The single most suggestive thing I’ve read about the sexes is this press release from some neurologists. Basically, it says that intelligence in men mostly matches up with gray matter in the brain and intelligence in women with white matter. So when men and women feel the uncontrollable urge to put the word “brain” in quotation marks when speaking about the opposite sex there’s something to it. It’s not the same structure, and it doesn’t work the same way.
Basically, gray matter computes and white matter connects and networks. That lines up with common impressions: men are logical, women intuitive. Women are interested in relationships, men in machines. Men are oblivious and women worry about everything. Men have one-track minds and women mix everything up with everything else. Men see structures and solve problems and women see personalities, complications, and exceptions. Men build houses and women worry about decor.
The result is that the sexes respond differently to a setting in which the basic arrangements of life are taken care of by large impersonal bureaucracies and commercial structures. Young men and women evidently understand their situation that way. Both are twice as likely to consider their relation to such structures (that is, their success in a high-paying career) “very important” than to feel that way about marital success. (In the past 15 years young women have come to care about both noticeably more. It’s hard to know what that shows. Maybe texting and all the OMGs and LOLs and BFFs mean they always speak in superlatives today?)
In such a setting the men don’t have a social function as men, because there’s no need to decide issues and create structures. Everything’s pre-arranged and you can’t do much to change it, so there’s nothing much to do that men are interested in doing, and they devote themselves to beer, TV sports, video games, hanging with their slacker buddies, etc. Hence the complaints from people like Kay Hymowitz and Maggie Gallagher.
The women fit in a lot better, because they can busy themselves in their office cubicles making things nice or getting into personal complications, but none of it’s really serious and they don’t have any natural long-term connection to anyone to anchor them. The result is that their sense of their network of relationships and what they’re all about becomes unstable and keeps reorienting based on current mood. That means that the human world in which they live disintegrates as a stable structure from their standpoint and becomes a projection of how they feel at the moment. In other words, they become willful, insecure, and narcissistic. (As noted, Kay Hymowitz recognizes the tendency but rather weirdly assumes it doesn’t lead to anything more serious than annoying conduct in dating situations.)