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Oct 21 - Sex & Gender.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

October 21 , 2013 Sex & Gender Becoming Male or Female: The Role of Biology and Socialization (Ch. 11) Part 1: Reproductive Biology – Prenatal Sexual Differentiation (see also Ch. 12)  Begins at conception (sperm fertilizes egg)  Mother’s Egg (“X” sex chromosome A) The Genetic Factor  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 and ovaries)  Depends on Y chromosome: o If present:  Stimulates development of testes  Inhibits development of ovaries o Problems: “True Hermaphrodites”:  Genetic female (XX); with tiny piece of Y chromosome attached (XXy)  Big enough to stimulate development of testes, not big enough to inhibit development of ovaries (therefore BOTH)  (Pseudo-hermaphrodites don’t have both) C) The Hormonal Factor (development of sex organs: penis or clitoris and vagina)  Testes produce androgens o When androgens are present, a penis develops (The Adam Principle) o When absent, clitoris and vagina develop (The Eve Principle)  Problems: o The Adrenogenital syndrome (Pseudo-hermaphrodite):  Genetic female with unusually active adrenal glands (produce androgens)  Fetus develops sex organs that appear to be “male” (clitoris is enlarged, vagina is fused) – no vaginal opening o 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 lack depth; penis looks like clitoris; testes remain up inside the 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 can’t reproduce D) The Puberty Factor (involves hormones)  Girls (age 10-12); Boys (age 12-14) o Now sometimes at 8 for girls; 10 for boys  Development of Secondary Sex Characteristics o Boys and girls: pubic hair, growth spurt October 21 , 2013 o Girls: breast development o Boys: facial hair, deeper voice, larger penis  Gonads (reproductive organs) mature: o Menstruation in girls (mature eggs are released from ovaries) o The first ejaculation in boys (production of mature sperm from testes) Part 2: Our Basic Identities 1) Sexual Identity (whether you are biologically male or female) 2) Gender Identity (perceptions of self as “male” or “female”; beliefs about what it means to be a male or female)  “Gender Roles” (expectations about how males and females should behave)  Given to you by society  Nearly every society expects males and females to be different Consider “gender stereotypes”:  What are the characteristics of the average of “man” and “woman” in our society?  Women: The “Communal Dimension” (aka: expressive; socially-oriented; feminine) o Caring, nurturant, affectionate, helpful  Men: The “Agentic Dimension”: (aka: instrumental; task-oriented; masculine) o Aggressive, dominant, independent, self-reliant A father and son are in car accident, both seriously injured, rushed to different hospitals. As son is prepared for surgery, surgeon says, “I can’t operate on this patient. He’s my son” – how can father be at two places at once? Wouldn’t have problem if assumed surgeon is the mother. Two questions:  Are these gender stereotypes accurate? o They contain a “kernal of truth” – sometimes men are more agentic and women more communal but not all the time  Where do these differences come from? Why are women more communal and men more agentic? o Might depend of biology (text p. 346-48)  Also depends on how we are socialized (must learn to be males and females) Part 3: Gender-Role Socialization (p. 350-353) Starts really early on in life – when born, say “it’s a boy/girl!” and given boy/girl clothes, toys, etc. A) The role of Parents:  They perceive baby boys and girls differently o New parents interviewed right away (no distinction between boys and girls when they’re first born)
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