Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,
Rowyn
rowyn

"What Women Want"

"What women want" is one of those perenial topics that always make me cringe inside. So does "what men want", for that matter.

 

It's not that the answers to the questions tend to be particularly stupid, or that gender differences are nonexistant. Sometimes people write things on the topic that are insightful and reasonable, or at least, not ridiculous.

 

But the question itself seems so profoundly misguided. It's existance implies that you can make useful generalizations about three and a half billion people, generalizations that you can or should use to guide your behavior in interacting with them.  Worse than that, it sets women and men up as alien species, as if we had fundamentally different desires and that the gender differences -- the stereotypical gender differences -- were crucially important. "Women want respect" -- as if men don't! I don't think I've ever seen a "what (gender) wants" article that was both (a) reasonable and (b) not equally reasonable if applied to the other gender.

 

What people want is to be treated as individuals, and not the current representative of their gender. Does it really matter if 75% of women like chocolate as a Valentine's Day present, if your girlfriend doesn't? Does it matter that most men don't care about anniveraries, if your husband does? We are not cultivating a relationship with half the human race, but with particular individual members of it.  Just treat them like people. Whatever tendencies they share or don't share with their gender are things we need to determine on a person-by-person basis, just like everything else about them.

Tags: philosophy
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