Sex Roles

, Volume 61, Issue 5–6, pp 338–340 | Cite as

Status and Gender: The Paradox of Progress in an Age of Narcissism

  • Jean M. Twenge
Feminist Forum


As women have gained status in Western cultures in the last few decades, they have increasingly endorsed stereotypically masculine instrumental/assertive traits. However, men have also endorsed these traits at a higher frequency and show only a weak trend toward embracing more stereotypically feminine expressive/communal traits. Overall, Western cultures have moved toward valuing instrumental/assertive traits and devaluing expressive/communal traits. The paradox of progress is that women’s status has increased at the same time that the expressive/communal traits traditionally ascribed to them have become devalued. Groups aiming to empower girls and women should consider scaling back the emphasis on instrumental/assertive traits and teaching both genders the value of expressive/communal traits.


Status Instrumental/assertive traits Expressive/communal traits Culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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