and, thus, has more health and psychological problems as well as
more superficial and fragile relationships. These facts should help the
tough, loud, dominating, belligerent male re-consider his life style.
Almost no one, except a few insecure, hostile buddies, respects the
inconsiderate, aggressive male. It is certainly to the credit of
enlightened males that they have moved away from the destructive
aspects of the highly masculine sex role stereotypes, but Robert Bly
(1990) believes many men have become "soft" (insecure and
indecisive?) in the process and lost their resolve to do what they think
is right. Guard against confusing being good (sensitive to others'
needs, assertive, strong, and cooperative) with being weak (self-
depreciating, scared, and self-absorbed). Besides Bly, there are other
books for adult males having problems with their emotions: Pittman
(1992) and Allen (1993).
Naturally, men have felt attacked by feminists and some, like Bly,
have recently insisted that the male role should be as a strong leader.
However, mental health professionals do not recommend Bly's book
(Santrock, Minnett & Campbell, 1994). Perhaps the major
spokesperson during the 1980's on male issues has been Herb
Goldberg (1976, 1980), a psychologist who denounces the traditional
tough, silent, unfeeling, unempathic man. He thinks men are killing
themselves by trying to be "true" men. Instead, men should get in
touch with their feelings, their bodies, their close relationships (or lack
of them), and their basic purposes in life. Goldberg thinks men should
stay assertive and independent, but increase their sensitivity to others,
their inner awareness of emotions and values, and their commitment
to others. In short, they wouldn't become less of a "man" but rather a
more complete, wiser, caring man (Fanning & McKay, 1994).
More male-female differences
Are there additional differences between men and women? Yes,
there are probably many differences besides physical size and
strength, breasts, and genitalia (McLoughlin, 1988). We don't
understand why but many more males are conceived and then
spontaneously aborted. Color-blindness, hemophilia, leukemia,
dyslexia, left-handedness are more common in males. Certain diseases
plague women (thyroid & bladder disorders, anemias, spastic colon,
varicose veins, migraines, gallstones, arthritis, asthma) but men have
deadlier problems (heart disease, strokes, emphysema) and more
visual-hearing defects. In summary, women live 7 years longer,
although sick more often.
Certain fascinating sex differences start early, e.g. infant girls
seem to see faces better and are more responsive to people than boys
are. Even as adults, research has shown that women can "read" non-
verbal cues and most emotions better than men (not anger). By
preschool, boys are more distractible (shorter attention span),
aggressive (chapter 7), and more visually oriented. There have also
been slight but consistent intellectual (may be nurture, not nature)
differences: girls get better grades; high school males do a little better