Jessica Yonaka

World Vision Indonesia

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Men socialize by insulting each other but they really don't mean it. Women socialize by complimenting each other, they don't mean it either.

Is it true?

Share your thoughts about how men and women socialize. What is it inside the mind of men and women?

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    Aug 22 2011: I don't know about others but I only hang out with my best buddies.We tend to compliment each other when we have to AND we insult each other when we have to.I truly believe in this saying :

    "A true friend stabs you from the front"

    Untuk persahabatan yang kekal selamanya, hubungan tersebut perlulah dijalinkan dengan ikhlas.Itulah pendapat saya.
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      Aug 22 2011: Thanks for sharing that thought Muhammad Aizat! There is a Christian expression that says something similar:
      A slap from a friend is better than a kiss from an enemy'.
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      Aug 23 2011: Yes, I agree with Muhammad Aizat. That's why I said it is more important to be sincere. Thanks for the thoughts! Cheers!
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    Aug 23 2011: I have to disagree with most other posters.

    Of course this is not always the case, but quite often, at least with the students in our university, it is.
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        Aug 23 2011: Seriously Gisela, that was uncalled for.
        Please refrain from using ad hominems in conversations, it contributes with absolutely nothing to the debate.
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          Aug 23 2011: Hmm. This makes me wonder if you actually know what 'ad hominem' as a logical fallacy refers to. Having studied logic out the wazoo, let me just clarify something for you: 'Ad hominem' attacks are not fallacious when they refer directly to the content of the argument being made.

          You made a blanket statement about the people you have experienced at your university. I questioned the calibre of people you associate with - I did not randomly call you a name to undermine your position. I called into question the actual CONTENT of your argument.

          Your argument was about your experience, it is therefore, open to debate.
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      Aug 23 2011: Thank heavens the universities I go to have three-dimensional people!
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    Aug 22 2011: hope not
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        • Aug 25 2011: it's a problem with internet forums, emails etc etc. We can't hear tone of voice, or read body language. All subtlety is lost. I admit I forget this sometimes, and it's easy to take comments at face value. And I agree, there is always something to be gained from interaction.

          I apologise for any offence caused to anyone.

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          "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." Alvin Toffler
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      • Aug 25 2011: fair enough.
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        Aug 25 2011: Yes, I made the initial remark foolishly thinking it would be so obnoxiously over the top that it would illustrate the sheer wrongness of the concept. I wasn't anticipating that it would be considered legitimate fare for debate by anyone.

        I'm now unclear on exactly what stereotype qualifies as such for some people. It's like I fell into a Free Dominion forum.
        • Aug 25 2011: It wasn't. Noone debated it. Stereotyping isn't a good thing, we can all agree on that. But we have both been guilty of it in this conversation, not because we agree with them, but because of the nature of the exchange we were having. But it's done now.
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    Aug 22 2011: I think if you put the word insecure in front of men and women you would be on to something
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    Aug 23 2011: Extremely funny... And 100% true in where I live. Men usually use bad words to each other and especially when they are old buddies. And surely women are extremely jealous if any other woman who is prettier then them are in the room.
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    Aug 23 2011: I'm not feeling particularly complimentary toward the woman who started this thread. Fake or otherwise.
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      Aug 23 2011: Hello. That is pretty rude comment of you. I did not make the statement. I just read it somewhere and I was wondering maybe the others have any thoughts about this because it sounds pretty controversial to me. And I would love to see thoughts from TED fellows. What is the purpose of you judging?
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        Aug 23 2011: My fault. I thought people would be able to figure out that the end of that statement would be "...so I guess I don't agree with that sentiment" on their own.

        I gather you'd have preferred a fake compliment.
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          Aug 23 2011: Well, I could have put that conclusion, Gisela. But my purpose is to see what are the thoughts from TED fellows regarding to that statement and I think it would be quite debatable too. So far I have read that some people would agree, while some other wouldn't, and some gave their own opinions relating to the socializing behavior. Anyway, thanks for the response. Maybe you could share some thoughts related to that statement too. Cheers!
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        Aug 23 2011: I'm not really sure there is a point to dignifying this simple-minded statement.

        Let's leave it at the people you find yourself surrounded by (beyond a core unchangeable few) is a reflection of yourself.

