Chapter 5
Gender and Gender Roles
Sex, Gender, and Gender Roles
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Sex: whether one is biologically female, male, or
intersex
 Genetic sex: chromosomal and hormonal sex
characteristics
 Anatomical sex: our physical sex; gonads, uterus,
vulva, vagina, or penis
Gender: social and cultural characteristics associated
with being male or female
Gender identity: gender one believes self to be
Sex and Gender Identity
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Assigned gender
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Gender identity
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Based on anatomical appearance at birth
Internalized feeling of femaleness or maleness
Gender role
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The attitudes, behaviors, rights, and responsibilities
that society associates with each sex
Old term was “sex role”
Influenced by culture, age, ethnicity, other factors
Gender-Roles
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Gender-role stereotype: (video)
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Gender-role attitude:
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A rigidly-held oversimplified belief concerning all
males or all females
The belief one has for self and others concerning
what’s appropriate for male or female traits
Gender-role behavior:
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Activities or behaviors a person engages in as a
female or male
Masculinity and Femininity
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Sexes seen as polar opposites in
traditional Western view, e.g. “opposite
sex”
Different qualities associated with different
genders (List contradictory qualities often expected in our
cultures)
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Sexism - discrimination
Some qualities are biologically based,
some culturally based
Gender and Sexual Orientation
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Gender, gender identity, and gender role
are conceptually independent of sexual
orientation
However, many assume they are closely
related
 Heterosexuality has been assumed to be part
of masculinity and femininity
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Therefore, some believe that gay men can’t be
masculine and lesbian women can’t be feminine.
Gender and Sexual Orientation
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Studies show a link between individuals’
Negative attitudes towards gay and lesbian
people
 And those individuals’ adherence to traditional
gender roles
 These negative stereotypes have fueled
homophobia
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"Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other
forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large
group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and
personhood." Correta Scott King
Gender Theory
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Gender Theory developed as a field in the ’80s
and ’90s to explore the role of gender in society
What is our relationship between our biological
sex as male or female and our gender role as
masculine or feminine?
Do we act the way we act because our gender
role is bred in us or because of socialization?
Important in the social power structure, and is
reliant on the concept than men and women are
“opposite” sexes.
Gender Theory
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Seeks to understand society through
understanding how its organized by
gender
Views gender as a basic element in social
relationships
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Examines socially-perceived differences
between genders that are used to justify
unequal power relationships
Gender Theory in Psychology
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In psychology, gender theory focuses on:
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How gender is created and what its purposes are
How specific traits, behaviors, and roles are defined
as male or female
How gender creates advantages and disadvantages
Gender theory rejects the idea that gender
differences are primarily biologically-driven
Operates from a social-constructivist framework
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With more professional women in the workforce than
men, how will gender theory predict the changing
gender roles and characteristics among men and
women?
Theories of Socialization
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Cognitive Social Learning Theory
We learn behaviors via social interactions with
others
 Consequences control behavior (Punishment vs.
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Reward)
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Cognitive Development Theory
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While cognitive social learning assumes adults and children
learn the same way, cognitive development theory stresses that
people learn differently dependent on their age.
Cognitive Social Learning
Theory
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Emphasizes consequences as shaping
gender related behavior
Cognition: Mental processes such as
evaluation and reflection (examples, p.132)
Includes ability to use language
 Anticipate consequences
 Modeling (making observations)
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Cognitive Development Theory
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Focuses on children’s active interpretation
of gender messages at various
developmental stages
Children at age 2 can identify self as “boy”
or “girl” based on superficial features
Argues that after age 6 or 7, motivation to
act like one’s gender is primarily internal,
and that gender-role behavior is intrinsic
Social Construction Theory
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Gender is a set of practices and performances
that occur through language and a political
system.
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Language – mediates and deploys how meaning
power and gender will be expressed.
Queer Theories – identifies sexuality as a
system that cannot be understood as gender
neutral or by the actions of heterosexual males
and females. Meanings of sexuality are socially
constructed political systems to perpetuate white
heterosexual men
Gender-Role Learning:
Childhood and Adolescence
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Parents as socializing agents (see p.133 -134)
Manipulation
 Channeling
 Verbal appellation
 Activity exposure
 Connections between sons/daughters and
fathers/mothers
 Ethnic group variations
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Gender-Role Learning:
Childhood and Adolescence
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Teachers as Socializing agents
Females are more common
 Bias in presentation of topics
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What roles did you learn in primary school ?
Peers as socializing agents
Play
 Approval
 Perceptions
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Media
Gender Schemas: Exaggerating
Differences
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Interrelated ideas which help information
processing
Cognitive organization of world by gender
Emphasize dichotomy
Minimize valuing of the individual
Typical Schema Senarios (p.137)
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Activities
Emotions
Behavior
Clothing
Colors
Contemporary Gender Roles
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Women’s roles have changed
Men’s roles have changed
Must include diverse groups
Egalitarian approach to gender roles
Traditional Male Gender Role
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Aggressiveness
Emotional toughness
Independence
Feelings of superiority
Decisiveness
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Power orientation
Competitiveness
Dominance
Violence
Traditional Male Sexual Scripts:
Zilbergeld
Men should not have or express certain
feelings
 Performance is the only thing that counts
 The man is in charge
 A man always wants sex and is ready for it
 All physical contact leads to sex
 Sex equals intercourse
 Sexual intercourse leads to orgasm
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Traditional
Female Gender Role
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There are striking ethnic differences in
female role
American middle-class Whites: women as
wives and mothers. Recently includes work
outside the home (rapid changes in the workforce)
 African Americans: more egalitarian roles for
men and women
 Latinas: women subordinate to men out of
respect
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Traditional Female Sexual
Scripts: Barbach
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Sex is good and bad
It’s not okay to touch yourself “down there”
Sex is for men
Men should know what women want
Women shouldn’t talk about sex
Women should look like models
Women are nurturers: they give, men receive
There is only one right way to have an orgasm
Discussion Topic
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Do our gender roles reflect an
instinctive/biological nature or are they created
by society?
