Flashcards in Gender Deck (136):
Displaying roughly equal levels of masculine and feminine traits/behaviours.
What is sex?
Whether an individual is male or female. It relates to physical differences between men and women.
What is gender?
Whether an individual is masculine or feminine. It refers to differences in attitudes and behaviour.
What is the way of assessing masculinity and femininity?
Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI). You rate yourself on 1 to 7 for each trait.
What is the study by Bem?
50 male and 50 female judges rated 200 traits for how desirable they were for men and women. Based on the ratings, 20 traits were chosen for masculinity (e.g. ambition and aggression) and 20 for femininity (e.g. compassion and shyness). These were used in the BSRI. When it was tested on over 1,000 students it probed to be valid when checked against their own gender identity.
What is considered to be a more psychologically healthy gender?
What are two issues with Bem's study?
1. it relies on people having insight into their personality.
2. people may lie or exaggerate to give socially desirable answers. However, it was all confidential.
Why is gender difficult to measure?
Someone may be very masculine, and other only moderately masculine. It is more subjective than sex, and is more open to interpretation.
A person who desires to be a member of the opposite sex.
What is gender identity?
An individual's perception of their own masculinity and/or femininity.
When is sex determined?
When a sperm fertilises an egg during conception.
What is the issue surrounding sex-change operations?
If sex is biological, it is fixed in their genes and cannot be changes so sex-changes do not really change a persons sex. However their anatomy is part of the factor, which can be changed in gender reassignment surgery.
How would a transsexual woman have become a man?
She may have had a penis surgically constructed, her breasts removed, given hormones to stop menstruation and to deepen her voice and encourage facial hair growth.
Can gender be considered fixed?
Yes. People who undergo gender reassignment surgery may have had a female sex, but has a masculine gender identity. People who undergo the surgery have not been able to adopt the gender role of the sex they were born with.
What is the study by Imperato-McGinley? (testes at 12)
A case study was carried out on 18 males in the Dominican Republic. They were born with a hormone deficiency, meaning their genitals appeared to be female and were raised as such. It appeared however that they had trouble adopting that gender. At puberty, the increased production of male hormones caused their testicles to descend and their organs to form a penis. After this, they readily adapted to their true sex. This shows that sex and gender are distinct concepts. The sex had not changed over time, but their gender had. This shows gender is flexible.
What are the two issues with the Imperato-McGinley study? (testes at 12)
1. The sample was only a small community. Other cultures may respond differently to the disorder, and some people may not adapt so easily to the gender roles. In the community used, roles were seen as God-given and part of one's destiny. It was also a patriarchal society.
2. Researchers didn't meet the participants until they were adults, so had to rely on retrospective accounts. They therefore can't reliably say that the boys had fully adopted the feminine gender role.
Where does further evidence for gender flexibility come from?
Rekers who used a three-year treatment programme of treatment to extinguish the highly feminine behaviour of an eight year old boy, and replace it with masculine behaviour. When the boy was assessed at 16, he was described as a normal gender-appropriate adolescent. This shows gender can be changed.
In-born; present at birth.
What are the two main arguments about how gender is developed?
Whether is is innate (nature) or learned (nurture).
What is the nature side of the gender argument?
Gender is biological, which would explain the strong relationship between sex and gender. Because each sex shares the same physiology and anatomy, they have many psychological traits in common. In the same way genetic and hormones determine sex, they determine gender.
What is the argument for gender behaviours being instinctive?
Reproduction basses on genes, and is one of the basic instincts of any animal. On this basis, masculine and feminine behaviour may also be instinctive. For example, women may be more careful and caring because biologically they are equipped to carry and care for children. Men are more aggressive because they have to look after and provide for families.
What is the study by Buss? (sexual preferences)
A survey was carried out in 37 countries across all continents, to rate the importance of a wide range of traits in a potential (heterosexual) mate. Men rated good looks, youth and chastity higher than women did. Women rated good financial prospects, industriousness and dependability higher than men did.
