There are differences between both male and female narcissistic personalities.

What is narcissism? Whatever you think it is, it isn’t nice. In fact, it is your worse nightmare of a personality trait, if you’ve ever encountered someone like that. But how do you know if you’re not one, you need to know what you’re looking for. According to research, the signs of narcissism that you’re aware of might be inaccurate, and might depend on who you’re interacting with. As it turns out, narcissism has some distinct gender differences. Its kinda sexist, too.

Related media: This is Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Redefining Narcissism

How do you know a narcissist? Look out for these clues: someone being all about themselves, completely self-centered, having no sense of empathy, or time for anyone else, you name it. That stereotypical person who’s always bragging about themselves. That’s a narcissist.

According to a 2009 study, roughly 6 percent of Americans are somehow having narcissistic personality disorder. And according to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder is “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” But this is not the whole picture of narcissism.

According to a 2016 meta-analysis published in the Psychological Bulletin, there more than just what meets the eyes — there are differences between male and female narcissists. Like what?

Male And Female Narcissists

The study analyzed data from three decades of narcissism research that involved over 475,000 participants and found that men, on average, were more likely to be narcissistic than women. Most men, regardless of their age, consistently scored higher in narcissism as compared to the women studied. This says more about the society at large than society could have imagined.

“Narcissism is associated with various interpersonal dysfunctions, including an inability to maintain healthy long-term relationships, unethical behavior and aggression,” says Emily Grijalva, Ph.D., the study’s led author, in a statement. “At the same time, narcissism is shown to boost self-esteem, emotional stability and the tendency to emerge as a leader. By examining gender differences in narcissism, we may be able to explain gender disparities in these important outcomes.”

The team also analyzed three aspects of narcissism: leadership and authority, grandiose and exhibitionism, and exploitative and entitlement. They found that male and female narcissists don’t score evenly across these three groups. For instance, if a man is more likely to be self-centered than a woman, that doesn’t mean he’s more narcissistic.


Woman taking Self-portrait
Image: Shutterstock / iStock / Getty Images Plus | Woman taking self-portrait from vintage 4×6 film camera.

The researchers found that the gap between men and women with entitlement. That’s a suggestion that male narcissists feel more entitled to certain things, and tend to exploit people in general than female narcissists. The next gender gap was leadership and authority. The third was exhibitionism, which had not significant gap difference.

“Compared with women, men exhibit more assertiveness and desire for power,” Grijalva says, “but there was no difference in the exhibitionism aspect, meaning both genders are equally likely to display vanity or self-absorption.”

The team speculates that gender stereotypes may showcase or suppress which narcissistic traits either gender expresses. 

“Individuals tend to observe and learn gender roles from a young age, and may face backlash for deviating from society’s expectations,” says Grijalva, who’s also an assistant professor of organization and human resources in the University of Buffalo School of Management. “In particular, women often receive harsh criticism for being aggressive or authoritative, which creates pressure for women, more so than for men, to suppress displays of narcissistic behavior.”

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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Jun 15, 2019.



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