand. Both feed the other and neither can exist independently. Though this gap exists, it is continually bridged by both parties’ dependence on the other. Simply put, though both roles are undeniably different, neither is more important than its companion role. Though society places a kind of predestination, to some extent, on what role we will assume as men, we are not victims because of this. To classify us as victims in turn places a concept of one gender as being superior. Since both genders are reliant on the other and neither can be viewed as more important, we must view the two as partners and this predestination as a blessing that almost inevitably ensures our equality. This equality is essential to the continuance of civilized society. We must not strive to remove these distinctions, but rather to live harmoniously with our societal counter-parts, for I believe that it is these differences that drive society rather than society that drives these differences.