What did Buss' study support? (sexual preferences)
The evolutionary theory that women and men instinctively seek out distinctive traits in potential mates. It suggests that mate preferences are universal. For men, it is indicators of a woman's health, fertility and ability to carry and care for a baby. Chastity is important for men because an unfaithful mate may have another mans child; securing the survival of another mans genes. For women, the men should be able to provide for them. Dependability is important as it suggests they will stay around during and after pregnancy.
What is the issue with the Buss study? (sexual preferences)
The questions and traits were pre-set, giving respondents the inability to offer other traits they may have regarded as important. As a Westerner, she may have not identified traits that other cultures value.
What is cross-cultural research? Give an example of a study.
Investigations carried out across more than one society. Buss.
What does universal mean?
Occurring around the world.
What is a gender role?
The behaviours (masculine or feminine) that an individual displays.
The scientific description of specific cultures.
What is Western society?
Mainly North American, European and Australasian countries.
What is an indicator that a behaviour is a result of nature?
It is universal, occurring across many countries and cultures regardless of experience and upbringing.
What are the three problem with the nature argument for gender roles?
1. It cannot explain those who don't adopt the gender role expected of them, even when there are no genetic abnormalities.
2. If the sexes are different, it cannot explain why the sexes are becoming more similar in gender roles; becoming more androgynous.
3. There is also evidence that opposes Buss' findings.
What is the study by Mead? Detail the three tribes.
Mead carried out a detailed ethnographic study by living with various tribes in New Guinea for six months.
Arapesh: both sexes were feminine, and both parents were said to bear a child meaning the man took to bed whilst the child was born.
Mundugamor: both sexes were masculine. Both parents detested child care, so much that sleeping babies were hung out of the way in dark places.
Tchambuli: gender roles were reversed compared to Western society.
What was the conclusion Mead made?
Gender roles depend on culture. Although in most societies women are the carer and men the breadwinners, this is not the case all over the world. There are 'exception to the rule', showing gender isn't universal, and is not determined by nature.
What are the three issues with Mead's study?
1. She may have become too involved, meaning her findings get criticised for being too subjective.
2. She was accused of being biased and exaggerating the similarities between sexes in the Arapesh and Mundugamor tribes.
3. She understated that men were more aggressive than females in all tribes, which could support that some traits are innate.
What did Mead reverse her ideas to and when?
After the birth of her first child, rather than viewing the roles as culturally scientific, she proposed that women were biologically better suited to nurturing and child care.
To over-emphasise similarities between members of a group and ignore differences. Examples include sex, race and age.
Define content analysis.
A study (usually longitudinal) of a particular aspect of the media.
What are three studies that challenge Western assumptions of gender?
Pontius: Investigated Pakistani school children and found no difference in spatial skills.
Roscoe: Studied Native American tribes and discovered the berdache were common. Berdache were individuals who combined both male and female gender roles and had a unique set of traits. Therefore they acknowledged three genders.
Sugihara and Katsurada: Used Bem's inventory on Japanese students and found no significant difference between the sexes. Both scored high on femininity.
What is the nurture explanation for gender?
It is a product of socialisation and is dependant on environmental experiences. Upbringing and society's expectations play a key role in a person's gender.
A process whereby individuals are taught and encouraged to adopt certain values and roles.
Standard of appropriate ways of behaving.
What are agents of socialisation?
Individuals and groups in society involved in the socialising of others.
What is sex-role stereotyping?
Treating females and males differently according to a set of expectations.
What are sex-role stereotypes?
Culturally determined beliefs about what a particular sex's gender role should be; often an over-generalisation.
What can the nurture argument explain that the nature argument cannot?
Why some people adopt gender roles not expected of their sex. In theory, a feminine boy would have had a set of experiences which have led him to acquire a different gender role. It also explains why they can change over time as anything learnt can be unlearnt and replaced.
How are norms, beliefs and values transmitted?
