An article on gender differences in yesterday's New York Times starts with the following unfortunate generalization:

"When men and women take personality tests, some of the old Mars-Venus stereotypes keep reappearing. On average, women are more cooperative, nurturing, cautious and emotionally responsive. Men tend to be more competitive, assertive, reckless and emotionally flat."

To bolster its 1950s reasoning, the Times pulls out the tired old example of Title IX. While Title IX has totally leveled the playing field in high school and college athletics for more than a generation, the Times reminds us that male runners still "train harder and are more motivated by competition."

It's interesting how the Times uses athletics as its frame of reference--where males have dominated since the time of the ancient Olympics and women were forbidden to watch the games. The Times seems to have forgotten that competitiveness doesn't need to roar loudly or have an athletic supporter attached.

For an area where young women are out-competing and humiliating young men, we don't need to look much farther than the female-to-male ratios on our college campuses. It used to be that outside of places like Vassar and Sarah Lawrence, there were far more male than female students. Today, the opposite is true. In some colleges, women now outnumber men by 3-to-2 or more.

Now how did that happen if, as the Times tells us, men are the more competitive gender?

As for the Times' saying that women are "more nurturing, cautious and emotionally responsive," perhaps it should read what some of its own columnists have been saying about Sarah Palin.

About the Author

Paul Joannides

Paul Joannides, Psy.D., is a research psychoanalyst, the author of Guide To Getting It On, and a speaker on college campuses.

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