Why perceived gender difference more of psychology than physical

The difference between men and women, boys and girls is controversial
and has raised an endless debate. Quindlen Anna argues that male and
female are dissimilar and will remain different irrespective of the
level of their relationship (whether they dance together or establish
marriage partnerships). Quindlen starts the essay “Between the sexes,
a great divide” by describing the difference between boys and girls is
represented by the empty space between them in the dancing floor. The
author puts is clear that the space is not the cause of gender
difference, but the disparity results from emotional and mental
perspectives (Quindlen 159). The author illustrates this by suggesting
that even if the two gendered persons reconcile, they still behave
differently and live with a lot of misunderstanding among themselves.
Although persons of persons of opposite sexes may bridge the interaction
gaps between them, their mental and psychological differences remain
The main purpose of the essay “Between the sexes, a great divide” is
to demonstrate how gender differences are persistent throughout the
human life irrespective of the level of interaction. The author defends
this idea throughout her essay using a multiple of samples and personal
experiences. Quindlen has written the essay in an exemplary plot that
begins an illustration of how sex difference manifests in children and
progress until adulthood. During childhood both boys and girls
acknowledge the fact that there exist some differences between them. The
author uses the example of dancing room where boys and girls stand on
separate sides, but some of them (both boys and girls) break the
difference and dance together. The author wonders whether the difference
will ever be bridged and create at a situation in which both boys and
girls will mingle freely in the gym (Quindlen 600). This suggests that
bridging the gender gap is a personal decision and everyone one decides
and his or her own time to mingle with persons of the opposite sex.
The author has successively illustrated that the main reason for the
difficulty in bridging the gender gap is the fact that the disparity is
mentally and psychologically perceived and not determined by the
physical differences. First, Quindlen describes the difficulty she is
undergoing sharing the house with three men (husband and two sons). The
differences arise from the way she does her things and the way the three
men view them. For example, the three men (both the young ones and the
big man) neither know nor understand the necessity of planting the
amaryllis bulb in the bathroom (Quindlen 601). She is irritated by the
manner in which they all ask (referring the amaryllis to as the onion)
irritating questions in the quest for her reason to plant the amaryllis
bulb. This illustrates that although they have all crossed the empty
space between their genders the psychological aspect of their
differences has remained persistent.
Secondly, the author has confirmed that the difference is more mental
than physical difference by suggesting that children behave and think
differently even if they are raised in the same environment (Quindlen
601). By the same environment the author refers to children who have
grown-up seeing their parents do things that either of the party has
also done. If the disparities seen in the dancing room could have
resulted from physical differences such children would be expected to
behave and act in the same way irrespective of their gender differences.
However, from the essay, it is clear that the gap is experienced even at
the tender age among children raised within the same environment. The
author gives an illustration of the two children (boy and girl) who were
raised in egalitarian household, but their manners depict the
differences in male and female characteristics. Although physical
differences (such as masculinity in men and petite in women) and the way
children are raised may account for the differences in their perceived
gender differences in the emotional effect is more pronounced.
Changing the way people thing about persons of opposite sex may not
necessary bridge the gap created by gender disparity, but it only serves
to reduce the perceived differences. Although some people in the society
decide to mingle with people of the opposite sex, this is often viewed
as an unusual practice by other members of the group and may end-up
discouraging members who have resolved to cross over. Similarly, the
author has severally identified this tendency in her life time. For
example, if a girl decided to dance with a boy in the danced room, the
other girls would develop a discouraging opinion about her action. The
author gives an example of how they pajama parties would crackle as a
result of the absence of a girl who crossed over to dance with a boy
(Quindlen 600). This implies that the opinion of other members of the
group (both boys and girls) widens the gap or reduces the tendency of
others to bridge it.
Although the essay has a well developed plot with a stupendous closing
that illustrates how the gap stretches and then narrows, there is one
section that is more of an author’s stereotype than an indication of
gender gap. Quindlen attributes lack of knowledge of the three men about
the amaryllis bulb and the significance of planting it in the bathroom
to gender difference. However, this may not be the main reason because
they even don’t know what it is. One of the boys thinks it is an onion
(Quindlen 601), which implies that is lack of knowledge and not the
effect of being a male. In addition, the manner in which the author
answers the three men may have result in their dislike of the amaryllis
bulb because she failed to inform them what it was and its importance in
a polite way.
In conclusion, the essay is well organized with ideas flowing in a
comprehensive way. The author managed to defend her main idea of the
great divide that exists between individuals of different sexes. In
addition, Quindlen managed to establish a flowing plot that illustrates
how gender disparity develops from a young age to adulthood. She does
this by giving examples of children and adults in a marriage. The author
has defended her opinion from the being seen as prejudice by reminding
readers about other works she has done about the good and the bad sides
of both men and women. Despite this defense, there are some instances
(such as the author’s perception about men’s questioning about the
amaryllis bulb) that indicate obvious stereotyping. In overall,
“Between the sexes, a great divide” is a wonderful essay that is
written in comprehensive language and style.
Works Cited
Quindlen, A. Between the sexes, a great divide. New York Times. Dates