Can you help me understand this Psychology question?
Gender Differences in Personality
This week, your discussion assignment is about male and female differences in personality. What male and female differences in personality have you observed and where do you think they come from (e.g., are they learned, inborn, etc.)?
NOTE: If you believe more than one personality theory explains male/female differences, give concrete examples. Link the theory you choose solidly to the personality differences you describe to provide evidence of your thorough comprehension of your selected theory by your accurate application of it rather than just picking a theory by name and listing characteristics believed by the general public to differ between genders. You must describe how the theory you choose explains specific differences.
Sources (May use outside sources)
As we’ve seen and learned so far, there are many theories pertaining to personalities out there; however, there is not one theory out there that fits the mold on what makes up a particular type of personality. The variables that create differences in personalities between males and females are ever-changing. Through my own personal experiences, this week’s lesson, and what I’ve learned so far about the wide spectrum of personality theories, I don’t believe there is one exclusive theory that answers all the questions we have about how/why a personality is developed the way it is in a male or female. With that being said, I do believe a combination of multiple factors and theories explains differences in personality between a male and female as being both learned and inborn – nature AND nurture.
One key factor is the culture in which a male or female lives, and from birth being taught what the social standards and expectations are within that culture. Although women have come a long way, in many cultures women are still treated as the inferior gender, viewed as the weaker and more vulnerable sex, and are held to special expectations, standards and roles they must take on as a woman within the social dynamic of that particular culture. For example, many cultures view the role of a woman as being limited to taking on the duties of a house wife, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children, etc. Which leaves the males to work, make money for the household, and be in control of most things within the household. As far as personalities go, generally women in these roles might be very reserved, timid, soft-spoken, and allow themselves to be overpowered by the man of the house. Overall, the roles a man or woman are taught in their social/cultural situation will weigh heavily on the type of personality they develop.
Another factor is the biological aspect of a man and woman. In this week’s reading, the evolutionary rationalization for gender differences is based on the idea that successful procreation requires different sexual behaviors of men and women. It also states men have an inborn, biological imperative which drives him to have many sexual partners, in order to preserve his genes. Whereas, women are naturally more selective in their sexual contacts and have fewer sexual partners than males. In my opinion, this also ties into culture a little bit, because there are many cultures with ideologies surrounding evolutionary rationalization, wherein it is okay for a male to have multiple women, wives, partners, etc. in order to spread his seed as much as possible, and it is the woman’s sole purpose to bear as many children as possible, serve her man, and take care of their children.
Based on the week’s reading and my personal knowledge, I believe that personality traits for men and women are both learned and inborn. I do not believe there is one grand theory to explain the phenomenon of the human condition relating to gender differences. A combination of the cognitive and social learning approach along with the social role’s theory seems to be a close explanation. Each approach and theory include the idea of culture driven learning. Take the Mosuo matrilineal society, for example. In this society the women rule over business, property, the household, and marriage. Children even take the name of the mother and do not reside with the father. In this culture, children learn through observation and recognition that women are the “dominant” gender. This is determined based on responsibility, lack of emotional recognition to the father, and family dependence. In this culture, the social roles dominate what behavior is appropriate for a female. Now, think of modern American society. Though women have more freedom for promiscuity and leadership roles, the view of a traditional American household has not changed. The male is the non-emotional, task orientated, bread winner and the female is the emotional and family support caretaker. American society, through cognition, social learning and roles, has demonstrated what traits a man is to possess. This pressure ultimately leads to contrasting traits of the female personality. When you investigate matriarchal or matrilineal societies (Mosuo, Polyandry, Iroquois, Minangkabau, etc.) you notice that female personality traits differ from those of American female traits. This demonstrates that personality traits for the genders are dependent on a mixture of social learning, culture, and for American’s social media.
Introduction on chosen Personality Theory
Although it is an ever-changing, and fluid concept, gender roles are a large influence on how males and females are raised and develop their personalities. In most part, the way the gender is viewed throughout the person’s environment is what dictates the way people act, think, and raise their children to behave and think. There are aspects that are hereditary, that are inborn, and some that are inspired from that of which surrounds them, mixing inside to become their personality. This is laid out perfectly in the Social Roles Theory brought on from Alice Eagly in 1999, and her works with the co-founder Wendy Wood still continue (Eagly, 2012).
Social Roles Theory elaborates with the beliefs on how stereotypes of gender roles, and the sexual behaviors of each gender shape the mold in how our societies function. Although gender equality and movements for that equality have swept through and still move throughout our country today, there are many ways that the acceptance of gender equality is voiced rather than acted upon.
New York Times states how men, and senior males in highschool still desire a household where the man is the breadwinner and the woman should stay home and tends to the children, the cleaning, and the cooking. The Breadwinner and the Home-Maker situation (Miller, 2020). Through this article research shows that there is a significant amount of time men spend watching and standing by as women do the domestic work, they instead do outside chores and mechanical maintenance.
This research has concluded that this behavior begins in childhood when boy children are expected to do less chores inside, such as laundry, and cleaning. They are instead, tasked with taking out the trash, learning how to assess engine problems and defend women in their lives. Made to think as they are protectors at an age where they still need protecting, most skip being taught how to cook, clean and do their own laundry in replace of the masculinity most of America instills in young men.
From a research article published in 2013, Anna Chu and Charles Posner explained the quantitative data leaves statistics that explains how more and more women are taking on head of the household and standard stereotype roles, as mentioned above. Throughout the 50 states of American, women were polled and showed through 36 factors of equality, health, career and education levels compared to other women in different states and compared to men. Here recently, women have taken on more roles in society and in the home (Chu, 2013).
The Social Role Theory applies to the above thanks to the amount of expectations placed on everyone in America. Women have their place, and recent times they are taking on more. With this theory, women are expected to hold a home, therefore their personality takes on a stress management port, a caretaker aspect. A provider role is slipping into the female personality and so is protective attributes, as it is with men. In males roles and personality the protective roles are still there, they are environmentally passed down, yet in the article by Ms. Chu, we see that men are slacking in partaking that responsibility, leaving them with a learned laziness factor mixed into their personality. Men are still strong, protective and homemakers throughout some or most of the country, but it is becoming increasingly more popular for that role to be reversed.
Women are harboring the personality traits to be “wonder woman” by accomplishing all tasks due to social roles and expectations. Men are becoming more and more absent in the front lines after gender roles change the expectations, so in turn changes their personality and self-reflections.
Eagly, A. H., & Wood, W. (2012). Social role theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (p. 458–476). https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-21802-024
Miller, C.C. (2020). Young Men Embrace Equality, but They Still Don’t Vacuum, New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/11/upshot/gender-roles-housework.html
Chu, A., Posner, C., (2013). The State of Women in America: A 50-State Analysis of How Women Are Faring Across the Nation, Center of American Progress: Women, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2013/09/25/74836/the-state-of-women-in-america/
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