Female Mind?

I'm unsure if this is true of me. This is going to be a bit shapeless as a story as I'm not clear what angle I now look on it.

I grew up with my divorced mum and elder brother. My mum was very un-motherly - not in a cruel way, she just didn't respond to children as children. My toys were figures from Star Wars, and I would spend days inventing dramatic multi-character stories. I was precocious - she tells me I learnt to read without being actively taught (reading broadsheet newspaper headlines at the age of 3), so at school I was in the top all-girls language group. I made friends easily with these girls and felt a kind of affinity based on our shared skills. I wasn't interested in team sports - but at the same time I liked to be the assertive male leader of my group of male friends, exploring woods, trespassing building sites etc.
Then I was segregated into an all-male grammar school and lost contact with my female friends.

Years later I realised that I was not seeking new male friendships because I believed I had this natural affinity with women, and wanted them as friends. In a couple of cases, these friendships developed into a full relationship without me really deciding it (one time, my student housemate just appeared in my bed when I came back to my room). These relationships didn't work as I'd still be looking for the type of woman I'm physically attracted to, while encouraging them by showing emotional interest.

My last partner (a bisexual woman) perceived me as too masculine and cold, which seemed odd, and she asked me to take an in-depth internet test of empathic abilities. The result was that while she came out as having mild autistic-spectrum disorder, my result was more 'female-minded' than most women. I multitask easily, intuit people's emotions and predict their responses (predicting the break-up of my father's marriage, even sometimes guessing how strangers will act).

Suddenly I felt I'd been deluding myself. Without wanting this to come across as a woman-bashing post, I reflected on my female friends and found that they lacked the qualities I sought - they were not fluent with language, their cattiness and self-pleasing vanity nauseated me, and I looked back on discussions with women and felt that they were almost all very poor at conversation. They would use humour defensively, as a way of preventing discussion deepening with the other, and they preferred cynical sarcasm to wordplay and joint pleasure in wit. It seemed to me their responses were governed by what the other was expecting, using trite expressions.

In sum, I felt that the women I was for so long attempting to get to know have had poor empathic ability. So now I wonder what is gained by the pseudo-scientific talk of male/female minds?


igorplum igorplum
31-35, M
2 Responses Mar 27, 2009

That was a nice response - thankyou. (Reading back my story now I come across pretty badly, I think).<br />
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What I was trying to get at was how the female sex (at least in the UK) is 'trained' in dogmas about 'how men think' (I'm thinking editorials and advertising features in cosmopolitan etc, in which bright and intelligent girls learn how to be womanned) and that as a result they're reluctant -as a rule- to acknowledge that some males are able to think/feel in those typically 'feminine' ways. And obviously, when they do acknowledge it, it's to question the male's sexuality - he's either gay or a wimp.<br />
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Yes, it's true though, that the alienated feeling occurs in girls - all precocious children can easily get into an isolated social position; if you're a boy not into team sports, or a girl not into forming tight-knit groups. <br />
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I like your last sentence (it recalls Martin Buber's "I/Thou", and RD Laing on the ethics of communication); both genders fear speaking their situation in the way it appears to them, for fear of saying something which doesn't quite fit them in their male/female box as neatly as they feel they're expected to be.

You seem pretty feminine, but also you're very intelligent and intellectual. You have passed up most of your peers in intellectual development, and now you see them as inferior in many ways. This is completely natural I think and has little to do with the gender in your mind. But yes, people will so commonly act based on the way they have been raised and the things they're around. I think that one big issue between men and women communicating is that women are often taught to think and act like men. This leads them to ignore their own personal feelings and refrain from acknowledging them in the presence of men. Many women do this unconsciously, making themselves seem plain, simple-minded, and sometimes even stupid. Conversation works better between genders when people can speak their situation while simultaneously being open-minded enough to understand the situation of the other.