TIME United Kingdom

Female Chess Legend: ‘We Are Capable of the Same Fight as Any Other Man’

Judit Polgar, Hungarian chess grandmaster.
Ondrej Nemec—Getty Images Judit Polgar, Hungarian chess grandmaster.

“It’s not a matter of gender, it’s a matter of being smart,” Judit Polgar says

Judit Polgar, one of the world’s top chess players, has hit back against a claim by another of the game’s stars that men are naturally better chess players.

“We are capable of the same fight as any other man, and I think during the decades that I actively played chess I proved it as well,” Polgar told TIME in an interview Monday. The native Hungarian became a chess prodigy along with her two sisters and broke Bobby Fischer’s record to become the youngest grandmaster at age 15 in 1991. It’s not a matter of gender, it’s a matter of being smart,” the grandmaster added.

Polgar’s comments came after a storm erupted over Nigel Short’s remarks that people should “gracefully accept it as a fact” that women possess different skills than men, while also suggesting that women are worse drivers.

“I don’t have the slightest problem in acknowledging that my wife possesses a much higher degree of emotional intelligence than I do,” he told New in Chess magazine. “Likewise, she doesn’t feel embarrassed in asking me to maneuver the car out of our narrow garage. One is not better than the other, we just have different skills.”

Polgar, who announced her retirement last year, pointed out that she had defeated Short “quite a few times.” She also defeated Garry Kasparov, widely considered to be the finest chess player in history, in 2002.

“I grew up in what was a male dominated sport, but my parents raised me and my sisters [to believe] that women are able to reach the same result as our male competitors if they get the right and the same possibilities,” she said.

Polgar, who founded the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation to use chess as an education tool, says she sees roughly an equal number of young boys and girls competing in chess at equal levels. But she says fewer girls pursue chess later on, in part because they choose not to and in part because they do not receive the same encouragement from parents, teachers and other people around them.

“Whenever I speak to parents or to kids, I always encourage them that if they believe, if they do the work, if they are really dedicated, then they can do it,” she says. “No matter whether they are a boy or a girl.”

TIME Sports

MLB Inclusion Ambassador Billy Bean: Jackie Robinson’s Lesson for Baseball Today

MLB Ambassador for Inclusion Billy Bean speaks onstage at the 7th Annual PFLAG National Straight For Equality Awards Gala at The New York Marriott Marquis in New York on March 30, 2015.
D Dipasupil— Getty Images MLB Ambassador for Inclusion Billy Bean speaks onstage at the 7th Annual PFLAG National Straight For Equality Awards Gala at The New York Marriott Marquis in New York on March 30, 2015.

Billy Bean is a former professional baseball player, the Major League Baseball inclusion ambassador, and the author of “Going the Other Way.”

Baseball is finally ready to have a conversation about acceptance

Today marks the 68th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson ran onto the field as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. While I will never know what it was like to walk in his Hall of Fame footsteps, I find great inspiration to try and live up to his extraordinary example as a leader, teacher, and ambassador for our sport.

I’ll never forget how anxious I felt last summer as MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced my name as the league’s first ambassador for inclusion. I had been away from baseball for a long time, and while I was prepared for the moment, I could feel many of the old fears returning from my days in the closet. Hearing those words from Commissioner Selig brought me full circle from my darkest days to one of hope and great determination.

I never thought I would ever be anything more than an anecdote to the sport. As a closeted player, I was consumed with fear that my fellow players would find out about me. I was living a completely secretive life. The sudden death of my partner on the eve of my last season in 1995 was the beginning of the end of my playing career. I walked out of the hospital at 7 a.m. with his clothes in a plastic bag, the only evidence of a three-year relationship. I was in a state of shock until I realized that I needed to be at Angel Stadium in less than four hours. I drove home, showered, and, like always, I went to work. However, a part of me died that day with Sam, and not believing I could talk to anyone about it was my greatest mistake. I remember writing his name on the inside of my cap, hoping for strength to get through that game.

My personal story broke in late 1999. I had no idea the kind of press it would attract, or how desperately my community was looking for leadership. It changed my perspective entirely. Since then, I’ve worked hard to be a strong role model. Baseball is finally ready to have a conversation about acceptance.

