The whole metaphor is obviously scientifically incorrect. But even the cold, hard fact that the two planets are hundreds of thousands kilometres apart is no longer representative of the male and the female counterparts of our species. Back when you could buy a house for the price of a modern car, and a pint of beer was cheaper than chocolate, men were assumed to be the career-driven ones: the trouser-suit and brogue-wearing half of the marriage. Women were never asked if they wanted to wear anything other than a dress, or whether they wanted to spend their lives ensuring their husband’s dinner was on the table ready for his arrival. As a result of this domestic order, men became dominant – they were men’s men, and they clearly had to be excused from their masculinity by picking a red-hot, fiery planet to compare themselves to. But thankfully, women are now making a comeback: and Venus is gradually heating up.
And that, summed up simply, is the importance of diminishing the use of this feeble excuse: equality. University has enabled girls to socialise with men freely in whichever way they choose and this freedom has paved the way for twenty-first century women as a whole. I was once given a copy of the so-titled Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus book by an ex-boyfriend. This wasn’t an act of good-will, but rather a present to explain why he often acted like an idiot. While flicking through the pages, one realises that none of the jargon was mutually exclusive to a specific sex. The tie between genders and their stereotypes has long been loosened and we can no longer predict personality based on genitals. Women are increasingly mirroring male attitudes towards relationships, careers and sex – sometimes leading to surprising revelations. The latest government figures show a rapid increase in the number of young girls using the morning-after pill as regular contraception; figures which surely represent the developing casual attitudes. It is no longer just ‘lads about town’ who tend to show signs of commitment-phobia; girls now too avoid being ‘tied’ down, embracing their new-found sexual freedom with the enthusiasm that men have exuded for many centuries.
But with an increased awareness of sexuality come new expectations in relationships. It is no longer just the man who can play away, nor is it the man who controls and influences the progress of the partnership. Girls can be the equal cause of any fall-outs, just the same as guys are able to brandish a spatula and get hot in the kitchen. So next time you hear “Well y’know – men are from Mars, women are from Venus” as an excuse for anything – just walk away. Men may resemble “elastic bands”, but if they start to stretch too far, snap the elasticity and make sure that they won’t be returning. We’re not, after all, in the 1950’s anymore.