Personality Differences by Gender

Kayapo are accepting of a wide range of personality types. The fierceness displayed by men is felt to necessarily be constantly inculcated through magic, ritual, and oratory. Boys and young men constantly engage in verbal and physical contests of one-upmanship, quite differently from their female counterparts. However, by the time men are married, such open competitiveness is frowned upon. Men feel far more affected by rules of social reserve and requirements to act tough and, consequently, women show a more open and easy sociability with other women. Women of different houses, for example, will time their baths in the river so as to socialize together, although this also may act as an impediment to interruptions by menfolk. Every few days women will spend hours painting one another and also gather nightly to sit and chat on the village patio. Men are more openly relaxed outside the more formal constraining context of the village and enjoy nighttime socializing in the men's house precisely because interlocutors remain unseen in the darkness and may be answered with less reserve. In private contexts, both men and women are openly sentimental, particularly when discussing close kin relations. Men notably stress close friendships with age mates to a much greater extent than women.

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