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Ang Perrier

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How does gender affect formulation of opinion based on perception?

I'd like to kick-start this debate by asking for each person responding, to please describe their personal opinion of their ideal; a) Husband/boyfriend b) Wife/girlfriend.

I'm adding onto this now...

How different do you perceive males and females to be?

Are these differences something that can be phased out through gender neutralizing environments or are they engrained in our nature as a permanent fixture?

If there's a possibility of phasing out the differences would you choose to?
If there's not how do we address our Politically Correct world where we avoid any recognition of differences between genders?

The focus here is on the mental, emotional, and developmental differences, not so much the physical.

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Closing Statement from Ang Perrier

Overall it seems as though we are able to accept and recognize that there are differences between males and females. What we are not ready to accept and recognize is that there are differences in the way we learn that should be addressed in early childhood development.

This doesn't mean the end result has to change as far as career capabilities. It means that we need to cater to these developmental differences and teach our boys the way they learn best and teach our girls the way they learn best in order for them to have the opportunity to achieve their desired goals in life.

Right now our education system is failing both genders equally and that is unfortunate. We can say that it's because we don't spend enough money on schooling, or we don't address the specific needs of each individual child. But I think that a reasonable attempt at adapting a school curriculum which incorporates certain gender differences into the lesson plan has proven to be effective and ought to be adopted by more schools and made available to anyone who thinks that their child would benefit from it.

I DO NOT mean that girls should be taught Home Ec. and boys should be taught Shop Class. I'm implying that girls and boys learn subjects such as math and science easier in 2 very different ways. Why not structure a class that is designed to teach girls/boys math the way their brains understand it best? It's not harmful for our society to look at what science can teach us about the brain and use that information in the most effective way possible.

I'd like to take this time to advocate to any parent out there reading this to do some research and decide for yourself if gender specific lesson plans could be a benefit for your child.

Start with Leonard Sax's book "Why Gender Matters" and see if you find yourself agreeing with the statements and research he's done over the past 25 years.

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    Apr 12 2014: Hey Ang.....interesting topic:>)

    A little background.....I was married for 24 years and have been divorced for 24 years, and since the divorce, have had several relationships on different levels. So, the exploration I've done with myself for about 48 years is the basis for any response I provide:>)

    The ideal partner for me, would be one who is as content with their exploration of life as I am content with my exploration of life, and be willing and able to communicate, share and explore thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions, perspectives and beliefs with respect and genuine curiosity.....that's all!!! :>)
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      Apr 12 2014: You used the term partner which could be referring to either a male or a female.

      Do you feel you've had much success in finding a male partner/companion who is willing and able to communicate, share and explore thoughts, etc...???

      What about a female partner/companion with those same qualities/abilities?
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        Apr 13 2014: Correct Ang....I used the term "partner" for that reason. I am open to possibilities:>) Although, I am more and more content all the time without a partner.......who knows???

        There are lots of people who are willing and able to share many thoughts and feelings on various levels, and I have had some lovely relationships. As I said, a person with whom I make a long term partnership commitment would be as content with their exploration of life as I am content with my exploration of life.....we would be equally as content.

        What I have discovered, is that often times, it is my contentment and passion for life that someone is attracted to (I have actually been told this several times), and I end up emotionally supporting that person. While it feels good in the beginning to have a person say they want to learn from me, it gets tiring very quickly. This is why a partner for me would have to be equally as content, which comes with genuinely exploring all aspects of the life adventure.

        Men and women certainly have "roles" given to us by society, and I believe those roles are changing, which can be helpful to relationships.....or not. Sometimes, I think it can cause more confusion in relationships.

        For example, as a young wife/mother, I was very aware that I was the emotional support of the family, while the husband was the financial support. He didn't feel like emotional "stuff" was needed from him because that was my job. I accepted that for years, and often felt totally drained. Gender DID effect how we perceived each other and our roles in the family. Interesting that now (since the divorce), we are better friends, and in my perception, more equally emotionally supportive of each other.
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          Apr 13 2014: Do you think gender roles are given to us exclusively by society? Do you find that you're relatively content with your role?