By agents of socialisation such as parent, peers, education system and the media. They work collectively to reinforce certain behaviours and discourage others.
What was Furnham and Farragher's study? (TV)
A longitudinal content analysis on British television advertising. Samples of TV adverts were taken across the day over one month. Over 200 adverts were analysed according to the sex of the central figure. They were coded for the location of central figure, type of product, use of humour and sex of voice over. Men were most likely to be presented in autonomous roles (professionals, celebrities) and women in familial roles (mothers, home-makers). Men were shown doing leisure activities and in work settings, and were shown in domestic locations selling household products and body products. Men were found to be selling motoring products. Male figures were more likely to be shown as humorous, and nearly 70% of voice overs were male which implies women lack the status and authority to sell products.
What was an issue with the two coders in the Farragher study? (TV)
They didn't always agree on categories.
What is an issue with the Farragher study? (TV)
We cannot assume that people are influenced by the adverts. Viewers will not perceive adverts the same way as academic researchers, and may extract different meanings (if any at all). We cannot assume they will passively respond to the stereotypes, and copy the gender roles without questioning them. However, there is a lot of evidence that people often do identify with and imitate what they see in the media.
What is the study by Fagot? (children)
Two researchers observed 24 different families. Half the families had young sons, and half had young daughters. Each set of parents was only observed on five separate one hour periods. It was found that parents reacted more favourably when their children engaged in gender-appropriate behaviour, and negatively to gender-inappropriate behaviour. This shows that parents reinforce certain behaviour through socialisation by sex-role stereotyping.
What is an issue with the Fagot study? (children)
The parents knew they were being observed and may have behaved differently. The findings might not be a valid reflection of what normally happened in the homes, as parents may stereotype more or less in reality.
Why can't we generalise using older studies?
They may be out of date as sex-role stereotypes can change with time as attitudes change. For example, Farragher compared their analysis to one 20 years earlier and found there was less evidence of stereotyping in their study.
What did Willams and Best do?
Asked respondents from 27 different countries to categorise a list of traits as masculine and feminine and found there was a broad agreement.
What is the Diamond and Sigmundson study?
An eight month old baby boy and lost his penis during a routine circumcision in the 60's. On the recommendation of a psychologist, Money, they decided to reassign his gender and had a vagina constructed, naming him Brenda. She was then socialised as a girl. Initially she adapted well to the female role, yet as she reached puberty she began to feel different and lose interest in feminine activities. In her teens, she found she had been born male, and began to live her life as David, eventually having a penis reconstructed.
What are the three problems with the Diamond and Sigmundson study?
1. You can't generalise based on one case, and we cannot be sure other boys would resist their new gender the same way.
2. He had an identical twin brother, and without such an obvious male role model, the gender re-assignment may have worked.
3. The gender was not reassigned until he was nearly two, meaning his masculine identity may be due to him not being raised as a girl from birth.
What is the interactionist approach?
Combines two or more perspectives to explain a behaviour or event.
What is an example of a child being successfully raised as the opposite sex from birth?
A new born girl had been identified as a boy because her genitals appeared male to due exposure to male genitals in the womb. At the age of three, the child's true sex became apparent and they decided to continue to raise ho, as a boy since he already had a firm masculine identity. He was given surgery and hormone treatment during puberty, and as an adolescent he associated with other males and was sexually attracted to females. This suggests the role of nurture was more significant.
What approach do most psychologists adopt to explain gender?
The interactionist approach, and recognise that gender is a product of both biology and environmental experiences.
What are the four key theories of gender development? Briefly explain, and nature/nurture.
1. Biological, which emphasises chromosomes and hormones. Nature.
2. Social learning theory, gender roles are learnt from others. Nurture.
3. Cognitive, how individuals think about their gender, and holds that it develops as an innate process. Nature. However, concepts of gender depend on nurture.
4. Psychodynamic, focusses on unconscious elements of gender development (nature) but childhood experiences moderate it (nurture).
How does the biological approach see the relationship between sex and gender?
