Saturday, October 13, 2007

Are men really from Mars? Women really from Venus?

Deborah Cameron, writing in the Times of London, thinks not. In “Talking tosh on Mars and Venus”, we are told, she argues that it’s a myth:
The bones of Cameron’s argument, set out in The Myth of Mars and Venus, are that Gray et al have no scientific basis for their claims. Great sheaves of academic papers, says Cameron, show that the language skills of men and women are almost identical. Indeed, the central tenets of the Mars and Venus culture – that women talk more than men, that men are more direct, that women are more verbally skilled – can all be debunked by scientific research. A recent study in the American journal Science, for instance, found men and women speak almost exactly the same number of words a day: 16,000.
“The main thing about the book is that I wanted to offer people more than the evidence-free rubbish they get every day,” says Cameron. “My pitch was basically the CSI pitch: let the evidence tell the story.”

Hmmm. I’m not sure. I’ve met many men and women who conformed to the Mars-Venus stereotype and many that didn’t. But I never did the numbers thing .... Her book, The Myth of Mars and Venus, is surely worth a read.

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