Men think with their heads; women with their hearts.
That’s the stereotype that most people have come to accept as common knowledge. While it is true that women are generally more empathetic and compassionate, that does not necessarily make them Feelers. The same applies for men. Although they tend to be more aggressive and ambitious, that does not make them Thinkers.
So why do people think that way? Well, at the root of it all, Feelers are wrongly associated with feminine traits and Thinkers with masculine traits. This misconception is further compounded by the fact that most societies impose gender roles on individuals. For example, in many cultures, women are encouraged to express their feelings freely, whereas men are expected to hide their emotions.
Of course, there is no denying that inherent differences exist between men and women. But the fact is, societal expectations greatly mold the way we behave, especially when harsh consequences await those who do not fit squarely into traditional gender roles. More often than not, women who are logical and assertive are labeled as bossy, while men who are friendly and agreeable tend to be seen as weak.
With such societal pressures in place, it’s no wonder so many people are willing to identify with behaviors that aren’t natural to them, simply to fit in. This can be compared to forcing a left-handed child to write with their right hand, despite the fact that it is unnatural for them. It is disheartening, as when individuals suppress these integral parts of themselves, they also inadvertently hinder themselves from realizing their fullest potential in life.
The widespread misconception of Thinkers and Feelers, coupled with suffocating societal expectations, has resulted in a jarring imbalance in the Feeler and Thinker dichotomy among men and women. According to a study conducted by the Statistic Brain Research Institute in 2017, 75.5% of women are categorized as Feelers. Sadly, these figures are not in the least surprising, given what we have talked about so far.
The truth is, our society’s obsession for boxing people up does a huge disservice to the vast diversity of human experience. It is unnerving to consider the impact that these labels have on our lives. Indirectly, they influence how we perceive ourselves and the way we interact with the world. Rather than empowering us to discover our authentic selves, this oversimplification of human behavior can end up causing more harm than good to our society as a whole.
Hence, it doesn’t help when Thinker and Feeler stereotypes are also propagated within the personality community itself. For instance, when browsing through Facebook, Reddit, Discord, or any personality page or forum, it is not uncommon to come across comics and memes that portray Thinkers as heartless, mean, and cruel figures; and Feelers as weak, irrational, and sensitive souls.
These posts, while intended to be fun and lighthearted, are actually no different than age-old adages such as “Boys don’t cry” or “Women are emotional creatures”. Because like it or not, they indirectly feed into the distorted idea of what it means to be a particular personality type. If you are like any other casual personality enthusiast, chances are you have liked or shared these posts around, thinking they were nothing more than harmless jokes.
But we don’t blame you, or anyone for that matter. These misguided beliefs are legacies that have been passed down for generations, and therefore, are deeply embedded within our cultural psyche. They have grown to become a part of our collective consciousness, making it challenging for us to recognize and break free from them.
That is exactly why it is so important to dismantle this misconception. By raising awareness among the typology community on what Thinkers and Feelers truly are, we hope to introduce a much more nuanced understanding of personality, so that people will no longer be mistyped based on gender stereotypes.
Above all, we should move towards a more inclusive and accepting society that values and celebrates individual differences, rather than forcing people into narrow boxes constructed from outdated beliefs. Through conscious effort, we will be able to shape a world where everyone can unlock their full potential, regardless of gender or any other superficial characteristic. Only then, can we truly appreciate the rich, complex mosaic that we call humanity.