“Why didn’t you tell me about princesses?”
This question came from the young cousin of my granddaughter a few years ago. She was being raised by her young parents to be a tomboy. No pink was allowed in her life, and she was to develop the tough masculine traits of a modern, independent woman that was so valued by her parents. But then my granddaughter arrived to meet her, and the girls were about 5 years old. It only took the girl one night spent with my granddaughter, hearing her stories of Sleeping Beauty and seeing her princess pajamas, to question her parents with fists on hips as if she’d been cheated out of something wonderful.
Boys and Girls
A common idea circulating in modern society is that femininity or masculinity must be developed and taught in a child, that gender identity is a matter of nurture alone, rather than a combination of that and nature. If it were true that the girlish or boyish natures of children could be completely hijacked and molded from birth, parents would have a lot more power to shape their children’s destinies than they do. My granddaughter’s cousin might not have resented being kept from some fun feminine pursuits because her masculine conditioning would have prevented any feeling of loss.
Though there are biological similarities between males and females, the differences that consistently appear are striking, and they create some dynamic variances between the two. Let’s first think about the common differences in physicality. In addition to the obvious genital differences, males develop broader shoulders, narrower hips, heavier brow bones, Adam’s apples, and a lot more body hair (especially on the face and chest). They also have 75-90% greater upper body strength when compared to women of similar age and physiology. Meanwhile, females tend to have better fine motor control, wider and more slanting hip bones, softer skin and 10% more body fat than males do.
While interesting and easier to see, the physical characteristics found in males versus females aren’t nearly as compelling as the psychological differences that are evident when comparing the brains and thinking patterns of the two genders. The female brain is wired more substantially from side to side, between the right and left hemispheres. This strong connection allows not only for better language acquisition and skill in language arts, but for the incredible ability to put feelings into words quickly and accurately. Female babies have been shown to focus their gazes on faces over other visual stimulation and, as they age, females show continued or increasing interest in human bonding and relationships. In addition, the central nervous system of females is geared all around the reproduction of the human species, whether these females ever have a child or not. Built-in sensory abilities are much greater as a result, including better hearing and sensitivity to smells, as well as sensitivity to the wellness and vulnerabilities of others. These abilities allow for greater bonding between a female and the people in her environment, greater opportunities for nurturing, and a likelihood for peacemaking or cooperation.
In contrast, male babies tend to focus less on faces and more on moving objects such as nursery mobiles, birds, airplanes and rubber balls. Male brains are wired more back to front, allowing a greater visual and action-oriented perspective, as well as a more natural ability for compartmentalized thinking. Males don’t easily combine emotion with language, therefore becoming less likely to feel comfortable connecting thoughts and feelings. They are more likely to become focused on competence, aggression, competition, hierarchy and the pursuit of targets or tasks. When young boys play alone or in a group, their attention tends to be on moving objects, their thoughts on the above goals.
Nature and Nurture
” Females tend to be inherently feminine until something interferes with that.”
Attempts to train the masculinity or femininity out of a child have shown some interesting results among researchers. Where a baby girl might be given a toy truck to play with and is likely to cradle it or try to find friends for it while speaking encouraging words, baby boys under 2 years of age who have been given dolls such as Barbie to play with have ended up using the doll’s legs as swords to fight off their peer opponents.
This is not to say that femininity or masculinity can’t be nurtured in individuals. How strongly a male or female excels at his or her natural power base partly depends on environment. It’s possible that my granddaughter’s cousin may never have learned much about princesses, and therefore may very well have become a full-fledged tomboy as she matured. But her inborn tendencies and desires were always there, waiting for an outlet. A lot of women in modern society have had their innate feminine behavior and habits knocked out of them by harsh parents, or by outside influences such as peer pressure. Others may have abandoned their femininity in an attempt to avoid persecution or to emulate coveted masculine power. The fact that the feminine instinct is there in the first place is the point. In my opinion, females tend to be inherently feminine until something interferes with that, and males are, similarly, going to be inherently masculine until pushed strongly enough to behave otherwise.
Since I represent thousands of women worldwide seeking more fulfilling relationships and greater happiness in their marriages, I want to explain how understanding these things will affect women and the people they love. To do that we must first answer this question:
What are a woman’s natural strengths?
We are born with the ability to not only foster our own relationships with others, but to help
create better relationships among the people in our circle of influence. Women are natural team-makers, excelling at:
- Conflict resolution
- Instruction based on perceived need
Consider for a moment how extremely valuable these abilities are in society and you’ll begin to understand the worth of women. Sensing the needs of others easily, we are tuned into the radio frequency of the human race that pulses with unmet desires and longed-for accomplishments. We are the companions, the outlets, the conduits for dreams because we understand people and know how to help them win at life. Part of this is achieved through being wonderful conversationalists and empathetic listeners. Another part comes from our gentleness and kindness, our desire to help and to bond. Yet another part is achieved because we are aware of perhaps our greatest strength, our ability to influence others to make the best decisions for all involved. This influence is achieved through our own good examples, through words of praise freely given to those who desperately need them, and our intuitive understanding of the quirks and needs of varying personalities while doing our best to show support of these things.
“A woman misusing her natural strengths becomes a terrifying thing to behold… She is Lady Macbeth, encouraging bloodshed while resting safely at home in her nightgown.”
Our abilities are not to be underestimated or taken lightly, nor are they to be abused or wielded as weapons to hurt or control others. A woman misusing her natural strengths becomes a terrifying thing to behold, destroying relationships and breaking hearts, leaving a trail of devastation for all in her wake. She does not kill using physical power or dominance; she does it by skillfully influencing others to destroy themselves. She is Lady Macbeth, encouraging bloodshed while resting safely at home in her nightgown. If you have known a woman like this, you can testify to how horrible and long-lasting her legacy can be.
The Good News
Guess what? Thankfully, most women tend to desire mutual benefit and the happiness or contentment of others. We enjoy cooperation, synergy, and being able to hug everyone at the end of a hard battle. We love giving high-fives and saying “You did a fantastic job!” not because we want something in return, but because we know such encouragement helps others to grow. We believe in marriage because we know that two people with different assets, working together in a spirit of love, make an unbeatable team that can achieve greater happiness together than either person can solo.
We are amazing machines, ladies. Our design is highly efficient at multiple tasks, our blueprints as unique as those of males. Men and women have the ability to function as incredible counterparts to each other. In our complexity and skill we females cannot be replaced or imitated with much success. Never abandon the powers you were born with or let anyone squash your feminine worth until it’s unrecognizable. Guard it, protect it and nourish it. Be proud of being a woman for all its spectacular intricacy and inherent value. And then go lift your torch to light the way for others. You will leave behind a legacy that benefits generations.