          What is your perception of men in general and their ability to connect with their emotions and the emotions of others?

          Sorry that's a lot of questions to throw out there. :)
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        Apr 14 2014: Hi again Ang:>)

        Questions are always a good way to explore anything in my perception and experience. It is how I do my own explorations in my self.....ask myself questions and ponder possible answers:>)

        Yes, I think gender roles are given to us by society....including parents, religions, etc.

        I have been creating my role for quite some time.....since I began to realize there were certain expected roles...I think it was about 40 years ago that became more clear to me. Since then, yes, I am relatively content with my life as I have orchestrated it.

        I think both men and women have the ability to connect with emotions, and I think it is important to connect with our own emotions, and then we connect with others.....I believe at the same level we are willing and able to connect with our self.

        Men/boys were taught for a long time NOT to connect with their emotions.....don't cry.....be strong and aggressive, etc. Girls/women were taught and encouraged to BE emotional creatures....talk about things.....reach out and help others....etc.

        I believe connecting with emotion can be a learned behavior, and with the changes in our world....more women in the work force and more men in the role of stay at home dads, etc., ...we are seeing changes manifest in our world.....generally good changes in my perception. Men and women are doing some "cross training", which I think/feel we are all capable of on some level.
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          Apr 14 2014: Do you believe that connecting with emotion is a natural occurrence for males? For females? If it's a learned behavior how do you think one goes about learning it?

          Do you feel as though there was a time when women didn't feel a desire to talk and be emotional?

          Do you think there was a time when men were more emotional with an innate desire to get in touch with themselves by discussing these deep feelings?

          Can you foresee a future where gender specific traits disintegrate into general traits that are equally distributed amongst males and females? Or do you think there will always be some kind of dividing line distinguishing males from females?
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        Apr 14 2014: I think connecting emotionally is a natural occurrence for all people Ang...UNLESS...one has been taught NOT to connect emotionally.

        I believe babies come into this world with the ability and desire to connect emotionally, and because of the modeling they/we receive, or the life circumstances experienced (which can often be very harsh), people often build defensive walls to protect themselves from connecting emotionally because it can be very painful at times......yes?

        I think it takes conscious awareness and effort to explore those walls and take them down to allow oneself to emotionally connect with one self and with others. This is a simple concept with the "cognitive self change" sessions I co-facilitated with incarcerated men. One of the first questions I asked was "what were you thinking when you committed the crime"? "What were you feeling?" It' is a beginning step in getting in touch with thoughts and feelings, which is where our emotions come from? There are various methods used to remember.....I think it's about remembering how to do something that is natural.

        I don't think there was a time in general when women didn't feel a desire to talk and be emotional. We can trace these habits/roles back to ancient times and the hunters (men) and gatherers (women).

        The gatherers/women, went out in groups to gather food....they spent time together talking and interacting and combined the food they gathered for the whole clan to share.

        The hunters/men usually could not talk during their quest for game....right? They had to be quiet, so as not to alert the animals. There also was a great deal of competition with hunting. Although the meat was usually shared with the clan, the hunter who actually took down the animal was rewarded and honored.

        It looks like the everyday habits going way back encouraged or discouraged talking, sharing and emotional connections...what do you think?

        I think gender specific traits are already starting to disappear. Cross training:>
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          Apr 14 2014: I think in prehistoric times women had a need of one another and more opportunity to form strong bonds with each other and their children because have been and will always be the nurturers. This may have had an impact on the way women developed mentally since. Women who had an easier time connecting with others and displayed a superiority in nurturing characteristics were perceived as the more acceptable mate. That trait ended up becoming a staple in the female brain allowing women to connect more effortlessly with their emotions.

          I just don't think men ever developed in the way women did. There was a natural desire to compete and when males feel like other males are their opposition it's far less likely that they'd be compelled to divulge weaknesses that could be exploited.

