Are you like that because you are a woman/man or because you are you?
I run into this question in my life with some regularity. Perhaps the crowds I run with, perhaps the twisted upbringing I’ve had, perhaps I’m just stubborn and think if I keep running into it I’ll eventually knock it down. Whatever the reason, I seem to run into it every year or so.
This time I’ve run into it because a friends keep saying things like "woman are like that", "woman do that", "woman xxx more than men do". He’s usually commenting directly on something he’s just seen me do, my behaviour, conversations, and/or thought patterns.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not offended… I’m just puzzled by him attributing my behaviour to my sex. He seems to find female’s behaviour and interaction fascinating in the same way I find someone’s motivation fascinating. Though there’s this element of "alien" about how he talks about "women". As if we are fascinating but other.
The thing is, I don’t think what I’m doing, saying or thinking as being driven by me being a women. Sure, I am a woman but some of the things he comments on are things I think of as me. "Yup, I do that", I think. But I never think "yup, I’do that because I’m a woman." In fact, I find that last phrase diminishes me as a person, an individual, me. Unless it’s buying a bra or the like.
My response to someone else saying "I’m like that because I’m a man" (or woman) is "What? You don’t make your own choices and decisions? Your sex makes you do that? So, really, you could be any male and still be doing this? You aren’t more complex than that?"
Attributing an action to a single human characteristic that is shared with more than 50% of the population seems kind of odd. As if I’m saying I did something because I’m a brunette, or because I’m right handed, or because I’m white. It confuses me.
I guess I subscribe to what must be the cult of personality or individuality – I am like this because I’m me… and I happen to be a woman, and white, and right handed so they are atttributes that influence my behaviour, experiences and resultant choices. I embrace them because they’re part of who and what I am. But part of who and what I am, not all of who and what I am and certainly not, individually, the most important part of who and what I am.
What do you think? Are you like that because you are you, or because of your sex? Do you identify strongly with your sex? Or hair colour? Or life style? Or hobbies?
Do you identify with any one attribute or characteristic so strongly that you would say it was one of the primary factors in your decisions and actions?