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The Differences Between Men and Women--Part III: The Profit in Understanding What Makes Men Tick

By: Guy Lewis, PhD
Posted: July 22, 2008, from the March 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

The business community is quite aware of the growing trend in male consumerism that currently is taking place in the spa and wellness industries. Historically, spa owners have built their environment, staff and product lines with the female clients’ interests in mind. A consumer shift has taken place in this arena, and now the old business concept must shift to accommodate these changes and stay current with market demands.

The male grooming market for 2006 was close to $2 billion. It is expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2008 and $7.2 billion by 2010.1 The International SPA Association (ISPA) reports that in 2005, 31% of spa visitors were men. Of this number, 12% visited male-only spas. There was a 3% increase in men visiting spas in just one year, and the demand for gender-specific, especially male-only products, was and continues to be very strong.2 As was noted earlier in this series, there is a perceptual and kinesthetic—as well as emotional—difference in the manner in which men and women approach the world around them. Early neurobiological blueprints for male and female visual, emotional and kinesthetic interaction is further fortified with sociological stereotyping that takes place through the teenage years, resulting in a set pattern of reactions to people, places and things.

Look at the differences found between men and women in action in a recent study by the University of Alberta as published in Science Daily (2005): A group of male and female volunteers agreed to negotiate a large maze that contained specific landmarks, then find their way back to the starting point. The results from the study showed that on average, men made it back to the home starting point more than three times faster than women did. After completion of the maze, the participants were asked to describe the route through the maze. It was cited that women could recall various landmarks in detail that were located throughout the maze. For men, on the other hand, the entire trip was a blur as they reported that their task was to get to the end. Men focused only on the single task. Women had structured their way through the maze by utilizing whole brain functioning. This finding suggests that there are explainable reasons as to why men have different sensations than women.

Shift in paradigm

Gender differences slowly are beginning to erode as roles and responsibilities increasingly blur. This shift in paradigm also holds true for the gradual dissipation of rigid stereotypes of what is perceived to be either male or female. A procedure, practice or product that once was identified as feminine is moving toward a definition of neutral. Men engage in processes that were once deemed to be effeminate. An example of this shift was witnessed by the coining of the phrase metrosexual, which was introduced approximately three years ago and already is considered outdated by the cultural hipsters.

The growth of equality at work has further softened lifestyle distinctions between the sexes. The male population and its age makeup are changing slowly; more slowly than women. This author suggests that this may be due, in fact, to the neural circuitry in men and women that may, like other forms of adaptive development, adjust to incoming sensory perceptions.