If middle school represents that time of our lives when members of the opposite sex stop having cooties and become attractive (see: puberty) and high school is that time when we begrudgingly accept the fact that we’ll probably end up with one of those weirdo, lazy, sports-crazed guys or one of those high-strung, shopaholic females, then college is the time to deconstruct everything we know about gender identity and the opposite sex. This is the part where we’re supposed to act like responsible grown ups, albeit having lots and lots of bangin’ sessions with each other first.
Nevertheless, if you look anywhere on the Internet or TV sitcoms or Cosmo, you’re bound to run into some article making the same, tired comments about how women are so different than men because women are complicated and have feelings while guys like orgasms and football and basking in the smell of their own feet.
Men Are From Mars…
Okay, cool. We get it. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, or whatever that book is called that seems to think humans are an alien species or something (I’ve never read it, but it’s a sci-fi book, right?).
Whether or not we want to pretend guys and girls are of different species, when it comes down to it, we’re all human. The supposed gender-based differences between men and women tend not to be gigantic, major differences in the way we think and act, but actually the smaller details.
Here’s an example: a girl walks into the living room on a Sunday afternoon and sees her boyfriend slumped on the couch watching the Giants game surrounded by empty beer bottles and a bag of chips, leading her to think, “Oh, this is such a guy thing.” Then, later on in the evening, she retires to bed with a glass or two of wine while watching Law and Order: SVU reruns, only for her boyfriend to walk in and think, “Wow, this is such a girl thing.”
When it comes to guys and girls, our actions are mostly the same, but it’s the little details that make them different. Drinking wine at night while watching SVU? That’s, like, soooo girly. Doing the exact same thing, but replacing the wine with beer and Mariska Hargitary with Eli Manning? Attack of the man cave.
All That Is Kind of Bullshit:
Despite what the Internet and the magazine with Lady Gaga on the cover tries to tell you, guys and gals are more similar than we like to pretend to be. College tends to be the place where we realize this because men and women cohabitate in gender-neutral dorms and experience major independence from parents simultaneously, leading everyone to evolve as humans beings in a short span of time. However, due to this notion that men and women are different, which is ingrained in our minds from the get-go, we take these miniscule differences between men and women and blow them out of proportion.
So what’s the deal with minor gender differences taking over our perceptions of the opposite sex? Even if you’re a guy who lives next door to a bunch of girls and know firsthand that they’re more into fantasy baseball than you are, or a girl who lives with a bunch of guys who regularly clean their kitchen, we still buy into the crap that bad humorists like to throw at us. “Look at how funny I am because I’m pointing out how different men and women are from one another!” And for some reason, we still think, “Huh, oh yeah! My roommate’s girlfriend once scowled when she saw we were playing FIFA. What a bitch!”
In general, people like to use gender as a validation for acting the way they do, and these perceptions of gender become a self-fulfilling prophecy that make these perceived differences more prominent. If guys perceive girls as a species that knows nothing about sports or video games, then any time a girl’s comments validate this long-standing belief, it rings true to the guy who hears it. At the same time, the very same guy can interact with a girl who’s totally into football, but instead of thinking that girls can be into the same activities as guys, he might think, “Wow, she’s kind of manly.”
Look for Similarities:
When it comes down to it, people are different from one another on an individual level. So whether you’re settling down to watch Sex and the City or Family Guy, you’re still choosing to unwind in the same way; meanwhile, it’s quick to judge guys and girls who partake in activities and interests that are not inherently connected to their gender; instead of treating males and females as if we’re all the same, being a guy who likes Grey’s Anatomy or a girl who’s into Call of Duty becomes an anomaly instead of a representation of human interests.
The moral of the story is, don’t be too quick to judge guys or girls by their gender because guys and girls are more similar than you would think…I mean, unless they’re totally weird, or something. Then you should totally judge them.