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Contemporary Gender Roles

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Presentation on theme: "Contemporary Gender Roles"— Presentation transcript:

1 Contemporary Gender Roles

2 Understanding Gender and Gender Roles
Sex-refers to male and female in a biological sense. Gender-refers to male or female, often in a social sense. Role-refers to the culturally defined expectations that an individual is expected to fulfill in a given situation in a particular culture. Gender roles-are the roles that a person is expected to perform as a result of being male or female in a particular culture.

3 Gender-role stereotype-a rigidly held and oversimplified belief that all males and females, as a result of their sex, possess distinct psychological and behavioral traits. Gender-role attitudes-refer to the beliefs we have of ourselves and others regarding appropriate male and female personality traits and activities. Gender-role behaviors-refer to the actual activities or behaviors we engage in as males and females.

4 Gender identity is based on genitalia, and learned at a very young age.
Cultures determine the content of gender roles in their own ways. We acquire gender identities at a very young age. Gender identity is perhaps the deepest concept we hold of ourselves. Our gender script determines the role you will fulfill during your lifetime. Gender identity-The psychological sense of whether one is male or female.

5 Contemporary Gender Roles
Until the last generation, the bipolar gender role was the dominant model used to explain male-female differences. 1. According to this model, males and females are polar opposites. 2. Males possess exclusively instrumental traits. 3. Females possess exclusively expressive ones. 4. While sociologists no longer use this model, American beliefs related to gender roles have changed little. The problem with the view that men and women are opposites is that it is erroneous. Men and women are more alike than different.

6 Gender schema is one way culture exaggerates existing gender differences or creates differences where none otherwise exist. Gender schema-is a set of interrelated ideas that help us process information by categorizing it in useful ways according to gender. Bipolar gender roles-in this model, males and females are seen as polar opposites, with males possessing exclusively instrumental traits and females possessing exclusively expressive ones.

7 Gender Theory Gender theory is based on two assumptions:
a. Male-female relationships are characterized by power issues. b. Society is constructed in such a way that males dominate females. Gender theory focuses on: How specific behaviors or roles are defined as male or female. The key to the” creation of gender inequality” is the belief that men and women are "opposite" sexes.

8 Social learning theory, from behaviorist psychology, suggests that we learn attitudes and behaviors as a result of social interaction with others. The cornerstone of social learning theory is the belief that consequences control behavior. 2. Positive reinforcement rewards behavior, while negative reinforcement makes it less likely to recur.

9 Cognitive development theory focuses on the child's active interpretation of messages from the environment. Cognitive development theory stresses the idea that we learn differently depending on our age.

10 Gender-role learning in childhood and adolescence is influenced primarily by parents, teachers, peers, and the media. During infancy and early childhood, a child's most important source of learning is the primary caretaker, usually their parent(s). Immediately after birth, parents differentiate in treatment between boys and girls. Children are socialized in gender roles through four processes: Through manipulation, certain behaviors are reinforced until children accept their parents' views.

11 Through channeling, children's attention is directed to specific objects.
Through verbal appellation, parents use different words to describe the same behavior by boys or by girls. Through exposure to different activities or chores. Teachers, as socializing agents, become influential as children enter day care or kindergarten-the child's first experience in the wider world outside the family.

12 Peers, a child's age-mates, become especially important when the child enters school.
Peers reinforce gender-role norms through play activity and toys. Peers react with approval or disapproval to other's behavior. Peers influence the adoption of gender-role norms through verbal approval and disapproval. Children's perceptions of their friends' gender-role attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs encourage them to adopt similar ones in order to be accepted. During adolescence, peers continue to have a strong influence, but parents can be more influential than peers.

13 Gender role learning continues in adulthood and takes place in contexts outside the family of origin. College-encourages young people to think critically and to sometimes consider alternatives to traditional gender roles. Marriage-is an important source of gender role learning, with our partner's expectations shaping our behavior. Parenthood-tends to alter women's lives more than it alters men's lives; when children are born roles tend to become more traditional. The workplace-has different expectations and opportunities for men and for women creating different attitudes toward achievement.

14 Gender Matters in Family Experiences
Traditional gender-role stereotypes ascribe traits to one gender but not the other, with men showing instrumental traits and women showing expressive traits. Central features of the traditional male role, regardless of ethnicity, include dominance, work, and family. Males are generally regarded as more power oriented and demonstrate higher degrees of aggression. Traditional men see their primary family function as that of provider and are more often confused by their spouse's expectations of intimacy.

15 Traditional white female gender roles center around women's roles as wives and mothers.
The traditional female gender role did not extend to African- American women because employment and self-reliance are integral components of their roles of wife and mother. Black women do not see working outside the home and motherhood as mutually exclusive. In traditional Latino gender roles, women subordinated themselves to males out of respect for the male's role as provider. Contemporary gender roles are evolving from traditionally hierarchical gender roles to more egalitarian and androgynous gender roles.

16 Women are increasingly taking on the roles of employed workers and professionals, although these may conflict with parenting. Record numbers of women are choosing not to have children because of the conflicts it creates; this is less true for women from ethnic and minority status groups. Women have greatly increased their power in decision-making, but husbands continue to have more power in actual practice. The mutually exclusive division of traits as either male (instrumental) or female (expressive) is breaking down. Men are expanding their family roles beyond "breadwinning": Many of those in the evolving Men's Movement share the beliefs of feminism.

Although substantially more flexibility is offered to men and women today, contemporary gender roles and expectations continue to limit our potential. Men are required to work and support their families rather than have the same role freedom to choose to work as women have. When the man's roles of worker and father come into conflict, it is usually the father role that suffers. Men continue to have greater difficulty in expressing their feelings and may be out of touch with their inner lives. Contemporary men still expect, and in many cases are expected, to be dominant in relationships.

18 Research suggests that the traditional female gender role does not foster self- confidence or mental health: Both men and women tend to see women as less competent then men. Differences in gender roles have created what Bernard calls the "his" and "her" marriage: Each gender experiences marriage differently.

Androgyny refers to the state of combining male and female characteristics. Androgynous gender roles are characterized by flexibility and a unique combination of instrumental and expressive traits. Individuals who are rigidly both instrumental and expressive, despite the situation, are not considered androgynous. Androgynous individuals and couples appear to have a greater ability to form and sustain intimate relationships and adopt a wider range of behaviors and values. Contemporary gender roles are still in flux: Few men or women are entirely egalitarian or traditional.

20 Gender reform feminisms: are geared toward giving women the same rights and opportunities that men enjoy. Gender-resistant feminisms: advocate more radical, separatist strategies for women out of the belief that their subordination is too embedded in the existing social system. Gender-rebellion feminisms: tend to emphasize overlapping and interrelated inequalities of gender, sexual orientation, race, and class.

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