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An Examination of How Different Genders Show Their Aggressive Behaviors

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The following read is a brief, detailed examination on gender aggression and what makes them different from one another. How men and women’s aggressive behavior differ because of how they understand aggression. It is seen as normal and common sense that men are much more aggressive than women. Many people may agree upon this statement but do they know why it’s seen as a normality? The paper compares gender aggression from their hormones, society and culture with studies and research examined by psychologists such as John Archer, James Dabbs, June Reinisch and many more that will help better understand as to how and why they aggress. This examination will point out the significance and impact of aggression upon both genders from adolescence to adulthood, different scenarios and public and cultural representations. There is just more than what meets the eye to the simple statement as “men are more aggressive than women”.

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression

Think about a scenario in which a male and a female is involved in a heated argument or a scene of violence. Who do you believe is the aggressor and who do you believe is more of a “victim”? Whether you believe it could a man or woman doesn’t really matter, because according to society men are more aggressive than women- It’s easier to picture a man as the aggressor than it is to see a woman as one. Reasons for this is mainly because of society’s interpretation that “men own aggression”.

In most countries, males were rated to be more aggressive than females. Men usually speak of the morality of aggression while as for women they seem to think of it as a concern. They believe acting upon it, signals defeat but to men it’s the total opposite. Psychologist John Archer found through a meta-analysis in measuring physical aggression upon genders that about 80% of boys rated by peers to be more physically aggressive than the average girl. Women and men have always had differences in physical aggressiveness, dominance and sexual activity levels for centuries and in different cultures but it’s always seen as

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression a standard thing. Is it a sexist issue or more on the means of nature itself?

Understanding the human development of aggression is significant into understanding people around you and yourself. You can find causes of aggression from how they’re raised as adolescence, from their hormonal levels and society influence. You’ll probably reconsider why your partner, mother or sister is so sensitive or the reason for their short temper. You might even find the reason you’ve been looking for as to why your father or brother is always so tough on you and others. Who knows? We’ll see.

Adolescence and Learning Aggression

Let’s begin with the stage of adolescence between genders. Evidence had shown that women are not born calm and experience anger just about as often as men do. As infants, women react just as much from crying to screaming but for different reasons other than just needing another bottle of milk or a change of diapers. As children, aggression amounts not by age but by their

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression understanding whether they were a girl or a boy. This goes to show that when individuals master their gender identity, it will affect their future implications for their aggression. Although, sex differences in aggression tend to decrease with age, often occurring at the start of adulthood. A critical study suggested that when girls identify their gender they often suppress their own aggression, while as for boys they recognize it as a key component to being a man.

Sex differences in aggression appear early in human development frequently throughout cultures. Numerous psychologists confirmed that by the age of three, boys become physically aggressive such as wrestling, kicking, pushing and hitting way more than girls do. They tend to act aggressively and competitive for possession of toys, territory and manly recognition. Because of this, they’re twice as likely to pick on their own sex as on girls and are more criticized and restrained by teachers than girls are. Boys learn that aggression is effective in getting a reaction or attention. When aggression erupts, boys stimulate peer response by over 70%, which may possibly help their thrive for violent encounters. Girls in aggressive scenarios get attention too but

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression in a different way, either from crying or running to their parents.

Psychologist Ageliki Nicolopoulou had proven that boys and girls differ from their fantasy aggression as well in her study that collected 500 stories made up from preschoolers. With no surprise, violent and aggressive themes were found in 87% of boys stories and 17% in girls stories. In a study including 102 children between the ages of four to seven, Psychologist William Hartup found that as children age, the more common a violent aggression can occur yet discovered the link between aggression and self respect. It was shown that boys put together better use of belligerent aggression than girls and use it to relate to their self-esteem.

