Over on the Freakonomics blog, there's an interesting post on men, women and the nature of competition in society. I have to admit that I hate conversations that include declarations like "men are so" and "why are women so". This actually came up in a conversation recently when someone was talking about male and female personality characteristics. I kind of took offense; can we use some different words to describe that? Being in the female side of those comments, it can be so insulting. Mostly because they are frequently wrong and the context is generally used to whine about some kind of slight (from an "aggressive man" or a "catty woman"). I suspect that people speak in such absolutes because it helps them make sense of the universe. They know what to expect when dealing with a man or woman. What they don't know is that at any given time, I'd be more than happy to beat you in a game of, like, anything.
PS: I have to admit that much of my perspective can likely be attributed to the fact that I work in a heavily-female field and was raised without any strong gender stereotypes influence. That either reinforces the point of the blog post or not so much.