Gender & Sexuality - Gordon State College

Chapter 12
What is Gender?
 Sex is being biologically male or female
 Gender is the social psychological
dimension of sex
 Gender role – set of expectations of
how a person will act, think & feel
because of their sex
 Gender typing – how a person acquires
appropriate gender behavior
Gender – Biological or Plastic?
 Prenatal hormone theory
– CAH (congenital adrenal
 Androgen insensitive males
 Pelvic field defect
– Missing penis
– Castrated & raised as girls
– Do not accept this identify
Gender – Biological Influences
– Testosterone
Sex & violence
– Violent criminals have high levels
– Pro-players have higher levels
than ministers
– Social Gregariousness
– Math & Spatial Ability
– Social Influence & Learning Theories
 Social role theory
– Power & status
 Social-cognitive theory of gender
– Observation, imitation &
– Cognitive Influence Theories
 Cognitive developmental theory
– Must have a masculine or feminine
– Gender constancy
 Gender schema theory
– Organize the world as male/female
Gender Stereotyping
 Gender stereotyping is pervasive
 Men – dominant, aggressive, independent,
achievement-oriented, enduring
 Women – nurturing, affiliative, less
esteemed, more helpful in distress
Williams & Best (1982) 30 countries
Gender Differences - Emotional
 Boys regulate their emotions more
poorly than girls do.
 This leads to
– More behavior problems, aggression,
teasing, low cooperation, overreaction
to frustration
Gender Differences - SocioEmotional
 Boys are more physically aggressive
 Equally verbally aggressive
 Girls are more relationally aggressive
 Boys are more active, adventurous
Gender Differences - Brain
 Females brains smaller, more surface
– Larger corpus callosum; more bilateral
– Emotional expression areas more
active; more general activity
 Males
– Larger area on hypothalamus related to
sex drive
– Larger parietal lobe area for visualspatial
Are Gender Differences
 Sometimes.
– Nurses vs. architects & engineers
– Men have more accidents
– Should women be in combat?
– Women often disrespected
– Double standard (morality)
– Women have babies; men do not
Are Gender Differences
 Janet Shifley Hyde (feminist psychologist)
– Gender differences are exaggerated
– Meta analyses minimize the verbal,
math, etc.
– Largest differences are in motor skills,
sex, physical aggression
What is Androgyny?
 Bem Sex-role Inventory
– Androgynous
– Masculine
– Feminine
– Undifferentiated
 Gender-role transcencence
Gender Socialization
 Boys get earlier & more intense
 Male role models are less accessible
to young boys
 Socialization more flexible for girls
War on Boys?
 Told to act tough and not show
–Pollock 1999
 Others – “War on Boys”
– Not allowed to be active, aggressive
– Over-diagnosed ADHD
– Do not do well in school
Are gender roles important?
 The “weaker sex”
– Women as property
– Influence of Christianity
– Influence of Technology
 Women in the workforce
– Changing the work team dynamics
– Changing the family team dynamics
– Who’s minding the children?
Gender in Adulthood
 Women
– Role overload
– Role conflict
 Men
– Role strain
– Contradictory, inconsistent demands
– Poorly-defined role
Problems with health & relationships
What is Gender Identity Disorder
and What Causes It?
 Normal sex role development and
adjustment may be hampered by
father absence (Rekers, 1986)
 Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood
(American Psychiatric
A Study on Gender Identity Disorder
 Young children try out a variety of
sex-role behaviors
 Four pathological patterns have been
– Hyper masculine (male)
destructive, uncontrolled &
lacking in social sensitivity
– Hyper feminine (male)
movements, girls clothes,
girl playmates, childbearing fantasies
A Study on Gender Identity Disorder
 In one NIMH study of 70 gender-
disturbed boys, the boys were found to
be physically normal
 However, 80% of mothers and 45% of
fathers had a history of mental
problems/psychiatric treatment.
Gender Identity Disorder
& Father Absence
 Findings
 Fathers were absent in all cases of the most
disturbed boys, and 54% of those less disturbed.
– 75% of most disturbed & 37% of less disturbed
had no father or father substitute present in the
– Average age of separation from the father was
3.55 years; the most common cause was divorce.
– Where a father or father substitute was present,
he was described as “psychologically remote” in
60% of the cases.
A Study on Gender Identity Disorder
 The same study reports results of
treatment/intervention that appears to
have been successful.
 If untreated, by late adolescence or
adulthood, about three-fourths of boys
with a childhood history of Gender
Identity Disorder report a homosexual
or bisexual orientation, but without
concurrent GID.
A Study on Gender Identity Disorder
 Recommendations include:
– Better communication of research on the
effects of divorce of the parents on the children
– Using preventive education to teach fathers the
value and importance of their active, warm,
emotional involvement with their children
– Further research on claims regarding the
therapeutic effects of religious conversion and
church support on curing transsexualism
– An umbrella term coined by activists
to describe individuals who are:
Heterosexual cross-dressers
Homosexual transvestites
Gender Bill of Rights
Second International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment
Policy, Houston, Texas, 1993
“All human beings carry within themselves an everunfolding idea of who they are and what they are
capable of achieving. The individual’s sense of self is
not determined by chromosomal sex, genitalia,
assigned birth sex, or initial gender role. Thus the
individual’s identity and capabilities cannot be
circumscribed by what society deems to be masculine
or feminine behavior.
It is fundamental that individuals have the right to define,
and to redefine as their lives unfold, their own gender
identity, without regard to chromosomal sex, genitalia,
assigned birth sex, or initial gender role.”
