Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weary of gender assumptions

There's an interesting article in the Boston Globe about psychologist Alice Domar and her study of something she calls the "perception deception"--the tendency for women to be very critical of themselves at all times, which can often lead to health problems.

Domar is executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Waltham, Massachusetts; she is also an assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School. She has a new book on this very topic coming out next month, entitled Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How to Break Free from the Perception Deception.

All of this is well and good and informative. But I am growing weary of the way discussions like this proceed along such strict gender lines. Women do this; men do that.

I understand the need to paint in broad strokes. But when I read this article, I find myself emotionally aligned with many of the issues discussed as "women's" issues. This happens to me a lot.

The bottom line is that these matters are not always so clear-cut. It is probably more accurate to talk about feminine and masculine tendencies, to reflect the underlying energy picture informing our emotional realities, rather than "women are like this" and "men are like this."

I am a heterosexual man who happens to have a fairly well-developed feminine side. I know it complicates matters in these sorts of discussions but I am real and I know there are others like me and I wish there could be a way to have these discussions that would include me rather than leave me yet again with the idea that I am some sort of alien being--neither from Venus nor from Mars.

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