Taking Sex Differences Seriously: Conclusion

April 24, 2013 | NeW

Over the course of this book, we have learned a lot about the discussion of masculinity, femininity, sex differences, fatherless families, the sexual revolution, the nature of men and the nature of women. Through Dr. Steven E. Rhoad’s research and observations, we have been able to expand our knowledge base of this topic. In his conclusion, he states:

Marriage underlies most of the foregoing discussion of cultural and policy issues. Fatherless families exist in the first place because either parents do not marry or because they divorce. The sexual revolution makes women unhappy because it interferes with men’s ability to transform their sexual passions into a more enduring love that inspires them to commit to a long-term future. Title IX administration is troubling, in part, because by removing a positive outlet for men’s aggression and urge for dominance, it eliminates one means of making them suitable for marriage. Finally, day care has proved a sorry substitute for the marital alternative, mothers, as the principal caretakers for the children.”(Page 244)

As a woman or a man, how do you view marriage? Is it a primary goal for your life? Or is it career? Or is it both? Since the time my grandmother was growing up, women have made instrumental strides in finding more job opportunities. Women have the option to work outside of the home, they have the option to stay at home, and they have the option to do both. With either of these choices, there are sacrifices and benefits. Where some arguments go wrong, I believe, it that a woman can have it all without any sacrifice, which isn’t true. Rhoads speaks of a conversation with one of his students, Meg, who had differing views on sex differences. However, they did agree that there are societal views that force some women to be dishonest with themselves about what they want. Do they want marriage, but say they don’t think they will ever get married? Do they want kids, but say they don’t want kids, simply because they don’t think it will happen? In a 1997 survey, 93% of mothers referred to their children as a source of happiness all or most of the time, 90% about their marriage and 60% about their career. (Page 248)

Marriage compels men to grow up. This is why the newly engaged young man looks more serious as well as more happy. As poll results suggest, men know that marriage means new responsibilities and worries. They will now have to become good providers and set good examples for their children. (Page 253)

For those that want marriage, it seems that studies show it does make them happiest. Rhoads goes on to cite more statistics about what career and children does for marriage and vulnerabilities between the sexes. What do you think of these statistics? Do you agree that each sex has their own vulnerabilities? Can vulnerabilities be overcome?

To me, marriage is one of the most sacred gifts in life. I know the day I get married will be one of the best days of my life, along with having children. I appreciated this book for its entirety. I understand more of how I can stand up for my decision to get married when it’s right, have children when it’s right and argue for not putting it off. I’ve had the best examples in my life of a mother who was able to do it all, and worked part-time when she had kids so she could give us the attention she needed while getting fulfillment from a career and grandmothers that also contributed to their families in order for many kids to grow in a positive environment and support her husband to the utmost. One thing the liberal side of the conversation about sex differences needs to understand, is that getting married and having children should be a respected option and not one to be argued against. If they just look at the research and are honest with themselves and their friends, maybe they will realize they aren’t so different from those women who want marriage and children and a career too, and realize the sacrifices that need to be made at different times in life in order to make that all happen. And, women and men are different and will always be different, so it’s important to realize these differences in all relationships in life. Thank you to Mr. Rhoads for writing this book, NeW for sponsoring the book club this semester, my book-club writing partner Marian for analyzing it with me and to all of you readers who followed us throughout the week and provided such interesting comments.

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