          The fact that women have always seemed to be able to sit around and chit-chat with varying degrees of ease without any particular agenda to cover seems to me like it's something that is part of being female. This trait spans all age groups, cultures, ethnicities, etc...

          Men have seemed to always get together for a specified reason like an event, or to accomplish a task. There's usually some agenda aside from a desire to just see and reaffirm the bond with their male companion/s.

          When women share deeply personal things with one another it helps them to realize what their truest desires, fears, and selves are. Women are able to introspect while getting an outsider's perspective sans judgment. I think this results in a firmer grasp on the truth of what it means to be a woman.

          If men don't open up with each other how can they know for sure what's inside them is normal or not? How can they gain a true and solid grasp on what it really means to be a man if they're not get affirmation from other men that they're on the right track?
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          Apr 14 2014: Despite the fact that women are far more likely to self criticize for physical imperfections there still seems to be a self confidence and strong sense of self which allows them to step out of typically feminine roles whereas men are far less likely to do so. Men seem to allow their sense of self to form around the judgments of other men where women tend to want to feel right about who they are even if that means withstanding a certain amount of criticism and judgment.

          This is just an opinion and I don't have any solid facts pulled from a particular study. This is just me putting a lot of data together and coming up with this theory.
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        Apr 14 2014: All good points, which I agree with Ang.

        You say..."The fact that women have always seemed to be able to sit around and chit-chat with varying degrees of ease without any particular agenda to cover seems to me like it's something that is part of being female".

        We all have male and female traits....do we not? We all have male and female energy? Your point is well taken.....however.....I still think that society "shaped" male and female roles.

        Good question....if people cannot open up with themselves and each other how can they know for sure what's inside? I think many men in our world are living the role of "being a man" that was given to them by society. Many men in our world are also discovering something different, and hopefully more beneficial.

        I think it is difficult for men to let go of the old paradigm and embrace something different....it takes courage.
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          Apr 14 2014: Which society was it that shaped and defined our gender roles?

          How far back does this society go and if we're talking about a socially accepted norm of behavior for each gender that dates back 1000 years then wouldn't it stand to reason that many of the traits we're perceiving as societal have long since been engrained in our genes?

          We definitely all have certain elements of each but it is the universal characteristics that are so common as to be thought of as definitively male/female that I'm referring to.

          When and how were gender roles first established and how was it that society involved itself in the formation of them?

          In other words, which came first society's determination of how gender will be divided or an innate sense of what it means to be feminine/masculine from a deeper more primitive part of the brain that gives us comfort when we conform to it?
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        Apr 14 2014: Good question Ang...."Which society was it that shaped and defined our gender roles?"

        With some exceptions throughout history, most societies have been dominated by men? It seems like that dynamic is pretty universal? That's why the idea that it goes back to ancient times makes sense to me.

        Yes....that might mean that many of the traits we're experiencing as societal may be ingrained in our genes. Or.....maybe the traits are ingrained in our habitual behaviors that have been passed down?

        Consider the right to vote.....women were only given the right to vote and participate in the leadership of our countries a hundred years ago. That is only one part of the scenario that reflects a big story!

        Consider the documents that say all men are free and equal, when in fact, it was the law that men "owned" their wives, while the same men also owned hundreds of slaves. It took a couple hundred years, more killing, more prejudice, more actions, more documents, etc....etc... before these ideas (equality and freedom) actually started to be encouraged and enforced.

        I think/feel that male dominance is a learned behavior, and maybe by this time ingrained. However, we have seen some changes....slow.....but changes.....

        I don't have any ideas regarding your last question.....wish I knew!
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          Apr 14 2014: "Throughout history, most societies have been dominated by men"

          This spans across country, continental, and time lines.

          I have a strong feeling that it wasn't women who decided that men should dominate them. I guess it's possible, but not very plausible.

          With this in mind I have to wonder, never having been a male myself, what was it about the male sense of self that allowed them to feel so justified in dominating women.

          What started the trend that has spanned all of history?

          How does this view, that has been so prominent in men throughout history affect our lives today? Our perceptions of the world? The decisions we make? Our sense of self?

