Psychological Androgyny. There are costs involved in the maintenance of gender role stereotypes. These costs included limiting opportunities for boys and girls, ignoring talent, and perpetuating unfairness in our society. Dr Sandra Lipsitz Bem invented the rex role inventory.
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There are costs involved in the maintenance of gender role stereotypes. These costs included limiting opportunities for boys and girls, ignoring talent, and perpetuating unfairness in our society.
She introduced the idea of psychological androgyny for individuals who combined both masculine and feminine psychological traits.
Note: this is not the same as physical androgyny or intersex!
For Bem, psychological androgyny means taking on whichever quality best fitted the situation – whether it was masculine or feminine. It is more adaptive than stereotyped gender identities.
Androgynous individuals have been found to have:higher self-esteem (Lundy & Rosenberg, 1987; Shaw, 1983),
higher levels of identity achievement (Orlofsky, 1977), more flexibility in dating and love relationships (DeLucia, 1987).
Witt (1997) also suggests that an androgynous gender role orientation may be more beneficial to children than strict adherence to traditional gender roles as it opens up more opportunities.
Families with one or more androgynous parent have been found to be highest on scores of parental warmth and support. These androgynous parents are found to be highly encouraging regarding achievement and developing a sense of self worth in sons and daughters (Sedney, 1987)
Norlander & Erixon (2000) studied psychological androgyny and creativity and the dynamics of gender-role and personality trait. The androgynic group scored significantly higher than the stereotypic group with regards to creativity
Bem's ideal world would be one where everyone can live up to their potential without being tied to gender expectations. They argue that there must be negative traits to androgyny, because it is a combination of masculinity and femininity and all their positives and negatives. Androgynous people are sensitive to both masculine and feminine cues and as such may respond to a wider range of positive or negative stimuli than traditional people. A negatively androgynous person would have a bigger repertoire of undesirable behaviors from which to choose a response. A negatively androgynous person may, for example, react in an undesirable feminine way in one situation and in an undesirable masculine way in another situation Such negative behaviours may override any of the positive benefits proposed for the androgynous person
Nevid and Rathus (2005) one challenge to androgyny is the belief that masculinity, not androgyny, accounts for greater self-esteem. They believe that the relationship between psychological androgyny and self-esteem in both men and women is not based on the combination of masculine and feminine traits, but rather on the presence of masculine traits.
Some feminist writers believe that since androgyny is the possession of both masculine and feminine personality traits, there is an implied gender-role stereotype. Feminists would like to see these stereotypes dissolved and people be treated as individuals, not as stereotypes.