I’ve had a lightbulb moment! Maybe I am just very tired, but someone has said something in the men/women, Mars/Venus debate that has resonated with me more than anything else I’ve read in a long time. Before I tell you what it is, here’s a small bit of background:
There’s been a great discussion about men, women, how we all think and how we all act going on over at What We Said. In Litlove’s post on Good Intentions, she talks about how, in her experience – and she quotes her experience in depth which is what makes it all so interesting – she believes women think more about what other people think of them than men do. That is, that women are more aware. This has provoked all kinds of comment, including one from Mandarine (he blogs here) who says he believes nothing is hard-wired into our biology.
Then, there was a comment from Oanh (she blogs here), where she says this, amongst other things:
My two cents on the biology / environment debate is that: whatever it comes down to, we won’t really know whether it is our genes or our environment that structure who we are and why we behave the way we do. The point is that we can and should transcend our biology and our environment to behave as better women and men, and not use either as reasons to excuse inappropriate behaviour or miscommunication or wars or whatever.
This is a shard of pure wisdom, even if it only cost two cents. So what if it is our genes or our environment that make us behave in a certain way – men behaving badly, women behaving sadly – the point is BEHAVE BETTER. Don’t use either (“I’m so manly, I’ve just got to have sex, even if you, dear lady, don’t fancy it right now” or “You ball-breaker, you have emasculated me, I’m just off to find sex somewhere else”) as an excuse for bad behaviour. Having trashed men, just for fun, mind, let me do the same for my own lovely sex: women using their genes (“I’m so hormonal right now, let me spike with you my little kitten claws and watch your entrails uncurl”) or environment (“Yawn. It’s so dull. Must we?”) also constitutes bad behaviour.
Oanh’s message – say what you think, behave with integrity, don’t start wars – is key to better understanding between not only the sexes, but races, religions, countries too. Prevarication, dissembling, lying, pulling the wool, all these are acts of hiding behind the structures that genes and environment provide. We can all, consciously, be better, without having to take refuge in bland but deceptively dangerous gender stereotypes or excuses about how our parents forced us to go to private schools, or eat brocoli and or have tattoos.
Expect only the bare, naked truth from me from now on. I ain’t going to be playing the little lady any more.
Thus endeth the lesson.