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Chapter 11 . Gender. Gender as a Social Category. Gender typing is the process of categorizing people or things as masculine or feminine. Gender as a Social Category. Gender typing generally occurs automatically based on physical cues

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gender as a social category
Gender as a Social Category
  • Gender typing is the process of categorizing people or things as masculine or feminine
gender as a social category3
Gender as a Social Category
  • Gender typing generally occurs automatically based on physical cues
  • The distinction between masculine and feminine is a basic organizing principle in social life.
gender in the eye of the beholder
Gender in the Eye of the Beholder
  • Gender Stereotypes involve our beliefs about the personal attributes of females and males.
gender in the eye of the beholder5
Gender in the Eye of the Beholder
  • Media images of the sexes convey messages about gender stereotypes that can affect viewer’s beliefs.
      • Men depicted as leaders, women as suordinates
      • Men are shown in a wide variety of roles, women more in domestic roles
      • Men are depicted as more active, assertive, & influential.
      • Women are under-represented relative to their numbers in the population.
      • Face-ism: Men’s faces and women’s bodies are more likely to be depicted.
gender in the eye of the beholder6
Gender in the Eye of the Beholder
  • Cultural Stereotypes are beliefs about the sexes conveyed by media, religion, art, & literature.
    • People may know the cultural stereotype without adopting it.
    • Personal Stereotypes are our own unique ideas about groups.
    • Gender stereotypes are fairly stable over time and across cultures
gender in the eye of the beholder7
Typical Woman


Cries easily



Needs security


Interested in own appearance

Typical Man








Gender in the Eye of the Beholder

Common Gender Stereotypes

gender in the eye of the beholder8
Gender in the Eye of the Beholder
  • Gender Subtypes are images (schemas) of different sub-groups of men and women.
      • Mothers, career women, beauty queens, feminists, tomboys, spinsters
      • Fathers, businessmen, hardhats, sissies, jocks, chauvinists, nerds
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Gender in the Eye of the Beholder
  • What determines whether we relate to someone on the basis of stereotypes or as a unique person?
    • Amount of information
    • Salience of group membership
    • Balance of power
      • Subordinates pay careful attention to dominants and form more complex representations; dominants pay less attention and develop more stereotyped perceptions.
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Gender in the Eye of the Beholder
  • The Dangers of Stereotypes
    • May be inaccurate, and these inaccurate beliefs may be used to justify discrimination.
    • Exaggerates differences between groups & minimizes differences within.
    • Creates self-fulfilling prophecies.
    • Can bias the evaluation of people at work or at school.
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Gender in the Eye of the Beholder
  • Skrypnek & Snyder, 1982.
    • Male student was led to believe partner for study was either stereotypical man or stereotypical woman.
    • Partner was always really a woman.
    • First phase: man has more control of task division & tends to assign sex-typed tasks consistent with belief about others’ sex.
    • Second phase: woman has more control, but still tends to select tasks based on partner’s belief about her gender.
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Gender in the Eye of the Beholder
  • Goldberg (1968) found that the same essay written by “John McKay” was evaluated as better than one written by “Joan McKay.”
    • Later research shows that sex-typing of the task is key—men are more likely to be favored in “masculine” situations, while women may have a bias in “feminine” situations.
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Gender in the Eye of the Beholder
  • Sex bias in the real world exists but it is hard to gauge how extensive it is.
    • Surveys show male managers tend to perceive women workers as less skilled, motivated, able to cope with stress.
    • Women managers who adopt a “masculine” leadership style tend to receive more negative ratings.
    • Male’s success at work and school tends to be attributed to ability; female’s to effort.
gender and the self
Gender and the Self
  • Gender Identity is our sense of ourselves as male or female.
    • By 2 or 3, children identify own sex.
    • By 4 or 5, children correctly label others.
    • By 6 or 7, children develop gender constancy, the idea that gender is unchangeable.
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Gender and the Self
  • People differ markedly in the extent to which they perceive themselves as having gender-stereotypical attributes.
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Gender and the Self
  • Early Analyses of Psychological Masculinity, Femininity, and Androgyny
    • Behavioral Flexibility
    • Self-Esteem
  • Current views about Psychological Masculinity and Femininity
gender and the self17
Gender and the Self
  • Early tests viewed masculinity and femininity as mutually exclusive polar opposites:


gender and the self18





Gender and the Self
  • Sandra Bem proposed that the two dimensions are independent:

