by Elise Ellsworth
In my last article I indulged in a little uncalled for husband bashing – to which my husband turned a partially blind eye. I felt bad about this – my husband has saved my bacon in numerous situations, including watching the kids on a moment’s notice so that I can finish procrastinated writing projects – like this one. So, now it’s time to turn the tables. Here are five reasons that we women desperately need men and the special insights and capabilities that they offer (just remember that these are scientific generalities and that there’s a lot more crossover in real life than the studies can tell us):
- Men are Stronger (and Faster) than Women – They are just built differently. Think of men and women like bricks and mortar. Men’s bodies are built bigger, stronger, and faster. These traits make men great protectors. That’s what they’ve been doing for a long time. This may be why men still dominate protection-oriented fields of work including fire-fighting (96.7%), police work (87%), and even the army (85.4%).
- Men’s Brains Seem More Suited to Logical Reasoning and Computation – Maybe you’re a female who loves math. And you’re crying foul at this one. But, remember, this is just another generalization shown by studies. Males tend to have much larger inferior-parietal lobules (IPL) than females. This is the part of the brain responsible for mathematical computation. They also do better at visualizing and mentally rotating 3-D objects. These differences may account for the fact that men still dominate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
- Men Can Get Us From Here to There – This is one of my husband’s specialties. Yes, he’s good at maps and getting us to any destination. And it’s a proven fact that most men display similar traits. But he also excels at projects in general. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a project. Deadlines, task lists. My amazing husband single-handedly remodeled much of our home – without a to-do list and with a wife stressing about minor decisions the entire time. And research backs this up, attributing men’s ability to focus on projects to the fact that they utilize gray matter in the brain seven times more than women. My husband has helped me finish up a number of lagging projects – law school papers and garden boxes to name a few – with his driven personality. Where would I be without him?
- Men are More Likely to Take Risks – Yes, men are the risk-takers. This does not sound like a very appealing trait. But when you consider the traits needed for innovation and enterprise, risk-taking is way up there. This may be why men worldwide are more likely to start small businesses than women.
- Men are Better at Coordinated Action – Think hammering a nail. Turning a screw. But also think professions like chef or barber. Studies show that men’s brains are more wired for perception and coordinated actions, women are better at reading emotions, verbal skills and multitasking. This is certainly true at our house where my husband is not only the family handyman – he spent tonight working on my blender – but also is a much more creative cook than I am.
- Men are More Decisive Than Women – The single focus may also be a contributing factor in why research finds that men are more decisive than women. I like to mull over my decisions, talk to friends, evaluate my options. My husband just likes to have the decision done and over with. Without him, the house would never have been remodeled. Without me the floors might have been oak instead of cherry and my daughter’s walls would have remained purplish pink. Studies also show that men don’t worry as much either. So, once he makes a decision it’s over and done. How nice.
Now, again, these are generalizations. But my research on men and women has led me to some broad implications for the family. Men and women have differing traits – but these traits, like the electrons and protons in an atom, balance and complement each other, providing the stability needed for family leadership and child raising. As the author of one study on male-female brains put it, “It’s quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are.”