        For instance: If you find yourself surrounded by people who match this description, then you are highly unlikely to last five minutes in my presence, which would only reinforce, I'm sure, your perception that women who do not match this profile don't actually exist - when in fact they simply don't associate with you.
        • Aug 23 2011: actually I think the opening statement is a good general representation. I don't think the questioner is saying that everything that comes out of a womans mouth in insincere, or that men are always nasty. I am sure your friends are more than happy for you to tell them honestly that they look terrible, but you wouldn't last long in my presence if you behaved with such insensitivity.

          As a guy, I can say that lot of banter occurs, and it's usually good natured. I am not sure why it is, probably some evolutionary throwback to a time when we might have had to be bigger or faster to be successful. Now we don't, but we sort of pretend we do. But only among ourselves ;P
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        Aug 23 2011: Argh! I can't nest a reply to Stephen Dalton - so this is to your post.

        I don't actually hang around people I feel the need to insult all day either. If people can't hold up their end of an intelligent conversation (as in about something other than shoes or purses), we're simply not going to "mesh".

        The conversations I have with friends are not as banal as the ones others in this thread seem to prefer.

        It's pretty clear I wouldn't get along with more than a few people here who have also commented on the shallowness of the concept.
        • Aug 23 2011: its a shallow concept, but noone is saying it's exclusively true. It does on occasion happen. Have you never had a conversation about shoes, or complimented anyone on how they look? I have intelligent conversations with friends, but there are occasions when people ask if they look good, or engage in a bit of gentle ribbing? It's not about feeling the need to insult them, and I honestly can't believe that you can view the question in this way. Nor is it a preference for a certain type of conversation. It's about a trend in social relationships that seems to exist.

          Interestingly, in answer to the original question, your first comment was an insult, so you subscribed to a masculine trend. This is a social situation in a way, so in what way was that comment in any way appropriate, given the viewpoint you say you have? Shouldn't you have added to the discussion in a meaningful way?
        • Aug 23 2011: In fact, you needn't have commented at all, given that you have nothing to say on the matter, but did you actually need to wade in and be nasty? Maybe this is why you don't have more light-hearted conversation...
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        Aug 23 2011: I have indeed complimented someone on their shoes. It has, however, not devolved into an hour-long conversation that has then gone on to define our relationship or me (as a woman). This insipid statement has posited that women are one way, and men are another.

        But if anything, this thread has served to illustrate my point. Imagine this was a party and we were all physically in a room together.

        You would immediately be drawn to the people who agreed with you and wandered off with them - thus confirming your view that people really do conform to this idiotic ideal - and missed the fact that there are others who don't. You and I would have gone off in different directions.

        In fact, if the party was only full of people like that I probably would have said, "Oh look at the time. I forgot I have to go, hmm, feed my cat or something." And left.

        My not commenting would only have played into your confirmation bias.
        • Aug 23 2011: not at all. Other people disagree with the statement, but they didn't feel the need to be insulting about it. That is my point.

          And no, why would I be drawn to and wander off with the people who agreed with me? If this is something you are prone to doing, ask yourself if you are the open minded, creative person you think you are? I prefer to speak with people, and discuss their ideas, as well as my own. Sharing knowledge - all knowledge - is valuable.

          And to be fair, you probably wouldn't have been invited...
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        Aug 23 2011: We have developed a very low bar for "insult", haven't we? Sorry that I am not fitting into your mold of soft fuzzy women.

        I didn't actually insult her, I merely pointed out that contrary to the statement posited, I don't feel the need to compliment her.

        1. I didn't actually call her anything untoward. In fact, I did not call her anything other than "the woman who started the thread". Is that incorrect somehow?

        2. My comment was very specifically about my feelings (or lack thereof). Granted, I have made mediators weep when they insist on using the 'I feel' construct in sessions, so perhaps the 'I feel' construct is not as neutralizing as people would like.

        3. Any comments that have involved negative adjectives were about the initial claim, not about Jessica. You are mistaking lack of coddling or dispassionate discussion for anger.

        I gather that not having "contributed" anything to the thread means, "did not flatter the other participants and stroke their egos suitably".

        Because from here it looks a bit like the myth that women need to mindlessly flatter each other has been blown to smithereens, leaving in its place a potentially more correct "certain women need to be mindlessly flattered and thus manage to find a milieu that will support said need" - which I consider to be a contribution, specifically, a demonstration that it was incorrect.

