Thursday, April 23, 2015

Using The Big Five to Discover the All-Natural Feminism (1/2)

Previously, I made it known why I'm not a feminist, due to three factors, the most important one being that most feminists believe that the original Constitution is a sexist document, and I don't.  However, I wouldn't go so far as to call myself an anti-feminist, nor do I want to oppose the creation of the feminist movement in general. My reason is due to my hypothesis regarding feminist ideology. Feminism like most political identities is a natural result of a person's own inherent personality and genetic behavioral traits, and because of this it is difficult for anyone to make the assertion that this movement should just "end" or "be destroyed." You can't really ask for a natural political identity to be destroyed. It's like asking a genie for more wishes; it seems like the smart thing to do, however there are rules.

The first rule is that in order to understand political movements, such as feminism, it is imperative to understand the behaviors that encompass this political thought. Professor of political science and author of the book Personality and the Foundations of Political Behavior, Jeffery J. Mondak defined personality "as biologically influenced and an enduring psychological structure that shapes behavior." He and other psychologist emphasize the fact that these behaviors are influenced by our genetics and in turn our personality has a direct correlation on what political ideology we align with. These personality traits influence behavior and these traits are susceptible to empirical study and observation. This is the foundation of political psychology which is based on the theory that political scientists can study individuals by observing behavior in many natural settings. Usually this research leads to the construction of massive political taxonomies, which leads us to what Mondak adopted as the "Big Five" framework. The Big Five are as follows; openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability. As a general guide for the purposes of this post, we will use the Big Five Framework to garner some idea of the natural political attitudes that encompass feminism.

Although the definition of openness to experiences has been debated, it usually includes terms such as "creative behavior, decreased loyalty to the organization, successful adjustment to international work assignments." People high in openness tend to crave experiences that will be cognitively engaging, resulting in their willingness to seek out all kinds of information whether it is incidental information or otherwise. A person who is open to experiences is predicted to be more likely to favor traditional ideological liberalism. Those who are conservative prefer "slow, cautious action, and maintains an affinity for the status quo." This link between liberalism and openness to experience have been shown by Alford and Hibbing (2007) and using their data (along with many others around the world) scientists have found there to be a positive correlation between those who are liberal and those who are open to experience, with the Democratic Party.

Conscientiousness describes the basic disposition of dependability. People who are conscientious value organization, reliability, hard work, industriousness, tradition, personal responsibility, virtue and perseverance. According to research by Jensen-Campbell and Malcolm (2007) this trait leads to "positive experiences, high quality friendships, and decreased anger, along with marital stability." People who are high in conscientiousness were more likely to vote for Bush over Kerry during the 2004 presidential elections (Barbaranelli 2007). Research also concluded that they modestly participate in civic engagement, they are less likely to be part of a non-partisan group, and find that political participation is a "extracurricular activity" rather than a duty.

Extraversion is associated with terms like "outgoing, bold, energetic and, talkative," which as we all know it does not matter which political side you are on, you will always find an extrovert. However this trait is used to determine the likelihood of general political participation and workplace organizational involvement.

Agreeableness is determined by a persons ability to be "warm, kind, sympathetic, trusting, compliant, and cooperative." This trait is difficult to ascertain due to people's natural want of social desirability, however research (Barbaranelli 2007) has found there to be a link between the effect of agreeableness on a person's support for John Kerry in the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Interestingly Mondak concludes that agreeableness shapes how individuals respond to conflict, "competition and conflict are integral features of politics... distaste many Americans exhibit toward competitive democratic processes may be exacerbated by agreeableness."

Lastly, Mondak defines emotional stability as representative of "high levels of neuroticism" and unlike the other traits, describes correlations between political attitudes and possibly personality disorders. Sadly only few have studied this relationship, however Barbaranelli found modest effects of emotional stability on those who are ideologically conservative during the 2004 U.S. presidential election.

Until there are more studies using these (and perhaps even more) biological traits, we can't be certain of the correlations between agreeableness and feminism, or conscientiousness and feminism. But we can hypothesize that the typical all-natural "feminist" is one who is open to experience,  not conscientious, moderate extraversion, agreeable, and lacks emotional stability.

My next post will be dedicated to how I formulated this hypothesis, and why I think most anti-feminists or those who disagree with feminism should focus on studying the natural behavioral roots of feminism and/or feminists, rather than what most have been doing. Which has become equivalent to ranting at a brick wall then wondering when the brick wall will stop being a brick wall and talk to them. I'm just part of the few who believe we need to understand how the brick wall was made before people decide to tear it down.

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