Personality Differences by Gender

The personality traits of men and women are strongly influenced by sexually segregated parental roles, the socialization of children into those roles, and widely accepted beliefs about male and female "nature." Color, ethnicity, class, and residence shape children's experiences by influencing household composition and children's relationships to kin and nonkin.

In working-class families, both boys and girls stay in their yards where they receive intensive contact with their mothers and female kin. Mothers identify strongly with their daughters. Boys acquire a gender-appropriate identity through separation from their caretakers and active association with older boys and men. When coeducation begins, boys are encouraged to run errands, congregate with other boys, and, in adolescence, acquire sexually aggressive norms of behavior. Girls play with other girls, continue to identify with their mothers and other female kin, take on greater household responsibilities, and assume the traits of a lady.

Men are expected to display dominance in the household, independence, male camaraderie, and sexual promiscuity. Upper-class men may be sexually promiscuous, but are predominantly viewed as caring and faithful family leaders (Douglass, 1992). Women are taught to keep social distance from men, although comfortable joking and banter occurs. Jamaicans distinguish between "women" and "ladies." A lady is the ultimate expression of femininity achieved through education, refinement, attention to a well-groomed appearance, and unobtru-siveness. Hypothetically, a lady can be "white," "black," or "brown," but the lighter the female, the more likely she will be considered a lady (Douglass, 1992).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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