Men, Women, And Aggression: From Rage In Marriage To Violence In The Streets: How Gender Affects Way We Act

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9780465092178: Men, Women, And Aggression: From Rage In Marriage To Violence In The Streets: How Gender Affects Way We Act

Why are men more aggressive than women? To find out, psychologist and criminologist Anne Campbell listened to the voices of ordinary men and women, as well as people for whom aggression is a central fact of life—robbers and gang members. The answer, she argues, lies not only in biology or in child rearing but in how men and women form opinions about their own aggression. Women believe their aggression results from a loss of self-control, while men see their behavior as a means of gaining control over others. Daughters are deeply ashamed when they get angry, but sons learn to associate aggression with integrity, courage, and triumph. Campbell shows how men's and women's different views of anger and restraint profoundly affect their actions—from rage in marriage to violence in the streets—and what this means for us all. The misreading of the meaning of aggression drives a wedge between the sexes, affecting everything from their ability to communicate with each other to the way that traditionally male-dominated spheres such as law or medicine pathologize and punish women's aggression. The book draws together two research areas that have had little dialogue with one another—aggression and gender differences—to present for the first time a theory of their interrelationship. The book also reveals the links between criminal violence and psychological processes common to all of us. A major contribution in the tradition of You Just Don't Understand and In a Different Voice , this book offers a new understanding of a vital issue.

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About the Author:

Anne Campbell is senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Durham, England, and is the author of The Girls in the Gang (1984) and Girl Delinquents (1981). Formerly an associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, she has spent nearly twenty years investigating aggression and violent behavior.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A karate course and a key chain with a Mace backup are not enough to bridge the gap between men's and women's capacity for aggression, according to the author of this intriguing study. Campbell (ed., The Opposite Sex, 1989; Health, Social and Policy Studies/Teesside University) has for years studied and written about women gang members and female delinquents. Further tweaking the idea of the female aggressor, Campbell finds major differences between men and women's aggressiveness--differences based primarily, she believes, on socialization, not on testosterone or other hormonal differences. Women view aggression- -getting angry, attacking verbally or physically--as a loss of control. To them, it is ``expressive,'' often of feelings of anger and frustration restrained until the breaking point. The resulting explosion may manifest itself as verbal or physical violence, frequently followed by feelings of shame and guilt. But for men, Campbell contends, violence is ``instrumental''--a strategy for taking control, learned early on, when, for instance, teachers acknowledge boys' aggression (although not necessarily approving it) while ignoring girls who fight back. Women target their anger most frequently against men ``because it is [men] who impose their will most strongly over women''--but women's anger is more often concealed, denied, or ``redefined'' (meaning that the anger of women who strike back against abuse or a lifetime of frustration is called ``craziness'' rather than ``rage''). Of additional interest here are the chapters on young boys cut off from gender experimentation by being labelled ``sissies'' (``tomboy'' girls are okay at least until puberty), and on PMS as the excuse for ``erratic'' behavior that might be more appropriately expressed as ``I'm angry.'' With the advent of Hillary Rodham Clinton as President manqu‚e, some of the ``second-sex'' discussion here seems dated. But, overall, this is a clearly stated volume on why men and women differ in their aggressive behavior: It owes more--at least according to Campbell--to the imperatives of the schoolyard than to DNA. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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