          If gender plays such a huge role with regard to all of these areas of our every day existence why don't we do a better job of preparing our children to accept and work with these differences rather than pretend they don't exist and push gender neutralization in schools, businesses, and everywhere else.

          I'm not saying we need to go back to a world where women are subservient, but a world where both genders are allowed to embrace the difference and gain a better acceptance of it?
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        Apr 15 2014: You are probably right Ang, that women may not have consciously decided that men should dominate. However, women participated and on some levels accepted their roles, as designated by society?

        Personally, the role of wife/mother, nurturer, caregiver, emotional supporter for my family was one of my favorite roles in the life adventure....I really loved it. AND I also had several business and/or creative adventures, was a competitive athlete, etc.

        Unfortunately Ang, I do not know what started the trend, and it certainly has affected all of our lives. HOW it has affected it, has something to do with our particular circumstances, don't you think?

        Before we can prepare our children, it is important to be prepared ourselves, and unless one has explored the information we are considering now, we don't know how to prepare.

        My grown children are very aware of differences, because we talked about it when they were younger (at the same time I was discovering more about it), and we continue to talk about it at times.

        My son and daughter are both accomplished athletes, they both cook, sew, garden, they both parent and grandparent their children, both successful in the workforce, and in my perception, both accept and embrace the differences. They both seem to perceive the life adventure as an exploration.....wonder where they got that???!!!! LOL:>)
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          Apr 15 2014: Nurturing, caring about, and supporting those we love is generally a good feeling for women. Women often times will naturally gravitate toward these roles because of an innate feeling of it being right and fulfilling. That doesn't mean it's the only thing that a woman wants to do.

          Your children are grown and you've seen the results of your effective parenting, from the description you provided you should be and probably are immensely proud :)

          Imagine what it's like for a young woman, everyone telling her she can be anything she wants to be. She has a strong sense of how to be feminine and feels comfortable exhibiting masculine traits as well as it's commonly accepted in society for her to do so. She has a close support group of friends who are able and willing to discuss her feelings and any insecurities she may be having about goals and who she is. She ends up as an adult with a firm grasp on who she is and what she wants.

          Now what is it like for a teenaged boy. He's told by his peers and the adults that he can be anything he wants but what he sees are a lot of mixed messages. On TV the man is supposed to be tough and the alpha so that he'll be respected. Violence is a typical characteristic displayed by males and it's acceptable in the world of entertainment but not ok in school or anywhere else. Is it more manly to take care of and be respectful of a wife or to dominate her? Are you supposed to be the strong silent type or divulge your feelings? Are you supposed to be the disciplinarian with your kids or take a more lenient and be their friend approach? Are you supposed to be into sports or be the scientific geek type?

          Women have a lot more freedom and therefore a more stable building block to grow from. Males are getting these mixed messages and having a hard time knowing for sure who and what they're supposed to be in adulthood. Without the connections that women have and a strong support group to discuss these inner conflicts how do they figure it out?
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        Apr 15 2014: I agree Ang, regarding nurturing and supporting those we love being generally a good feeling, and women naturally gravitate toward these roles. I also totally agree that it may not be the ONLY thing a girl/woman is drawn to.

        I am indeed proud of my grown children, and I learned a LOT from them:>)

        I don't have to imagine what it would be like for a young woman hearing that she can be anything she wants to be, because that is the message I got from the time I was a wee little lass. My mother and 7 older siblings were always very encouraging and supportive, and that helped form the foundation of my beliefs regarding the role of girls/women.

        Another part of the message they all stressed was that I needed to do my homework....my own learning and exploration....nothing comes easy, and we need to pay our dues:>)

        You write...."now what is it like for a teenaged boy".....I agree....mixed messages.....
        I had 5 older brothers (and two older sisters) as I was growing up. Although our mother was encouraging and supportive, our father was less than encouraging and supportive. He sent the message to the boys that whatever they did was never good enough. I believe that message was a projection of his own feelings about himself. Our father was abusive and violent....not a very good model.