They're inter-related; in the same way that sex is determined at conception, so is pattern for gender development.
Why are females and males innately different?
They possess different chromosomes that trigger the production of different levels of certain hormones. This leads to differences in behaviour, and allows them to perform different roles in reproduction to aid the survival of the species. Women have evolved to be carers of the young, while men are the main providers for the mother and her young.
What are hormones?
Chemical substances produced by the body that control and regulate the activity of certain cells or organs.
What is an embryo?
An organism in the early stages of development.
What are the chromosome patterns for males and females?
Female - XX
Male - XY
How is sex determined?
By the chromosomal make-up of the sperm.
How does sex develop in the embryo?
In the first few weeks, the embryos appear the same. There is no difference in their gonads. At six weeks, the gonads begin to develop differently. The gene in the Y chromosome is what triggers the events that transform the gonads into testes. In the absence of this gene, they automatically develop into ovaries. Ones they have developed, they begin to release sex hormones (male; androgens, female; oestrogens).
What is a foetus?
A developing embryo (after 8 weeks) until birth.
What is the hypothalamus?
A small structure at the base of the brain that regulates many body functions.
What are the cerebral hemispheres?
The two halves of the brain which specialise in difference functions.
What are fine motor skills?
Practical skills that require precise, small movements, usually of the hands and fingers. For example, typing or threading a needle.
What is adrenogenital syndrome?
A set of symptoms associated with the excessive secretion of adrenal hormones.
What are sex hormones said to have an effect on (other then genitals)?
Pre-natal development of the brain. Since male and female foetuses produce different amounts of certain hormones, it could imply that the brains develop differently.
What is the study that shows that baby boys and girls have psychological differences?
Boys show more interest in mechanical objects, while girls show more interest in faces. These occur in the first few months of life, meaning they're unlikely to be the result of socialisation.
What are the two regions in the hypothalamus? How are they different in males and females? What does theory does this lead to?
The BST and SDN-POA which are larger in adult heterosexual males compared to adult heterosexual females. These differences can relate to the differences in sexual behaviour; women tend to be more coy, and men more promiscuous.
Where have sex differences been found (other than the hypothalamus) and what does this suggest?
The cerebral hemispheres. This could explain the consistent finding that females develop superior language, emotional and fine motor skills, while males develop superior visual-spatial and mathematical skills.
What are the effects of abnormal hormone production in reference to adrenogenital syndrome?
Females with adrenogenital syndrome have normal XX chromosomes but are exposed to excessive androgens from a malfunctioning of adrenal glands. Despite having male-like genitals, they are normally identified as females at birth and raised as such. However, they often go on to identify as 'tomboys'. This suggests that hormones have a pre-natal effect on the brain which will affect gender behaviour.
What is the study by Van Goozen on transsexuals?
They used an experimental method to study transsexuals of both sexes, who were undergoing hormone treatment. They were given a range of tests to complete before treatment, and then three months late. Male-females showed decreases in aggression and visual-spatial skills, and increases in verbal fluency. Female-males showed the opposite.
What is the issue with the Van Goozen study? (transsexuals)
It was not controlled, so the changes could be due to other uncontrolled variables such as the transsexuals own expectations.
What is Turner's syndrome?
A disorder where a person has the atypical chromosome pattern XO. They identify as female, and have similar interests and behaviours to biologically normal females. They have no ovaries, do not develop breasts and have a short stature. They have a short webbed neck, and low set ears.
What is Klinefelter's syndrome?
A disorder where an individual has the atypical chromosome pattern XXY. Anatomically, they are male. They have undescended testes, undersized penises, some breast development and 'rounding' of body contours, and little body hair.
What does Turner's syndrome suggest?
That feminine gender identity can develop in the absence of ovaries and oestrogens.
What are six problems with the biological approach?
1. SLT would say that gender is a product of nature, and that behaviour is related to unique experiences. It explains change in behaviour in an indivudal over time, differences in cultures, and change in typical gender behaviour over time.
