Me Jane, You Tarzan: Examining Gender Differences

By Ruth Purple

Most men are clueless about women. No matter how hard they try, the poor souls are often swimming in a sea of confusion where the supposedly weaker sex is concerned. Whether they are arguing with their mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, and yes, their 5-year-old niece, they always end up scratching their heads in bafflement, throwing their arms in surrender, and retreating like wounded dogs—not necessarily in that order.

Women, on the other hand, find men puzzling—they act like lovesick puppies one minute and insensitive brute the next. This male paradox can consume a woman, and it is not unknown for one to take a man’s single word, pick it apart, and reconstruct it into a whole paragraph, complete with innuendos.

Indeed, it seems like the men-are-from-Mars, women-are-from-Venus debate is still raging, and gender confusion is far from resolved. Such bewilderment is expected. Studies have repeatedly shown that the differences between males and females run deeper than their singular approach to shopping (women tend to shop in circular patterns while men prefer straight lines)—their brains look, weigh, and are wired differently.

One important discovery is that females have 15-20 percent more gray matter than males while the male cranium contains mostly white matter and cerebral fluid. Gray matter, made up of neurons and dendrites, is linked to concentrated processing power and thought-linking abilities; white matter, comprised of the long arms of the neurons insulated by protective films of fat, helps in the distribution of processing throughout the brain and explains men’s superior spatial abilities.

In females, white matter is concentrated in the corpus callosum which links the brain hemispheres and allows the right side to help in language tasks, explicating women’s excellent verbal aptitude. In males, information-inhibitor fibers found in white matter can suppress activation of areas that interfere with work. In the light of these anatomical differences, some common gender stereotypes can now be elucidated.

The female’s propensity for over thinking, her tendency to talk in paragraphs rather than sentences, her aptitude at finding places based on landmarks, e.g. shops, and her utter uselessness in reading maps are now anatomically justifiable. Similarly, the male’s ability to shut his wife out when he is watching Match-of-the-Day, his talent at zoning out, e.g.

sleeping through an infant’s piercing cries, his partiality for maps, and his extreme reluctance in asking for directions are not as perplexing as they used to. Anatomical differences aside, there is another area where men and women differ fundamentally—the way they process information. Men tend to systematize; women are apt to empathize.

A male analyzes any situation, problem, or event with the same detached, logical rules-based approach as he would a mathematical problem. Conversely, a female given the same set of parameters will try to detect sentiments, deduce meanings, absorb related clues, and respond emotionally in a suitable manner. Women’s capacity to empathize fosters communication and primes females for attachment.

This is the reason why women have coffee meetings while men have drinking sessions—the former afford women opportunity for more talk and soul-searching; the latter just drown conversations. Despite these dissimilarities, or perhaps because of them, men and women are still drawn to each other as moths are to flame.

Men might disparage women’s fondness for emotional dissertations and women might ridicule men’s attachment to the inanimate but their fascination for each other still subsists. Husbands cuddle their wives, lovers kiss, friends hold hands. At the end of the day, it’s not the differences, but the things that bind the genders together, that matter.

Ruth Purple is a Relationship Expert who has been successfully coaching individuals and couples in their relationships. Get A Copy of her sensational ebook on Winning Over Infidelity. Experience a Happier Love Life.  You can read more from Ruth at