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Sex Vs. Gender Sex: Biological status of being male or female.  Used when you are referring to biologically based aspects.  E.g., physical changes of.

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Presentation on theme: "Sex Vs. Gender Sex: Biological status of being male or female.  Used when you are referring to biologically based aspects.  E.g., physical changes of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sex Vs. Gender Sex: Biological status of being male or female.  Used when you are referring to biologically based aspects.  E.g., physical changes of puberty Gender: Social aspect of being male or female.  Used when referring to cultural or socially based aspects. E.g., body image issues in females Some characteristics thought to be sex differences eventually turn out to be gender differences  E.g., “Women are unsuited for physical labor”

2 Females in Traditional Societies Adolescent girls learn to run the household Remain under the authority of adults, remain close to mothers, stay at home Often, adults restrict girls’ sexuality  Restrict opportunities for exposure to boys  Female circumcision rituals– lessen likelihood women will have sex with multiple partners

3 Rates of Female Circumcision

4 Males in Traditional Societies Manhood must be achieved (Gilmore, 1990), must prove one has potential to:  Provide (economically, for wife and children) Requires perseverance, stamina  Protect family, group (learn to fight, use weapons) (requires courage, strength)  Procreate (prove one’s capability by gaining sexual experience before marriage) Requires confidence, boldness leading to sexual opportunities

5 Females in America, Historically 18 th & 19 th Century: Females should avoid intellectual or physical work (bad for their reproductive cycles, or too fragile) Until mid 1900’s most girls were not told about menarche in advance Physical appearance: Women have long had to live up to ideal images E.g., corsets worn until 1920’s Dieting, shaving legs began in 20’s, also

6 Males in America, Historically 17 th and 18 th centuries, roles of provider and protector more important than individual success (Rotundo, 1993) 19 th century, ‘self-made manhood’  Males went to cities, became independent of families, importance of strong individual character Strong work ethic, self-control, strong will 20 th century, ‘passionate manhood’  Individualism, self-expression, self-enjoyment instead of self-control/self-denial

7 Gender Intensification Hypothesis that gender differences become more pronounced in adolescent years (Hill & Lynch).  Thought to be a result of social pressures to conform to gender roles  Hill & Lynch believed pressures are stronger for girls (e.g., physical appearance so important) Research has shown support for gender intensification, but for both boys and girls.  Strength of it may be related to parental socialization practices (Crouter et al., 1995).

8 Changing Cultural Beliefs % Agree 1998 % Agree It is much better for everyone if the man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes care of the home and family 6635 Women should take care of running their homes and leave running the country up to men 3415 Do you approve or disapprove of a married woman earning money in business or industry if she has a husband capable of supporting her % Disapprove % Disapprove 18 If your party nominated a woman for president, would you vote for her if she were qualified for the job? % No % No 6

9 Parental Gender Socialization E.g.: Infant dress (e.g., colors) Adults engage in gender specific activities when told an infant is a boy vs. girl Subtle messages re emotion displays during childhood More restrictions with girls than boys during adolescence

10 Media and Gender Magazines for adolescent girls (e.g, Seventeen, YM)  Emphasize appearance (fashion, weight loss, cosmetics) Movies, TV:  Emphasis on obsession with sex and romance  Boys: emphasis on looking/being cool, hero is unaffected by anxiety, aggressive

11 Masculine and Feminine Traits Stereotypic masculine traits: self-reliant, independent, athletic, assertive, willing to take risks, dominant, competitive Stereotypic feminine traits: yielding, sympathetic, understanding, warm, gentle, yielding. In adolescence, “androgyny” (balance of both masculine and feminine traits) is associated with higher self-esteem and peer acceptance in girls, but for boys masculinity is optimal. WHY? For boys, any femininity may be threatening, but for girls some masculinity is acceptable, because certain masculine traits are part of higher social status.


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