PSYC 5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Gender Role, Nuclear Family, Dualism
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Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality
● Talcott Parsons
- Argued that the need to fulfill gender roles comes from society requiring individuals to
fill two types of roles (sociological) not from individual need:
o Instrumental (male)
o Expressive (female): emotional, caring
- Sociological explanation
- Role allocation is not smooth (nuclear family and public-domestic divide, boys stay
longer with their mothers in western societies, girls have their role model – mother).
o Boys have more identity crisis and difficulty developing their masculinity.
- Boys go through crisis in efforts to identify with their roles and reject femininity – bad
boys, revolt against institutions.
- Negative consequence: ‘Cult of compulsive masculinity’
- Girls rebel against masculine superiority (not institutions) and has to depend on a man
for her security. She may rebel against feminine roles.
- Simplistic binary model and politically conservative (dualisms - male/female, roles,
system needs – change will disrupt society).
- Involves coercion (roles not natural, people rebel and society enforces/demands them).
When people rebel against these, we correct them and force them to conform to the
● Bem’s gender schema theory
- Reacted against sex role theory and studied the content of sex role.
- Bem’s sex role inventory tests for masculinity and femininity (on a continuum, not
- People learn gender schema as children, but vary as adults as to how rigid their gender
- Androgyny is healthier than rigid gender performance (M-F is best psychologically
adjusted and intelligent individuals).
- A schema is a framework for organizing perceptions and interpretation of information
(on individual basis).
- Gender schema vs. gender aschema
- Gender appropriate behaviour has a cultural foundation.
- Criticism: Androgyny is not the best gender type (wishy-washy personalities: you don’t
fit anywhere, it’s an issue of power).
● Pleck’s male sex role strain model (MSRS)