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Chapter 13

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PSYC 333
Kelly Suchinsky

Page 368-390, 22 pages Page 1 of12 Chapter 13: Gender & Sexuality • Gender: Socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities. It influences how people perceive themselves and each other, how they act and interact, and the distribution of power and resources in society. Usually conceptualized as a binary of girl/woman and boy/man, but in reality there is considerable diversity in how people understand, experience, and express it. • Sex: A set of biological attributes in humans associated with physical and physiological features, such as sex hormones, gene expression, hormone levels, and reproductive anatomy. Usually categorized as male or female, but there is also variation in these attributes. THEORIES OF GENDER DEVELOPMENT (Video) • Gender is simultaneously a sociocultural and a psychobiological construct Biological Theories: Genes & Hormones • Sex hormones during development affect both anatomy and behaviour, with exposure during sensitive periods helping to organize the formation of brain circuits that support behavioural sex differences. During puberty, hormones then activate these brain circuits. • Genes continue to play a part in postnatal sexual development, interacting with the environment • Disorders of sexual development include congenital adrenal hyperplasia, 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, androgen insensitivity syndrome, penile agenesis, cloacal exstrophy (incomplete closure of peritoneal cavity), and ablation penis from botched circumcision (David Reimer) • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: Brain structure of genetic female influenced by prenatal androgens, brains are partially masculinized due to this exposure. Show male-typical toy preferences and play patterns, may identify as less gender typical “tomboys”. Increased likelihood of same-sex attraction. • Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome: Lack of androgen receptors, develop female phenotype of external genitals but lack uterus and ovaries. • Individuals with AIS will have female-typical brain structures. They almost unanimously identify as female, almost none transition back to male role. Have distribution of sexual orientation similar to genetic females. • Hines, 2002: Test prenatal testosterone concentrations in maternal blood, found it positively correlated with male-typical childhood behaviour in boys and girls. Evolutionary Theories • Gender is an emergent property resulting from an interaction between our biological makeup and environment • Females and males have evolved different behavioural and cognitive strengths, from their association with reproductive and social roles as the product of evolutionary processes • With transition to agrarian living about 10,000 years ago, from nomadic living to growing food, led to ownership over mates and sexuality • Gender differences in sexuality reflect different adaptive problems faces by females and males in terms of reproduction. • Females and males choose mates with traits signalling fitness; these choices shape sexual dimorphisms in physical and psychological traits, such as physical strength or signs of fertility, and dominance and nurturing nature • Parental Investment Theory: Asymmetric minimum reproductive investment for women and men. Men locate partners, produce sperm and semen to have sex. Women choose partners, ovulate, have sex, undergo pregnancy (must create almost 30 pounds of tissue!), lactation, and child-rearing. Page 368-390, 22 pages Page 2 of12 • Sexual Strategies Theory: Women and men have evolved different sexual strategies based on the asymmetric reproductive effort. Males want to maximize the number of offspring – higher number of sexual partners, higher sex drive, interest in low commitment sex. • Females want to maximize survival of offspring to reproductive age (nurturing strategy) – lower sex drive, lower number of sexual partners, less interest in casual sex • However, there are definitely overlap in strategies adopted by women and men, and today most of our sexual experiences are completely decoupled from reproduction Cognitive-Developmental Theory • Kohlberg: Gender is a cognitive representation that children develop, around age 3-4 years. This conception of gender shapes gendered behaviour. Key process is gender constancy – essential characteristic of a person; before age 3, child may use surface characteristics to understand gender (a man with long hair is called a woman), but later on they understand gender is retained regardless of certain features. • Social Learning Theory: Gender-related traits learned from society and family. Classical conditioning, with gender-nonconforming behaviour shamed and bullied. Operant conditioning with differential rewards for gendered behaviour, e.g. praised as pretty in princess outfit but chastising one in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle outfit. Observational learning and modelling based on Bandura’s research (Bobo Doll). • In this theory, changing society and contingencies would change a child’s behaviour. This is true to a certain extent, but case of David Reimer demonstrates the importance of biological processes as well. • “I am a boy, therefore I want to do boy things, therefore doing boy things is rewarding” vs. lack of internal gender representations and shaped by environment to want to be a boy: “I want rewards, I am rewarded for doing boy things, therefore I want to be a boy” • Social Role Theory (Eagly): Societal restrictions on gender roles based on gendered divisions of labour, that develop into gender differences in behaviour and stereotypes. It’s not the biological potential or sex per se, but the way society differentially treats these potentials. • Belief in men as breadwinners and women as caregivers; societal and employment structure thus reflects this, creating a division of roles. E.g. Women