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Upgrading Women and Men #3: Similarities and Differences Between Men and Women

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This is the Third article in a series on Upgrading Men and Women.  Click on Articles by Jose Stevens on the menu to the right to see the other two.


Now let us look at the question of how men and women are very similar and how they are different. The absolutely amazing thing is that men and women are actually very much alike and actually very different at the same time. Let us begin by looking at ways they are alike.

Both men and women embody the very same seven archetypal roles:  They can both show up in any lifetime as: Artisans and Sages, Servers and Priests, Warriors and Kings, and Scholars. A few examples: Deepak Chopra and Adelle are both kings, Harrison Ford and Miranda Lambert are both warriors, Tina Fey and Chris Rock are both sages, Mother Teresa and President Carter are both servers. Tom Cruise and Marianne Williamson are both priests, Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Gosling are both artisans, Al Gore and Margaret Mead are both scholars.

Even though fascinating, I will leave off the examples from now on or this will get too long. If you want to study this system in more depth you can always go to the PersonEssence page on my website, Thepowerpath.com and find plenty of information there.

Both men and women have goals of Discrimination, Acceptance, Abbreviation, Growth, Dominance, Submission, or Relaxation. This is their primary motivation. These vary from life to life.

Both men and women can have modes of Caution, Power, Reserve, Passion, Perseverance, Aggression, or Observation. These are how they approach their goals and again all are adopted and learned over many lives.

Both men and women can have attitudes of Skeptic, Idealist, Stoic, Spiritualist, Realist, Cynic, or Pragmatism. These are the primary perspectives and again are all taken.

Both men and women can be Intellectual, Emotional, or Kinesthetic in their primary response.

Both men and women can have obstacles of Greed, Self-Destruction, Self Deprecation, Arrogance, Impatience, Martyrdom, or Stubbornness. All are repeatedly experienced.

Both men and women can have needs for Security, Adventure, Freedom, Expression, Power, Exchange, Acceptance, Communion, and Expansion.

Both men and women can have a range of maturity levels that translate to orientations or value sets: Survival Oriented, Rule Oriented, Success Oriented, Relationship Oriented, Philosophically Oriented, or Transcendentally Oriented.

Regarding work both men and women can be athletes, truck drivers, soldiers, CEO’s, lawyers, physicians, scientists, chefs, nurses, flight attendants, welders, politicians, actors, comedians, acrobats, salespeople, managers, and so on.

Both men and women age and go through a variety of life stages including infancy, toddler, child, adolescent, young adult, adult, and senior citizen.

Both men and women share most anatomical parts: Central nervous system, muscular system, skeletal system, digestive system, vascular system, endocrine system, immune system, respiratory system, limbic system, and so on.

Both men and women share different skin colors, hair colors, textures, and racial characteristics.

I could go on and on. Obviously men and women are amazingly alike.


With all these similarities you could come to the conclusion that men and women are practically the same but the interesting thing is that they are not because they use their brain parts, anatomy and physiology, and behavior traits quite differently from men. Why?

Even though there is a great deal of scientific controversy new research is revealing a wealth of new information every day, much of it at the genetic level and much too complex for this brief article. Here all I will do is point to it but not attempt in any way to explain it because this is way beyond my level of expertise. Any of you scientists out there please excuse any clumsiness in my attempt to address these differences. In other words cut me some slack but please let me know if anything here is not accurate.

Women and men are noticeably different in obvious appearances, in size, weight, height, and muscle mass and so on but then there are quite a few exceptions too.

Females and males have similar but not identical brains. Men and women have all the same brain parts but they function slightly or in some ways dramatically differently. Today there is mounting evidence of sex differences at a fine level including differences in patterns of synaptic activity and in the density of neurons in specific parts of the brain. Recent research is revealing that many differences are not as researchers have long thought, a result of hormonal activity, but coming directly from the genes and their effects. These are effects that arise from the expression of X and Y genes within non-gonadal cells and result in sex differences in the functions of those cells. In addition, females and males exhibit different patterns of transmitting, regulating, and processing biomolecules, however, this information is way too specific and complex for this article.

Women have a considerably larger corpus callosum, the network of nerves that connect the right brain with the left-brain. This means their brains are more balanced between the right and the left and men’s are more imbalanced giving them a different perspective. However with long term meditation practices men can enhance their corpus callosum and gain a brain structure more like women and experience similar effects when their hemispheres become more balanced.

There are two other connecting channels that are larger in women, the massa intermedia and the anterior commissure. The current thinking is that the fact these and the corpus callosum are larger in women plays a role in their using more of their whole brain and can be more intuitive than men as well as more nuanced in their emotions.

