Men and women are different. This has been true since the beginning of people. I have the blessing of a son and a daughter. I realized that boys were different from girls when I was playing dinosaurs with my son and I was making them trot around and be nice to each other and kiss each other. Then, later, my husband played dinosaurs with my son and he had them fighting and roaring. “Oh, right”, I thought to myself, “He’s a boy.” As my daughter grew up, I played dinosaurs with her. I made them roar at each other. She got mad and told me that she, the mommy dinosaur needed me, the child dinosaur, to calm down and play nicely. All girl.
Paternal and maternal instincts are just that – instincts – and they are a natural part of our genetic makeup. Being a daddy’s girl and a mama’s boy aren’t necessarily derogatory terms. They demonstrate the necessity of both sexes in a relationship and especially in a parenting relationship.
I raise my children differently, based on their sex. If I need to have a conversation with my son, I grab some sort of throwable object so we can have a game of catch and chat. Talking to my daughter requires that she sit on my lap or near me and we just talk as I work to steer the conversation. While there are always exceptions to the rule, the studies I’ve read prove out my experience. I have the same expectations of both my children: high grades, proper behavior, obedience to authority, etc. But, I don’t expect them to get there in exactly the same way.
Senator Elizabeth Warren laments that she has been treated “differently” by her male colleagues but won’t go into detail. My kneejerk reaction is to ask – how does she know? Relationships with people occur at varying levels of trust and intimacy. If the table were turned, I would rightly expect that her male colleagues say that she treats them differently. Like attracts like. I can talk to my female friends about things that my male friends, and even my husband, can seek to understand but they’ll never “get” because they aren’t girls. I don’t know what it is to be the man of the house, the pressures he feels to provide for his family, even if he’s not making the most money for the house. Men cannot know what a woman feels like during labor. We can describe it, we can simulate it through shock therapy, but we can never replicate it because men aren’t built the same way and will never be.
But, Laura, some will criticize – all people are different. You can’t just categorize them into “sex” and then they’ll try to explain the spectrum of gender. While there are surely women who behave in more masculine ways and men who behave in effeminate ways, at the end of the day, they are still men and women, with all the biological wiring that goes along with it. Even transsexuals who take hormones and alter their physical bodies cannot alter their entire biology and really don’t know what it is to be the other sex. They are role-playing what makes them feel most comfortable and then identifying that based on their view of the sexes. A man who wants to become a woman will never know the highs and lows of PMS nor of pregnancy. A woman who wants to become a man will never know the inherent pressure of being the protector and provider for the family because that body isn’t designed for those things.
Men need women in the world as their counterbalance and vice versa. As it has been said, if all people acted like men, there would be millions of babies and no one to take care of them and if all people acted like women, the species would die out. It’s said tongue-in-cheek but there is truth to it. So, yes, Senator Warren, your male colleagues treat you differently because you are different – you are a woman. And, unbeknownst to you, apparently you treat them just as differently because they are not women. Men and women are different. I wouldn’t have it any other way!