What kinds of data, such as animal or
anthropological studies, are needed to support
such theories. What are their shortcomings?
Is male aggression and female nurturance
biological or social in nature—or both. What
evidence is there to support this assertion?
Changing Gender Roles
Egalitarian position
 Androgyny: flexibility in gender roles,
combining elements of each traditional role
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An androgynous lifestyle allow men and women to
choose from a full range of emotions and
behaviors, according to their temperament,
situation, and common humanity rather than their
“gender”
Contemporary Sexual Scripts
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Sexual expression is positive
Sexual activities involve a mutual exchange
of erotic pleasure
Sexuality is equally involving, and both
partners are equally responsible
Legitimate sexual activities are not limited to
intercourse but also include masturbation and
oral-genital sex
Sexual activities may be initiated by either
partner
Both partners have a right to experience
orgasm, whether through intercourse, oralgenital sex, or manual stimulation
Non-marital sex is acceptable within a
relationship context
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Discussion Questions…
What gender-role attitudes and behaviors of the
other sex they would like to see become more
like your own ?
 What are gender-role issues in relationships?
How has your partners have led your to modify
your gender-role attitudes and behaviors and vice
versa?
 How does ethnicity affects gender roles. Does
ethnicity affect female/male gender roles equally?
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Gender Variations
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Intersexuality
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Transexuality
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Transgenderism
Intersexuality
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Describes people who possess mixtures of male
and female genitalia or reproductive physiology
Prevalence ranges from .0128% to 1.7% of
population. Known until recently as
“hermaphrodites”
Intersex used to refer to these variety of
conditions where the sexual reproductive
structures are not “typical”. Aka. Disorders of
Sex development (DSD).
Chromosomal Anomalies: Turner
Syndrome
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Females who lack a chromosome: XO
rather than XX
Occurs in 1/2000 live births
Female external appearance
No ovaries
Hormonal therapy
Assisted fertility (in vitro fertilization,
donated ova)
Chromosomal Anomalies:
Klinefelter Syndrome
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Males who have extra X chromosomes:
XXY, XXXY, or XXXXY rather than XY
Occurs in 1/600 live births
Variable effects; many men never
diagnosed. Designated as male.
Small firm testes; double XX = some
female physical traits
Lower testosterone levels
Hormonal Disorders: AndrogenInsensitivity Syndrome
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Inherited condition occurring in 1/20,000
individuals
Genetic males whose tissues to not respond to
testosterone, estrogen influence prevails
Female external genitals, no female internal
organs
At puberty, develops hips and breasts, no pubic
hair and no menstruation. Surgery may remove
undescended testes
Many experience female gender identity
Hormonal Disorders: Congenital
Adrenal Hyperplasia
(pseudohermaphroditism)
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A genetic female (XX) with ovaries and a
vagina develops externally as a male
Due to malfunctioning of adrenal gland
Occurs in 1/10-18,000 live births
At birth, child has ambiguous genitalia
 In the past, doctors and families choose to
assign female gender at birth
 Gender role behavior typically male
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Hormonal Disorders: DHT
Deficiency
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(cannot convert Testosterone to DHT)
Internal male organs
Clitoris-like penis at birth
Undescended testes at birth
Testes descend at puberty and penis
grows
Socialization ? – Biology can be a large
determinant of gender identity among
some intersexed individuals.
A Related Condition:
Hypospadias
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Urethral opening located at non traditional
location
Urethra exists on underside of glans
midway through the underside of the shaft
or at the base of the scrotum
Occurs in 1/250 male births
Repair is possible
Gender Identity
Disorder
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Defined by the APA as a strong and
persistent cross-gender identification and
persistent discomfort about one’s assigned
sex (2000)
Diagnosis not associated as hormonal or
physiological
Requires experience of distress or
impairment in social, occupational, or
other areas of functioning
Gender Identity Disorder
The goal of treatment for people with GID is
“lasting personal comfort with the gendered
self”
 Treatment is individual and multifaceted;
can affirm cross-gender identification
through:
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Psychotherapy
 Real-life experience living externally as desired
gender
 Hormonal therapy
 Sex-reassignment surgery
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Transsexuality
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Gender identity and sexual anatomy are
not congruent
Prevalence of transsexuality unknown:
estimated 1/12,000 males and I in 30,000
females
May occur with heterosexual,
homosexual, and bisexual orientations
Gender reassignment
Transgender Phenomenon
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Transgender community embraces
possibility of numerous genders and
multiple social identities
Other cultures recognize multiple genders
Paradigm shift of gender dichotomy
Employment protection is rising for the
transgendered.
End of Presentation
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