        But it is good of you to jump to a woman's defence, Stephen. I'm sure it plays nicely into someone's need to be rescued somewhere.

        (Edit: I know I probably should have resisted the urge to throw in that last line, but you made it about feminism, where for me it was about defining people by any single attribute, of any sort, so how could I resist? But now I am heading into meetings and will not return until tomorrow.)
        • Aug 23 2011: whew. Your breakdown of your comments mask what (at least appeared to be) open hostility. I am not the only to see it, nor am I the only one to comment on it.

          If you would like, I can post some of your comments back to you and let you read them. Although they are undeniably about the question (you don't after all know Jessica, nor would you associate with her if you did, presumably), the purpose they serve is to be dismissive and patronizing towards her. If I say what you said is bulls&^t, would you take it personally? After all, it's just about what you said, not about you.

          When I say not contributed, I mean exactly that. Noone asked you to 'coddle' or 'stroke egos'. Noone even asked you not to disagree, but you have been openly hostile in my opinion, and it was uncalled for, and in doing so managed to add nothing to the argument, other than prove that you don't behave like a stereotypical woman. Bravo. Again you bring it back to feminist argument, that Jessica (sorry about this Jessica) is somehow looking for a rescuer, or that I am fulfilling a stereotype by leaping to her defense. The truth is, I would have leapt to anyones defense if I feel that someone is being unnecessarily harsh, and you were.

          I have checked your profile out, and you clearly have much to say about yourself. I am certain that you are a success, and I wish you every luck in the future. God knows this world needs woman in top positions, and if there were more of them we would be in a better state. But we need a more feminine influence, not woman that behave like men. Thats how we got messed up in the first place.
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          Aug 24 2011: I think it serves most of us well to be kind whenever possible (and as the Dali Lama says: its always possible). There is so much pain and aggrevation in the world that adding to it should always be for a good cause- like getting into a serious debate here on TED to challenge wonky ideas that perpetuate thinking that hurts people.
          Being polite is like oiling the wheels of interaction. I think that is very worthwhile.
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        Aug 23 2011: Meh, I totally should not be logging in to do this right now, but what the hell.

        Feel free to post back whatever you like of my comments - but you'd be mistaken if you think they are solely to insult her. I hold anyone who would actually believe that initial quasi-essentialist garbage in equally low esteem. I would be just as dismissive of that same opening statement had the groups in question been black/white, gays/straights, Jews/Christians or what have you.

        Perhaps I should go start a thread: "Black people like fried chicken and white people like pork chops" so we could see how well that flies.

        I'm sure we could find supporters of that statement as well, but what would be the point?
        • Aug 24 2011: I think you would find that a lot of black people would say, "yeah, I love fried chicken". And a lot of white people would say the same about chops. I would be amazed if they all did though, and again it feels like you are misunderstanding the original question somewhat. Noone is saying that it is exclusively true, but surely the fact that other people here have agreed with the statement must suggest to you that it is a trend, whether or not you, in your circle of elite friends, experience it. You seemed to immediately take umbridge at the fact that as a woman, you do not think like that, and went on to state that if you ever met people who did, you would reject their conversation, which you expect to be about that and that only. Thats pretty cold in my view. What if on meeting you people assume you were an arrogant bore, because of your inabilty to break the ice with a little informal chit chat? What if, after you shoot their ideas and tentative questions down as beneath you and not worthy of your consideration, just walk off and leave you to argue with yourself? Feel good, does it?

          I believe that the tone of your comments has been generally unpleasant. I understand that you say they weren't intended to insult, but I think that is what you have done. Telling people to keep better company? "Lets leave it at..." she says with a patronizing pat on the head. "I don't feel complimentary towards this person". What does that mean? It means that you have nothing good to say about them - it's just unpleasant and unnecessary.

          You slip in that there is an essentialist brit here - meaning me. How am I supposed to take that exactly, especially given that I have stated time after time after time after time that I don't agree with it exclusively? I think that proves I am anything but essentialist, doesn't it? And proves to me that you only select the parts of this conversation that support your equally distorted view of people, and ignore the rest. But then, what do I know...
        • Aug 24 2011: Maybe the bigger question here is how do these stereotypes occur? The application of them to all members of any group is clearly wrong, but there must be some truth in them? Does our awareness of them cause us to moderate our behaviour, so as to fit in or reject these stereotypes, and how much of that is conscious or subconscious?
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        Aug 24 2011: "Maybe the bigger question here is how do these stereotypes occur?" My personal opinion: because people are Essentialist morons who like shortcuts so they don't have to think.

