A recent article in the New York Times asked the question, “Why do men and women, even some living under the same roof, have such divergent views on what people are fit to be our leaders?” According to the article, research findings suggest that women tend to cast votes based on what they perceive as the overall benefit to the nation and their communities and men are more self interested. Unfortunately, this research leads to the conclusion that men are selfish and women are more altruistic. This appears to be valid on the surface but looking closely at the definitions of community interest and self interest there is another way of drawing conclusions from the data.
For example, is a man’s vote being based solely on the state of the stock market acting selfishly? Or is it because he is focused on how well his 401 K is performing because his priority is to provide for his children’s education and their inheritance. His masculine energy to provide and protect his family is a far cry from being merely selfish. As far as benefit to the community, I would propose that men and women both care about the community but have gender based beliefs about the best ways of achieving the well being of a community. Women tend to focus on empathy before looking for action to address a societal issue. Men on the other go quickly to fixes with less attention to the feelings of others. Solutions do benefit the community by providing a pathway to recovery which relieves the stress of an uncertain future. I know these are broad generalities but when we look as men as a group and women as a group these gender differences do hold up. The obvious conclusion is that instead of throwing men under the bus for being only self interested in their political views we need to look below the surface of the data and understand what is really going on. In addition, many men will put aside self-interest when a broader benefit to society is articulated in such a way that resonates with masculine energy. For example, if the message about mask wearing was more focused on its value for protecting one’s family and friends rather than simply good practice non-masking men might come more compliant and focus less on the supposed loss of personal freedom.