Psychological Self-Help

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systems (chapter 3). Women value being sensitive and maintaining
good relationships, i.e. attachment over achievement; men value
gaining status by following "the rules," i.e. achievement over
attachment. Since our society values competition and individuals being
successful on their own, women's orientation towards caring for others
and/or cooperatively building the community is considered (by the
male dominated society) to be of lesser importance. These value
differences are reflected in the gender roles established by our culture,
such as: 
Males are urged to excel, e.g. "to become the president"--they are
supposed to grow up to be powerful; they don't show their
weaknesses; they are valued; they are preferred; they are encouraged
more and prepared better for careers than females are; they are
expected to be tough, independent, demanding, aggressive, good
problem-solvers, and on and on. Thus, men are expected and
prepared to strive for superiority. In short, to be "a man" the rules
are: 
1.
Don't be a sissy (be different from women, no whining) 
2.
Be important (be superior to others) 
3.
Be tough (be self-sufficient, don't be a quitter) 
4.
Be powerful (be strong and dominate others, even by violence) 
Furthermore, what makes a man a "real catch?" What makes men
sexy (besides a great body)? Success! Being better than others and
capable of achieving in ways that make money! Surely this motivates
men. 
Gender roles for women
Women are encouraged to be good mothers --they need,
therefore, to first attract a man to depend on; they are expected (by
our culture) to be giving, emotional, unstable, weak, and talkative
about their problems; they are valued for their looks or charm or
smallness but not their strength or brains; they are considered
unfeminine ("bad") if they are ambitious, demanding, and tough or
rough; they are expected to follow "their man" and give their lives to
"their children," and on and on (Pogrebin, 1980). Thus, women are
expected to serve others, to sacrifice their ambitions and personal
needs in order to please and care for others. See Too Good for Her
Own Good by Bepko & Krestan, 1990.
And, what makes a woman a "great catch?" What makes women
sexy? A pretty face and a great body! Women compete on the basis of
their looks. This may interfere with women's motivation to achieve and
be successful. Oprah recently asked young people which they would
rather be: attractive or intelligent? An amazing percentage said
attractive. What counts in this culture is how attractive you are,
especially if you are a woman. 
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