2. Cognitive would say that these explanations are too reductionist, and they attempt to explain complex behaviours simply with hormones and chromosomes. We need to understand the thought processes behind gender development. It would also say it's too deterministic, and we aren't at the mercy of our biology. How we think about how gender and how we behave is partly our choice.
3. Psychodynamic would agree that there are innate factors, but it would emphasise the importance of childhood experiences and familial relationships. It would object to the idea that gender develops in isolation to society.
4. Critics often question the evidence provided. Lots of research on the effects of hormones is demonstrated on animals, which might not be generalisable to humans. A lot of findings have also not ben replicated, questioning the reliability of an approach that claims to be objective.
5. In cases of atypical gender development, there should be evidence of chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities, but this is not always the case.
6. As we move through generations, more individuals identify as androgynous. however, they have the same patterns of chromosomes and hormone production as their ancestors indicating culture and society have an effect.
What is construct validity?
The degree to which a test measures the construct or concept that it is supposed to measure.
What is temporal validity?
The degree to which findings apply across time.
What is the SLT study by Smith and Lloyd? (perceived sex of babies)
32 mothers were told the experiment was investigating play. They were video-taped playing with six-month old babies. Sex-typed and sex-neutral toys were available, and two male and two female babies were presented equally as their own sex and the opposite sex using stereotyped colours and names. Babies thought of as boys were encouraged to play more actively, and only the girls were offered dolls and boys offered hammers. The mothers were involved in the process of differential treatment of boys and girls, and it was suggested that boys and girls learned how they should be through sex-typed play. Type of play was not dictated by the child, as they seemed content to play in masculine and feminine ways.
What are three issues with the Smith and Lloyd study?
1. An independent groups design was used, meaning that the difference in the way the mothers played with girls and boys may have been down to individual differences between participants.
2. The measuring of play (in terms of 'first toy offered' and 'length of toy use') lack construct validity. It only reflects how the mothers act at one point in time, for example the toys may have simply been closer to the mother.
3. It lacks temporal validity, as today's society may not show the same level of stereotyping.
What are five ways gender behaviour can be reinforced throughout life?
1. Fathers react more negatively to sons' feminine toy play than mothers.
2. Children were more critical of male peers engaging in feminine activities than girls in masculine.
3. People who view a lot of televisions have stronger gender stereotypes.
4. Teachers tend to praise boys for academic achievement and girls for tidiness and compliance.
5. Women in masculine occupations were evaluated more negatively than men in feminine occupations.
How does SLT propose we acquire gender roles?
Through modelling, whether live or symbolic.
What is self-efficacy?
An individual's belief that they have the capacity to imitate a behaviour they have observed.
How can level of identification be affected (modelling)?
By factors such as power, popularity, and attractiveness.
What are the stages of imitation of a model?
Identification, reproduction, motivation, imitation, reinforcement, internalisation.
How can behaviours be reinforced in SLT?
Behaviour is strengthened by positive outcomes. This can be done vicariously, by seeing another person experience a positive outcome by doing something.
How can imitation be stopped?
If the individual doesn't identify with the model, or feel they are unable to reproduce the behaviour. They will also avoid behaviour if they believe they will be punished.
Wat is a social construct?
An abstract concept created by society.
What is internalisation? Refer to gender.
A process whereby behaviours become an integrated part of someones identity. This is when behaviours stop having to be reinforced to be maintained. In the case of gender, this will form their gender identity which will dictate what kind of behaviours will be displayed in the future.
What is masculinity and femininity according to SLT?
A social construct, which can change over time as society changes. It can also vary between cultures.
What are six problems with SLT?
1. Biological would question whether gender is learnt, as they believe it is pre-determined before birth. If it is innate, it could account for things SLT can't. The impossibility to raise someone as the opposite sex; two children being socialised similarly in the same family and having different gender identities.