High Masculinity

Low Femininity

High Femininity

Low Masculinity

gender and the self19
Gender and the Self
  • Although traditional gender-typing is the most common pattern (~40%), a sizable minority of people (~25%) perceive themselves as combining masculine and feminine characteristics.
    • The rest of people are either undifferentiated or reverse-gender-typed.
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Gender and the Self
  • Two models of gender self-concept and mental health:
    • Congruence model suggests adjustment is best when gender matches self-concept.
    • Androgyny model suggests that androgynous people are best off.
      • The evidence shows that androgynous people are higher in behavioral flexibility.
      • However, in terms of self-esteem, neither model is supported: rather, a person’s level of masculinity is most correlated with self-esteem.
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Gender and the Self
  • Current views are beginning to look at psychological masculinity and femininity as multi-faceted.
    • Masculinity can be conceived of as “agency” or “instrumentality”
    • Femininity can be conceived of as “communion” or “expressivity”
    • Both sets of attributes have both socially desirable and undesirable aspects.
      • Extremity on either dimension is correlated with health problems.
theoretical perspectives on gender
Theoretical Perspectives on Gender
  • Biology
    • Gender differences are affected by diverse biological factors: obvious physical differences, hormones, evolutionary pressures.
    • However, social forces and the nature of group living can modify basic biological dispositions.
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Theoretical Perspectives on Gender
  • Socialization
    • People learn about gender and acquire “sex-appropriate” behaviors beginning in childhood.
    • Gender socialization occurs through parents, peers, and the mass media.
    • The different social experiences of boys and girls leads to differences in attitudes, interests, skills, & personality that continue throughout adulthood.
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Theoretical Perspectives on Gender
  • Social Roles
    • According to social role theory, differences in the behavior of the two sexes are due to differences in the social roles they occupy.
      • E.g., Peplau et al (1999) study of the Luo of Kenya found that when there is no girl to take care of “female” tasks, a boy is assigned the work; these boys tend to be less aggressive, dominant, and dependent.
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Theoretical Perspectives on Gender
  • Social Situations
    • According to this perspective, men and women are equal in their potential for performing different social behaviors, but these behaviors differ as a result of situational context and personal choice.
    • Studies show that the desire to be accepted by others can lead us to act more or less in line with gender stereotypes, depending upon our beliefs about what the other likes.
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Theoretical Perspectives on Gender
  • In summary: The causes of sex differences are complex and multi-determined.
comparing women and men
Comparing Women and Men
  • Meta-analysis is a technique that uses statistical methods to pool information from many studies to arrive at an overall estimate of the size of sex differences.
  • Meta-analysis also encourages reviewers to include unpublished as well as published studies.
    • Studies that find “no difference” are less likely to be published; by including unpublished as well as published studies, one corrects for this bias.
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Comparing Women and Men
  • Aggression
    • Males tend to be more aggressive than females both as children and adults.
      • More so for physical aggression
      • More so for naturalistic than lab settings
      • More so when there is no clear provocation
    • Females are more concerned about the harm their aggression might cause, and about retaliation.
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Comparing Women and Men
  • Conformity
    • There is a small but statistically significant tendency for women to be more easily influenced than men.
    • However, results are very inconsistent from study to study.
      • May have to do with gender typing of the task rather than a gender difference.
    • Stereotypes about differences persist because of differences in occupational status: people in power are more likely to be men, and less likely to conform.
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Comparing Women and Men
  • Nonverbal Communication
    • On average, women are more skilled at decoding nonverbal cues
      • Difference is largest for reading faces, next for reading body cues, smallest for vocal cues
    • Why?
      • Genetic “programming” b/c care for preverbal infants
      • Training
      • Power difference
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Comparing Women and Men
  • Sexuality
    • Women tend to have a more relational or partner-centered orientation while men have a more recreational or body-centered orientation.
      • Leads to differences in attitudes towards casual sex and reasons for having sex.
      • The male sex drive is stronger.
      • However, there are substantial individual differences.
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Comparing Women and Men
  • Personal Entitlement
    • Men have a greater sense of personal entitlement than women; that is, they expect to receive more benefits than women do for identical contributions.
      • Possible reasons
        • People evaluate their performance within-sex
        • Women are more likely to devalue their efforts
        • Women may focus more on recognition, relationships, and stress rather than just pay
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Comparing Women and Men
  • Sex Differences in Perspective
    • There is much individual variation that contributes to these average differences
    • Differences may be changeable through learning
    • At the level of basic abilities & motivations, gender differences are virtually nonexistent.
    • The daily lives of men and women are often very different.
changing roles for women and men
Changing Roles for Women and Men
  • Traditionally, gender roles were organized around two principles:
    • Division of labor by gender
    • Men should be dominant
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Changing Roles for Women and Men
  • Traditional attitudes have declined.
    • Traditional attitudes are strongest in rural and nonindustrialized societies.
    • Men tend to have more traditional attitudes than women both in our society & world-wide.
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Changing Roles for Women and Men
  • Division of Labor
    • Women have dramatically increased their participation in the work-force; however, they tend to be concentrated in lower-status jobs.
    • Women earn 75 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
    • To some extent, this is explained by occupational differences; however, the difference exists even in women-dominated occupations.
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Changing Roles for Women and Men
  • Homemaking and Children
    • In the majority of two-parent households, homemaking and child-care continue to be women’s work.
      • Men whose wives work full-time do not do any more housework than men whose wives stay at home.
    • Same-sex couples divide chores evenly: gay men tend to have separate specializations, lesbians tend to share tasks by doing them together or taking turns.
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Changing Roles for Women and Men
  • Juggling Multiple Roles
    • The demands of multiple roles can be stressful.
    • However, there are also psychological benefits to multiple roles: variety, social contact, money.
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Changing Roles for Women and Men
  • Male Dominance
    • Blatant differences such as denying women the vote, forbidding them to own property, etc. are things of the past, and many women have made it into power positions.
    • However, the number of women in power positions is still small compared to the number of men.
    • At home, there is more equality but when relationships are not equal, men tend to dominate.
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Changing Roles for Women and Men
  • The options available to people today, both at home and in personal relationships, are much less limited by gender than in the past.