There's a saying that goes, "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus." It's really quite an old saying and something people use without really understanding what it means, where it comes from and why it is even used. As someone who studied a "soft science" (this nickname is given to the social sciences like communication and psychology), I find people fascinating. What do I mean by that? I mean that people, from the way they interact to the way they react, are interesting to me.
Let's break down where this coined term comes from, shall we? First, if you know your Greek and Roman Mythology you will know that Mars is the Roman God of War, the concept taken from the Greek God of War named Ares. So men are war driven, angry and aggressive creatures as a whole according to the phrase since men are from Mars, the war planet. Second, if you know your mythology, Venus is the Roman Goddess of Love, the concept taken from the Greek Goddess of Love Aphrodite. So women are beautiful, loving and passionate creatures since they are from the love and beauty planet of Venus. Third, the phrase is basically saying that men and women are so different that they can't possibly be from the same planet. Shocking, I know. We aren't all earthlings, people, we are aliens on our own planet.
The phrase has probably been around long before the book with the same title came out in 1992. The actual origin of the phrase is unknown, but the book was written by John Gray. In the book, he details how women and men communicate differently and how to get what you want out of a relationship. His base belief is that women and men don't communicate the same because of differences between the two sexes which is actually a flawed belief. For one thing, if we communicated differently how is it that the two sexes can equally perform in a classroom being taught the same way? No communication barrier then? Huh.
What are my problems with the phrase and the book? First, the whole premise is that the two are supremely different on a fundamental level when that just isn't so. Studies have shown that men and women are conditioned to behave and communicate differently from the time of early-childhood due to the constraints of society. Second, this approach keeps the gender/sex binary deeply in tact with one being viewed as superior. What is a gender/sex binary? That's what we've grown up with our entires lives, you're either a guy or a girl and those are your only options. Social scientists recognize a wide range of sexes as well as gender identities since there are many who do not actually fit into either extreme and so fall somewhere in the middle on a spectrum or continuum. Third, the phrase basically reaffirms that men are meant to be power players while women are meant to be beautiful and subservient. Just look at the two beings the planets are known for, a God of War and a Goddess of Beauty and Love. Seriously?