It has been my experience that no matter how we try to alike, men and women definitely act differently, respond differently and see the world differently. I have witnessed this behavior first hand in many of my classes. I had never noticed exactly how different we were until I started looking, and I was very surprised at how obvious it is. My results may not be the same in every situation and I do not wish to generalize but overall and in most cases, this is what I witnessed.
Firstly, in the classroom, in the learning environment the women seemed to “physically” be paying attention. They made almost constant eye contact with the professor, took notes and watched every movement. In contrast, the men, although paid attention, did not appear as “physical” about it. They listened but very differently. The women’s listening skills were very active. They watched, and gestured in agreement (when they agreed) and made notes while almost never losing eye contact. The men, also took notes, but seemed to be able to do so without watching the professor or even appearing to be listening. When something noteworthy was said, the women scribbled feverishly, but the men seemed to jot it down. Again, this was not 100% the case, but obvious enough to notice and mention.
The opposite happened, however, when the students spoke in class. When a male was asked to speak, he stood up very tall and also very exaggerated. His shoulders broadened, his voice deepened and he appeared very serious. Most of the males that spoke also gestured with their hands to emphasize their point. Their voices were louder than necessary as they directed their answer to the professor. In contrast, when a female spoke, her voice was quiet and she appeared to speak to the class as opposed to just the teacher. I also never saw any female gesture dramatically with her hands or talk louder than necessary.
Before class, when the atmosphere was more social, I also noticed several distinct differences between the males and the females. The males grouped together and were again loud and sometimes obnoxious with language and jokes. In this setting their actions were overly dramatic and it seemed they wanted everyone to hear what they were saying, whether they were in the conversation or not. Also, when they grouped together to talk, almost 100% of the time, only males were in the group.
Again, in sharp contrast was the way the females socialized. Although they mainly talked to other women, at times, they did include men, and they spoke very quietly. Their conversations were not “locker room talk”, but instead about the last assignment, or the current subject. Even when they did speak socially, I didn’t hear any crude jokes or obscenities. This is not to say they didn’t occur, just that if they did, because the women spoke so much quieter I couldn’t hear them.
After class was again a huge difference. The men gathered up their books (many times early) and left the classroom quickly, again loudly and with friends. The women took their time, waited for the crowd to disperse and walked slowly out of the room. Many of them even stopped to talk to the professor on the way out, and some of them waited for friends in the hallway. The differences were as obvious as night and day, and ones that I had never really noticed before.
In every situation I witnessed the differences in men and women were so obvious I was shocked that I hadn’t noticed them before. The men not only talked to each other differently, but seemed to hear each other differently as well. The women seemed to genuinely listen and even ask questions about the material. Again, I don’t mean to generalize as some men did ask questions, but overall it was the women who asked more questions about the material. Also when a male asked a question, he usually blurted it out and did not look around to see if anyone else had a question. It’s difficult to point that out because although that was the case, it did not appear rude at the time, or selfish. The women accepted it, the professor accepted it. It was as if, it was not obvious to anyone, except me, and only because I was watching their behavior.
I think these differences are huge, and I can fully understand why they say men are Mars and women are from Venus. It really is as if we see things totally differently, to the extent where sometimes I wondered if we were all hearing the same material and in the same room. It was that obvious. I also think we need to be more aware of these differences and work to understand them. This effort could result in far fewer arguments and much more peaceful relationship among us.