Sex Role Development
• Infancy-distinguish faces by sex
• 2 years- label by sex: being male or female as an important social category
• 3 years: sex-stereotyping in toy preference. In egalitarian family, raise children the same.
• 4 years: some rigid stereotypes about occupations. Tangible occupations they can
conceptualize easily. Ie/truck driver, policemen are men, teachers are women. Black and
white world, still developing understanding of the world. Will later learn to make
• 5 years: association of personality traits with sex
• Sex: biological dimension of being male or female
• Gender: Sociocultural dimension of being male or female. If from a traditional culture,
clear that people's who's sex is males have certain expectations and female have another
set. Ex. Men work outside the home and bring income where women tend to family and
don't bring income. In liberal, that distinguish is the same in other cultures but is different.
• Gender Role: set of expectations that prescribe how females and males should think, act,
• Gender Role Stereotypes: broad categories that reflect our impressions and beliefs about
females and males- image of what typical male and female would be like. Use quick
judgements, rely on heuristics. Ie/in our culture women have long hair and men have short
How do children display gender roles?
• Toy preferences- by age 3 as a clear pattern of choices emerges, although boys develop
this pattern quicker than girls. Ie/ not okay to dress boy in pink but okay for girl to dress in
• Personality characteristics- from 2-3 years of age boys are consistently more aggressive.
Don't see this in girls. Seen in egalitarian families.
• Choice of playmates- between 1-2 years of age there is a steep increase in choice of same
sex playmates. Don’t have object constancy. Parallel play, prefer someone else in the room
then gradually play with another toddler. No preference for gender playmate until boys
become aggressive. Girls are intimidated and don’t play with boys until school years.
Psychological and behavioural differences between boys and girls become greater during
Gender Role Orientation
High Male Low Male
High Female Androgynous Feminine
Low Female Masculine Undifferentiated Regardless of what your sex is you may have stereotypical feminine, masculine, androgynous, or
Feminine: nurturing, caring, emotional. Males: strong, assertive, rational.Androgynous: not
completely male/female. Males have primarily male characteristics and few feminine will do
well. Females with primarily female characteristics will do well. Masculine characteristics
regardless of biological are more predictive of adjustment.
Gender Roles: Theoretical Explanations 5 theories
1. Evolution/Sociobiology (sex is you gender)
2. Social reasons-Learning-conditioning and Social Learning- observation, role
3. Psychoanalytic theory
4. Cognitive Development
5. Gender Schema Theory- Strongest, most empirical study. Includes Social reasons
and cognitive development. Cognitive development and social experiences.
Evolution/Sociobiology: Males and females have different purposes in life and behave
accordingly. Their genetic endowment is responsible for their different behaviours just as it is
responsible for their different physical characteristics. Ie/ only up to mom to carry baby for nine
months, nurture baby and male role has no part. Evolution related to behaviour and physical
characteristics. Womens hormonal changes that make them difficult to be separate from baby.
Men will become stronger because they are the ones who hunt and bring back food and will have
ability to protect family.
Social Reasons: From an early age different parental expectations and treatment. Ie/ dad models
certain behaviours for sons to learn.Adaptive, enforcement and reinforcement and observation
are three methods.
1. No Sissy stuff: differentiates boys from girls. Ie/ boy injures his knee and is
2. Be a big wheel: encourages boys to be superior to others and compete instead of
cooperate. Ie/in hockey share the puck and take part but implicitly if boy scores will have a
greater impact when team wins. If want to be successful, must be doctor, best student.
3. Be a sturdy oak: male independence and self-reliance but also keep boys asking
for help when needed and uncomfortable with their emotions. Ie/ man need gsp for women
will ask someone. Men don’t want to admit to defeat, being lost, where in women doesn't
4. Give 'em hell: power oriented, aggressive, ruthless, violent. Ie/violent boy games,
their targeted. Depict men that are aggressive drivign fast, shooting. Encouraging boys to
be strong, violent. If child is being bullied, going to bring father, girls will not are not
power oriented. Boys make comparisons using house, cars to assert their dominance. Seen
the same in animal kingdom, fighting for territory or females.
*18:00*Provides thereotical account, more complicated, but when children brought up, boys and
girls seek particular roles. Seen in egalitarian families where boys will be encouraged to play
sports. These messages are still important and negative side not developing their other side-men
learn to express their emotions. We don’t tolerate what boys do but tolerate what women do ie/not want a career. This is because
they have less valued competitive that are not valued.
How do these messages work?
• Learning theory ( reinforcement principles)
• Social learning theory (imitation)
Probably not that simply because of:
o Biological/physiological differences
o Unlikely to be based on simple learning mechanism *24:31*
o Little evidence that children select same sex role model for vicarious learning
ie/girl and may be close to father or vice versa, learn a lot from people around us not
how to act like girl or boy. Many different ways to why we select role model by
o Begins extremely early with little reinforcement.
o Cause and effect? Research met