This past November, I was asked to speak to all 30 general managers at their annual offseason meeting. A dialogue was created that resulted in invitations from 16 different organizations. On Feb. 27 I began a journey around the country, making early morning presentations, sharing my personal story and talking about leadership, responsibility, and the message of acceptance to big-league clubs. I suited up and threw batting practice with the Mets, Tigers, and Phillies. I spoke to entire minor league systems, met with coaching staffs, front office personnel, and watched games with general managers.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like to be the only gay man (or perhaps only “openly” gay man) in a clubhouse. Few people realize that only two major league players in the 146-year history of baseball have ever admitted they were gay – Glenn Burke, who died in 1995, and myself. I was certain there would be judgment, but I also knew this was my job and my responsibility. As a player, my greatest fear was the thought of walking through the clubhouse with my secret revealed. Now after all this time, I was facing that old demon. Some mornings there were knots in my stomach, and I felt like an outsider. On the days it was toughest, I thought about Matthew Shepard, Tyler Clementi, Ronin Shimizu, and so many other youth who died without a voice. I quickly let go of my own self-consciousness and found strength knowing I was representing something much greater than me.

Baseball asked me to lead this conversation, and I knew that this is where it really starts – with our players. For me it’s simple: The message of inclusion will save lives. An accepting example from our players can influence today’s youth and turn bullies into leaders who take care of their teammates and classmates instead of discriminate, ridicule, or perpetuate hate against them.

A major league clubhouse is one of the most diverse environments in pro sports. Our players are young, come from many cultures, and speak several languages. Today’s athletes are under the microscope like never before, much of it self imposed by social media. It’s our responsibility to explain to players how expectations change once they put on that major-league uniform. We are just getting started, but we’re off to a great start.

After my long road trip this spring, I began to reflect on my return to the game and the irony of being back in baseball for exactly the same reason I walked away from it. Baseball changed the world 68 years ago, and in honor of its great history and its vision of the future, we are sending a message that is loud and clear: “Everyone is welcome.” How cool is that?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME feminism

The Forgotten Link Between World War I and Women’s Rights

Peace Delegates
Library of Congress / Getty Images Portrait of American delegates to the International Congress of Women aboard the Noordam, 1915.

A century ago, the Women’s Congress met with the aim of revolutionizing a ravaged political landscape

History Today

 

 

 

This post is in partnership with History Today. The article below was originally published at HistoryToday.com.

More than 1,100 women from warring and neutral states gathered at The Hague in April 1915 for a special set of peace negotiations. They were not diplomats representing states and they were not present to press national demands. Most were unable even to vote in parliamentary elections in their own countries. They were feminists and pacifists and it was their commitment to these twin ideals that drew them together as conflict raged across Europe.

Their vision of a peace founded on gender equality, social justice and human rights did not bring the war to a close. Nor was it embraced by the male powerbrokers meeting in Paris in 1919 to conclude peace terms. Yet the Women’s Congress of 1915 is important because it reminds us that the First World War not only mobilized armies but nurtured alternative forms of politics, not least the politics of international cooperation and peace.

Who were the women at The Hague? They were mainly middle-class, well-traveled and experienced feminist activists, many with professional backgrounds and all advocates of women’s suffrage. They included the British lawyer Chrystal Macmillan, Aletta Jacobs, the pioneering Dutch physician, the Hungarian feminist Rosika Schwimmer and the trade unionist Lida Gustava Heymann of Germany. The US peace campaigner Jane Addams agreed to preside as chair of the Congress.

Many traveled to the Netherlands at personal cost, encountering hostility from the patriotic publics of the belligerent nations. In Britain, anti-war campaigners were placed under official surveillance. As a result, only 20 of the 180-strong British delegation were issued with passports and even they found it impossible to cross the North Sea due to military operations. The three British women who reached The Hague had either traveled some weeks earlier or went by a different route.

Taking a stand against the war was, furthermore, a difficult experience emotionally for many of the delegates. They found themselves in conflict with suffragist comrades who chose a different course, seeing the war as an opportunity to prove themselves loyal citizens and hence convince their respective governments to grant women the vote.

After four days of discussions and debates, the Congress agreed a set of 20 resolutions encompassing practical proposals for immediate negotiations to end the war, as well as fundamental principles for a permanent peace. Among the latter were the right of self-determination for all peoples; the creation of an international authority to arbitrate disputes and advance constructive cooperation between nations; and an end to ‘secret diplomacy’ conducted behind closed doors and without democratic accountability.

Women’s rights were central to this blueprint. All delegates wishing to attend were required from the outset to pledge their support for women’s suffrage, which the Congress organizers saw as inseparable from the objective of peace. A just world free of conflict, they argued, was impossible to achieve unless women were allowed to take their place alongside men as equal citizens. Enfranchisement, they claimed, would make peace more likely because of the role that women played as mothers in creating the life which war extinguished. Women, in the words of Jane Addams, ‘who have brought men into the world and nurtured them until they reach the age for fighting, must experience a peculiar revulsion when they see them destroyed, irrespective of the country in which these men may have been born’.

Despite the efforts of Addams and others to win support for their proposals after the Congress had closed, both women and their concerns were marginal to the negotiations in Paris in 1919, led by the victorious powers. Not one woman was appointed as a formal representative of her nation at the Peace Conference and while a small contingent of feminists traveled to Paris to lobby the official delegates, their demands fell on deaf ears. The US President, Woodrow Wilson, briefly raised the question of women’s political representation with his fellow plenipotentiaries, but few wished to see women’s rights recognized as a legitimate matter for international agreement. Where the Hague women saw peace and gender equality as fundamentally interlinked, the great powers in Paris were anxious to keep them separate, with women’s citizenship firmly under the control of national governments.

Given this failure, why is it worth remembering the 1915 Women’s Congress at The Hague? The history of seemingly lost causes can tell us a great deal about how power works and, in this case, why women remained peripheral to international politics and diplomacy for so much of the 20th century. Today, the United Nations Security Council passes resolutions about women’s inclusion in conflict resolution; governments host summits on rape as a weapon of war; and powerful non-governmental organizations ensure women are given a voice in debates about human rights, development and security. But history shows us that these achievements have been hard fought and won. They stand as testament to the efforts of generations of feminists who worked to make women’s rights an international, and not just a national, concern.

It would be too simplistic to draw a line of continuity between the Women’s Congress of 1915 and today’s policy debates. Much took place in the interim to reconfigure the global women’s rights agenda, from interwar Fascism and the Cold War to the fall of European empires and the rise of new superpowers at the century’s end. Nonetheless, at this moment when the legacy of the First World War is uppermost in the public mind, it is worth reflecting on how that conflict produced, through the voices of the women who gathered at The Hague, an analysis of the modern world in which gender equality, social justice and peace were intertwined. It is an analysis which endures a hundred years on.

Helen McCarthy is Senior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary University of London.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 26

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Al Qaeda and ISIS are locked in an ideological war, and for once, it’s good to be their mutual enemy.

By Daniel Byman and Jennifer Williams in Lawfare

2. For the millions left behind by America’s new economy, disability claims — legitimate or otherwise — are skyrocketing.

By Chana Joffe-Walt in Planet Money by National Public Radio

3. Maybe universities shouldn’t measure prestige by the number of applicants they turn away.

By Jon Marcus in the Hechinger Report

4. When younger women have heart attacks, they’re twice as likely to die as their male counterparts. Is medicine’s gender bias to blame?

By Maya Dusenbery in Pacific Standard

5. Can the triumph and tragedy of soccer help Harvard students appreciate the humanities?

By Colleen Walsh in the Harvard Gazette

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME China

Five Feminists Remain Jailed in China for Activities the Government Supports

India China Activists Detained
Altaf Qadri—AP Indian women's rights activists wearing masks of five women's rights activists formally detained in China after Women's Day crackdown, hold placards with their names, to express their solidarity and demand their immediate release, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The line between dissidence and social activism grows ever murkier

It was supposed to be a celebration. This year marks two decades since the world came together in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. Participants in that event — including keynote speaker Hillary Clinton — set an ambitious global blueprint for gender equality and women’s rights. It was a landmark moment for the women’s movement, and a point of pride for China as it stepped, gingerly, toward post-Mao reforms.

But as meetings to mark the “Beijing+20” anniversary close Friday in New York, things are looking bleak. In the run up to International Women’s Day and the Beijing+20-themed conclave, China detained 10 women for planning activities to celebrate the occasion. Five of those women — Wu Rongrong, Wei Tingting, Wang Man, Zheng Churan and Li Tingting — are still in detention. Their lawyers worry they will be charged with “picking quarrels and creating a disturbance,” an Orwellian turn of phrase used to jail government critics.

The ruling Communist Party has long taken aggressive measures to silence opposition voices, censoring the Internet, banning books, and jailing dissidents. For much of the past decade, though, the line between “dissident” and “critical voice” — that is between prison and the freedom to live your life — was, with exceptions, relatively clear: Do not openly oppose one-party rule. Avoid the “three T’s” (Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen). Don’t take to the street.

However, since coming to power in 2012, Xi Jinping’s regime has taken an even harder line, jailing those who speak out on matters not related to party control or the three T’s. (See, for example, the case of Professor Ilham Tohti, or jailed lawyer Xu Zhiyong.) There are new no-go areas, including the politics of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and calls for government transparency that do not originate from the government itself. Until this month, if you kept a low profile and did not plan protests, you could speak publicly on issues like gender equality and LGBT rights.

Now, advocates fear that too has changed. The women arrested in Beijing this month were not advocating for the overthrow of the Communist Party. In fact, they were, separately, and in their respective cities, simply planning to distribute pamphlets and raise awareness about issues the Chinese government supports: gender equality and combatting sexual harassment. These activists did not organize political rallies, but rather used performance art to challenge societal views.

Their arrest in coordinated raids ahead of International Women’s Day “suggests an escalation of Chinese government paranoia,” says Leta Hong Fincher, author of Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China. “I don’t see how they would have posed any threat to the government in any way — and they did not even carry out the activities. Even under Chinese law, I do not see what they are guilty of.”

That has other feminists worried. The five women are active on a variety of issues, including stopping sexual violence, ending street harassment and promoting gender equality and LGBT rights. Their detentions sent a broad cross section of people, including friends, acquaintances and allies, into hiding, terrified that the merest trifle might now see them caged.

That is not to say people are silent. Their ongoing detention has generated an unusual amount of public support from social groups, students and academics in China, as well as expressions of solidarity from nearly every corner of the earth, and spawned a social-media campaign to #FreeTheFive. Some feminists have floated the idea of a boycott of Beijing+20 events, though there are no firm plans as yet. From the sidelines of the meeting in New York City, Charlotte Bunch, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University, filmed herself reading a statement in support of the jailed women. “We expect more from China,” she says. “The world is watching and waiting for an end to this injustice.”

Waiting, indeed. Though U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power tweeted her support for the activists, foreign governments and U.N. agencies are, for the most part, staying quiet. Perhaps they don’t want to politicize the matter in the off chance they could still be released. Or perhaps, 20 years after the historic Beijing conference on women, the world no longer expects more.

TIME portfolio

Meet the New Generation of Gender-Creative Kids

Lindsay Morris photographs a rural retreat where kids are free to be themselves

Raising a child who doesn’t conform to gender roles is a minefield, for even the most supportive parents. How do you let your children be themselves while also protecting them from bullies? That question led a number of parents to organize an annual four-day camp in the wilderness for their kids.

The result was an annual long-weekend camp that serves nearly 30 families, many of whom met several years ago through a therapy group for gender-nonconforming children in Washington, D.C. It started in a few hotel rooms in D.C. and evolved into a real camp usually held at religious retreats in various rural settings around the country. The children, ages 6 to 12, attend with their parents and siblings.

In 2007, Sag Harbor photographer Lindsay Morris began attending camp. She took pictures of the children and their families to document their camp experience. But as the years passed and her photo library grew, Morris thought about doing something more with the pictures. In 2012, thanks to the courage of some of the families, Morris’ photographs appeared in a cover story for the New York Times Magazine. The book, titled You Are You, is an expansion of that project.

At camp, the children do all the typical camp things. They canoe, they craft, they roast marshmallows. Almost all of the children are biological boys who like to wear girl’s clothing. The weekend culminates in a fashion show with the works: red carpets, a runway, and fans to blow the kids’ hair back. “We try to make them feel fabulous,” says Morris, “I think it helps carry them through the year — the memory of their parents and siblings in the audience clapping for them.”

The kids in Morris’ photographs fall across the gender spectrum. But they are too young to know which category they will grow into — if they fit into a category at all. Some will grow up to be transgender, others will be gender-conforming adults. Still more may decide to embrace a more fluid concept of gender. “Living with ambiguity can be very hard,” writes one of the parents in a reflection in the book. The beauty of the camp is that it allows the kids to live comfortably in the middle, a difficult space to occupy during the rest of the year.

Morris had many goals with the book. She wanted to illustrate gender-creative children in a joyful, supportive setting to counteract the painful things we associate with children who don’t conform. She wanted gender-variant kids and the adults who advocate for them to see that they are not alone. Along with the images and reflections, she has included a list of helpful books and support organizations available to families.

