The androgyny of creativity

Confiscated from . . .
Creativity: Flow and The Psychology of Discovery and Invention
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In all cultures, men are brought up to be ‘masculine’ and to disregard and repress those aspects of their temperament that the culture regards as “feminine,” whereas women are expected to do the opposite. 

Creative individiuals to a certain extent escape this rigid gender role stereotyping. When tests of masculinity/feminitiy 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 ae more senisitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

This tendency toward androgyny is sometimes understood in purely sexual terms, and therefore it gets confused with homosexuality. But psychological androgyny is a much wider concept, referring to a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. 

A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities. It is not surprising that creative individuals are more likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other one, too. 

For you —

Evan Griffith
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