How does the CSPT understand the relationship of temperament and gender?
CSPT offers useful insight with regard to gender differences, Gender difference represents a most fascinating—and often volatile—issue. One group argues that there are no innate psychological differences between men and women and that what we see is simply conditioning. Another group argues that men and women can’t communicate because, innately, we think differently—men more linearly, women more relationally. And on.
The CSPT’s lens provides important perspective. It suggests that while there are more similarities than differences and marked exceptions to the patterns we do see, we can make some useful generalizations. Within any Axis we see about equal numbers of men and women. Within this, we find on average about a 60/40 balance relative to gender between the more form-defined and less form-defined poles—men with a greater leaning toward Upper Pole and Outer Aspect, women toward Lower Pole and Inner Aspect.
CST more broadly adds the important recognition that the polar caricatures of gender attributes we often see are less a function of the balances that actually exist in male and female personalities than the two-halves-make-whole dynamic that has defined traditional gender relationships. What we have often called gender attributes appear to be more accurately projected gender archetypes. More Whole-Person relationships reveal the 60/40 balance described above, with great diversity in style and role options.
Again, the question of etiology for the differences we do see is left unanswered. But a major contribution of Creative Systems thinking is its ability to bridge the nature/nurture dichotomy: culture is viewed as an evolutionary story and part of our creative natures rather than as an essentially arbitrary set of taught behaviors. We can say with some certainty that something beyond conditioning in the traditional sense is at work. Women’s bodies remain on average softer to the touch than men’s, even with the same amount of exercise (consistent with a greater natural tendency toward Inner Aspects). With this, men carry their center of balance on average about two inches higher than women (consistent with a greater natural tendency toward Upper Pole dynamics).
People who are gay or lesbian appear to show at least some predilection for certain personality styles, though there is difference of opinion as to the degree this is so. Middle-Axis dynamics seem to be found more often than we might expect in the personalities of lesbians, and Late-Axis dynamics, particularly Late/Lower and Late/Inner, in the personalities of gay men with an additional grouping in Early-Axis. Again the “why” of these apparent tendencies is left unanswered.