Just how would we keep eye contact in a nudist colony?
Allan and Barbara Pease pose this question in their book, The Definitive Book of Body Language. Before we read anything into the following quote about the remainder of this article, my purpose is to capture two great strengths of each gender and propose they be combined for all.
The Pease’s’ note:
“Women’s peripheral vision extends to at least 45 degrees to each side, above and below, which means she can appear to be looking at someone’s face while, at the same time, she is inspecting their goods and chattels.”
Female Attribute – Peripheral Vision
Women might have a biological advantage over men in this way, but there’s no reason why a man can’t train himself to see a broader physical view.
This is not for reasons of ogling.
It’s done to maximise awareness of surroundings. There is any number of advantages in doing this from capitalising on half opportunities to foreseeing physical threats and responding appropriately to them.
I have found that when I focused on training my peripheral vision, through simply a heightened awareness, a strange but good thing happened. The moment I became aware of what I was focussing on peripherally, my mind immediately began filling in the blanks as to the blurriness of things at the ranges of my peripheral vision—hence I experienced a heightened general awareness.
The great thing about this is if we want to see with the skill of a hawk we can—well, as much as humanly possible, anyway.
Male Attribute – Focused Awareness
I’ve nothing formal to base this on but it’s generally accepted that men have higher levels of testosterone than women, and they’re therefore more naturally aggressively assertive.
Take this as a generalisation which fits most (though not all) the time then. Men are possibly better gifted at going after something—in this case, let’s consider specifically, conscious awareness.
They focus on an issue and solve it as much as they possibly can. Their focus sees them capitalise on the objective, to the exclusion of the emotions, as they so often distract us awkwardly.
Both Attributes equalling Focused, Broad Encompassing Vision
I believe it’s possible for both genders to grow the opposite gender’s attributes leading to greater powers of focused, broad encompassing vision, i.e. the fuller suite of practical vision capability.
Men can learn to focus more of their thought not simply on the direct thing in front of them, to the exclusion of the peripheral, but including the peripheral.
Women can learn to focus their thought on being more tenaciously focused and directive; more than they might otherwise.
Of course, a balance of the two is recommended for everyone.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
 Allan & Barbara Pease, The Definitive Book of Body Language – How to Read Others’ Thoughts by their Gestures (Buderim, Australia: Pease International Ltd., 2006), p. 176.