Though both sexes seem to favor the connection between power and aggression, society teaches girls that to act upon it is a sign of failure or loss of control, while they teach it to boys as an issue of showing dominance. In many literature and entertainment, girls with aggression were mostly seen as villains and bullies, like in movies such as Mean Girls or the

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression villainesses in Disney movies like Ursula and Maleficent. Because of this and different cultural views on aggression, girls learn to respond to it with shame and not with calmness or bravado just like men feel. For some men, behaving in an aggressive manner rewards them an uplift of their self-worth and manliness. This is what makes aggression “feel good” to men, they feel as it is a prize. You can see these in many stereotypes, like the jocks that bully others in movies or the narcissistic hero.

Children learn appropriate behavior of aggression not only in what they see on tv and literature but also how parents raise them. Our reactions to aggression depends on what we learn. One study had children in a room full of gender-typed toys, letting them play with whatever they desired, with of course their parents supervision. When fathers witnessed their sons playing with feminine toys like dolls, they instantly took it away in exchange for a more “aggressive” boy-like toys such as trucks. Although, they could care less about their daughters playing with action figures and toy cars. Girls tend to be more sheltered and protected more than boys due to fear of sexual assault and abuse.

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression

This proves that fathers prefer to teach their sons to be more aggressive and give less independence to their daughters.

Anthropologist Carol Ember studied a small community in Kenya and decided to analyze the effects on gender-typed assignments to opposite genders. Ember found that boys who’ve done small amounts of feminine work seemed to be less aggressive than the average male and saw a drastic reduction on aggressive behavior by 60% from boys who’ve done larger amounts of feminine tasks. Through this study, Ember found the impact on development of aggression from something as simple as assigning roles to both genders.

Hormonal Influence on Aggression

The most no-brainer cause of aggression comes from hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone levels. Psychologist June Reinisch concluded that the influence of hormones on later aggressive responses suggest the difference of aggressive behavior between genders, possibly relevant to natural variations in hormonal level prior from birth. High levels of testosterone is associated with aggression in both animals and

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression humans. In a study conducted by psychologist James Dabbs and his colleagues had examined of more than 700 male prisoners and found that the inmates with higher testosterone levels were much more likely to commit violent crimes, break prison rules and maintained a reputation of being tough and hostile than those with low testosterone level. Same results for their study of 171 female prisoners; High testosterone found in female inmates were more likely to be dominant. (Dabbs & Hargrove, 1997; Dabb et. al., 1988; Dabbs, Carr, Frady & Riad, 1995). In a United States government study of 4000 Vietnam veterans, analyses showed that veterans with high testosterone were more likely reported to be mischievous as children and considered to have higher rates of drug and alcohol use, large numbers of sexual partners yet participated more in active combat during the Vietnam war (Dabbs & Morris, 1990). Fraternity members with low testosterone were shown to be more civilized towards women, while the members of high testosterone were of course more impolite (Dabbs, Hargrove & Heusel, 1996). Men with high levels of testosterone are also less likely to get married, to be in unhappy marriages and/or divorce (Booth & Dabbs, 1993). They also tend to be less

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression successful in jobs due to being impetuous, impatient and aggressive. They tend to appear more intimidating and mean than those with low testosterone. When high testosterone individuals smile, it is seen to be less comforting and insincere because they smile without the use of their eyes (Dabbs, 1997; Cashdan, 1995). Dr. David Barasch explained that male hormones evolved as physiological messengers in which control their aggressiveness, evoking many ways of behavior such as dominance, criminal activity and many more. Dabbs stated:

High levels of testosterone evolved when the human race was young and people needed the skills of youth… also led them to take risks, fight, get injured and die young… High testosterone individuals are energetic but impatient, they do poorly in school and end up with fewer years of education… high levels, to my knowledge does not contribute to financial success.

What about the famous excuse of, “It’s that time of the month”? Medical establishments for years had translated female aggression by their hormones. Ever heard of the gold term, “PMS”? In the medical world, PMS is invoked to explain why women all of sudden burst out in anger. People negatively describes female hormones as a way of transforming a loving, caring partner into a worst nightmare. PMS was first explained by psychologist Robert

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression

Frank as “indescribable tension”, a “irritability”, a way of relief by foolishness. Doctors believe that PMS is caused by cyclical imbalances in the body with possibilities including decreased estrogen, changes in progesterone, effects on prolactin, endometrial toxins and endorphin level changes.

