Flashcards in gender Deck (21)
Define the term 'sex'.
The biological differences between males and females including chromosomes, hormones and anatomy.
Define the term gender.
The psychological and cultural differences between males and females including attitudes, behaviours and social roles. Sex is innate while gender is at least partly environmental.
Explain gender identity disorder.
Most people's biological sex and gender identity correspond however some people experience gender identity disorder in which their biologically determined sex does not reflect the way they feel inside or the gender they identify with. Some of these individuals may choose to have gender reassignment surgery to make their sexual identity the same as their gender identity.
Explain the case of the Batista boys.
The Batista boys were four children who identified as girls at birth however at puberty it was revealed that they were male. This was due to a genetic disorder. The dihydrotestosterone which was absent in the womb was produced at puberty causing their true biological sex to be revealed. Each boy abandoned their female gender identity and quickly adapted to being boys. This suggests fender identity is flexible rather than fixed.
However, critics have suggested that the dominican republic was a highly patriarchal society at the time and males were valued over women to the extent that the children were considered 'little miracles' by the community. This positive reinforcement may have been the reason for their swift change of gender identity.
Explain sex role stereotypes.
A sex-role stereotype is a set of beliefs and preconceived ideas about what is expect ed or appropriate for males and females in a given society. \They are shared values and expectations which are transmitted through society and reinforced by family, peers and the media.
Outline the study of Madhura et al. into sex-role stereotyping.
They scanned the brains of 949 young men and women using hi-tech diffusion MRI imaging to map the connections between the different parts of the brain. They found that women's brains have better connections between the left and right side while men's brains display more intense activity within the brain's individual parts, especially the cerebellum which controls motor skills. The conclusion was that the female brain is hard-wired to cope better with several tasks all at once while the male brain is better at focusing on a single, complex task.
Define the term androgyny.
Displaying a balance of feminine and masculine characteristics in one's personality.
This could include a person who is aggressive at work but a caring and sensitive parent.
What is the BSRI?
The Bem sex role inventory is the first systematic attempt to measure androgyny using a rating scale of 60 traits (20 m,20 f, 20 n) to produce scores across two dimensions; masculinity-femininity and adrogynous-undifferentiated.
Bem suggested individuals who have an equal amount of f and m traits are better equpped to adapt to a range of situations and contexts that non-androgynous people would find difficult.
Explain the score classifications of the BSRI.
Masculine= high m, low f
Feminine= high f, low m
Androgynous= high m, high f
Undifferentiated= low f, low m
What are some examples of the items o the BSRI.
M= aggressive, ambitious, athletic
F= Affectionate, Gentle, loyal
N= adaptable, friendly, happy
Evaluate the BSRI.
+ Valid and reliable- designed with 50m and 50f judges rating 200 traits in terms of how desirable they are for men and women. The highest scoring traits became the categories. When piloted with 1000+ students, results broadly corresponded with the description of their own gender identity. A follow-up study found similar scores a month later--> high test-retest reliability.
- Bem stressed that androgynous individuals are more psychologically healthy because they are best placed to deal with situations that demand a masculine, feminine or androgynous response. This has been challenged as researchers suggest that people who display more masculine traits are better adjusted as these are more highly valued by western society.
- Oversimplification: the personal attribute questionnaire is a substitute which measures instrumentality and expressivity but this is still based on the idea gender identity can be quantified. It has been argued that gender identity is a more global concept and in order to understand it, broader issues such as interests and perception of one's own abilities should be considered.
- Cultural and historical bias: The BSRI was developed over 40 years ago and behaviours that are regarded as typical and acceptable have changed. Bem's scale is made up of stereotypical ideas that lack temporal validity. It was also devised using a panel of judges from the united states- western notions of maleness may not be shared across all cultures and societies.
What are chromosomes?
They are found in the nucleus of living cells carrying information in the form of genes; the 23rd pair determines biological sex. The female structure is XX and the male is XY
Explain the role of chromosomes in sex and gender.
A normal egg cell has an X chromosome, and half the sperm carry and X chromosome and the other half a Y. The chromosome carried by the fertilising sperm determines the sex/ The Y chromosome carries a gene called the sex-determining region Y (SRY) which causes testes to develop in the XY embryo which produces androgens (male sex hormones). Without androgens, the embryo becomes female.
What is a hormone?
A chemical substance circulated in the blood that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs.
Explain the role of hormones in sex and gender
Most gender development comes through the influence of hormones. Prenatally, hormones act upon the brain to cause development of reproductive organs. At puberty, during adolescence, a burst of hormonal activity triggers the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as pubic hair. Males and females produce many of the same hormones but in different proportions eg testosterone.
Explain the role of testosterone in sex and gender.
This is a male hormone which controls the development of male sex organs- these begin to be produced at around 8 weeks of foetal development. Human and animal studies have found testosterone to be linked to aggressive behaviour.
Explain the role of oestrogen in sex and gender.
Oestrogen is a female hormone that determines female sexual characteristics and menstruation. It causes some women to experience heightened emotionality and irritability during their menstrual cycle (PMS). In extreme cases, PMS has been used as a defence in cases of shoplifting and murder.
Explain the role of oxytocin in sex and gender.
Women produce oxytocin in larger amounts than men, particularly as a result of giving birth. The hormone stimulates lactation making it possible for mothers to breastfeed. It also stimulates cortisol and facilitates bonding. It is released in large quantities during labour to make new mothers feel love for their baby.
Evaluate the role of chromosomes and hormones in sex and gender.
+ Supporting evidence: David Reimer was born as Bruce, who had his penis burned off during circumcision. His parents raised him female as Brenda on the guidance of a doctor, Money, who claimed environmental factors were the most important in establishing gender. Brenda never adjusted to being a girl and was extremely unhappy. She was eventually told the truth and changed back to being a man, David, however committed suicide.
- Contradictory evidence: A double blind study gave 43 males an weekly injection of either testosterone or placebo. No differences in aggression were found after the ten week period.
- Objections to PMS: The effects of oestrogen levels on women's mood have been questioned. Women claim PMS is a social construct that privileges men over women through dismissing their emotions, especially anger, through explaining it through anger.
- Oversimplification: biological reductionism ignores alternative explanations. The cognitive approach would look at changing thought processes that underpin gender development and the psychodynamic approach would point to importance of childhood experiences. It also fails to explain why people are transgender.
What are atypical sex chromosome patterns are.
Any sex chromosome pattern that deviates from the usual XX/XY formation which tends to be associated with a distinct pattern of physical and psychological symptoms.