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PSY323H1 Lecture Notes - Soltyrei, Eleanor Maccoby, The Two Cultures

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Alison Luby

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Development of Gender Relations 9/27/12 4:01 PM
ARTICLE (Glick et al., 1997)
To avoid feeling of ambivalence, they split women into “good” and
Hostile sexists fear that women may use attraction to usurp their
power- so the “good” women would be “cute chicks” and the “bad”
women are the “temptresses”
It allows sexism to maintain itself- benevolent sexists don’t feel like
their hostile
Having one group that deserves your love and others that you hate
allows men to maintain their sexist attitudes
I. Sex Typing and Gender Composition of Children’s Groups
II. The “Two Cultures” of Childhood
III. Gender Hostility
IV. Explanations for Gender Segregation and Hostility
1. Sex Typing and Gender Composition of Children’s Groups
Sex typing= individuals acquire behaviors, interests, personality
traits and cognitive biases that are more stereotypical of their own
Early work put a lot of emphasis about socialization from parents
Ruble & Martin 1998- Weak link between parents and sexism
Recent research focuses on the formation, interaction processes
and socialization functions of childhood social groupings
o Interaction between girls and boys in your childhood: team
sports, fighting between groups, only got together if an adult
mediated the groups, policing of the sex types; its like the
contact hypothesis gone wrong, girls considered tomboys
when they played with boys
o Social groupings in childhood are very segregated
Pairs/ groups of children elicit certain behaviors from each other
that they do not do when alone/ in other social contexts (Martin &
Fabes 2001)
o Ex. The probability of a fight depends on the aggressive
predisposition of the individuals and the properties of the
dyad (Cole et al 1999)

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Eleanor Maccoby (1998, 2002)- childhood is “growing up apart” and
later coming together
o The segregated gendered are almost thought to be separated
Infants do not show same-sex play preferences
Preferences start around 2 years old
Preferences intensify as children age and develop sophisticated/
interactive group play
Its not an inherent preference necessarily!!!
From about 3 years old, children mainly choose same-sex
playmates (Maccoby 1990, 1998)
Even when adults actively discourage sex segregation, children find
ways around it Ex. Making girls side and boys side of bench even
when on same team)
From age 4-12, children spend the majority of their time with their
own sex
By 6-7, 70% of unsupervised play is with same-sex groups
Pairing with opposite sex member of is pretty rare
Playing with a group of other sex children is even more rare
o Except for tomboys, highly athletic girls who enjoy and are
Children engage in cross- sex play as a last resort
Best friendships in middle childhood and well into adolescence are
typically same-sex
These same-sex friendships are seen in many cultures
Also seen in young primates-- suggesting innate evolutionary role
Gender play group and skills learnt
From 5+, boys more often play together in larger clusters/
organized group games
o Larger groups often involve conflict or competition, especially
in all-male groups
o Girls tend to split into dyads/ triads
If some groups are in pairs and other groups, we learn other skills
for navigating social worlds
In dyads….

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Girls share more info about the details of their lives/ concerns
(more intimate)
o Encouraged to consider the needs of others- Girls learn
relationships are priority
o Boys are encouraged to be more independent
Boys base friendships on shared activities
Boys groups are more interconnected than girls groups
o I.e. they are more used to functioning as a unit with a clear
Video: Style, size of play groups
Nicolopoulou (1997)
o Watched classroom of preschool children throughout yr
o Children told stories and had to act it out
o Throughout year they became more elaborate
o Boys generated different stories compared to girls
o Gender differences in the stories were there initially, but
became more sharply differentiated with time
o Boys: adventure, violence, heroism, winning
o Girls: home-life
Children developed subcultures based on socially shared cognitions
that distinguish the sexes
o I.e. common knowledge and expectations/ themes and scripts
o They don’t transfer what they see at home unless their
friends will accept it
A theory of group socialization suggests children become socialized
by identifying with their peer groups
2. The two cultures of Childhood
Because the 2 groups are segregated, their play becomes more and
more gender-typed
o Each gender influences its group and reinforces which
activities are appropriate
o The more time they spend with their own gender, the more
polarized the traits of the group become--- shows powerful
power of groups
Children learn very quickly gender schemas
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