A Closer Look on Fe(Male) Aggression

Instrumental theorist, James Tedeschi, argued that aggression is just coercive power, using threats or violence to gain obedience and have demands met. Aggression only counts to men when it causes someone to submit and show their superiority. Men see aggression as a challenge, yet, to be at the mercy of another, whether physical or not, is a sign of no respect and without it there’s no self-esteem. Men aggress to prove that they can earn respect. When their reputation is at risk or see a threat to their integrity and pride, they get angry and hostile. Many men seek aggression as a way to demonstrate dominance and who they are. Though, people argue that “real men” should be able to respond to challenge by retorting verbally or physically and usually see frequent confrontation as someone “trying too hard”.

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression

Men’s self control is often called upon when they view their target as unacceptable, while as for women, their self control is due to the fact that aggression itself is intolerable. The point of most men’s aggressive behavior is not to signal emotional distress or to let off steam but to control behavior around them.

For women, to act upon violence, they’d need a great push. Their anger mostly is about social standing and not catharsis. Women tend to use indirect or relational aggression, meaning they use aggression more verbally like gossipping and spreading rumors about others which is more present in adolescence. The more furious women are, the longer it takes for them to get over it, though for men it’s the opposite. When women reach their “breaking point” in aggression, it looks a lot more different from men. The greatest difference between genders in response to anger is that women end up crying- greatest resource when discharging tension without an act of violence. Men judge crying to be childish and manipulative, possibly because when a woman ends up crying in an argument, it usually ends it from there. Psychologist Robert Averill have studied womens tears and found that 78% of women who cry in a conflict do so through feelings of

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression frustration. For most women, distress can linger for so long up until they can release it in tears.

When women gets to their high point of frustration, they are capable of acting out physically just as men can. Women tend to swallow their anger because most have self control, in which sometimes they’re taken advantage of. Women explode as a way to discharge in ways like throwing pans, repetitive punching, kicking, etc. Women who resort to fighting means that they’ve lost their self control to their anger. To society, when women’s explosions of physical violence are considered to be hysterical or plain crazy. Although some men find their women’s aggression “cute” and funny but some may find it threatening. What most people don’t understand is that women become frustrated because their aggression is misunderstood [by society]. When women cause episodes of aggression, they feel at loss of their appropriate role as a woman and feel no pride or heroism like men do. The more furious a woman is to the point she loses her inability to control her action, the more guilty she feel at the end. Some phrases may sound familiar in this case like “I feel horrible” or “I acted like such a b*tch” resulting in shame and regret. Many

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression researchers can vouch and agree that women experience guilt after use of aggression more than men do. Majority of female aggression is generally directed or [by stress] caused by men, especially with whom they live with or have a relationship with. People who report to have the most anxiety about using aggression are surprisingly those who rarely aggress, which is especially true for females. Women who experience anxiety or shame about experiencing aggressive behavior don’t need “help” but support from others that allow them to vent without the feeling of being judged.

Are men more aggressive than women?

In most cases, yes, men can be more aggressive than women, physically and symbolically. But most people forget that women are capable of having the same amount of aggression as men do- They can be just as violent or ruthless. Men are just easily seen as aggressors because of how they handle certain situations, verbally and physically. When something ticks them off, they aggress almost right away. For women on the other hand takes

Differences in Fe(Male) Aggression something big to take them off the edge. Women has more self control than men do in aggressive situations. Men usually appear as protectors, whether to their significant other, a friend or as simple as their pride. They stop at nothing to earn respect, dominance or to get what they want out of something. Though for both men and women, aggression [most times] is their last resort. Results vary depending on the process of an individual’s biological and environmental factors. Both can be just as verbally and physically as the other. All just depends on the situation they’re in, their hormonal levels and how they’re raised.

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