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PSY323H1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Social Learning Theory, Social Forces, Sexual Objectification

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Noreen Stuckless
Study Guide

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Sex and Gender are often used interchangeably in the past b/c there is no clean, absolute separation
Unger (1979), Matlin (2004)
Sex [nature, narrow term]
o A person’s biological maleness/femaleness
o Often related to reproduction
Gender [nurture, broader term]
o Nonphysiological aspects of being female/male
o The cultural expectation for femininity and masculinity
Differs among cultures
Eg: gardeners in some cultures, mostly are male/female
o Determined by society, reinforced through gender socialization; eg: from family to
o Learned behavior
o Psychological characteristics and social categories created by human culture
Differences and Similarities
Similarities perspective [more prevalent]
o Emphasizes how similar men & women are
o Women and men are generally similar in their intellectual ability and social skills
o Social forces may create some temporary differences
Eg: during war time, the gender difference is extreme
o Social Constructionist Theory
We build our own reality based on:
(1) Our experience
(2) Whom we have interacted with
(3) Our beliefs
Eg: in a factory, women are denied promotion b/c the supervisor believes
women are incapable poor drivers. He doesn’t give women the opportunity to
training. Without training, women cannot get promoted. HE probably knows
from statistics that women and men are equally capable of driving and causing
accidents. However, based on his personal experience/whom he has interacted
with/his beliefs, he is biased.
Differences perspective
o Women and men are generally different in their intellectual and social skills
o According to the differences perspective, we should emphasize positive characteristics
on both genders
This should be fair…
However, women are often undervalued when some traits are associated with
Eg: leaderships, strength, productivity

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Traits with women are generally related to family and nurturing
o Essentialism Theory
Gender is a basic stable characteristic
All women share the same psychological characteristics (which assumes all
women are alike), which are different from those shared by men
All men share the same psychological characteristics which are different from
those shared by women
Prof is on the side of Similarities perspective (Social Constructionist Theory), but there are other
people who hold Differences perspective (Essentialism Theory).
Stereotypes are pervasive hard to get rid of.
Racial, cultural, class, sex or gender stereotypes
o Eg: People in the very North believe people in Toronto are living in an evil society, so
they don’t want their kids to come to Toronto for school
o Having them is not a problem; having them is acting on them
Sex stereotypes
o Socially shared beliefs based on individuals’ membership in either the male or female
half of the human race
socially shared == not individual behavior
Eg: the supervisor in previous case has stereotype of women being bad drivers
regardless of their age, educational level, etc.
o Beliefs about certain qualities assigned b/c of being female/male
o BUT adherence can affect behavior
Stereotype belief (cognitive component)
Eg: the supervisor believes women are bad drivers
Prejudice feelings of liking/disliking (affective component)
Negative evaluation of persons or their activities b/c of group
Eg: the supervisor has prejudice against women drivers
Discrimination behavior (behavioral component)
Eg: due to the belief + feelings, the supervisor discriminates women
Based solely on sex
o Sexism
Prejudice based on person’s sexual category
Against either women/men
“men cannot become teachers, nurses, etc.”
Judged harshly, not take seriously, derived of opportunities b/c of sexual
Often more severe for women
Can be culturally differentiated different cultures have different expectations for men/women
Other types of stereotypes (ism’s)
o Ageism age stereotype

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b/c the individual is considered to be old [mostly] or young
eg: elderly have less opportunity in job market
eg: young male (interaction) should pay for more expensive car insurance even
if they have had no accidents
scenario: “young people do not have the experience to do jobs
feelings stereotype that young people are less capable doing jobs
beliefs prejudice against young people (employees)
behaviors discrimination against young people
o Racism racial stereotype
o Ableism [discrimination against disabled or handicapped people]
o Classism [the belief that people from certain social or economic classes are superior to
o Heterosexism [discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, practised by
heterosexuals against homosexuals]
Textbook Notes Chapter 1
Sex Stereotypes
In Western culture, the “opposite” tradition men & women are opposite sexes, referring to
masculinity and femininity. Some cultures have a “hierarchical” tradition, considering men being more
As polar opposites when it comes to stereotyping,
any movement away from stereotype of one group is a movement toward that other group;
men and women should be separate from each other in a variety of contexts.
Stereotypes are often perpetuated simply because they justify prejudice against a subordinate group.
Stereotypes are dynamic and depend on social context,
sex stereotypes and ideals of femininity and masculinity vary somewhat across social/cultural
groups and historical periods;
women and men are becoming more and more similar in their characteristics over the years
specific to time and place, continually being reworked and boundaries renegotiated
Sex or Gender
Our understanding of biological sex differences is likely to be shaped by our culture’s notions of gender.
Sex and gender are inseparable and overlapping concepts b/c often we don’t know if a particular
difference is a result of sex/gender difference.
In this book,
gender is used as the more inclusive term when discussing differences that may be caused by
any combination of environment and biology;
o and a label for expectations held by societies regarding feminine and masculine roles;
sex is for anatomy and the classification of individuals based on their anatomical category.
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