I love this article. It is a terrific, thoughtful, scientific, and ultimately, (unintentionally) very Catholic view of the differences between the sexes. When most people talk about gender differences, they lapse into useless stereotypes. For instance, “Women like to talk and men don’t” Really? So if a man likes to talk to his friends does that make him less manly? Or how about another example, “Men like to solve problems and women like to talk about problems.” Really? Women don’t want to solve their problems? And if a woman is good a problem-solving, does that make her masculine? Of course not.
Whether this article’s conclusions are absolutely spot-on or not (and I do think they are pretty good) it is at least asking the right questions. If we’re going to talk about gender differences I think it is important to distinguish between dimensional differences (i.e., things that are often, but not necessarily, different between men and women) and taxonic differences (i.e., things that are almost always different between men and women).
Catholics argue that men’s and women’s differences are “complementary.” That is, the differences between men and women are intended, not to separate or confuse them, but to help them serve each other and understand each other better. When we view dimensional differences as taxonic, we exaggerate how difficult it is for men and women to be the partners to each other that God intended them to be. Here’s an example that illustrates these two types of differences from the article.
Let’s say you have a new job at a mall. You have been put in charge of directing people to the restroom when they ask where it is. But you only get to know one piece of information about a person to tell them where to go when they need to go. You do not get to see or hear the person needing direction. You just know one small piece of information. It’s really a strange job, but in these times, you hang onto what you can.
Check out the article and then, if you want to learn more about how men and women were intended to work together and how you can live that reality in your marriage, check out For Better…FOREVER! A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage.