Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blog Post # 3 in response to Question C

Mars Venus or Planet Earth by John Gray
Presentation by Michael Kimmel

The subject on the differences between men and women is one that has existed for centuries and his represented in John Gray’s book “Mars or Venus or Planet Earth”. However, Michael Kimmel’s discussion on gender differences and his critique of Gray’s work shows that men and women may not be as different as they seem.

Michael Kimmel interprets John Gray’s work to say that “men and women are so fundamentally different that [they] might as well be from different planets”. However, Kimmel believes that men and women are actually similar in “every trait and behavior” and that they are “more similar than different politically”. Basically, he is saying that there is no war between men and women, and that the things women say they need “to live their lives the way they want to live them are the same things that men need”.

My opinion regarding the differences between men and women has changed as I have gotten older and as my relationships with men have evolved. When I was younger, I leaned more towards the side of agreeing with the fact that men and women (or at this point boys and girls) were from completely different planets. I actually think that the boys and girls part of this is important. It has been proven that it is part of nature that females mature faster than men, and at a younger stage in life I feel that that maturity difference is more noticeable. Even at the same age, it seems that girls start thinking about how they want to live the lives and the finer details earlier than men. So, it makes sense that boys and girls would seem different at this point. However, as boys become men and girls become women I would agree with Kimmel’s statement that the things women and men need to live their lives are the same thus the differences in gender may not be as great as I once though them to be.

This point became most apparent to me when Kimmel talks about what makes a marriage successful. The main factor being that marriage in the form of a friendship or partnership model is the most successful. Marriages are successful in this form because there is equality, and the more “equalitarian marriage, the more likely [the marriage] will thrive”. What is interesting is how equality is measured in a marriage-this being how much household/childcare work the man does in the home.

Research shows that with shared household work children from the marriages are more successful, the wives are happier, the wives are healthier, the men are healthier and couples have more sex. It seems obvious that men would want to share an equal amount of responsibility around the house because of all the benefits, but this is still a work in process due to the four rules of masculinity as stated by Kimmel.
Rule number one, no sissy stuff”, especially comes into play since it means that men can’t do anything that even remotely hints of femininity if they want to be seen as masculine.  So, it makes sense that men don’t want to be seen as nurturing as they need to keep up their image of masculinity “which has become a relentless test and always has to be proven”.

I don’t think anyone can say that they don’t want to have a happy life that consists of meaningful relationships with people. As of now, men don’t realize that gender is an important in their lives as it is to women because “privilege is invisible to those who have it”. Women have had to work the equality rights they have, while for men it has always simply been a privilege. But, if one agrees with Kimmel that men and women want the same things out of life then the only way men will be able to have the lives they want is to support women’s efforts to create gender equality. So ,despite the zero sum game that many men are  currently playing, if they truly want to be happy they must embrace gender equality and all that comes with it.


  1. Very nice post! I truly believe we need to be teaching gender equality starting in pre-school and elementary school and continue throughout high school. As many of my students have said, while they love learning about this stuff in college in their Women's Studies class, by that point in many ways it is too late. I truly believe gender equality will benefit our society in every way possible. People like Kimmel give me hope that this can happen.

  2. I really liked your your way of thinking about girls maturing faster than boys, but in the end they both reach the conclusion that they both need equality in order to live together in this world. Because we as humans want to live a happy life.

  3. I also liked your point about girls maturing faster than boys. As a child I feel boys and girls are sometimes treated differently, and are taught different skills, and traits as well as how to act ("be a lady", or "don't be a wimp"). However it is true that we all end up realizing that we need each other, and have more similar goals than one would originally think.