<%-- Page Title--%> Weekend Musings <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 110 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 20, 2003

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Martians and Venusians on Earth

Srabonti Narmeen Ali

A wise man named John Gray once coined the phrase “men are from Mars, women are from Venus.”
His theory states that thousands and thousands of years ago men and women were from different planets. When they discovered each other they realised how much they enjoyed each other's company and then decided to come to Planet Earth to make a life together. While this theory (when taken in a literal sense) may send shivers down any archeologists' spine, metaphorically it is worth taking a second glance at. The fact is that (day in and day out) we find more and more examples of how men and women can be categorised into different species.
Looking at male-female behaviour in an every day relationship (be it romantic or platonic) is probably a prime example of how different we are. A popular opinion is that women are constantly on an emotional roller coaster, and therefore tend to let their feelings run away with them - or rathers, allow themselves to run away with their feelings. A similarly popular opinion is that men are unemotional at all costs, and do not feel anything that may involve digging deeper than who won the Cricket match, or what he is having for dinner that night.
And there you have it. The roles are shaped, and a whole new lifetime of misunderstandings are formed. It is true that most women (at the risk of generalising) are more emotional we like to refer to it as “being in touch with our inner feelings.” Similarly, men are less emotional they like to refer to it as “having control over their feelings.” Thus the tug of war between “being in touch” and “having control” begins, and over and over again we find ourselves wondering whether we are in fact, from different planets.
In times of crises, it is often said that women cannot handle the pressure. Some women cry, get upset and sometimes scream out their frustrations. Men, on the other hand, tend to stay quiet, not say too much and keep their feelings to themselves. This stigma often causes problems. When we find a man who cries, or gets upset, he is seen as weak, and a wimp. When a woman stays quiet and does not react, she is labeled as heartless. The truth is, the two genders have different ways of dealing with their problems. Women find it more therapeutic to talk over their problems, to get it out of their systems to, for all practical purposes deal with the problem, without running away. Men find it more helpful to not react, and leave the problem on the backburner until it dies down. Both ways can be effective, as well as totally destructive. While it is important to deal with your feelings, it is also important to give things time before jumping right in and reacting accordingly. At the same time, while waiting it out, one must not just forget the issue and live under the misconception that whatever problem is at hand will just work itself out.
In reality the stereotype of girls from the Barbie generation, being made of “sugar and spice, and everything nice,” and boys from the generation of action figures and wanting to be the “tough guys,” carries on throughout our adult life. It defines the way we react to things and how we form our characters. Men are made to think that they must be the macho man, in every situation, and that succumbing to one's emotions only makes you weaker. Women, on the other hand, feel that emotions make you sweeter, and more empathetic.
So which way can we go? Do we fall prey to our emotions, therefore making ourselves more vulnerable, do we give the impression that we are made of stone, without feelings, or, do we find the middle ground? As much as men and women grumble about each other, without the opposite sex, we would have no balance. We would either have a world with too much emotion, or none at all. Criticising the opposite sex is a necessity: men say that women are emotionally unstable, and women say that men are emotionally challenged. But at the end of the day, it is pretty evident that Martians and Venusians do complement each other, and help to set a balance in an otherwise unbalanced world.


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