in STEM • With respect to sexuality, dictation of freedom to experience sexuality as function of these labour roles • Feminist Theory/Social Constructionist: Gender is a cultural invention, result of a patriarchal society and not an essentialist characteristic – it is something we do, not something we are. Problems with “Gender is Learned” Models • Gender differences emerge before children have cognitive capacity to form schemas or understand gender constancy, such as differences in play behaviour and preferences • Does not account for intersexed individuals, particularly in forced gender reassignment scenarios • Biological factors lay a certain groundwork upon which sociocultural effects act moderately, and shape gender expression but do not eliminate gender differences • Children with older sibling of the same sex are slightly more gender-stereotypical in activities, but gender differences in play behaviour (nurturing vs. rough and tumble) remain The Role of Our Bodies • Fausto-Sterling: Bodies come to be gendered, ideas about an appropriate male or female body with culture written into our bodies – individuals with disorders of sexual development were subject to genital modification surgeries to have more “typical” genitalia. Bodies are not static, but responsive to environmental change • Objectification Theory: The way the body is treated and looked upon by society in terms of its sexualization of particular areas and shapes creates distance between women and their bodies. With spectatoring, people are removed from themselves, making them removed from the moment and prone to sexual dysfunction Page 368-390, 22 pages Page 3 of 12 • Postculturalist Perspective: the body, just like gender, is variable and historical and a cultural construct. E.g. Compare today’s view of thin women to earlier ideals of Rubenesque women. Interactional Perspectives • Doing Gender (Zimmerman): Gender is not an identity, but an activity that is performed, enacted and reconstituted in everyday life based on reactions and feedback from others • Interaction Model of Gender-Related Behaviour (Deaux): Gender-typed behaviour depends on characteristics of the behaviour, the situation, the interacting partner, the subject him/herself, and on social processes such as selective attention, interpretation and recall, regulation and self-regulation, and expectancy confirmation • Behaviour-Related Aspects: Gender-typed behaviour more likely the more the behaviour is central to the standard heterosexual script. • Situation-Related Aspects: More gender-typed behaviour in public than private, with strangers than friends, and when gender scripts are activated • Partner-Related Aspects: Dependence fosters self-management and adherence to gender scripts • Subject-Related Aspects: Individual differences in external contingency with respect to gender norms, value placed on conformity GENDER ROLES & STEREOTYPES • By 2.5 years, most children can correctly identify their own gender. Gender is one of the most basic status characteristics in our interactions with people and the position we hold in society. • Dominant culture adheres to a rigid two-gender system which often excludes those who fall outside traditional conceptions of masculinity or femininity – although other cultures may have three or even four genders. • Gender Role: A set of culturally prescribed expectations that define how people of a gender ought to behave. Leads to enactment of gender stereotypes, and gender schema = “doing gender” • Stereotype: A rigid set of beliefs about a group of people (e.g. men) that distinguishes them from others (e.g. women) and is applied to all visible members of that group. This can function as a self- fulfilling prophecy when one tailors behaviour to adhere to gender role expectations, such as in stereotype threat. • Children as young as 6 years are aware of stereotypes. When told a story that included a gender stereotype (e.g. a firefighter), and asked which person the story was about, the children respond with the appropriate stereotype • Heterosexuality is an important part of gender roles. Women are expected to be feminine and sexually attractive to men; women including lesbians who violate this are considered masculine. Gender Schema Theory • Gender Schema (Bem): A set of ideas about behaviours, personality, appearance, etc. that we associate with males and females. This influences how we process information, leading to dichotomization based on gender. We would judge individuals as either gender schematic, or aschematic. • In this theory, gender is not innately biological, but influenced by cultural norms and typically adopted through observational learning. • E.g. Today pink is associated with girls, and boys with blue. Circa 1918, generally accepted rule was pink for boys because it was a “stronger” colour while blue was more “dainty” for girls. • Leads to distortion of memory or failure to remember information that is stereotype-inconsistent. Difficult to change people’s stereotyped notions because we tend to filter out information that contradicts stereotypes. Page 368-390, 22 pages Page 4 of12 • Our own gender roles and the situation we are in affect likelihood of processing with gender schema, e.g. activation of schema in masculine men viewing an erotic film The Traditional Sexual Script • Scripts: Cognitive frameworks for how people are expected to behave in social situations. • Traditional Sexual Script: The heterosexual script, specifies how men and women are expected to believe in a sexual situation. This remains the most common dating script despite changes in gender roles over the last century. Some aspects include: o Men are seen as having strong sexual needs and highly motivated to engage in it at any opportunity. Women are seen as sexually reluctant, and interested only in context of love and commitment o High sexual experience enhances men’s but decreases women’s perspective status, i.e. masculinity in men and non-selectivity or lack of values