PSY210 Ch.13 Sex and Gender 12/16/2012 8:31:00 AM
1. Gender stereotypes and gender roles
2. Influences on gender stereotyping and gender-role adoption
3. Gender identity
4. Girls vs. boys in gender stereotyped attributes
5. Developing non-gender stereotyped children
Gender stereotypes: widely held beliefs about characteristics deemed
appropriate for males and females
Gender roles: the reflection of these stereotypes in everyday behaviour
Gender identity: is the private face of gender, refers to perception of self as
relatively F or M characteristics
Gender typing: refers to any association of objects/activities/roles/traits with
biological sex in ways that conform to cultural stereotypes of gender
Biological, cognitive + social factors are all involved.
1. Gender stereotypes and gender roles: instrumental-expressive
Instrumental traits: reflecting competence, rationality and
assertiveness were regarded as masculine
o Expressed as high status, favorable occupations, diverse
Expressive traits: emphasizing warmth, caring, sensitivity seen as
Gender stereotyping in early childhood
o Things in daily life are categorized by kids as M or F early on
o Seen inflexibly “boys cant like butterflies!”
Difficulty of infants to coordinate conflicting info
They don’t realize that characteristics associated with
ones sex do not determine whether one is F or M.
Gender stereotyping in middle childhood/teens (age 5+) o Realize traits are associated not defining features of a persons
More flexible beliefs
o Personality traits
Ingroup favourtism = trait stereotyping of own group,
Outgroup = less well known, -ve
o Achievement areas
School subjects divided into F or M genders
These stereotypes influence children’s preferences for
and sense of competence in certain subjects.
Girls think boys to be smarter despite getting better
grades in middle school.
o Greater flexibility:
Gender-stereotype flexibility: overlap in the
characteristics of M and Fs.
More capacity to integrate conflicting social cues – what
a M/F can do
More than just gender predicts peoples beliefs/actions
View outcomes as socially > biologically influenced.
More social pressure on boys to conform to gender
Individual and group differences
o Boys more rigid with stereotype views always
o Higher SES families = more flexible gender views
Gender role adoption
o Boys conform more to their gender role = stronger
o Stereotype flexibility (not knowledge) determines how a child
adopts gender roles in middle childhood.
Kids who think that stereotypes are appropriate for both
sexes are more likely to cross gender lines in their own
choices. Gender stereotypes affect behaviour only when kid
incorporates those beliefs into their own gender
identities – self-perceptions of what they can/cant do.
2. Influences on gender stereotyping and gender-role adoption
Biologic influences on gender typing – evolutionary theories
o How much cross cultural similarity exists in gender typing?
Experience and social promotion of gender stereotypes
which build upon M as instrumental and F as expressive
can profoundly influence gender typing
o Sex hormones and gender typing
Play styles and preference for same sex partners
M – androgens – active play, aggression,
competitiveness, suppress maternal caregiving
Preference of both M and F for same-sex peers.
Early on – hormones affect motivations and
actions – of play
Preschool – girls prefer quieter activities,
cooperative roles. Boys – larger groups, active.
Gender segregation = social pressures for gender
appropriate play + gender stereotyping cognitive
factors + ingroup favoritism + hormones too
Exceptional sexual development
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) = a
disorder, genetic defect causes adrenal system to
produce too many androgens from the prenatal
Girls with CAH are usually born with masculinized
external genitals. = Hormone imbalance
They are more active, like boys toys more,
prefer boys as play mates, more interested
in masculine careers
Ambiguous genitals = raised as members of the
other sex = sexual identity is consistent with
gender rearing regardless of genetic sex. Case of David
Sex hormones influence gender typing
Activity level + preferences for gender
The case for environment (not genetics/bio!)
o Perceptions + expectations of adults
Differ for girls compared to boys = they are treated and
Negative view of cross-gender behaviour
o Treatment by parents
Infancy + early childhood
Different environments created for girls/boys
Reinforcement of attitudes (independence in
boys), dependency with girls.
Mothers label emotions when talking to girls
(perspective taking), but explain emotions to boys
Language = powerful, indirect means for teaching
children about gender
Parents encourage different types of play in
Middle childhood + teens
More help with school is given to girls by parents,
as boys are taught to be more independent
Boys helped in a more mastery-oriented fashion =
higher standards, more complex instructional
language used by fathers to boys.
More scientific explanations given to boys than
Mothers gender-typed judgments affect child’s
self-perception of their ability for math then the
effort they put in, and eventual performance.
Parental control: boys “when will do your h.w?”,
girls “do your h.w after dinner”.
Greater freedoms to boys. Gender-countercultural homes = boys more
emotionally sensitive, girls more self-confident.
Mothers vs. Fathers
Fathers discriminate most
Parent spends more time with child of their own
Gender role training via modeling
o Treatment by teachers
Feminine behaviour is emphasized in school classrooms
Value obedience, discourage assertiveness – feminine
bias = discomfort for school boys, girls conform.
Teachers labeling gender characteristics “boys be more
quiet like the girls” = promotes gender stereotyping and
out-group prejudice in kids.
Teachers must praise all kids for independence,
persistence, ignore attention seeking and dependency.
= schools effort in modifying gender typing
o Observational learning
Occupations, TV, male heroines reinforce gender roles
Working mothers = girls with higher career aspirations
Gender role learning in gender-segregated peer groups
Boys – most intolerant of cross gender play in