Originally Posted by thesilverspear View Post
...If men are hardwired to be goal-oriented because of their male qualities, and women are hardwired to be relationship oriented because of their female qualities, then where does that leave all the sensitive, relationship-oriented men and all the driven, goal-oriented women? You're backing yourself into a discursive corner, because the logical follow-on is that relationship-oriented men are somehow less male and goal-oriented women are somehow less female...This sort of thinking imposes strict gender norms on people -- if you don't behave in a certain way, people will think something is wrong with you and you will find yourself not fitting in or whatever...
Put me in the group who believe men and women ARE different. Think of overlapping bell curves of behavior. Some men are more relation-oriented, and some women are more goal-oriented, and there will be some overlap. However, the vast majority of guys I've known during my 52 years have never ever talked to me about any relationships. Maybe a dozen times, someone will discuss some aspect of their marriage, and we'll sometimes talk about raising kids, but not in terms of relationships.
I think I'd been married for about 15 years before my wife realized I REALLY don't ever think about our marriage - not in terms of how I feel about it. And her friends will talk with her about their relationships, so I don't think it is just her.
Go to the teen talk section of the forum, and look for a guy who wants to talk about his relations with girls, etc. Maybe you'll find something, but not much. MOST guys just are not interested in that the way many girls are.
Does that come from genetics or environment? When I was young, I thought it was 100% environment. Then I had kids. They had pretty similar environments, but they were each completely different.
Consider Border Collies. They have a genetic instinct to herd. Usually. The first one I owned didn't see sheep until she was 7. A rancher friend had some range sheep not used to dogs that he needed to move, and he was curious to see if Leila had any interest. We were both shocked when she forced those range sheep into a tight flock and then moved then thru a gate without our asking. Then the next gate, and my friend had to run ahead a shut a third before Leila moved the sheep thru it. No training of any kind.
That doesn't mean all Border Collies will herd sheep without learning. The one I own now has shown no interest an any herding activity. His full sister qualified for and competed in the Nationals (finished in the teens as a novice, was DQed in her first open). But if you wanted to herd sheep, would you go talk to a Border Collie breeder, or a breeder of Labs?
On the whole, are Arabians more flighty than Quarter Horses? There are individual exceptions, but on the whole? Some people who live near me have asked why my horses seem alive, while most of the horses they see seem...dead. And I explain that Arabians tend to be more alert and more flighty than most Quarter Horses.
Regardless of genetics vs environment, I think it is obvious that women tend to be more in to relations than men, and men tend to be more competitive and goal oriented than women. It is a generality with many exceptions, but it certainly is consistent with what I've seen.
My mare has the personality of a human male in many ways. I wrote about it here: Help! I don't think I like my horse!
That is why we get along. We may have become friends, but we did it by doing things together, and she doesn't expect or like a lot of touchy-feely stuff. She likes to be ridden. She is willing to watch someone else riding with me, like a couple of guys watching a football game. But to just hang out together? Nope. And I think a lot of women would find her disappointing. She just doesn't give much emotional feedback, at least not the sort that many women seek. If you understand her, you can accept that she is very friendly and even affectionate, but she isn't the 'climb in your lap' horse that our other Arabian mare was.
Mia and I watching my youngest get one of her first lessons on the green broke but very friendly Lilly. We watched the whole time, but we didn't snuggle while doing it: