The Helpful but Helpless Female: Myth or Reality?
It is a "well-known fact" that girls and women are kinder, less aggressive, more cooperative, more nurturant, and just all-around nicer and more helpful than are boys and men. Unfortunately, Maccoby and Jacklin (1974) and Deaux (1976), in reviews of the developmental literature and the social psychology literature respectively, find no such consistency in the research relevant to this assertion. It is also "common knowledge" that a woman in distress can expect to receive help more quickly and with more certainty-especially from a man-than can a man in similar dire straits. Again, the research literature does not provide consistent support for this assumed relationship.