It's a terrible idea to raise our sons and daughters differently. We shouldn't be training kids to see the world as one of two different situations, as it only leads to failed communication.
Let's look at romantic relationships, for example (although it could be anything). We teach girls to be nice and cooperative and self-sacrificing, yet also strong and independent. Those two CAN mesh together, but generally with the strength manifesting itself as stoicism to sustain the girl through her neverending niceness. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to say what they mean and do what needs to be done. They're taught that the world is full of honest people and there are no double meanings.
Please note that this is a generalization.
So, as any human interaction goes, there will eventually be conflict. Inevitably, someone is going to do something that makes the other one angry. It could be a one-off incident, and the offended party would ask the other not to do it again, and that'd be the end of it. However, it generally goes more like this:
Let's say it's the man who did something to annoy the woman. She COULD let him know, but instead she'd see it as more important to avoid stirring things up. So she stays quiet, always enduring these annoying actions that the man has no idea are bothering her, and in the back of her mind she is thinking about being strong and independent. This means one of two things. Either she will keep quiet even longer because she's put her sense of self into tolerating it. Therefore, when she eventually cracks, she will unleash upon her partner a freakout of immeasurable rage and omnidirectional hatred, and he will have no idea it was coming. His lack of supportiveness and perhaps dumbstruck defenses will be the last nail in the coffin. Alternately, her thoughts will turn to being more independent, and therefore she will dismiss the relationship as a bad idea altogether. She'll think, "if this isn't working, then I don't need it," and pull away, and again the man will have no idea why. The man will ask "what's wrong?" and she'll reply, "nothing," (because she doesn't need his help nor want his pity... or she still can't justify asking for something and therefore "stirring things up"), and he will take that at face value. The woman will see this as a lack of interest or caring on his part, and that will confirm it for her that the relationship was a bad idea, and she'll leave. Of course, she may try the "what's wrong/ nothing" tactic once more, meaning that the man will learn that when his partner says "nothing," that's not what she means. Rather than chalking it up to tact or subtlety or her testing the waters before opening up emotionally, he is instead going to assume she is either a liar or crazy. At this point, he will either tell her so or decide it's a doomed relationship and do nothing. There, dead relationship.
Alternately, let's say it's the woman who did something that annoys the man. He's not going to wait around. He's just going to tell her, "Honey, that's annoying." She is seeing the world as a place of manners and subtlety, where you don't tell someone to do or not do something unless it's really serious. Minor deal to him, but she thinks she's done something terrible. The guilt will cause her to pull away, which the man sees as "the silent treatment." It's not a silent treatment. It's a retreat to make onself less annoying, less present, and to get some time to figure out what she did wrong. She will avoid him to make herself into what she thinks he wants; someone perfect who doesn't have any problems whatsoever. He will think of the last girl who told him nothing was wrong and he will assume that there is another argument brewing. He'll confront her about it. The woman, still retreating, will either pull away further or see herself as more of a failure. She will quietly freak out. He will be even more annoyed because she won't talk to him. She'll avoid him at any cost because now he's REALLY annoyed. Another failed relationship.
If they had been raised to value one another's feelings and feel confident enough to talk about their own (roughly equally splitting their focus on themselves and on their partner), they'd have been able to come to an agreement. However, because "that's just the way the world is," and everyone from marriage counselors to standup comics to your next door neighbour see it as the way it's supposed to be, the man and the woman can only assume that all is well. They'll get married. They'll have babies and raise them to be just as confused. Why not end the cycle?
If men and women were brought up seeing the world with common denominators, they'd have a much easier time talking it out and coming to an agreeable solution. Why don't we do that instead of brainwashing our kids?
I think the best way to raise a kid is about an even split between how we'd raise a boy and how we'd raise a girl. I admire what they teach boys: be honest, be assertive, and give others the benefit of the doubt. However, this needs to be tempered with the emotional sensitivity we teach to girls. Without it, the assertive confidence can lead to overtly competitive displays of prowess, and therefore humiliation for those who aren't at the top of their game just yet. In other words, it doesn't allow for failure, which means it doesn't allow for experimentation and learning. Therefore, we also need to be nice to one another, and understanding of mistakes. This would compliment decisive leadership in all people, because it would encourage people to try new things. "Go outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself," this notion says. "No one is going to laugh at you."
We need to get rid of the notion that it's "not nice" to try something new and maybe a little weird. We also need to get rid of the notion that if you fail, you're a screw up. If we equalize it from both sides and raise all kids in such a way, we are teaching them to see the world as a place of possibilities and opportunities rather than threats and judgement. Let people take risks, let people communicate, and let people be themselves.