A psychologically androgynous person

January 31, 2009

From the book I’m reading (Daniel Pink – A Whole New Mind):

“Csikszentmihalyi has also uncovered a related dimension of the boundary crosser’s talent: those who possess it often elude traditional gender role sterotyping. In his research, he found that “when tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.” This bestows unique advantages, according to Csikszentmihalyi. “A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repetoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities.”

At lunch yesterday, the waitress addressed the men as “boss” and the women as “young lady” (the effect is lost in English but if you speak Mandarin, you will understand the distinction). I laughed and commented that it made me want to toss my hair and giggle – which is so unlike me. I’ve never been a typical girl but I’ve always been interested in gender roles. Maybe it is because I see the value of understood social norms and yet, I hardly fit nicely into any traditional gender roles so I don’t really ‘get’ them. I may cook, clean and cry (or whatever it is girls do) but am probably more like a guy in the way that I think and perceive the world. So I’ve decided that I like the phrase “psychologically androgynous”. Pigeonhole-ing seems like a futile endeavor.

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