Scared, She's Scared.
One could point to the popularity of You Just Don't Understand or Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus as proof that relationship problems stem from living with a member of a different species whom we mistakenly treat as one of our own. But does it prove much beyond the fact that intimacy is messy and complicated? Don't mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, siblings, same-sex lovers feel at times that they must cross a labyrinth to reach one another? Mars-Venus advice promises a quick fix: You just pull out the blue file marked "men" or the pink one marked "women" instead of trying to deal with the other person's unique qualities, or with your own inadequacies.
In part, the fascination with difference is a justified response to the excesses of unisex feminism. Only in women's studies can a utopia where gender matters no more than eye color hold any appeal. Sexual differentiation in some sense is a profound human need. The idea of a child being raised as an "X," its sex known only to the parents--the premise of a story by Lois Gould published in an early issue of Ms. as a rousing statement of liberation--is likely to strike most people as deranged.
Some people, fed up with a feminist creed that simultaneously holds that women and men are the same and that women are innocents and men are beasts, welcome the message that we should accept our differences. But an armistice in the gender wars is unlikely to work if it focuses on acceptance of collective but not individual difference. A world divided into updated versions of pink and blue would be only marginally less progressive than a world of khaki uniforms.