Gender Bill of Rights
 Based upon the statement on the previous
slide, the following rights are claimed:
Free expression of gender identity.
Right to control and change one’s body.
Competent medical & professional care.
Freedom from psychiatric diagnosis or treatment.
Right to sexual expression.
Right to form committed, loving relationships and
enter into marital contracts
 Right to conceive or adopt children & have
custody of children & parental rights
Are Transgenders Mentally
 The DSM still lists transsexualism and transvestism as
 (Homosexuality was removed from the DSM in 1973.)
 At the APA meeting in San Francisco in 2003, a case was
presented that these along with sado-masochism and bestiality
should be removed from the DSM since there is no longer a
“baseline” for judging normal behavior.
 However, it has been pointed out by opponents of this idea that
sex/gender is determined in the DNA and is essentially
unchangeable despite surgeries, hormone therapies and
alternate lifestyles.
New Hate-Crimes Legislation
 Gender, gender identity, and sexual
orientation have been added to the list of
protected categories/behaviors. The
definition of these terms is unclear,
permitting a broad interpretation.
What is sexuality?
 Sexuality
– is not a personality characteristic.
– is not a level of biological drive.
– is a choice of behaviors.
Heterosexual Choices
 90% of people have had sexual
intercourse by age 22
 National Health & Social Life Survey
– 3400 18 to 59 year olds
– Partners are alike in age, ethnicity, education
& religion
– 71% have only one sex partner per year
– 1/3 have sex up to twice a week; 1/3 a few
times a month; 1/3 a few times a year
Heterosexual Behavior
 Married people have the most
frequent sex & most satisfying sex
 Most popular activities intercourse,
watching partner undress
 75% men, 85% women not unfaithful
 Men think about sex more
–Michael & others, 1994
Sex and Relationships
 “Sex is a socially significant act.”
 Self-concept
 Future partners
 Parents
 Possible children
 Affiliation: The need to belong
Why is sex best in an intimate
 Physical and psychological intimacy
influence each other.
 Commitment is a safeguard.
 A caring rather than a using partner.
 Identity and relationship issues are
Sexuality - Adulthood
 Sexual activity increases through the
20s and declines in the 30s.
 80% of adults in committed
relationships , and 88% in marriages
report begin “extremely physically
and emotionally satisfied.”
 Only a few report persistent sexual
Unregulated Sexual Behavior
 Unregulated sexual behavior is a problem for
any society.
 The problem is age/stage-related, in
adolescence & young adulthood
 Adolescents have the highest rates of STI’s
all age groups, 1 in 6 per year;
 One in six adults has an STI - National Center
for Health Statistics, 2004
Cochran & Mays (1990)
 20 % of men
 4% of women
 Indicated that they would lie to a
potential sex partner about the results of
a positive HIV test.
Adolescent Pregnancy
 U.S. adolescent pregnancy rate is higher than
that of most industrialized countries
– 40-45% of these end in abortion
– 75% to unmarried females
 40% of all births are to unmarried mothers
 Increased social acceptance
 Belief that a baby will fill a void in life
Teenage Mothers
 Likely to be poor
 High percentage are low-income, minorities
 Tend to have limited education, poor school
performance, etc.
 Reduces likelihood of educational attainment
 Reduces the chance of marriage
 Increases the chances of economic
disadvantage and welfare
Why so much irresponsible sex?
Christian apostasy/hypocrisy
Lack of clear cultural standards
religion, morality, social acceptability no longer
reasons to say no
Internal conflict /Denial of consequences
ambivalent feelings; guilt
20% use no contraception
Social acceptability:
Many people believe it is OK
Conforming to the culture
Why so much irresponsible sex?
Lack of communication about birth
Alcohol & other drugs
“Romantic fog”
Why so much irresponsible sex?
Media/TV – spontaneous passion should
be acted upon; the 40-year-old Virgin
Subculture factors – to be “normal”
Peer pressure – to be acceptable
Date pressure – to be loved
We live in a sexually coercive society.
 12% of American girls and 5% of boys
say they were forced to have
 Among those who had sex voluntarily,
25% said they really did not want to do
Sexual Coercion
 Estimated 13% of women have endured rape,
legally defined as intercourse by force, by threat
of harm, or when the victim is incapable of
consent by reason of mental retardation, mental
illness, or intoxication.
 1998 college survey, 44% of women had
experienced sexual coercion; 19% of men had
obtained sex through force
Why is date rape a problem?
 Because too many people think it
– Taking sex too lightly – no big deal
– Pornography/Myths about women
Beliefs that women enjoy rape
Misreading friendliness
Assuming that refusal is part of
the game
Sexual Coercion: The Cost
 Psychological reactions to rape
resemble those of trauma survivors
– Shock
– Withdrawal
Chronic fatigue
– Tension
Disturbed sleep
– Depression/Suicidal thoughts
Sexual Orientation:
Not Genetically Determined
 Identical twin concordance rate is
about 50%
 Inconsistency of preference
heterosexual boys, 6% girls
report engaging in at least one
homosexual act
Other conditions of changing
 2.7% men, 1.3% women
 No real evidence of biological basis
 No clear indications of social, environmental
 May be an interaction of the two (naturenurture question)
 Factors in explanation
– Biological plasticity
– Social tolerance
New Statement from APA
 “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact
reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual,
bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much
research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal,
developmental, social and cultural influences on sexual
orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists
to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any
particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and
nurture both play complex roles. . . “
– American Psychological Association