Title: Appreciating diversity – cultural and gender issues

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Author: Aneta Chybicka, Maria Kaźmierczak (red. nauk.)

ISBN: 978-83-7308-888-7

Technical information: First edition, Cracow 2007, Format: 160 × 235mm, 320 pages, Paperback, Glued binding, Foil, Matt paper

English version of book

Fragment książki

Strony 111-113


Maria Kaźmierczak

University of Gdańsk


Gendered Personality – Cultural Influences




In this chapter the author carries out a review of theories and research focused

on the development of gender schema and the personality traits connected with it.

Psychoanalytic, cognitive/developmental and social/cultural theories are summarized.

Bem’s Gender Schema Theory is analyzed from a cultural perspective. Studies

conducted in the Eastern and Western culture are mentioned. The author concludes

that cultural factors seem to exert a great influence on the way one perceives certain

personality traits as feminine and masculine. Sex differences on the particular personality

dimensions’ level, in the light of empirical evidence from different cultures, are

examined as well. The role of similarity of personality traits of partners in intimate

relationships (between men and women) is also explored. Theses of endogamy and

homogamy are described. The author uses the psychology of personality framework to

show that gender diff erences are often “the product” of social and cultural influences,

not simply biological ones.


The subject matter of personality development and its role for social relations

is well documented in literature (e.g. Zayas, Shoda, Ayduk, 2002). However,

mutual influences of gender and cultural factors on personality formation

are issues that seem worth exploration. In consequence, gender differences in

personality need to be more widely discussed from a cultural perspective as

well. As Miluska and Boski (1999, p. 13) write:


nature unified men and women in the aspect of their biological sex, whereas

cultures, to a substantial degree, differentiate the extent and normative rules of

fulfilling a social gender role.


Thus, every woman and man should obey those normative rules created

in their society.

The author of this presentation was interested in the subject of the role

of gender stereotypes for the assessment of personal attributes and, in consequence,

for the quality of interpersonal relations, as such analyses are needed

(Bem, 2000). Three main purposes were set for this chapter:


1. Analysis of the ways of acquiring gender stereotypes (psychological sex) by

children, as an essential stage of personality development, and cultural differences

in understanding the psychological sex.

2. Analysis of gender differences in personality, in the context of social stereotypes.

3. Analysis of the role of female/male personality on the quality of romantic

relationships – issues of similarity between partners.



Cultural sex and personality development

–         a theoretical perspective


Various authors regard the process of socialization as one, during which

gender stereotypes are taught – girls and boys learn their gender identity, they

form their sense of self (Rubin, 1975; Money, 1973; Erhardt, 1972; see: Kaschak,

2001). It seems that we are not just born with the identity that is already

formed (due to genetic and hormonal influences), but we shape our personality

during socialization. Vasta et al. (1995) indicate three social sources of such

knowledge: the family, the school and the mass-media.

In psychological literature there are a few groups of theories analyzing

sources of our awareness of gender schemas. Amongst them there is a psychoanalytic

perspective. Main theses of Freudian or Jungian conceptions are

broadly known, so only Chodorow’s theory (1995, 1978; Bem, 2000; Renzetti,

Curran, 2005) will be shortly introduced. First of all, the author states that according

to her “gender cannot be seen as entirely culturally, linguistically, or

politically constructed” (Chodorow, 1995, p. 517). She emphasizes the role of

personal experience one gains in his/her family. Chodorow says that we create

our gendered self by emotional reactions to different experiences and by fantasies about our parents, dependency – independency, intimacy etc. Such fantasies

stem from autobiography, but also from cultural stories, fi ction. Th erefore

each person takes what the culture provides him/her with – every message

about gender roles, desired traits for a man and a woman etc. – and fi lters them

through his/her own life history as well as through all psychological strategies

(e.g. defense mechanisms) one uses to cope with the reality. Chodorow


suggests that each person’s sense of gender – their gender identity or gendered

subjectivity – is an inextricable fusion or melding of personally created (emotionally

and through unconscious fantasy) and cultural meaning (Chodorow, 1995,

p. 517).


What consequences does such a process bring to every girl and boy?


                                                                        Ciąg dalszy w książce…


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