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Chapter 4. Gender Self-Concept: Developmental Processes and Individual Differences. ____________________. Gender Self-Concept . Gender identity: One’s self-definition as female or male Most people establish a gender identity consistent with their external reproductive organs

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chapter 4
Chapter 4

Gender Self-Concept: Developmental Processes and Individual Differences


gender self concept
Gender Self-Concept

Gender identity: One’s self-definition as female or male

  • Most people establish a gender identity consistent with their external reproductive organs
  • Across gender identity, people vary in their gender attitudes: beliefs about the appropriate traits, interests, behaviors, and roles of females and males


theories of gender typing
Theories of Gender Typing

Gender typing: the acquisition of the traits, behaviors, and roles that are generally associated with one’s gender


theories of gender typing1
Theories of Gender Typing

Psychoanalytic theory (Sigmund Freud): gender typing stems from children’s awareness of anatomical differences between females and males combined with their strong inborn sexual urges

  • Oedipus complex
  • Castration anxiety
  • Identification
  • Penis envy


theories of gender typing2
Theories of Gender Typing

Social learning theory (Walter Mischel): children acquire behaviors associated with their gender because those behaviors are more likely to be imitated and to be associated with positive reinforcement

  • Observational learning
  • Reinforcement and punishment
  • Cognition (Social cognitive theory)


theories of gender typing3
Theories of Gender Typing

Cognitive developmental theory (Lawrence Kohlberg): Children are active learners, attempting to make sense of the social environment

  • Gender constancy: the belief that gender is permanent regardless of changes in age, behavior, or appearance


theories of gender typing4
Theories of Gender Typing

Gender schema theory (Sandra Bem)

  • Children develop an interrelated set of ideas (schema) about gender that guides their social perceptions and actions
  • Gender schema development stems from learning the gender norms and practices of society
  • Individuals vary in the extent to which they use gender schemas to understand and evaluate others and to guide their own behavior


prenatal development
Prenatal Development

Prenatal sex differentiation: The biological processes that influence the making of our physical sex


prenatal development1
Prenatal Development

Stages of prenatal sex differentiation

  • Chromosomes
  • Gonadal development
    • Androgens
    • Estrogens
  • Development of internal reproductive organs
  • External genitalia
  • Brain differentiation


prenatal development4
Prenatal Development

Intersexuality: The intermingling of female and male sexual characteristics

  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)


prenatal development5
Prenatal Development
  • Turner syndrome
  • 1/3000 females
    • Single X chromosome (XO) : small, unable to reproduce, stubby fingers, webbed neck
prenatal development6
Prenatal Development
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome
  • 1/200 males
  • XXY: Sterility, feminine traits
prenatal development7
Prenatal Development
  • Androgen-insensitivity syndrome
  • Born XY
  • Inability of receptors to receive testosterone
prenatal development8
Prenatal Development
  • 5 alpha-reductase and 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency
    • “guevedoces”
prenatal development9
Prenatal Development

Development of intersexuality

  • Effects of prenatal hormones on gender-related interests and activities
  • Prenatal experiences and gender of rearing
  • Cultural values
  • Sexual orientation
  • Research challenges


prenatal development10
Prenatal development
  • The John/Joan Case
    • David Reimer “As Nature Made Him”
  • Transgender (Gender Identity Disorder)
gender related traits
Gender-Related Traits

Individuals vary in the extent to which they conform to stereotyped expectations about their gender

  • Femininity
  • Masculinity
  • Androgyny
  • Undifferentiation


gender related traits1
Gender-Related Traits

Changes in gender-related traits over time

  • Women’s scores on masculinity have increased since the 1970s (Twenge, 1997b)
  • Young women today are more likely than their counterparts in the 1970s to have experienced and been encouraged toward roles that involve male-stereotyped characteristics


gender related traits2
Gender-Related Traits

Gender-related traits and psychological adjustment

  • Research demonstrates that positive aspects of masculinity (e.g., independence, mastery) are associated with positive psychological well-being (Woodhill & Samuels, 2003)
  • Male-related traits are more highly valued in North American society


gender attitudes
Gender Attitudes

People differ in the extent to which they believe that gender should dictate females’ and males’ roles

  • Traditional gender attitude: the belief that females should engage in communal behaviors and roles and males should engage in agentic behaviors and roles
  • Nontraditional or egalitarian gender attitude: the belief that behaviors and roles should not be gender specific


what do you think
What do you think?

Should gender dictate roles?


what are your gender attitudes
What are your gender attitudes?

On a scale from 1 (strongly agree) to 7 (strongly disagree), indicate the degree to which you agree or disagree with the following statements:

  • The husband should be the head of the family
  • Keeping track of a child’s out-of-school activities should be mostly the mother’s responsibility
  • Home economics courses should be as acceptable for male students as for female students
  • A person should generally be more polite to a woman than to a man
  • It is more appropriate for a mother rather than a father to change their baby’s diaper
  • It is wrong for a man to enter a traditionally female career
  • Things work out best in a marriage if a husband leaves his hands off domestic tasks
  • Women can handle pressures from their jobs as well as men can
  • Choice of college is not as important for women as for men


gender attitudes1
Gender Attitudes

Perceived value of female versus male gender-related attributes

  • College students associate more advantages with being male than being female
  • Advantages and disadvantages associated with each gender


gender attitudes2
Gender Attitudes

Males who violate gender expectations are evaluated more negatively than females

  • Social status hypothesis: because the male gender role is more highly valued than the female role is, a male is seen as lowering his social status by engaging in female-stereotypic behaviors, whereas a female performing male-stereotypic behaviors is perceived as raising hers
  • Sexual orientation hypothesis: cross-gender behavior in boys but not girls is considered a sign of actual or potential same-sex sexual orientation