        The boys each grew up forming their own perceptions and opinions about the situation. Two of them decided never to have children, one never married....all had different ways of dealing with the information and role models they were given. They all continued to explore throughout their lives on various levels.

        You ask..."how do they figure it out"? Sometimes, they come to their sister and we have talked a LOT about our childhood. I continually tell them that I am so grateful for their support and love when I was a little girl, and I feel sorry that they did not have some of the same encouragement and support from a father who did not know how to give it.
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          Apr 15 2014: Women seeking out a woman to emulate, a woman who will take the time to talk and listen and offer assistance, guidance, and advice is a more frequent occurrence a male seeking a positive male role model.

          There are far more absentee fathers than mothers, boys are floundering in an effort to figure out what the definition of "manhood" really is.

          They turn to entertainment and celebrity figures more often than females to fill in the gap. They choose to emulate what they see on TV because these men have power, respect, and prosperity.

          I'm not saying this is a prevalent or generalized behavior, I'm simply saying it occurs far more often in males than it does in females. Women will try to look like the women on TV but that doesn't carry as much weight in determining who they actually are inside.

          Do we need to set something up in the schools where we observe boys who are struggling and borderline force a positive influential male into their life?

          Would dividing males and females in school and offering lessons that are specifically designed to teach each gender be more effective?

          If this is something that could be proven to work then how do we present the idea to society that this is the right step to take?

          Society's perception right now is that it's politically incorrect to recognize and separate the genders.
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        Apr 15 2014: I believe mentoring programs work for boys and girls at risk Ang, and perhaps more of that is needed? We have mentoring programs in schools here, and some of my friends are involved. It seems to help, and more people are needed to volunteer for the mentoring positions. It is not easy dealing with kids at risk, so it takes a special kind of person.

        I don't know about dividing males and females in school.....aren't we already divided enough?
        I suppose there are some topics that could be addressed with either males or females....it doesn't feel good to me.....could have something to do with the fact that I went to a girls convent elementary school! When I went to a high school where boys were in the mix, I was kind of clueless about boy/girl relationships.....very shy. I think the fact that I had 5 brothers helped a little.....but still.....I don't think it is too beneficial to separate by gender.
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          Apr 15 2014: In studies conducted related to female self image in an all girls school vs. a coed school the determining factors were dramatically different.

          Self image was based on grades, relationships, extracurricular activities, socioeconomic status, whether or not the girls thought of themselves as pretty, etc...

          In single-sex schools the girls' self image varied based on their answers to all of these questions.

          In coed school the girls' self image was almost exclusively based on whether or not they thought of themselves as pretty. If she answered "yes" she had higher self esteem and "no" she had low self esteem.

          The aspirations of young girls attending coed schools was determined to be very different than girls in single-sex schools. When asked about their plans for the future, girls at the coed school talked about careers in entertainment as an actress, singer, or super model at a rate alarmingly higher than the girls at the single-sex school. At the single-sex schools the goals were to pursue college and a career path less associated with being pretty.

          In males they saw that pursuing any interests outside of what would be considered male stereotyped activities was significantly lower in coed schools. Boys based their decisions off of how they would be judged by their peers at an alarmingly higher rate than in the single-sex schools. Boys in an all male atmosphere were vastly more interested in arts, language, music, etc...

          If we want our girls to grow up with career paths in mind that aren't dependent on their looks and we want our boys to feel free to pursue any profession they desire, then these studies suggest that separating them is the best course of action. Society however, feels that it would promote the opposite result.

          More studies need to be conducted, if the results remain consistent and we choose to keep things as they are, what does that say about us?
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        Apr 15 2014: What does this say about us Ang?

        It says that we (societies) like to study and fail to apply what we may have learned from previous studies!!!
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          Apr 15 2014: That we really don't have our kids' best interests at heart nor do we overly concern ourselves with their future as we would like to believe.
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      Apr 15 2014: What do you perceive would be the reasoning behind females committing murder in the 1st degree more often than the other degrees of murder??

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