Men and Women are Just Different

Deal with it.

Shoshana Kaufman

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Photo by Ana Itonishvili on Unsplash

Way back in the early twentieth century, Carl Jung declared that women and men each had a shadow of the opposite gender deep inside their psyches.

Men had a female anima, and women had a male animus.

This was back in the day when gender and sex were seen as more or less the same thing: someone with two X chromosomes was female, and someone with an XY chromosomal makeup was male.

In many ways, life was simpler then. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it was better.

It’s no longer simple.

Scientific discoveries since then have muddied the waters on gender/sexuality considerably. And I don’t want to get into that. I’m going to mostly narrow my remarks here to people who are born with either an XX or XY chromosome configuration and who feel that the expected labels of female or male jibe with their inner reality. I will also only address people who are attracted to the opposite chromosomal sex.

I will start with myself. I was born female. I’ve never had any kind of genetic test, but I feel confident that my chromosomes are XX. I am straight: I have only ever been attracted to men. I live happily with a man. I cannot imagine even so much as having a crush on another woman, let alone being in a romantic relationship with one.

I know that people like me have traditionally had more power than people who are attracted to the same sex. Enough power to dictate to others what it means to be female or male. Enough power to discriminate against anyone who does not conform to this norm.

And of course the norms have changed over the years. I am old enough to remember friends in high school being told that educating women beyond high school was a waste of money because they would only get married and then stay home. I can remember growing up when most middle-class mothers were housewives. And when many, like my own mother, had virtually no choice in the matter.

Feminism got involved.

I can remember a linguistics professor declaring that the word “man” included women. His implication was that women who objected to this were crazy and obsessed with minor details of terminology. He…

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Shoshana Kaufman

Mother, Teacher, wife, food lover, spiritual searcher.