        What you don't seem to be understanding - especially with the fried chicken/pork chop argument - is that it is so broad as to be functionally meaningless. Do white people NOT like fried chicken? Do black people not eat pork chops? Whether this lack of understanding is a matter being disingenuous, deliberately obtuse, or you actually are that unobservant is something I have yet to determine.

        And for the record, I take offense to any politically Essentialist drivel, not just because I am a woman, which YOU seem to be stuck on, but because I am an intelligent human being who doesn't attempt to flatten others to fit in my comfort zone.

        If you honestly think I would have been fine with "Black people socialize by insulting each other but they really don't mean it. Whites socialize by complimenting each other, they don't mean it either." or "Gays socialize by insulting each other but they really don't mean it. Straights socialize by complimenting each other, they don't mean it either." - change the groups up however you want - then clearly you fall in the latter of those three categories.

        And that is why I would not associate with you at a party or anywhere else.
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        Aug 24 2011: Also: saying "I'm not an essentialist!" while continuing to make essentialist statements is kinda like saying, "I'm not a pie-eater!" while munching away on a lemon meringue pie.

        Edit: I just noticed your comment about the "Essentialist Brit" thing - Krisztián had an interesting theory (that the conversation split along nationalities) so I started clicking people's profiles to see if it was accurate, but it wasn't that is all. And while I personally find Essentialism offensive, it's not actually a bad word.

        I'm most aligned with Existentialists, and while I resonate with the umbrella, plenty would consider Existentialists to be nihilistic twits, so it's all a matter of perspective.
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          Aug 24 2011: Personally this kind of essentialism is beneath TEDconversations. I'm with Gisela all the way.
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          Aug 24 2011: Your sarcasm is entirely misplaced Stephen. In fact by comparing the conversation title to the following statement: "I think you would find that a lot of black people would say, "yeah, I love fried chicken". And a lot of white people would say the same about chops." you are in fact unintentionally pointing out the offensiveness of the statement towards genders and also the fact that it's false. Do you honestly think anybody could get away with posting "black people this, white people that"? Do you also honestly believe that black people like chicken more than white people in a statistically significant way?

          Nobody is fooled by this last sarcastic comment, it's a cop-out.
        • Aug 24 2011: Its far from a cop out, and I'm actually a fried chicken man. That doesn't make the statement false though. I myself have witnessed exactly the things that were mentioned in the original question. I don't assume for a second that it is always the case, for I know it isn't. But it can and does happen, like it or not. The question was really is it true that this happens, and yes, in short it does. But not all the time.

          But where do you get to a statement like "Do you also honestly believe that black people like chicken more than white people in a statistically significant way?" Where has this been stated, anywhere in this conversation? You can't just throw a statement like that out there, because you can't back it up. But for that matter, can you say that it's untrue? I have no idea, and frankly, it doesn't matter one way or the other. I am arguing with someone with a superiority complex, and it can be like hitting your head against a wall. You and your 3 dimensional college roomies should bunk up with Gisela and Krisztian. You'll all get on like a house on fire.
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          Aug 24 2011: There's obviously no statistical significance, this is not an open debate. If you think there is, that's worrying. Regardless, that comparison was offensive and people may rightly be offended. I think you're just angry you deconstructed your own argument. Happens.
        • Aug 25 2011: Comment: which comparison Matthieu? The one you bought up, or the one Gisela did? Yeah, it is pretty offensive, perhaps you should retract it?

          And is it an open debate when you have your say, but not when I have mine?

          As far as I can tell, I deconstructed nothing, so your flippancy is misplaced. When I say you can't back it up, I don't mean that there is no statistical evidence to support it, I mean it wasn't me that said it, it was you and Gisela, so why would I be in agreement? Chuck a statement out, project it onto someone else. Case closed. What a peculiar way to conduct a conversation, but when you gotta be right, you gotta be right. Right? And if it looks like you're not, the conversation is over.
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    Aug 22 2011: I think it is time that women started to support each other. If you are a woman who complements other women without meaning it- its time to stop. The communities around us need us to be sincere and to support each other in our daily trials and tribulations. Making another person's life harder or less valid does nothing at all to improve your own life.
    Better societies start with people who just decide to be better people. The women I know are all hard working, stretched to their limits and worthy of much admiration.

