New video tackles men, women, and romantic love

Despite what the self-help books say about men and women being from different planets, there are very earthly factors that contribute to the problems men and women encounter in their shared quest for satisfying love relationships.

The new video Gender and Relationships: Male-Female Differences in Love and Marriage illuminates the roots of "gendered" patterns of communication and interaction that challenge many adults in intimate relationships. Produced by sociologist Dane Archer, an expert on gender and communication at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Gender and Relationships helps demystify the differences between men and women in ways that resonate with viewers of all ages.

"There is no one path to attraction, courtship, love, and marriage, and the difficulties can leave you wondering if men and women have the same needs, hopes, and dreams," said Archer, who deftly highlights factors that contribute to the gender gap in relationships, beginning with a study showing how differently adults interact with a baby they think is a boy than with a baby they think is a girl.

The latest in Archer's series of bestselling educational videotapes on nonverbal

communication, cultural differences, and gender, Gender and Relationships combines personal testimonials with the insights of trained professionals to help instructors reach students in ways that will make them think critically about gender, attraction, relationships, and marriage.

  • Imagine, for example, having the opportunity to share one relationship insight with one million members of the opposite sex. Archer, who asked both men and women for their ideas, found remarkable consensus among women, who urged men to "Listen--just listen" without trying to "solve the problem." Men, by contrast, pleaded with women to communicate directly with them and to make their conversational needs explicit.

  • Consider the insights of children of divorce, who, when asked about their own prospects of living "happily ever after," recalled the conflict in their parents' marriage and expressed grave doubts about the likelihood they would find happiness in a long-lasting love relationship.

  • Hear from gays and lesbians about the rights and privileges same-sex couples are denied.

Gender and Relationships presents compelling testimony from men and women of varied cultural and social backgrounds who discuss gender differences in love, courtship, "couplehood," marriage, emotions, and understanding.

With sensitivity and humor, Archer lets real people describe the hurdles and triumphs on the road to love. Their candid testimonials unmask gender roles and sex-role socialization more poignantly than any lecture could, revealing the pitfalls of conventional wisdom about gender. Gender and Relationships reveals the gulf of misperception, misunderstanding, and heartbreak that can separate women and men even when they are involved in the most intimate and important relationships of their lives.


Note to journalists: Dane Archer can be reached via e-mail at or at (831) 426-1186. This 42-minute videotape is designed for use in high school and college classrooms; interested faculty and teachers can obtain a copy from the University of California Extension Center for Media and Independent Learning in Berkeley at (510) 642-0460.