Personality Differences by Gender

Socialization produced individuals who were independent and aggressive. Mead (1935/1963) described them as "gay, hard, and arrogant" (p. 167), "proud, harsh, and violent" (p. 233), and as a people who possessed an "aggressive individuality" (p. 183) and a "ruthless individualism" (p. 190). Mead's description of the Mundugumor stressed that male and female ethos were essentially the same, and that both women and men resembled the American cultural model for the "masculine" of the 1930s. Both genders were "actively masculine, virile, and without any of the softening and mellowing characteristics that we are accustomed to believe are inalienably womanly" (p. 165). Women and men alike behaved "in a fierce, initiating fashion" (Mead, 1935/1963; preface to the 1950 edition). Despite the fact that parents treated male and female children somewhat differently, "... behind this difference... lies no theory that women differ temperamentally from men. They are believed to be just as violent, just as aggressive, just as jealous. They simply are not quite as strong physically, although often a woman can put up a very good fight." (Mead, 1935/1963, p. 210). "Women did not engage in the same activities as men, but both sexes were gay, hard, arrogant, aggressive, charming, individualistic, positively sexed..." (McDowell, 1991, p. 298). Neither gender possessed the characteristics, such as a desire to nurture, that Mead's generation expected of women. Different "temperaments" were the result of individual biological endowments combined with idiosyncratic events in socialization. Women and men did different things (see "Gender Roles in Economics"), but the Mundugumor did not expect there to be personality differences and they did not find them.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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