Less of a Man

Article here. Excerpt:

'While common sense suggests an obvious answer, two recent explorations of that question demonstrate the extent to which our culture is in fact deeply conflicted about acknowledging sex differences and deeply confused about how to handle them.

Writing in a recent issue of Scientific American, Columbia University psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman argues, “It’s time to take sex differences in personality seriously.” Describing the results of four large-scale, cross-cultural studies of personality differences between the sexes, Kaufman notes, “All four studies converge on the same basic finding: when looking at the overall gestalt of human personality, there is a truly striking difference between the typical male and female personality profiles.”

Kaufman notes that these include traits like “sensitivity, tender-mindedness, warmth, anxiety, appreciation of beauty, and openness to change” for women and “emotional stability, assertiveness/dominance, dutifulness, conservatism, and conformity to social hierarchy and traditional structure for men.” Women were also found to be more sociable and sensitive as well as more prone to self-doubt, while men were less risk-averse, more thrill-seeking, and utilitarian on average.
Or, as Kaufman notes, culturally we are so intent on avoiding harmful stereotyping drawn from sex differences that “rarely do we consider the harm that could be caused by ignoring sex differences!” He notes that there are “many ways in which pretending something doesn’t exist may actually cause greater harm psychologically than accepting the facts of the matter.”
She repeatedly criticizes these young men’s view of themselves—which largely conform to the sex differences in personality that Kaufman describes as, on average, being common—as a form of “stunted masculinity.” Orenstein complains that boys who turn to the women in their lives (sisters, mothers, girlfriends) to talk about their feelings are “teaching boys that women are responsible for emotional labor.”

The most revealing (and poignant) moment in her piece —albeit one she breezes past in her long march toward re-educating supposedly toxic boys—is when she asks a college sophomore what he likes about being a boy. His response? “Huh. That’s interesting. I never really thought about that. You hear a lot more about what is wrong with guys.”'

Like0 Dislike0