Sunday, October 15, 2006


One Word (aka Zhoen) left a comment and a link to a newspaper article about my last post. She disagrees with my conclusion that women are different from men. I should elaborate. I would agree that women and men are essentially the same, that humans are essentially not much different from apes, or dogs, or ants: living, breathing, consciousness-filled creatures whose reason for being is the big mystery we would all like to solve and alas never will. But the gender differences I am talking about are incremental and small in the great scheme of things. Yes, it is true that these differences have been exaggerated, “over inflated,” and it is thought that this exaggeration is generally to the detriment of women.

The article quotes a psychologist saying that boys want to play with boy toys and girls with girl toys so there must be some deep biological difference. Our son played with GI Joe dolls and our daughter with Barbie dolls. In both cases the joy seemed to be mainly in constructing and creating: scenarios, forts out of cardboard boxes, dresses out of bits of cloth and ribbon. Our daughter remembers playing Barbie’s on Patricia’s back deck when she was about 10 and thinking, “Right now I’m as happy as I am ever going to be.” My son remembers the joy of playing in Dan’s basement with their accumulated GI Joe equipment. I must get them to tell me how exactly they played. Where exactly did the joy reside?

And while I am at it, I will try to remember where the joy resided in my own childhood games. Why was playing Sardines so exciting? Croquet? The Hubba Hubba Night Club?

1 comment:

Zhoen said...

I hope you know, that although I disagree, I do respect your position, and I value your writing and opinion. Either way, I hate it when the politicians and media get ahold of studies about "differences" and inflate them for their own axe grinding activities.

I never had Barbies, could never quite make out the appeal.