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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Do You Think Like a Man or a Woman?


Even though I don’t routinely read reviews for my books, I did happen to read one a couple of months ago that befuddled me. The reader didn’t understand what the hero liked about the heroine, and I didn’t understand why the hero wouldn’t like the heroine. She enjoys the same things he does. She is his companion. She believes in his abilities and doesn’t try to solve his problems for him. She allows him space to do what he needs to do. She’s compassionate and supportive. And she has a healthy sexual drive.  

The reason I really appreciated this particular review is because it made me think about character development, and some random stuff I’ll get into in a minute. I remembered reading the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” when I was in college. The characteristics I thought my hero would like in a mate matched a lot of what John Gray wrote in his book, so maybe I remembered that from my reading. 

Woman: I wonder what he's thinking. Man: What if you could punch someone into a flashback?
(A little private joke for those of you who follow me on Facebook.) 

I began asking myself if I should continue writing male characters that are more in line with male behavior I observe or create male characters that think more like a woman, since my readers are mostly female. 

THEN I remembered a workshop I attended a couple of years ago about masculine brains and feminine brains, which isn’t necessarily dictated by gender. There can be women who think more like men, and men who think more like women. A masculine brain takes more of a problem-solving approach. It tends to be competitive. And it uses action in dealing with stress. For example, a masculine brain under stress might turn inward and indirectly express itself through creative activity (building, art, writing, music), seek more information about the problem (reading, researching online, etc.), or engage in physical action (exercise, yard work, house work). 

A feminine brain tends to be relationship focused and nurturing. It is more expressive with emotions. It
seeks to connect with others. And a feminine brain under stress is most likely to talk it out with a friend, attend a support group, or use creative expression but in a more direct way, such as blogging about the topic that is the source of the stress.

According to the speaker—and a little research I did on my own—our feminine or masculine brain is determined when we are only 2 months in utero. Certain hormones bathe us in the womb and depending on the levels, our brains develop in certain ways. Wild and wacky stuff, right?

Anyway, there is a finger test that supposedly can indicate if you were bathed in more testosterone or estrogen during that stage of development. It’s called a 2D:4D Ratio.

How to get your 2D:4D Ratio

Turn your hand palm up. Measure your index finger from the middle of the crease to the tip and record the measurement. Now measure your ring finger from the middle of the crease to the tip and record. (The unit of measurement doesn’t matter as long as you use the same for both fingers. I used centimeters to get my ratio.) To get your ratio, divide the measurement you got for your index finger (2D) by your ring finger (4D). 
Ratio = 2D  ÷ 4D

Masculine-brained: 0.889-1.005
Feminine-brained: 0.931-1.017

Guess what my ratio was?
 0.9231

Pretty much in the masculine camp, which likely explains the reason I find fart jokes hilarious, and have no problem playing a cutthroat game of Carcassonne with my 10-year-old. (There’s no crying in board games!) 

My husband has always accused me of thinking like a man, and he could be right, although I think I’m pretty balanced. I like connections with others as much as solving problems. 

The only definite conclusion I can make from these findings is I still stink at making a hand turkey.

This drawing has not been copyrighted, because that would be silly!

There have been different studies related to finger length, and this blog is just for fun. Many, many factors go into making us who we are. I say embrace our differences and celebrate our commonalities. It makes life more enjoyable. 

So, do you think more like a man or a woman? I bet you don't even have to do any math to figure it out. I knew before I calculated my 2D:4D Ratio. Question #2: Do you think heroes should be written more like real men or the feminine idea of what a man should be?

15 comments:

  1. Okay, I'm a little freaked out here--my fingers are the same length. I measure twice-exact same. What does that mean, Samantha?! WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!

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    1. LOL. It's perfectly normal. Many women's index and ring fingers are the same length. According to the speaker, you have a good balance between masculine and feminine thinking. :)

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    2. Oh. Well. As an extremist, I'm a little offended to have so much balance. ;)

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    3. If it makes you feel any better, Andris - I don't think you're balanced. ;) LOL!

      (Now I'm going into hiding.)

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    4. Y'all are cracking me up! (You better hide, Ava, especially if you believe she's unbalanced.) ;)

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  2. Well, I'd have to do math to figure out my ratio; but I'd have to do MATH. And I'd rather not. I mean, what is the point? I most definitely have a feminine mind - and all that goes along with that. ;)

    However - I want my male characters - both the ones I write and the ones I read - to think and behave like men. I actually enjoy getting in their minds when creating a character. It is so fun to try and figure out what makes them tick. And what makes them do the things they do.

    At the end of the day, however, I am quite happy to return to my own feminine mind. ;)

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    1. I could have told you that you think like a chick. LOL

      I like men to behave like men too, but that sneak peek into their minds makes it a most enjoyable read.

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  3. I'm a well hones mix lol. Considering who all had a hand in raising me that rather fits. I have a lot of my grandparents influences in me.

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    1. I'm not surprised you have both. You have a nice balance. :)

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  4. LOL I am definitely a male-brained person. I am not really sure that is a good thing but hubby lubs me and that's all that counts. Not really sure what that says about him either though LOL. With a house full of males it's not surprise that if I wasn't born this way I would have ended up this way anyway. I prefer jeans, beer, games, and action movies. You wonder why I write romance huh? Because I still love the idea of true love and falling in love. Is there anything better that?

    Great blog, Samantha!!

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    1. No matter how you think about things, love is universal. Why not write about romance with kick-butt scenes???

      I'm sure your hubby thinks he struck gold when he found a gamer girl. :)

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  5. According to Valiant Husband, my brain skews toward the man side. I think that's because I don't play mind games with him like he's seen some women do. But I'm girly enough to say that I'm not doing the math to prove him right!

    :-)

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    1. LOL. I'm definitely girly when it comes to many things. Usually I have my husband measure everything because I'm horrible at it, but then anything with directions, I have to put together. :)

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  6. More on the male side for me I'm sure (even without doing the math). However, since both genders can show either way of thinking, I wonder why we call it male and female? It seems like we could be more descriptive and call it problem-solving or emotional thinking.

    As for heroes, I like a mix.

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    1. I agree, Jennifer. I was wondering the same thing last night as I was writing the blog. I suppose it's not that different from left-brain/right-brain, although most people think it has to do with creativity versus organized. My psychologist hubby always says, "That's not what it means!" LOL

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