2. Cognitive would say gender develops in stages, whereas SLT implies that it can develop at any point in a person's life. Cognitive has shown that elements of gender are acquired at certain points regardless of upbringing and environment. It also argues that imitation of same-sex role models occurs after gender is acquired, whereas SLT see gender as a consequence not the cause.
3. Psychodynamic would argue gender occurs in one fell swoop, whereas SLT says it happens more gradually. SLT focusses too much on behaviour, and ignores the importance of the unconscious.
4. Most of the evidence for SLT is experimental, lacking ecological validity.
5. It can't explain gender-inappropriate behaviour if parents discourage children from acting like the opposite sex. Where do their models come from?
6. SLT can't explain where gender stereotypes come from in the first place. The fact that gender is generally similar across cultures would suggest it's more nature than nurture.
What are the two key cognitive theories of gender development?
Kohlberg's cognitive-developmental theory and the gender schema theory.
What does the cognitive approach focus on?
The thinking behind gender development. It recognises that someone's gender role is a product of their gender identity, and to understand how it develops we must understand what is happening in the mind.
What is Kohlberg's cognitive-developmental theory?
He was interested in cognitive development, and believed that children's minds develop in set stages related to age. A child's understanding of gender increases in line with their cognitive abilities.
What is cognitive development?
The idea that the mind develops and changes over time.
What are the three stages of gender development?
1. Gender identity at 2-3 years of age. Children are able to identify their own sex, and other's sex.
2. Gender stability at 3-4 years. Children can understand that their gender is stable, and they will stay the same sex forever.
3. Gender constancy at 4-7 years. Children are able to understand that gender is generally constant for everyone
Describe gender identity.
First, they are able to say whether they are a boy or a girl, and then a few months after they are able to identify other people's sex. At this stage, gender is a label and doesn't mean anything more than someone's name to them. In the way you can re-name something, they believe you can reassign sex. Some children will believe they will end up the other sex, such as a young girl wanting to be a dad when she grows up. They are easily fooled by outward appearances, so if a boy put on his mums shoe's he is now a girl, or if his mum gets a short haircut she is now a boy. This shows they're starting to associate characteristics with certain sexes. They may show interest in playing with their own sex, because they are part of the 'same gang'. If we didn't have these labels, would children perceive themselves as belonging to the same group?
Describe gender stability.
This is when they understand that their own sex is stable and will not change over time. However, they are still egocentric in lots of ways, and cannot picture something from someone else's point of view; while they may understand their own sex is stable, they don't have the cognitive ability to understand that this applies to others. They are still fooled by appearance, determining sex by masculine and feminine behaviours.
Describe gender constancy.
This is when they begin to understand gender as adult. Children begin to de-centre and understand the world from other people's point of view. They understand everybody's sex is constant, and are no longer fooled by outward appearances. They demonstrate the cognitive ability to conserve, so children might think it is strange for a girl to play rugby, but know it doesn't change their sex. Masculinity and femininity has no bearing on sex. At this stage, they begin to use genitals to identify sex, since they are unchangeable. Kohlberg argued that at this stage they begin to actively seek out role models.
To understand that the properties of an object are conserved (stay the same) even if appearance changes.
What is the Marcus and Overton study? (cognitive; Kohlberg's theory)
The sample consisted of three year groups from a school; 5-6, 6-7, 7-8 year olds. They were shown a puzzle with a male and female character in it, and it was possible to change hairstyles and clothes to 'change their sex'.The same thing was done with a puzzle where photographs of the children's faces were put on the bodies. The researchers tried different combinations, and each time asked the children what sex the character was. When the children were used, it was asked whether their own sex had changed.
1. Younger children demonstrated gender constancy for their own sex, yet low gender consistency when the character's appearance changed. -Gender stability!!-
2. Older children showed high levels of gender constancy for both themselves and the characters.
What is the issue with the Marcus and Overton (cognitive) study?
It is artificial, with low ecological validity.
What is a schema?
An internal mental representation of the world which is used to make sense of experiences.
What is a script?
