WEEK 4 LECTURE NOTES: OUR GENDERED IDENTITIES
TERMS TO KNOW
· Traditional Sexism: Beliefs that men and women are essentially different and should occupy different social roles that women are not as fit as men to perform certain tasks, and that differential treatment of men and women is acceptable.
· Sex: Refers to biological characteristics, that is, male or female anatomy or physiology. The term gender is used to refer to the social roles, attitudes, and behavior associated with males or females.
· Sexual Orientation: The attraction an individual has for a sexual partner of the same or opposite sex.
· Self-Identification Theory of Gender: A theory of gender socialization, developed by psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg, that begins with a child’s categorization of self as male or female. The child goes on to identify sex-appropriate behaviors in the family, media, and elsewhere, and to adopt those behaviors.
· Gender: Attitudes and behavior associated with and expected of the two sexes. Refers to the social role.
· Gender Identity: The degree to which an individual sees herself or himself as feminine or masculine based on society’s definition of appropriate gender roles.
· Gender Roles: Masculine and feminine prescriptions for behavior. The masculine gender role demands instrumental character traits and behavior, whereas the feminine gender role demands expressive character traits and behavior. Traditional gender roles are giving way to androgyny, but they are by no means gone.
· Intersexual: A person whose genitalia, secondary sex characteristics, hormones, or other physiological features are not unambiguously male or female.
· Transgendered: A person who has adopted a gender identity that differs from the sex/gender of birth.
· Transsexual: Individuals who have begun life identified as a member of one sex, but later come to believe they belong to the other sex. The person may undertake surgical reconstruction to attain a body type closer to that of the desired sex.
· Male Dominance: Refers to a situation in which the male (s) have authority over the female (s). The term refers to the cultural idea of masculine superiority; the idea that men exercise the most control and influence over society’s members.
· Socialization: The process by which society influences members to internalize attitudes, beliefs, values, and expectations.
THEORIES TO KNOW
· Biologically Based: Were initially offered by primatologists who studied human beings as an evolved animal species. The argument was that humans inherited the dominant traits through evolutionary selection.
· Genes: Humans want to continue their genes. Males strategize on how to maximize the distribution of their genes (impregnate women). Women focus on how to nurture their children.
· Brain Lateralization: refers to the relative dominance and the synchronization of the two hemispheres of the brain. Males have more testosterone than females. Biological differences in chromosomes (X/Y) and hormones (testosterone/estrogen) determine the behavioral differences between boys and girls.
· Notes : Biological factors have been shown to play a role in gender development, in particular excessive male sex hormones. However, biological theories cannot explain the impact of social factors, or account for historical changes or cultural differences. Therefore, again, there is evidence but this is only part of the picture.
· Bio/Social Theories:
· Huber’s Theory of Gender Stratification: defines an economic basis of society: in terms of three stages
· Foraging and hoe societies: hunting and gathering; breaking ground for cultivation. Food production was compatible with pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Women, therefore, played an important role in the economy.
· Social Learning Theory: children learn gender roles as they are taught by parents, schools, and the media. Children model acceptable behavior.
· Social Cognitive Theory: Basic ideas:
· A theory to combine the cognitive and external factors.
· Suggests that gender development is promoted by three modes of influence:
Observational learning Modelling and imitation
Enactive experience Outcomes of actions
Direct tuition Teaching by others
· Children compare their own behavior against their standards (self-regulation).
· They imitate behaviors that will increase their self-efficacy.
SUMMARY OF THE THEORIES:
Although fewer than expected, there are some gender differences in behavior. There are also some cultural differences, though the stereotypes of females being nurturing and males being instrumental are very widespread across cultures . Gender differences may be accounted for by a range of biological, social, and cognitive factors. Remember gender has a great influence on most aspects of people’s lives and their relationships and non-traditional roles are being experienced by both genders.
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