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PSYC 3480 (144)


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PSYC 3480
Noreen Stuckless

Chapter 1: Introduction Central Concepts in the Psychology of Women Sex and Gender – sex: is a relatively narrow term that typically refers only to reproduction, such as sex chromosomes or sex organs – gender: refers to psychological characteristics and social categories that human culture creates – According to the concept of doing gender: you express your gender when you interact with other people; you also perceive gender in these other people – the phrase doing gender emphasizes that gender is an active, dynamic process rather than something that is stable and rigid The Extent of Social Biases – Sexism: is bias against people on the basis of their gender – sexism can reveal itself in many forms, such as social behaviour, media representations of women and men, and job discrimination – in the case of biases ; one social category is considered normative or standard, whereas other categories are considered deficient – racism: is bias against people on the basis of racial or ethnic groups – classism: is a bias that is based on social class; social class is defined by such factors as income occupation and education – In the U.S, the chief executive officers of corporations earn approximately 431 times as much as their lowest- paid employees – ableism: bias against people with disabilities – heterosexism: refers to a bias against anyone who is not exclusively heterosexual – heterosexism appears in behaviours of individuals and in the policies of institutions such as legal systems – heterosexism encourages many people to believe that male-female romanatic relationships should be considered normative, and people in same gender relationships do not have the same rights and privileges – ageism: bias based on chronological age – ageism typically directed towards elderly people and individuals can reveal ageism in terms of biased beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours FeministApproaches – feminism: the principle that values women's experiences and ideas; emphasizes that women and men should be socially, economically, and legally equal – the defining feature of feminism is high regard for women, not antagonism toward men Types of Feminism – Liberal feminism: emphasizes the goal of gender equality, giving men and women the same rights and opportunities – argue that people can achieve this by passing laws that guarantee equal rights for women and men – emphasize that biological factors have relatively little effect on gender differences – Cultural Feminism: emphasizes the positive qualities that are presumed to be stronger in women than men – focuses on gender differences that value women rather than on gender similarities of liberal feminism – argue that society should be restructured to emphasize cooperation rather than aggression – Radical Feminism: argues that the basic cause of women's oppression lies deep in the entire sex and gender system, rather than in some superficial policies and laws – argue that our society needs to change its policies on sexuality and on violence against women – women-of-colour feminism: points out that other types of feminism overemphasize gender and that we must pay attention to other human dimensions such as, ethnicity and social class PsychologicalApproaches to Gender Similarity and Difference The Similarities PERspective – similarities perspective: believe that men and women are generally similar in their intellectual and social skills – social forces may create some temporary differences – tend to favour liberal feminism – social constructionism: individuals and cultures construct or invent their own versions of reality, based on prior experiences, social interactions, and beliefs – social constructionists argue that we can never objectively discover reality because our belief system always influences our observations – Our current NorthAmerican culture considers women to be different from men.As a result, we tend to perceive, remember, and think about our gender in a way that exaggerates the differences between women and men The differences Perspective – differences perspective argues that men and women are generally different in their intellectual and social abilities – feminist psychologists who support this perspective usually emphasize women's positive characteristics that have been undervalued, primarily because they are associated with women – emphasizes that women are more likely to be concerned with human relationships and caregiving – those who favour this perspective tend to be cultural feminists – critics of this perspective point out that if we emphasize gender differences, we will simply strengthen people's stereotypes about gender – essentialism: argues that gender is a basic unchangeable characteristic that resides within an individual – emphasize that women are more concerned with caregiving because of their inborn nature, not because society currently assigns women the task of taking care of children – according to this perspective, all women carry the same psychological characteristics, which are very different from the psychological characteristics that all men share – women's psychological characteristics are universal and occur in every culture ABRIEF HISTORY OF THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WOMEN – Psychology's early views about women were generally negatively – Stanely Hall, who was the founder ofAPAand pioneered the field of adolescent psychology, opposed college education of young women because he believed that academic work would be developed at the expense of reproductive power Early Studies of Gender Comparisons – during the late 1800s and early 1900s, most of the early researchers in psychology were men – the early research on gender typically focused on gender comparisons, and it was often influenced by sexist biases – women could not vote in U.S until 1920 – the justification for that position was that women had inferior intelligence and reasoning skills – Helen Thompson Wolley (1910) claimed that early research on gender was permeated with flagrant personal bias, unfounded assertions, and even sentimental rot and drive – her own research demonstrated that men and women had similar intellectual abilities – Leta Stretter Hollingworth (1914) demonstrated that women's menstrual cycles had little effect on their intellectual abilities The Emergence of the Psychology of Women as a Discipline – research on the psychology of women did not advance significantly until 1970s – Association for Women in in Psychology was founded in 1969 – in 1973, a groups ofAmerican psychologists established an organization that is now called the Society for Psychology of women, and it is currently one of the largest divisions withinAPA – Beginning in the 1970s, researchers began yo explore topics such as women's achievement motivation, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and other topics – the work done in 1970 had two problems: feminist scholars did not realize the issue of gender was so complicated and people sometimes blamed women for their own low status The Current Status of Psychology of Women – internet search on PSYCINFO in 2005, revealed 90,200 scholarly articles mention the topics of women, gender or feminism – four journals that are especially likely to publish relevant articles are Psychology of Women Quarterly, Sex roles, Feminism and Psychology, and Canadian Women Studies – Current research in psychology of women is especially lively because women now earn the majority of psychology Ph.D degrees, 72% in 2007 and 77% in Canada in 2008 – our knowledge base continues to change rapidly – new research ofter requires us to revise a previous generalization – women and men continue to change as we move further into the current century WOMENAND ETHINICITY The White-PRivilege Concept – Peggy McIntosh (2001) claimed out culture in the U.S and Canada is based on the hidden assumption that white individuals have special status – White-privilege concept: white people have certain privileges, based on their skin colour – white people often take these privileges for granted – psychologists point out that White people seldom realize the advantages of having white skin, they may even protest that they have never been treated better than people of colour – white-as-normative: points out that being white is the normal standard in our culture – McIntosh reports that as a white woman she knows that her children will be taught material that focuses on their ethnic group.Achild from any other ethnic background has no such guarantee Women of colour Latina Women – Latinas/LAtinos are currently the second largest ethnic group in the U.S – most individuals prefer this term rather than Hispanic, the term often used by governments – the problem is that Hispanic focuses on Spanish origins rather than LatinAmerican identity – MexicanAmericans constitute about 60% of the Latino/a populations in the U.S – MexicanAmericans often refer to themselves as Chicanas or Chicanos – any exploration of ethnicity must emphasize the wide diversity of characteristics and experiences within every ethnic group Black Women – Blacks constitute the third largest ethnic group in the U.S
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