An internal representation of a set of actions that make up a routine.
What is assimilation?
Taking in and making part of.
What does it mean to encode?
To register information for later retrieval.
What is gender schema theory?
It emphasises the importance of children actively seeking gender-related information. It believes that children seek this information out long before they have achieved gender constancy, unlike Kohlberg's theory. Once children have established their gender identity they search their environment for informations that will help them develop gender schemas.
What are the first gender schemas developed?
They are related to the activities associated with each sex. Children essentially form stereotypes and may begin to learn what females and males should and should not be doing, such as boys playing rough but not playing with dolls.
What are examples of gender scripts?
Making dinner (for females) and doing DIY (for men).
What happens after the gender schemas and scripts have been formed?
Children go on to pay more attention to their own sex than the opposite sex. For example, girls become aware that train sets are for boys and so avoid trains and learn less about the. As a results gender appropriate behaviour becomes a part of their thinking.
What happens to behaviours whether they are consistent or inconsistent with their schemas?
Consistent - they become assimilated into their thinking.
Inconsistent - they often fail to encode the information of that behaviour.
This allows their stereotypes to remain intact.
What is the Martin and Halverson study? (cognitive, schemas)
Using an experimental method, they showed five and six year olds pictures of people carrying out activities. Sometimes they were schema-consistent, and sometimes they were schema-inconsistent. Children's recall of the pictures was tested a week later, and they recalled the schema-consistent pictures generally well. However, schema-inconsistent pictures were often distorted so that the expected sex was remembered as carrying out the activity (such as a boy playing with a gun rather than a girl).
This showed that children use schemas to make sense of the world, and they will sometimes use schemas to reorganise information so it is consistent with their view of gender, even if it's not accurate.
What is the experiment by Bradbard? (objects, cognitive)
Children were presented with gender-neutral objects, and told some were 'boy' objects and some were 'girl' objects. Children then spent more time playing with the objects that they had been told were associated with their sex.
What are the comparisons of cognitive with the other approaches?
1. Biological would say that although it does develop in age related stages, it would not agree that children are so active in developing their gender. Gender is determined by factors outside of control, such as genes and hormones.
2. SLT would argue that children respond to role models, unlike cognitive saying they develop gender independently of the environment - only when gender is established do they seek out role models. There is not enough focus on the social context.
3. Psychodynamic would say they focus too much on the conscious elements, and would argue for more consideration of the unconscious. However, both approaches agree that gender develops in set stages.
What are three problems with the cognitive approach?
1. It describes, but doesn't explain gender development. Why does gender begin to develop at the age of two, and how are schemas formed in the first place?
2. It isn't clear why someone would adopt a gender identity that leads to gender-inappropriate behaviour. It needs to offer more adequate explanations of why some children actively seek role models of the opposite sex.
3. Evidence has it's limitations. Children are assessed in experimental conditions, which may distort reality. Measures may not be reliable as it depends on the way the questions are asked and the answers interpreted. It is possible children understand gender consistency at an early age but aren't able to express this. Differences in gender development may really just reflect differences in language development, such as when a child says a boy has become a girl, they mean they are acting in a feminine way.
What does the psychodynamic approach believe gender development is driven by?
What is Freud's psychoanalytic theory?
We move through a number of age-related stages, encountering different conflicts. These need to be resolves to ensure healthy psychological development. Gender identity should occur around the age of five. During the oral and anal stages, gender identity is said to be flexible. When they move into the phallic stage is when an understanding of gender begins to form. During this stage, the child seeks pleasure form playing with their own genitals, and begin to pay attention to others' genital and aware of the physical differences. The main force behind gender development is their relationships with the parents. The mother is the first love for both boys and girls, however in boys this turns to lust giving them an Oedipus complex.
What is castration anxiety?
The fear experienced by boys when they believe they will have their penis removed.
What is the Oedipus complex?
