The Psychology of Gender: and why most of your Clients are Women.
Overall, women are equally as intelligent and clever as men, but one would be a fool if one did not accept that women’s and men’s talents lay in different areas. Men are simply better at spatial reasoning tasks than women. This opinion is not just based on much [and sometimes bitter] experience with various girlfriends who seemed not to be able to plan ahead far enough to at least turn up on time (lateness is not a woman’s prerogative, it’s simply downright discourteous), but because all the studies bear out my own (and almost certainly your own) observations. Studies done by Beller and Gafni in 1996 and carried out in over 30 different countries bear this out to be true.
So, men are better at navigation than women. Well, we all knew that to be true deep down anyway, but the reason is simply because men who went off hunting and gathering had to develop navigational skills in order to find their way back to the village. Those with no sense of direction, got lost, didn’t come back, and failed to reproduce. This is yet another example of the survival of the fittest and evolution.
In addition to that, in all cultures (I struggle to think of an exception) boys are more physically active and generally more exploratory than girls and therefore develop better spatial and navigational skills through nothing more than practice. In our modern Western society, girls are being encouraged to take on activities and jobs that were once reserved exclusively for men and this is a very good thing indeed. I believe that women should be allowed to do everything while men should be allowed to sit back and watch the rugby. Nonetheless, the end result is that given the opportunity, girls can do equally well as boys and often excel in science and driving trucks. Recent education results in the UK and elsewhere show this to be true.
So, it would be fair to assume, and all anthropological research has confirmed this, that traditional societies have assigned roles, particularly division of labour, on a gender basis. This leads the members of those societies to expect certain kinds of behaviour that is consistent with those roles. These inherent social expectations and conventions must inevitably lead to this division of role-playing becoming not only self-fulfilling but also self-perpetuating. That is, of course, until Oprah came along and changed things.
The most recent research I have been able to lay my hands on was done in 1999 (Gur) and shows that the cerebral hemispheres are not as specialised in women as they are in men. However… women display a greater ‘social connectedness’ than men and are again, generally more empathic.
Women are naturally better carers than men, particularly when it comes to looking after children, even other people’s children. On the whole, they are kinder and gentler (except when it comes to relationships with husbands and partners when some can turn out to be emotionally aggressive if they put their minds to it, or happened to have read a book called The Rules.) Men on the other hand have traditionally been assigned the tougher jobs, like working on oil rigs and driving trucks and are therefore expected to be tough and never cry. Women are generally more accommodating than men who are in turn more autonomous and aggressive. Recent studies (Taylor 2000) suggest that women, when subjected to stress, are much more likely to ‘tend and befriend’ than say that they know where you live and will come round and punch your lights out. On the contrary, women will be more concerned with the protection of others. The way they accomplish this is by sharing, caring and cooperating in social networks. Women find it easier to turn to others for support because they have learned that they are more likely to be rewarded for seeking help with sympathy, understanding, and a shoulder to cry on (Collins/Miller/1994.) Men on the other hand learn very early on that seeking help is for wimps.
In 1979, Hall’s study of women in eleven countries found that the more oppressed women were, the more accommodating and the more polite they turned out to be. This may sound like pure common sense and merely serves to confirm what we already suspected to be the case, but at least we now know it as fact. Women who are not forced to wear a burka but instead are allowed to drive trucks and wear hot-pants turn out to be just as independent and rude as us males. Good for them!
For more information about how gender affects suggestibility, read All in the Mind – Hypnosis, Suggestion and the New Mesmerists. Available from this website.
Copyright Andrew Newton 2013. All rights reserved.