But her work’s greatest value may be in teaching us to see the potential joy of children who are allowed the freedom to be themselves.

For more information about the project and events, visit lindsaycmorris.com and youareyouproject.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 10

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. How do we convince Americans that justice isn’t for sale — when in 39 states, it is?

By Sue Bell Cobb in Politico

2. It took pressure from customers and investors to make corporations environmentally sustainable. It’s time to do the same for gender equity.

By Marissa Wesely in Stanford Social Innovation Review

3. London’s congestion pricing plan is saving lives.

By Alex Davies in Wired

4. Libraries should be the next great start-up incubators.

By Emily Badger in CityLab

5. Annual replanting has a devastating impact. Could perennial rice be the solution?

By Winifred Bird in Yale Environment 360

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

How To Talk About Gender Bias at Work

meeting
Getty Images

Even the most well-intentioned men have misconceptions about women at work

You may want to sit down for this one. A recent study shows that fewer large companies are run by woman than by men with the name John. In fact, among CEOs of S&P 1500 firms, for each woman, there are four men with the name John, Robert, William, or James.

So in the name of closing the gender gap, and International Women’s Day, this week’s TL;DR has a special theme. We’ll discuss:

  • The biggest mistakes well-intentioned men make without realizing — and how to fix them
  • The surprising path women take to become CEOs and why it takes 50% longer than men
  • Why the way we’re discussing gender bias is actually bad and what we should do differently

1. Women at Work: A Guide for Men

Author: Joanne Lipman

TL;DR: Even the most well-intentioned men have misconceptions about women at work. For instance:

  • It’s not a compliment. Former BAE systems CEO Linda Hudson says: “I hate being referred to as ‘that very accomplished woman leader.’ Why not just say ‘accomplished leader’? Why does it always have to be qualified?” It seems innocent, but research shows that reminding women of stereotypes undermines confidence and performance.
  • It’s not hand-holding. Georgetown Professor Deborah Tannen found that men consider strong leaders to be those who hire good people and get out of the way. Female leaders are more likely to collaborate, treating others as equals and checking in frequently. The result? For many men, the hands-on approach feels like a lack of trust. Resentment often follows.
  • It’s not a question. A man may declare: “We need a meeting tomorrow morning!” Whereas a woman might ask: “Do you think we need a meeting tomorrow morning?” Don’t get it twisted, both are saying: let’s meet immediately.

2. How Female CEOs Actually Get to the Top

Authors: Sarah Dillard & Vanessa Lipschitz

TL;DR: The Fortune 500 only has 24 female CEOs. So what did they have that others didn’t?

It’s not an Ivy League degree. That’s only true for two of the 24 women.

The answer is tough to hear, especially in today’s world where we swap jobs every few years.

It’s about consistency. Data shows that these 24 female leaders spent a median of 23 years at a company before becoming CEO.

In fact, over 20% took jobs right out of school at the companies they now run. For instance:

  • Mary Barra started out as a college co-op student before becoming CEO of General Motors
  • Kathleen Mazzarella began as a customer service representative at Graybar before becoming CEO 30 years later.

For men, however, the median is 15 years. Meaning, a woman’s climb to the top is over 50% longer. So how should we deal with the imbalance and biases at play? That bring us to…

3. When Talking About Bias Backfires

Authors: Adam Grant & Sheryl Sandberg

TL;DR: New research shows that making people aware of gender bias makes them discriminate more, not less. Why? Because stereotyping seems more socially acceptable once we realize it’s common.

So if awareness makes it worse, how do we make it better? The solution isn’t to stop pointing out stereotypes. It’s to go a step further.

Wharton professor Adam Grant’s study illustrates how:

  • In his classes, he presented data on female underrepresentation in major leadership roles. He thought raising awareness would prompt action. But in the next five months, there was no change in the percentage of female MBA students who applied for campus leadership positions.
  • The following year, he shared the same data but added one sentence: “I don’t ever want to see this happen again.” During the next five months, there was a 65 percent increase in female MBA students who sought out leadership roles.

Bottom line: raising awareness isn’t enough. We should explicitly disapprove of leadership imbalance if we ever hope to improve it.

