When I was in college, I took a Women’s Studies seminar. The instructor was head of the Sociology department, had written a few books, was said to be quite entertaining, and so I thought it might be an interesting class. I was an English and History major, but everyone needs electives, preferably ones that don’t add a tremendous amount of further reading to an already maxed out class load, and this one seemed to fit the bill. And after all, I attended a women’s college and was (and still am) a lesbian; surely there was some criteria written down somewhere that I simply had to take at least one women’s studies class, right?
About a week into the class, which, by the way, turned out to be one of those round-table, discussion things that had never appealed to my more linear style of learning, my instructor informed me that I, “thought like a man”. This appellation came at the end of a rather vigorous discussion, the subject of which I must admit escapes me after all these years, but I do recall being quite vocal (as those who know me can quite imagine, I am sure) and arguing several points with a classmate and my instructor. I have to say I was taken aback at the time and the years have done little to alter that reaction.
I tell this story primarily because I was accused (if that word actually applies) again recently, and again by another woman, of “thinking like a man”, and being equally flummoxed as to how to respond. What exactly does it mean to “think like a man”? What does it mean to “think like a woman”? I know that I have a very logical perspective on things, that I prefer facts to supposition, that I have a tendency to travel from point A to point B, but are those exclusively “male” traits? Or are they “male” traits at all? Are all of these things, our need to quantify thinking as being of one sex or the other, merely societal inventions designed to perpetuate male-dominated hierarchies?
Given my own dearth of answers to any of these questions, I thought that I might put it to all of you, dear bloggers, to tell me what you believe it means to “think like a man/woman”. Any opinions? I'm quite curious to hear your thoughts.
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