How Male and Female Characters Think

 A Writer Comments…

Dear Melanie – I greatly enjoyed the Advanced Dramatica class last night. It is a testament to the power of your ideas that in my sleep-deprived state I could sit still for three hours and be quite riveted.

I had a comment on Male-Female mental sex that might be of some interest to you, though I suspect you may have been over this ground already.

For some time I have thought that there are two ways of knowing – 1) rule-based/logic, and 2) pattern matching. An example of rule-based would be “A=B and B=C ==> A=C”; an example of pattern matching would be a director knowing that the cast of a stage play is motivated to do good work because he’s worked with other successful casts.

Rule-based works well on many classes of problems (e.g., if you fire a rocket at such & such a trajectory it will land on Saturn). It allows you to support a conclusion by referring back to defined elements and their proven interactions. It fails to work when elements are not clearly distinct or interactions are complex. For instance, it seems unlikely that that anyone will ever be able to predict global weather based on number crunching of simple elements such as molecules, pressure and temperature.

To solve these more complex problems, pattern recognition is necessary. In other words, you discover that generally whenever it’s cloudy in Fiji and snowing in New York, Seattle is warm and dry. You don’t know why that is; you can’t “prove” it; yet it is a rule you can live by and therefore recognizing that pattern is adaptive.

So when I hear Male vs. Female mental sex, I frequently translate it to Rule-Based vs. Pattern Matching. This seems to explain all of the relationships simply and helps me avoid getting distracted by stereotyping one gender or the other. However, I do not yet know what to make of Chris’s comment that “the biggest difference between male & female mental sex is the way that time and space are perceived.” So I look forward to hearing more on that at some opportunity.


My Reply…

Hi, Mark, and thanks for the note. I’m glad you are enjoying the class. I’ll try to make the next one a bit more boring, so you can catch up on your sleep!

As for male/female systems of perception, the linear (IF “a” THEN “b”) and the pattern (WHEN “a” ALSO “b”, as exemplified in the statement, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”) are both inherently male mental sex appreciations, because they are both spatial/binary/particulate. Even in your example of weather prediction by pattern, the “given” that is built into that perspective is that there is a difference between Fiji, New York, and Seattle. Female mental sex would find no such distinction.

You have correctly named two items in a quad of perspectives. The first one is linear, the second one is comparative. Here are the other two, by analogy: If linear sets the direction and pattern determines the speed, then the first FEMALE mental sex perspective would be like acceleration, and the second perspective would be CHANGES in acceleration.

In terms of another analogy, the first female mental sex perspective would be like watching the changing colors in a sunset. The second would experiencing changes in the rate at which the colors change.

Have you ever stepped outside on a blustery day with big puffy clouds that cause dappled patterns of shadow and light to move across the ground, from where you are all the way to the horizon?

Even if you don’t think about what causes the patterns (linear) and even if you don’t register the patterns directly at all, you still get an emotional sense of the “flavor” of the landscape as areas brighten and darken, and this “flavor” is due to the fact that the lightening and darkening is not linear, but accelerates, starting out slowly, then gradually increasing in speed until the final breakthrough of sun happens very quickly. That experience is like the FIRST of the female mental sex perceptions of the world, but female mental sex will experience EVERYTHING IN LIFE primarily from that perspective (or from the second female mental sex perspective.)

The second perspective can also be seen on that cloudy day. Do you know how it feels when the sun ALMOST peeks out but flirts with the clouds instead? So, it is accelerating toward appearing and then slows down, perhaps changes its mind, and heads deeper into the shadows with not only greater speed, but greater acceleration.

That constantly shifting flavor of the emotional experience as the RATE OF ACCELERATION changes is very close to the second female mental sex perspective.

Now, the point about male and female seeing Time and Space differently… Imagine that all four of these perceptions are available to both male and female mental sex individuals. But, the male mental sex begins in the linear, then seeks the pattern, then senses the acceleration (indicating the forces at work) and finally arrives at an awareness of the change in the forces through observing change in acceleration. In contrast, female mental sex would FIRST sense the changes in acceleration, then refine that to see the average acceleration (making acceleration appear temporarily constant), THEN see the patterns as being comprised of distinct units of shadow and light, and FINALLY see the linearity of progress from light to dark to light.

Each mental sex would see all four, but due to the ORDER or SEQUENCE in which the perceptions are experienced, the personal MEANING and therefore the VALUE and IMPORTANCE of both the entire scenario AND it’s components would come out differently.

Looking at SEQUENCE is a binary temporal view of the whole above process. Another way to look at it would be that male and female mental sex individuals give a different EMPHASIS to each of the four perspectives. That is a binary SPATIAL view of the process.

So, as you can see, even in my description of the differences, I have adopted a binary framework as a means of communication. Therein lies the real answer to you investigation: because the spatial and temporal (binary/holistic) frame of reference is built in to the brains of male or female mental sex people, no matter how much you look toward the opposite side, no matter how far you step back, you will always still have a point of view that is biased toward the binary or holistic on top of your perspective.

This is why male and female mental sex individuals will never be able to ever TRULY experience how the other variety sees and feels about life, but can only approximate it in terms of the spatial or temporal bias that forms a foundation of our very awareness.

Hope this give you cause for thought, and doesn’t keep you up all night!