This article originally appeared on Every Vowel.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME United Nations

Violence Against Women Is at ‘Alarmingly High Levels,’ U.N. Says

U.N. Women for Peace Association's International Women's Day celebration
Jemal Countess—Getty Images U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the U.N. Women for Peace Association's International Women's Day celebration in New York City on March 6, 2015

"Uneven progress" 20 years after the landmark Beijing conference on gender equality

Violence against women around the world “persists at alarmingly high levels in many forms,” according to a new U.N. report.

Presented by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, the U.N. Women report marks the 20th anniversary of a U.N. conference in Beijing on achieving gender equality around the world. But the report finds that so far, “uneven progress” has been “unacceptably slow with stagnation and even regress in some contexts.”

The reports findings include these:

  • A World Health Organization study found that 35% of women around the world have experienced either sexual or physical violence from an intimate partner, or sexual violence from a nonpartner.
  • In a study of 42,000 women in the European Union, only a third of victims of intimate-partner violence contacted authorities or sought out support services; of those who experienced violence from someone who wasn’t a partner, only one-fourth did so.
  • That same study also found that more than half of all the women surveyed experienced sexual harassment at least one time since turning 15; nearly a fifth had experienced it within a year of the survey.

The report highlighted that victim-blaming attitudes play a role. In one 2010 study of 15 European nations cited by the report, 52% of all respondents agreed that women’s behavior contributed to domestic violence; in one of those countries surveyed, 86% of respondents agreed with that statement.

The report also outlines a few steps countries can take to combat violence, including improving data collection about violence against, devoting more resources to support services and launching education and awareness campaigns both in public and within education systems.

TIME psychology

Why Men Are More Narcissistic Than Women

Men sitting on bench wearing colourful socks
Noel Hendrickson—Getty Images

Narcissism has long afflicted more men than women — but that could be changing

If there’s one thing you can say for craziness, it’s that it’s not sexist. Across entire populations, males and females face a pretty equal lifetime risk of coming unhinged. Within conditions, however, there may be differences. Women are twice as likely as men, for example, to develop depression. Anxiety disorders such as OCD and phobias also hit women a bit harder.

Narcissism, however, goes the other way. Research has long suggested that if you’re looking for someone who’s preening, strutting, self-absorbed, arrogant, exhibitionistic, conceited, insensitive and entitled, you’ll find more of them in the boys’ camp than you will in the girls’. So it comes as, well, almost no news at all that a new study — hold your applause till the end, please — found exactly that!

The research, in fairness, was sweeping: a meta-analysis of 355 journal articles and other studies going back 31 years. In the behavioral sciences, which lack the tidy, 1+1=2 certainty of fields like chemistry and physics and math, meta-analyses are often the best way to lock down a hypothesis. The paper did that, but it did more too — not just establishing the gender disparity but explaining why it exists.

In my 2014 book, The Narcissist Next Door, I wrestled with the question of narcissism and gender, and came to the conclusion that our still patriarchal society is far likelier to tolerate — even encourage — narcissistic swagger and aggressiveness in men than it is in women. It was hardly a theory I developed de novo, but rather is one many researchers had voiced — thought not yet proved. The researchers in the new study — led by Emily Grijalva, an assistant professor of organization and human resources at the University of Buffalo School of Management — broke down their metadata in ways that highlighted three of the multiple categories of narcissistic behavior: grandiosity and exhibitionism; leadership and authority; and entitlement.

Men ran away with the entitlement category (we’re looking at you, John Edwards, Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen), and led by a narrower gap in the leadership and authority category. “Compared with women,” Grijalva said in a statement that accompanied the study, “men exhibit more assertiveness and desire for power.” That too is consistent with a culture in which men don’t merely hold more positions in government and high finance, but seek those positions more as well.

But when it comes to exhibitionism — the basic table stakes for boys and girls dreaming of growing up to achieve their true full narcissistic potential — the sexes start off pretty much equally. As happens so often in a sexist world, however, that potential — O.K., pathological potential — is squelched in girls while it’s encouraged in boys.

“Individuals tend to observe and learn gender roles from a young age, and may face backlash for deviating from society’s expectations,” Grijalva said. “In particular, women often receive harsh criticism for being aggressive or authoritative, which creates pressure for [them] to suppress displays of narcissistic behavior.”

Gender equality, of course, is a surpassing good, and the arc of history is inevitably bending its way. It will, alas, almost certainly mean narcissistic equality too. Let’s hope that the growing ranks of female narcissists conduct themselves better than the boys have.

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