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Knowing that men and women are different does not prevent me from taking issue with the simplistic contrasts floating around in our culture: women share their trials to vent, while men want to fix things; men are task-oriented, while women are people-oriented; men talk to give information, while women gab to feel connected. Both sexes laughingly accept these descriptions, but I think further examination warrants refinement of our understanding. Even when there is a degree of truth in distinguishing between men and women this way, clinging too firmly to rough categories can prevent us from truly understanding one another. Also—dare I say it—sometimes descriptions like this give mature, capable women far too little credit.
Take, for example, the cultural idea that women are emotional creatures, while men are more likely to operate from logic. At first glance, this makes sense. When we draw conclusions from what we observe, we often see women more vulnerable to tears, expressions of affection, and talk about true feelings. In latter years, we’ve been more open about discussing how hormones can affect women’s behavior. On the other hand, we often see men thriving in careers that demand cool logic—programming, engineering, architecture. Men like facts, as opposed to emphasizing feelings.