Recently, I had a slight epiphany in regards to the issues regarding men and women as a whole. While walking to my car from a meeting I came across a posting on a bulletin board, as shown below in the picture. As clearly demonstrated by the picture below, men seem to believe that the female gender is a puzzle of more complexity than any Rubik’s cube; and whose complete manual is beyond the first volumeshown in the picture. Clearly, the concept of “men are from Mars and women are from Venus” still permeates in the American culture and likely is prevalent in most other cultures. Therefore, I wish to discuss what is the real issue that has been found out through our research at the WomanStats project; thus introducing the concept that Men aren’t from Mars, Women aren’t from Venus, but rather both genders are from Earth.
First, I would like to start my argument by looking closely at the picture found on the bulletin board and what concepts it teaches society. The picture first shows a man who is apparently in a scientific field (I found this picture in the Chemistry building on campus). The man is searching through the huge Vol. 1 book of “How to Understand Women” believing that science can unravel the mysteries of the female gender. My argument is that men are showing that science has tackled the riddle of females and that women are so complex that one volume of such size and magnitude cannot cover the subject; therefore, such a quest of science should be considered folly and forgotten and that women altogether should be considered alien and foreign. Thus, women are from Venus concepts stay prevalent in society. However, instead of consulting books and scientists on the subject of the female gender, one can communicate directly with the female gender! (I mean what a novel concept!)
However, one would be shocked at how often communication does not take place between the genders. In Afghanistan, for example, this problem of lack of communication between genders seems very prevalent. In the Woma Stats Database, a UN news source reported this fact about Afghan society:
“Niland also singled out the growing trend of violence against women in public life, saying it was an indicator that women’s roles in decision-making processes are not valued or fully acknowledged in Afghan society. ‘Democracy and peace in Afghanistan is dependent on the elimination of violence and the full participation of women, as well as men of course, in decision-making processes that affect their lives and the future of the nation,’ Niland said (Rape In Afghanistan A Profound Problem, U.N. Says, Reuters, 30 November 2009, 4 December 2009,http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/11/30/world/international-uk-afghanistan-rape-un.html?_r=2, 12-13).
So, if women’s voices in society and government are to be heard then the concepts and myths about the female gender need to be addressed. Women are not from another planet and if given the opportunity and environment to speak, then the society can change for the better. Why? Because half of the population of a country is made of men andthe other half of women! Women are from Earth, they can speak and are not invisible mysteries. The first step is addressing relational issues, in which communication between men and women is suffering. In an effort to combat divorce issues in Australia, for example, the government commissioned a committee to study the issue and submit a report. Within the report reasons for divorce were as shown,
“The majority of men and women in this study mentioned affective dimensions of their marriage relationship – encompassing communication problems, incompatibility, changed lifestyle desires and instances of infidelity – as the main reason for their divorce. The dominance of relational reasons may reflect the higher expectations of self-fulfillment in marriage and decreasing tolerance of unsatisfying relationships observed by many commentators on marriage and divorce. Differences between men and women emerged where abusive behavior was cited as a main reason.”http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/WP20.html
Even further into detail the study showed, “Consistent with most other studies of marriage breakdown (Burns 1984; Eells and O’Flaherty 1996; Wolcott 1984; Ponzetti et al. 1992), Table 3 shows the most common reasons given by respondents for their marriage ending centered around the affective qualities of the relationship including communication problems (27 per cent) and incompatibility/drifting apart (21 per cent). Communication problems was the most commonly cited cause for both men (33 per cent) and women (23 per cent). Similar proportions of men and women felt that incompatibility/drifting apart was the major cause.”http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/WP20.html
What can be concluded from such a study? That men and women are treating each other as foreign aliens in relationships and not honestly communicating with each other. Many times myself I have felt, that I wish I could understand the hearts and minds of people better if I had superpowers to read other people’s minds. Instead of superpowers I understood that instead through simple honest communication and listening, I can gain the knowledge that was missing. Suddenly, what was once a mystery has become a more developed subject. Finally, it is vital for society to open its eyes and see women! Women are not invisible, but rather half the population of the planet earth! The female and male genders did not emigrate to Earth, but rather were born from a man and woman, and neither can perpetuate the human race without the other. So instead of continuing a “War of the Worlds”(the gender themed one), open and fair communication should be the medium to the two genders’ further progression.