Overall men’s brains average 15% larger than women’s but no correlation has been found between size and intelligence levels. What is more important is number of neurons and structural organization of those neurons. In this respect females appear to have the advantage because their brains are more symmetrical, multitasking, and more resistant to stroke because they store language ability in both hemispheres and men only on one side.

In humans, endocrine systems operate to manufacture different amounts of hormones and this is one of the most significant differences between men and women’s behavior and appearance. This causes them to have different pheromones and different responses to others pheromones. However, hormone activity is not the total cause of aggression levels and many other sexual responses as was once thought, but rather they are now attributable to deep level genetic influences as mentioned earlier. This is a radical change in thinking because prior to this finding it was thought all we had to do was modify hormones to make a man more like a woman and vice versa. It’s not so simple after all.

Hormones of course influence higher voices and less facial and body hair in women than the average man. This also impacts their considerably different reproductive organs that in turn impact their often different responses to the same stimuli. Again, this is one of the most profound differences between men and women. Women bear children, men do not. Men carry the seeds, women the eggs.

Interestingly humans have a structure called the SDN, (sexually dimorphic nucleus). This is a cluster of cells in the hypothalamus that is two and one half times bigger in males than in females. This size differential is predominantly caused by hormonal activity and based on studies with mice, it is thought that the sizes can be reversed by dosing the individual with opposite hormones to what they have. It is believed that the fact that males have larger SDNs they are more territorial and have unique mating tendencies that may be part of the problem we are witnessing in male predatory behavior.

In general men score significantly higher on spatial relations tests than women however females score higher in object location memory tests and in verbal skills than males. The hippocampus is a brain structure that is believed to be related to spatial relations and it is found to be considerably larger in men than women. Spatial relations is related to internal map making. Men are much faster at negotiating mazes and distances but women much better at describing landmarks along the way. For men, the details of travel are a haze but for the women the details are clear. There is no question that women are much better at finding things in the house than men are. This difference appears to be related to antiquity when females paid more attention to immediate surrounding and men were better at mapping the territory for hunting. This all may have a relationship to men’s philandering ways. Male rodents with larger hippocampus structures demonstrated much more philandering than those with smaller ones. Is there a relationship between mapping the territory, hunting, (hunting for women?) and the hippocampus?  Apparently there is quite a big one. So it raises important questions. Can we blame men entirely for behavior that is biologically based? How much can we hold them responsible?

Obviously there are endless more differences between women and men regarding many topics, responses to addiction, tendencies to succumb to diseases, mating instincts and so on. For example women in general are less addictive than men but become addicted much more quickly. Why? Women are much more bi-sexual in their fantasies that men. Men are much more specific in their sexual preference, even the ones that self identify as bi-sexual. Why? These are the things that are being studied intensively at this time because the results have a major impact on health care, societal expectations of males and females, educational approaches and the like.

So here we will end our short take on similarities and differences between women and men and I will repeat the opening statement that both are extraordinarily similar and extraordinarily different at the same time. Since in my view all men have been and will be women over their lifetimes and all women have been and will be men, you can see that in the end we all get quite an education. If we as a human race could just get and accept this one metaphysical truth can you imagine how it would change the world? It would change everything about male and female relationships. You better believe it would immediately correct a lot of bad behavior and it would instantly manifest in honor and respect both ways.  The masculine and feminine would truly be equal and their differences would be honored.

It is extremely unfortunate that the vast majority of traditional religions fight this truth tooth and nail. We can lay this huge disconnect right at their feet. Rather than unifying the planet, unbeknownst to them, they are directly responsible for promoting massive suffering, disconnection, rape, murder, and mayhem. Paradoxically these are the very religions that purport to teach love, peace, and cooperation. I am in no way calling here for the eradication of religion, only for massive reform. Religion is a powerful social glue that can help people feel connected and help them get their values straight if the approach is right. Religion is not going to change on its own. The people will change and then religion will follow just like with government.

Let’s take a giant step toward understanding, it’s 2018 and we are on the edge of the precipice. What kind of a future do we want? It’s in our hands as we speak. When we look at men, that’s us. When we look at women, that’s us. We take turns looking at ourselves from different perspectives and this makes life very interesting. However, when all is said and done, we are one.

In the next article, part four, I will dive into some tough topics: Instincts, expectations, and bad habits that men harbor and bad habits that women harbor and perhaps look at a constructive direction we can move in.


José Stevens

José Stevens PhD is an international lecturer, corporate team builder and organizational coach, consultant and trainer. A psychologist, licensed clinical social worker and author of more than twenty books and numerous articles, he is also co-editor for A Journal of Contemporary Shamanism and a board member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners. He is the founder, with his wife Lena, of the Power Path School of Shamanism and The Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth in indigenous cultures. He has completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol Maracame in Mexico and has studied with the Shipibos of the Amazon and the Paqos of the Andes for the last thirty years.