Midterm Prep (Short Answers)

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18 Feb 2011
Lecture 1: Understanding Gender
Sex : biological categories of male and female
Gende r: more social constructions of masculinity and femininity (rooted in biological
difference but society dictates how we should think, feel, and act according to masculinity
and femininity)
Bipolar assumption : the idea that an individual has characteristics associated with either
males or females, but NOT both
Psychological essentialism : biological sex differences determine our (immutable)
psychological gender differences
Cultural approach
oSocialization of gender : the learning of masculine and feminine identities from
cultural beliefs
oSocial learning theory : the idea that we learn behaviors from seeing similar others
actions (observational learning)
oGender schemas : knowledge structures that guide perceptions; we start to see the
world through the lens of gender roles
Evolutionary approach : uses the ideas from Darwins theory to explain gender
differences that gender roles evolved out of inherent sex differences
Social structural approach : gender differences arise from differences in groups’ social
positions (roles and occupations of group members and their respective status/power) 
social causes
oSocial role theory : stereotypes evolve from the social roles that people occupy; roles
generate demands for people to act in certain ways (child-rearing women = nurturing;
working men = assertive and independent)
Lecture 2: Dominance and Interdependence
Gender exceptionalism : the idea that gender relations are unique because although male
dominance is prevalent in human societies, the two sexes are interdependent by creating
strong bonds and having/raising children together
Old-fashioned sexism: endorsement of traditional gender roles, differential treatment of
women and men, and stereotypes about lesser female competence
Modern sexism: denial of discrimination against women BUT hostility toward equality
for women and non-support of programs and legislation designed to help women; highly
correlated with the Protestant work ethic
Neo-sexism: the manifestation of a conflict between egalitarian values and residual
negative feelings toward women; especially likely when a person feels threatened by the
increasing power of women (ie:women are equal, but I dont want them to take our
Ambivalent sexism: both benevolent and hostile sexism co-exist
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