This is when young boys develop a desire for their own mother, and a conflict arises because boys want the mother for themselves and see their father as a rival. As a result, they become jealous of their father. These feelings go beyond jealousy, wishing their fathers dead. However they also fear him and develop castration anxiety. Castration anxiety is a result of them fearing punishment if their desires are discovered; removing their penis. Boys recognise the father is more powerful, partly because he has a bigger penis. Boys believe their mother has already been castrated by their father due to her lack of a penis, so the threat appears more real to them.
What is the Electra complex?
Young girls also experience a desire for their father and resentment towards their mothers. They resent their mother because they realise males have penises and they feel cheated because they don't have a penis. They believe they have already been cheated, and blame their mother for this. Girls experience penis envy, and when they discover they cannot have one replace this with the desire for a baby with their father; preferably a male baby. Girls fear losing their mothers love if she found out about her desire for her father.
How do young children resolve the conflicts that arise during the Oedipus and Electra complex's?
They identify with the same sex parent, and by identifying they develop a superego (adopting the morals of their parents) and adopt their gender identity and role. This explains why around five or six, children start to act like their parents.
How do boys resolve the conflict with their fathers? (Oedipus)
They use repression to push their desire for their mother and hostility towards their father into the unconscious. This reduces the tension, and allows the son to identify with the father. It also reduces the threat of castration.
How do girls resolve the conflict with the mothers? (Electra)
Their motivation is not as strong as boys, so they form a weaker gender identity when identifying with their mother. By identifying, they retain their mother's love, but it can be argued by internalising their mother the daughter is unconsciously hoping to still attract her father.
What is the main issue with the Oedipus and Electra complex explanation?
Although Freud was living at a time when most children lived with both parents, some children only have one parent. This would therefore mean they couldn't experience the complex's or develop a healthy gender identity. For example, boys without a father would be less masculine and more likely to be homosexual.
What is the Hans case study?
Hans had a phobia of horses, and was the son of Freud's friend. The father wrote to Freud to tell him about his son's development and received interpretations of this. Hans was especially afraid of large white horses with black blinkers and black around the mouth. He was afraid to leave the house, believing the horse would bite him or fall on him. Freud described this as an outward expression of his unconscious castration anxiety. Hans's father wore dark glasses and had a beard, making horses the displaced fear of his father. Hans's fear was particularly strong because his mother was pregnant, and this made him jealous. His fear of horses falling was actually the desire to see his father drop down dead.
What are four issues with the Hans case study?
1. It cannot be generalised. Not all boys would display the same anxiety.
2. Freud was accused of interpreting it to support his theory, and ignored the mother who had actually threatened castration.
3. Freud never met Hans, making the evidence unreliable.
4. Hans had witnessed a horrific horse and cart accident just before the onset of his phobia.
What are eight issues with the psychodynamic explanation of gender?
1. Biological would agree that anatomy is destiny, and gender is driven by nature, but would question the validity of unconscious forces. They would not recognise the validity of family experiences.
2. SLT would agree that parents have a large influence, but would disagree that the same-sex parent needs to be present for healthy gender development. Would question whether gender develops at a certain stage in childhood and would argue it depends on environmental experiences than maturation.
3. Cognitive would agree that it develops in stages, but would say it is more gradual. It would also say that there is some awareness as young as three, rather than five or six. It would further emphasise the conscious component and would criticise the large focus on the unconscious.
4. If it is correct, sons of strict or harsh fathers should develop stronger masculine identities than other boys. However, research suggests it is the sons of more liberal and supportive fathers who have more secure identities.
5. A study on some islands suggests that the Oedipus complex is a Western phenomenon rather than universal. boys on these islands still developed masculine identities despite being disciplined by their mothers' brothers (uncle) rather than their father.
6. Freud doesn't give an adequate account of females' fender development. This makes his theory seem too subjective, arising from his male perspective rather than an objective viewpoint.
7. The notion of infantile sexuality is challenged, as it is unlikely children experience the feelings Freud describes.
8. It is overall unscientific and difficult to generalise form, land lacks evidence.