“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” says the bestselling pop psychologist John Gray, and no one thinks twice about it. For the high-brow set, the bestselling pop linguist Deborah Tannen writes book after book to explain how men and women use language differently. At some level, presumably, we all still recognize the importance of the obvious and not-so-obvious differences between the sexes as much as the Victorians did. Indeed, you could argue that an idea like “the power of sisterhood” among women of all ages, races, religions, classes, and occupations, women united by anatomy alone, could only have occurred to an age fascinated almost to the point of obsession with the differences between the sexes. The Victorians were much readier to assume the irrelevance of sex to class or national or racial division, for example, and therefore were presumably closer than even the most “progressive” among us to the unisex...

 
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