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Lecture 10

Psych 354 - Lecture 10.doc

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University of Waterloo
Denise Marigold

LECTURE 10 – GENDER Gender Role Paradox - evidence suggests that couples where men behave in the stereotypically masculine, macho way and the women behave in a feminine way are much less happy than couples who do not play out these traditional gender roles - it seems that men and women are initially attracted to members of the opposite sex who typify these stereotypical roles, but that once they engage in relationships with each other, these traditional gender roles may get in the way of these couples experiencing satisfying and happy relationships - these traditional gender roles may promote and facilitate attraction and the idea that the other is a desirable candidate for a relationship - But, these same gender roles that may facilitate attraction may actually get in the way of effective and constructive communication for these traditionally paired couples. Research - Ickes and Barnes (1978) - Traditional men were paired with traditional women - Androgynous men were paired with androgynous women - were videotaped while interacting - Results showed that traditionally matched pairs of masculine men and feminine women actually liked each other less than the androgynous pairs - found that this lessened liking was reflected in the behavior of the traditional pairs – they talked to each other less, looked at each other less and smiled less at each other than those who were more androgynous and paired with more androgynous individuals. - Shaver, Pullis and Olds (1980) - These researchers assessed women's self-reported gender role orientations, their male partners' gender role orientations and women's ratings of satisfaction with their relationships and lives - Women who described themselves as being traditionally feminine on the gender role questionnaires + who reported that their partners were traditionally masculine  much less satisfied with their relationships and even their lives, than other women in the sample who described themselves and their partners as being less traditional - Not only did their relationships seem to be adversely impacted by these traditional gender roles, but their feelings about themselves also seemed to be much worse than women who were in less traditional relationships. - women in less traditional relationships were much happier and satisfied with their relationships and their lives o They reported that they were much more successful at communicating and solving problems in with their male partners and that they were much more satisfied and optimistic about their lives in general - Antill (1983) - Interviewed couples and showed that the more feminine one's partner was - the happier both men and women were with their relationships - Men were happier when their wives were either feminine or androgynous (that is, having both masculine AND feminine traits) and women were happier when their husbands were androgynous or feminine Accounting for the Role Gender Paradox The Evolutionary Account - Women bear and nurse children, unlike men who are not able to bear and nurse children - Therefore, it was most logical for women to be responsible for child care and their reproductive fitness would be enhanced by their ability to care for their offspring - Traditionally feminine gender roles, where women are affectionate, devoted to others and caring may help them to interpret, notice, and respond to the needs of their families - men's investment in their children may have been less direct over the course of evolutionary history than women's - Men's primary responsibility may have been to provide fo
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