I have been doing a lot of research on borderline personality disorder lately, because I got diagnosed with it. It led to me noticing a fairly interesting dichotomy.
Most personality disorders are diagnosed at a fairly similar rate in men and in women. The exceptions are Antisocial Personality Disorder, mostly diagnosed in men, and Borderline Personality Disorder, mostly diagnosed in women.
The DSM diagnosis for Antisocial Personality Disorder includes criminal behavior, deception, impulsiveness/failure to plan ahead, irritability and aggressiveness shown through physical violence and assaults, reckless disregard for the safety of oneself and others, irresponsibility (refusal to work and honor financial obligations) and lack of remorse (rationalizing hurting/mistreating/stealing from other people). The DSM diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder includes frantic attempts to avoid abandonment, unstable and intense interpersonal relationships involving extremes of idealization and hatred, persistently unstable self-image and sense of self, self-damaging impulsiveness, suicidal and self-injuring behavior, extreme mood swings, chronic emptiness, inappropriate anger, and stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or dissociative symptoms.
Anyone else notice something odd? They basically boil down to “extremely dysfunctional hyper-masculinity” and “extremely dysfunctional hyper-femininity.”
I mean, think about it. Recklessness and violence? Associated with masculinity, key symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Emotional highs and lows and caring about relationships very intensely? Associated with femininity, key symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
This isn’t really a full-formed thought, just a weird thing I noticed. I know there’s been some feminist critique of BPD– most notably, the way it occasionally is treated as being Bitchy Female Patient Disorder– but I don’t know if there’s been similar work done on Antisocial Personality Disorder. I wonder if this is biological or a reflection of gender norms/socialization or just a product of me spending too much time reading about personality disorders.