I’ve got 4 boys and a one girl. You don’t have to spend long with my family to see that our boys are different from our daughter. It’s easy to overgeneralize but I believe it is plain to see: men and women are different. Early this week I was reading about the race to the South Pole. Some of the most dramatic stories of heroism and leadership that I have ever read are associated with these expeditions. This week on the anniversary of the accomplishment, as I was reading the story about the “race” to be the first to reach the South Pole, I was struck by some of the pictures. Men with frostbite, their bodies wasted to skeletons, clearly suffering the physical effects of the effort. Some died, and yet many returned after pervious failures to try again! As I was lying in bed, another thought came to me: “what a bunch of idiots”! Risk life and limb to say you were the first person to stand on a frozen patch of the globe? Ha! Maybe this is part of the proof: Men are dumber than women.
OK – I get it. It’s about making history. It is about breaking new ground. Conquering extreme elements. Pushing the limits. Like my boys, yesterday coming home bragging about breaking off rafts of ice to float out on the freezing water. Just because they could! My daughter although occasionally a risk-taker, doesn’t seem to daily chance life and limb like my boys (secretly, I think they get it from their mom. I‘m much to smart to partake in such dangerous exploits 😆 )
And men and women in general.
Men (in general) seem to invite risk, and hunger for extremes in way that is detrimental to their lives in a capacity that historically women have not. Now I can hear some of your charges of typical sexism, saying “this is not a reflection of genuine differences between the sexes but a creation of male-dominated culture at large”. While not denying that reality, I do think this is more a reflection of the genuine differences in men and women.
Some have suggested that this is the reason we find more balance in our current western world (by balance I mean, opportunities for women that they have not historical been encouraged to play). There are few realms, places and events to be conquered, or that fall in the category of “firsts” anymore. Western societies tend to value stability far more than global or regional expansion (people talk about securing borders now, not conquering neigboring counties). Mens roles have changed. Womens roles have changed. Our world has changed. Many of those changes have been for the best, rewarding us all.
A few questions for you:
1. Do you think there are intrinsic differences between men and women?
2. If the world is changing, what adjustments do men need to make to embrace those positive changes?
3. Where values and priorities are timeless for men, what needs to roles need to be asserted regardless of changes in culture?
Here are the articles I was referring to: http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2011-12-13-amundsen-scott-shackleton-gentlemen-adventurers-of-antarctic