The evolution of men and women, how the roles in society have changed. Over the last five hundred or so years women have come a long way. We have seen in the Sixteen hundreds arranged marriages where the woman had no say in the union, and the relationships were is based on money or prestige (Shakespeare 1668). Presently we see love is the driving factor. In 1997 a study was done to say forty-six percent of marriages end in divorce (Harvey1996). In the Sixteen hundreds there were no studies done, but far fewer marriages ended in divorce. That word was not even in the vocabulary. What is the reason for this?
We have more choices, more money, and more technology. Communication between men and women is the heart of the issue. We do have more choices and that makes it much easier to give up on the one element in our society that has not change over thousands of years. We can look back to the beginning of time and see how Adam and Eve struggled to communicate. We see this illustrated with the fall of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3. 1-20). Roles have changed, but communication between the sexes has not. William Shakespeare had such a real grasp on the relationships between men and women.
His timeless work has shown us that the past relationships between the sexes involved many communication issues no matter what the roles were. In Much Ado About Nothing he contrasts many complicated relationships. He includes men and women in love and men and women in family. The common element is the confusing conversations that have many meanings (pp. 39-43). We see very deceiving tactics used to confirm relationships and form unions (pp. 349-359). As the centuries pass do we see the same approach to relationships between the sexes?
The times may have changed but the rules have not. Looking at the Eighteen hundreds through Virginia Wolf’s eyes gives us a unique view into the changing minds of women and their role in society. She wrote of women who were more involved in society and decision making. This is a gradual, but necessary, realization for society. She changed the thoughts of women but not their outward communication with men. Many thoughts of the female characters show a more modern thought process, but they are not able to say what they are thinking or feeling.
This truly depicts a very oppressed gender. It was said that Virginia Wolf changed the literature of the future. Did Virginia Wolf open a small window into how women think, or did she blow a hole in the small-minded perception of how men think women think. She has many thought provoking verses in her text to show how times were changing and so were women (p. 63). Not to mention, men were trying to figure out women (p. 86). Time moves forward a hundred years or so. What changes do we see? Is there a more independent relationship between men and women?
The development of the roles just adds to the misunderstandings and the torment of the opposite sexes. We see how a more independent outspoken woman gets into a more complicated circle of mis-communications and relationship problems. We once again see the inability of man and women to make themselves understood. The female character that is the lover to the English patient has picked a complex life and role, but with all of her independence she still manages to torture herself, her husband, and her lover (Ondaatje’s 1992).
Does this show a better understanding of the opposite sex or just how much more complicated life becomes with the changing of the times? Looking at the last 100 years everything has become more complex. We have gone from horse and buggy to automobiles and space shuttles. We have seen women go from homemakers to rocket scientist. We have seen technology change how we treat diseases and how we eliminate our enemies. We have more knowledge in an instant than we could have read in a decade.
With all of this fascinating and unbelievable information there are still thousands and thousands of books being published and purchased that express one thing: How to communicated with the opposite sex. In the present, we see one of the most popular self-help seminars turn into a million-dollar industry. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus started out to be a relationship guide of understanding by Dr. John Gray, but became a turning point for the greater understanding between the sexes. He has taken relationship issues to the mountaintop. He shows us how very ifferent men and women are.
No matter what role women and men play in society, we all speak a different language. Roles will always change, but the only way for communication to evolve is to understand the language being spoken by the opposite sex (Gray 1992). There are daily changes in society and technology. These changes only affect the outside roles for men and women. There will always be room for change. We will always find ourselves in a society with new thoughts and ideas. As we grow as a society, the issues blocking effective communication will get bigger and more complicated.
Our only defense is to try hard, working each and everyday to embrace our differences, while trying to learn the other’s language. We can learn from literature. Our history is the key to growth. Communication is the ever changing and never changing part of our past and future. We will never find men and women thinking the same. Who we are will always be different, and for that reason alone we will always have to learn how to deal with each other. How dull would life be if we knew exactly how to handle the opposite sex?