    As to the ways guys interact- they seem to have understood something about loyalty to one another and about letting silly stuff roll off their backs that many women could learn from.
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      Aug 22 2011: Well said, Debra! I can't agree with you more regarding that women should always support each other. But as in reality here in Taiwan (which I am currently living in), the women tend to show fake compliments towards other women, which is not really pleasant and sincere to me. But on the other hand, I have made a simple research about this issue by asking some of my Taiwanese friends. Turns out that it is sort of a culture thing, where they have to say good words to people, so that the positive energy will come to you too. But I think this concept is kind of misused in the reality, where women tend to compliment people EVERY time, without considering whether it is sincere or not. I also agree with you that a better society starts with people who decide to be better people too. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Debra. Cheers!
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        Aug 22 2011: I believe that you have what it takes to change those patterns in your own sphere. Go for it Jessica! Just decide to pay only sincere compliments- and that does not mean reducing your number of complements but simply working to see the truly good in everyone you meet so that your words can confirm the positive in another woman. Look at more than just her hair and clothes and complement her character, her work ethic, her kindness.
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          Aug 22 2011: True. Sincerity is what really matters and brings positive energy to ourselves and the others.
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        Aug 25 2011: Really? All you had to do was scroll down further.
        "Essentialist positions on gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, or other group characteristics, consider these to be fixed traits, discounting variation among group members as secondary." It's right there, even in the wikipedia description.

        I'd say that pretty much sums up such brilliant statements as "Noone is saying that it is exclusively true, but surely the fact that other people here have agreed with the statement must suggest to you that it is a trend, whether or not you, in your circle of elite friends, experience it."

        We've established that you don't understand why I called you it, and your latest post to Matthieu suggests you never will. You want to happily exist in your universe where whether or not black people like fried chicken and watermelon is suitable fodder for philosophical debate.
        [EDIT: That doesn't make sense now that the post it refers to has been deleted.]

        As for my superiority complex, it's really quite amazing how you keep saying (accurately) that I don't care, but you don't actually seem to understand the words. I don't care if you think I have a superiority complex. I don't care if you feel sorry for me or for my friends. I don't care if you irrelevantly speculate on my love life. I don't care if you melodramatically "have resisted efforts to beat [you] down".

        I don't even care if you cyberstalk me to hell and back to get fuel to make more essentialist statements - though if at some point I do begin to care about this particular tendency, I will simply inform a few key friends about this particular creepy habit of yours and it won't matter whether or not that is your real name.

        Obviously, I am mildly entertained by the interaction from the perspective of how long will it take you to actually comprehend what "I don't care" actually means, so I guess I meta-care. You've long since lost the argument.

        So, what pot-shot is next? My mother? My cats?
        • Aug 25 2011: hmm, I guess I was selectively taking the bits I needed to bolster my argument. Where have I seen that before?

          However, I am not saying that they are fixed traits though, am I? I am merely saying, as all the other people have also done that have agreed with me, that in our observations, it does occur. Not that men can't be insincere, white people don't like chicken. I can't believe you are still trying to put this forward as a reasonable case.

          And why do you insist on playing the race/sex card Gisela? You might feel good saying, "I am black and a woman, get over it". I would only respond, "You are black and a woman. Get over it." I am offended by the tendency of groups to challenge others with such cheap shots, frankly, and it weakens your argument to do so. You are floundering because, despite your protests, you have behaved inappropriately, and dug a little hole for yourself that you are trying desperately to dig yourself out of.

          And your cyberstalking comment is frankly laughable. If I had gone out of my way to discover who you are and what you are like, I would agree with you. But you have put all this information up about yourself, and pointed to it in your TED profile. All I did was look. Know thine enemy. I put it down to research. So no, I am also not threatened by you or your equally creepy friends.

          What has occurred is this: Someone asked a question by saying men do this, women do this: is it true? And everyone who can say that they have witnessed it is essentialist? You are in denial Gisela. And now like all power-hungry egomaniacs, you are threatening me if I don't back down. I think your true colours are shining through now, as I was sure they would eventually.

