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Lecture 5

lecture 5 of psych 2035

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Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Sex and Gender Becoming Male or Female: The Role of Biology and Socialization October 22, 2012 PART ONE: Reproductive Biology – Prenatal Sexual Differentiation A. The Genetic Factor Begins at conception (sperm fertilizes egg) >Mother‟s egg (X sex chromosome) >Father‟s sperm (X or Y sex chromosome) -if X sperm fertilizes egg: genetic female (XX) -if Y sperm fertilizes egg: genetic male (XY) B. The Gonadal Factor -Development of reproductive organs (testes or ovaries) -Depends on Y chromosome: >If present it: a) stimulates development of testes; b) inhibits development of ovaries -Problems: “true hermaphrodites” = genetic female (XX) with tiny piece of Y chromosome attached (XXy). Big enough to stimulate development of testes but not big enough to inhibit development of ovaries (therefore both) C. The Hormonal Factor -Development of sex organs: penis/scrotum and vagina/clitoris -Testes produce androgens -When androgens are present, penis develops -When absent, clitoris and vagina develop -Problems: a) The Adrenogenital Syndrome: genetic female with unusually active adrenal glands (produce androgens); fetus develops sex organs that appear to be “male” clitoris is enlarged, vagina is fused b) Androgen-insensitivity Syndrome: genetic male with normal testes that produce normal levels of androgens; but body is insensitive to androgens (doesn‟t respond to them) (sex organs have “female appearance” – looks like a vagina but lacks depth, penis looks like a clitoris, testes remain up inside body) -If everything goes as planned, you are now a biological male or female (prenatal sexual differentiation is complete) -But for the next decade you cannot reproduce D. The Puberty Factor -Heavily influenced by hormones -Girls (age 10-12); Boys (age 12-14) -Getting earlier though -Two important changes: a. Development of Secondary Sex Characteristics: pubic hair, growth spurt, girls = breast development, boys = deeper voice, facial hair, larger penis b. Gonads (reproductive organs) mature: menstruation in girls (mature eggs are released from ovaries), first ejaculation in boys (production of mature sperm from testes) PART TWO: Our Two Basic Identities 1) Sexual Identity (whether you are biologically male or female) 2) Gender Identity (perception of self a male or female, beliefs about what it means to be a male or female) 3) Gender Roles (expectations about how males and females should behave) -2 & 3 given to you by society -Nearly every society expects males and females to be different -What are the characteristics of the average man and woman in our society? >Women: “The Communal Dimension” (expressive, socially oriented, feminine), being caring, nurturing, affectionate and helpful. >Men: “The Agentic Dimension” (instrumental, task oriented, masculine) being aggressive, dominant, independent and self-reliant. -Story: father and son in car accident, both hurt and rushed to different hospitals. Son going into surgery, but surgeon says wont do it because it‟s their son. Surgeon = sons mother. -Two Questions: a. Are these gender stereotypes accurate? They contain a kernel of truth (345). b. Where do these differences come from? Why are women more communal and men more agentic? Might depend on biology (346-348), but also depends on how we are socialized = must learn to be male/female. PART THREE: Gender-Role Socialization (350-353) -Begins very early in life A. The Role of Parents -They perceive baby boys and girls differently -Perceive girls as softer, smaller, finer features -Perceive boys as stronger, sturdier, larger, better coordinated -Group of people i
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