Working primarily with a male population as I do, I can't help but notice there are some differences in the way men and women think...about many things, too many for us to get into here, but one that really jumps out at me is the issue of how we see ourselves and our competency in the world. And of course, this is a sweeping generalization I know, so bear with me. Let's use an analogy about a faulty lawnmower that hopefully speaks for itself (the analogy, not the lawnmower).
So one day, one of my neighbors, Heather, a single woman, decides to mow her lawn. So she drags the green mower out of the garage, stands at the edge of her lawn, leans over and with all her might, pulls the starting cord. Again and again, pulling and straining but no matter how hard she does it, the engine won't start. I can feel her frustation and can see it in her body language, as she feverishly pulls and pulls, her face turning redder and redder while her hair flies around her head like a drunk Medusa.
My other neighbor, Jack, comes out to see what's going on and like the knight in shining armor he sees himself as, he runs up to help her. "Heather! You'll give yourself a hernia! Would you like me to help?"
Heather wipes her sweat-plastered hair away from her forhead. "I can't get the lawnmower to start. What's wrong with me? I can never get it to work. You probably think I'm such a fool."
And of course, not wanting to be presumptious or sexist, he asks her again, "May I help?"
She nods and he grabs the starting cord. "Probably just needs a few strong pulls," he mumbles and yanks the cord as hard as he can twising his body into a corkscrew motion, determined that the engine will fire up.
Nothing. Dead as a doornail. Jack frowns, then kicks the lawnmower. "What a piece of garbage!" he says. "What moron designed this thing? Look at it. It's useless!"
See the difference? Heather recriminates against herself--Jack recriminates about the designer of the lawnmower. So what? you may ask. So perhaps it might be a good idea for us to look a little closer at ourselves and really ask the question...is it me or is it the lawnmower (or even more poignantly, is it the designer of the lawnmower?)...just a thought.