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Autor: reviewessays • February 24, 2011 • 1,899 Words (8 Pages) • 762 Views
Why Are Males More Aggressive Than Females?
All societies behave in a different way towards two sexes and distinguish two genders. Through innumerable indications, we are taught that men and women are different. In everyday life, it is commonly assumed that men are more aggressive than women. Statistics indicate that males are more likely than females to commit such crimes as murder, armed robbery, and aggravated assault which are the result of feeling aggressive. In addition men describe themselves as being aggressive to a greater extent than do women and show greater potential for acting aggressively. All of these assumptions lead us to a certain question: Why are human males more aggressive than females? Actually, there are two significant factors which determine this distinctiveness, these are, biological and environmental factors. Both of them are strong evidences. However, the question is which of them has more influence on aggression that the other one.
Research in the past on aggression was performed under the hypothesis was that women rarely display aggression; therefore, aggressive behavior was viewed as a male phenomenon. Recent research has challenged the gender bias in the existence of aggressive behaviors and has broadened the definition of aggression. According to this definition, aggression is any behavior that is intended to inflict harm (physical and /or psychological) on another human (Geen, 11). As we see, in this definition, aggression is applied to all humans without separating women from men.
There are several explanations for aggressive behaviors of males and females. Biologists argue that testosterone, the male androgen, is the key factor of aggression in males. Some psychologists blame the ways parents behave towards their children in a double standard about the acceptability of aggression. Other theorists identify male and female adult roles: the tendency for men's participation in competitive sports, the military, and the cut- throat world of business actually encourage the use of aggression in males. In contrast, women's traditional roles as homemakers or as lower-status employees systematically deter the expression of aggression. These theories may explain why women are less aggressive than men.
Many studies have investigated possible links between different degrees of aggression in men and women and biological factors. The studies have indicated that, across cultures, males are generally more assertive, less inhibited in expressing anger and more likely to use physical aggression than females. (Archer, 233) Genetic and hormonal factors have been suggested as possible causes of this difference in aggressive behavior between the two sexes. Males, for example normally possess one Y chromosome and one X chromosome in contrast to the two X chromosomes of women, and they have higher plasma levels of the sex hormone testosterone. (Archer, 240) High levels of testosterone are associated with increased aggression, but the relationship is complex, since testosterone levels interact with the environment. Testosterone increases aggression only under conditions of competition, and positive associations between testosterone and aggression are affected by other people in the individuals' environment. However, these are difficult to interpret because there are also effects of aggressive behavior on hormones.
Robert Trivers, an influential evolutionary biologist during the 1970's, suggested that males and females have evolved different degrees of aggression. According to Triver's theory, female mammals are more invested in the reproductive process than male mammals because female mammals must contribute a relatively large egg, milk and blood to create offspring. Males, however, donate a relatively small amount of seamen. Since females must sacrifice more to produce, they are more likely to favor producing a smaller quantity of high quality offspring. In contrast, males have relatively little invested in each offspring, so producing a large quantity of offspring is favorable to males. Thus, theoretically, females are more selective of mates than males, and males must compete to win mates. Because of this competition, males are thought to be more aggressive than females. (Bartek, 1999)
There are clearly no simple genetic or hormonal factors that can explain the variation in aggressive in males and females. Studies of human males suggest that there is at most a small genetic component to aggression, but a greater one for personality traits associated with such behavior. The biological mechanisms translating the message in the genes into antisocial or criminal behavior are not known. Therefore, there is clearly no simple aggressive gene effect. Many genes are likely to be involved, and each may have a weak effect on aggressive behavior. A direct genetic effect on aggression, for example, may determine how quickly an individual responds to aggravation. Aggression may also be influenced indirectly; for example, a man's size and strength may affect the way he behaves and how others react to him. (Turner, 253)
For males and females, there is substantial evidence for environmental factors effecting aggressive behavior, particularly factors in the home, such as parental attitudes, parental discipline, role models and television violence.
The roles we live out each day are connected with the way we think about aggression. It may also be that parents are responsible for these roles by giving the messages they send to their children. "Parents respond to males and females differently, speaking more often to their daughters, whom they also touch more frequently and treat more delicately." (Perry, 200) The kinds of toys and games parents choose, the kinds of clothing they select for their children, the way they themselves behave and what they say directly about gender offer significant messages to their children regarding what is appropriate behavior for each gender (Weiler, 1996). For instance, boys are adapted to play with guns, whereas girls are let to play with Sindy and Barby babies when both genders are finding out how the world looks like. Most notably, girls stop behaving aggressively. According to Weiler, since girls feel as if they are behaving like boys when they act aggressively, they seem to decide, "Girls don't do this; I am a girl, so I would better not be aggressive."
Moreover, after age four, rough, spiky, black or mechanical things are thought to be proper for males, and these kinds of things encourage the aggressive behaviors in males. In contrast, soft, pink, fuzzy, or flowery things are feminine, and these things deter females' aggressiveness. As a result, boys are 'taught' to be aggressive while girls 'learn' behaving not aggressive.
When we consider