          I don't think these open minded forums are for you. I never commented on your love life, I said that you are behaving lovelessly. You do not appear to love anyone but yourself, and those who appear to be exactly like you. Behave with compassion, or keep your opinions to yourself. That is all
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          Aug 25 2011: This is a debate, Stephen - Not a socialization club - gotcha Kirsztian :}
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  • Aug 23 2011: I think men are more physical while women are emotional but our experiences in life can drastically change these things to the other side. For example a guys who has a many sisters and women friends will be more emotionally aware and give certain people (depending on the situation) a white lie to boost confidence. While he will still be able to interact with other guys in the norm a little ribbing while watching a game or something. Similarly the same applies to females, a women can study or just her choices and experiences in life can make her a tomboy or highly logical or both. Although men and women's behaviors are innately different our experiences with people define us socially. One needs to know who can take a joke during a social situation and who can't. So yes some men do, and yes some women do but there is always the exceptions.
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    Aug 23 2011: Yes, men insult each other, then brush off the small mental/physical damage if any has been done. I believe in most cases, women are more sensitive and thoughtful towards othes. These qualities drive their actions. Because of this, women are more likely to see nothing wrong with giving out a false compliment when it had good intentions to build ones confidence.
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    Aug 22 2011: That is a brutal simplification of human interactions.
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    Aug 28 2011: Women socialize by insulting each other but they really don't mean it. Men socialize by complimenting each other, they don't mean it either:............. too real.
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    Aug 25 2011: Well put Mrs. Jessica!
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    Aug 25 2011: i compliment your interested observation Jessica... and yes, i mean it.
  • Aug 25 2011: This is a tough one! Either way, i will insult a gender! I am female, hetro-sexual and proud of it! My best friend is a lesbian, and proud of it! We both agree that women are the worst! We have learned that since 1st grade. The only way a man can hurt you, is to smack ya around. Women, will take you down mentally and not even give a crap! You know I am right! Oh, neither one of us care about the skin pigmentation. Man, humans are weird. With respect to you!
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    Aug 24 2011: As a man, I have long been perplexed by this phenomenon, more curious is the result that men seem to have fewer self esteem issues and long term ill effects from the relentless onslaught of taunting and insulting each other. I can also relate that though the insult might be slight, an insult from a stranger bears far more weight on me than an insult from any of my friends. Perhaps part of the male friendship dynamic is in fact the ability to be more honest with one another and what we truly think about each other? Is that lacking in female relationships or has it adapted to a more empathic state of mind?
  • Aug 22 2011: I'd agree with the former statement relating to males and wager the latter is true about females also.

    My thoughts on men and women are that fundamentally they are wholly incompatible in a relationship sense; excluding the obvious procreational mechanics. The male and female mind could hardly be more divergent and their respective social tendencies have an even greater dichotomy.

    I firmly believe that as civilization progresses and the more insular members of society are slowly made extinct - as is in-keeping evolution - the male-female relationship dynamic might become the exception rather than the rule. ESPECIALLY in a the marital format.

    ...But I digress. =P
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      Aug 23 2011: "the male and female mind could hardly be more divergent and their respective social tendencies have an even greater dichotomy"

      is this nature or nurture in your opinion? why do you think this? please clarify.
      • Aug 24 2011: Well, obviously nature plays a part - XX versus XY, hormones and all that. But as with anything, nurture too is a factor.

        Men are 'meant' to like / dislike, behave, comport themselves as, dress like, et cetera, in line with certain 'normal' paradigm, as are women. So, naturally, the differences between the sexes becomes more and more accentuated the closer people come to a level of maturity where the respective genders' paths cross.

        On this point, I think if children were raised in a more open-minded, 'unisexual' fashion, males and females would have more in common than the natal angle of cervix / erect penis when the time for relationships and commitment come to pass.

        As it stands, with the way males are reared to be "men" and females to me "girls" - coupled with the known neurological schisms between the genders - relationships are largely predicated upon nothing but the idea / compulsion of 'family'-- i.e., to procreate (which in itself is steeped in religion). This is why the divorce rates are so high, especially 3~5 years into a marriage and why you get all the 'men are from Mars, women from Venus' consternation about the opposing sexes.