in women. o Men are expected to take responsibility for both their own and their female partner’s sexual pleasure and orgasm, while women are expected to be sexually naïve and may be afraid to share their sexual preferences o Men are supposed to be the initiators o Women are expected to be sexual gatekeepers, offer at least initial token resistance to advances • Research participants in dating and long-term relationships kept a diary in which they recorded sexual initiations and responses. Results showed men initiate sex more often in both dating and long-term relationships, but on average women also initiate more than once a week. • Men and women were equally likely to accept or refuse an initiation, and if one’s partner is reluctant, men and women used the same strategies to try to change their partner’s mind (flirting, touching, stroking) Socialization • Socialization: The ways in which society conveys to the individual its norms or expectations for his/her behaviour • This includes reward for behaviour appropriate for their gender and punishment for inappropriate behaviour • Imitation of adult models also contribute, such as parents, teachers, and people depicted on television. Behaviours such as buying dolls for girls and baseball bats for boys also contribute, encouraging gender- typed activities – although most treat boys and girls similarly in many ways. • Children engage in self-socialization: the more they come to identify with a particular gender, the more they are motivated to incorporate attributes associated with the gender into their self-concept. Seeing themselves matching the stereotype strengthens gender identity. • Teenagers particularly effective at exerting pressure for gender-role conformity • Media continue to show females and males in stereotyped roles. “Voice of authority” voice-over in ads are 71% male, and they are more likely to be portrayed as assertive and employed, while female voices are most likely to be shown as parents and sex objects • 3 to 6 year olds who view more TV have more stereotyped ideas about gender roles; new media like video games can show even more extreme patterns of gender stereotyping like in Grand Theft Auto Gender Roles & Ethnicity • Ethnicity: A sizeable group of people who share a common and distinct racial, national, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or heritage. • 1 in 5 Canadians were not born in Canada, with most of these people living in metropolitan areas such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Immigration since the 1980s have dramatically increased Page 368-390, 22 pages Page 5 of 12 Canadian ethnocultural diversity and introduced a wide range of attitudes and traditions surrounding gender roles. • For ethnic minorities, gender roles may reflect values and norms in country of origin but also the majority Canadian culture through acculturation. • Ethnocultural Communities Facing AIDS study found cross-cultural similarities in gender roles. o Generally, men and women had distinct roles with men expected to be head of family and women as caregivers; however, economic realities may mean women must work and role changes can often create family conflict. o Double-standard with sexual behaviour, with dating and premarital sex accepted and encouraged in sons but not tolerated in daughters o Men expected to be active in sexual relationships, women to be passive The South Asian Communities • Religion is a major focus of community life. Hard work, education, achievement, and respect for traditional values are highly valued – some cases include arranged marriages • Men and women tend to be assigned different roles, and women expected to be submissive • Boys tend to be given freedom and allowed dating and sexual experience, but girls are not allowed because female virginity before marriage is highly valued • Men expected to take lead in sexual encounter, with women passive and uninformed • Due to women’s prescribed sexual passivity, many men may visit sex workers for casual sex; women are not supposed to question or complain about extramarital sexual activity The Chinese Community • Emphasizes responsibility to the family and community over self-fulfillment • Marriage is highly valued, so couples are reluctant to separate or divorce even with significant marital problems • Man is considered head of the household, and the woman is the primary caregiver • Premarital sex is discouraged for both men and women, although extramarital sex may be acceptable for the man in “astronaut families” in which the man works away from home • Gender roles are becoming more diverse as people move away from their traditional roles, with women pursuing more education and career goals, independence and assertiveness English-Speaking Caribbean Community • Strong sense of family and community. Man expected to be provider and woman as caregiver and head of household while also working outside the home; many single-parent families headed by women. • Restrictions on sexual activity for girls to prevent adolescent pregnancy. • Having a male partner and having a child are considered indicators of success for women • Not uncommon for married and cohabitating men to have multiple partners Aboriginal Communities • Before European contact, had relatively egalitarian gender roles but acculturation has led to adaptation of the majority male dominance stereotype • Among the 200 Aboriginal languages, at least 2/3 have a term that refers to a third gender beyond male or female, typically terms two-spirit. These people are not homosexuals, transsexuals, or transvestites – a man may be married to a two-spirit male, but is not considered homosexual because there are two different genders. • Role of the “manly hearted woman” where a woman who is exceptionally independent and aggressive can take on. This “warrior woman” role existed among the Apache, Crow, and other tribes where the Page 368-390, 22 pages Page 6 of12 women expressed masculine traits and participated in male-stereotyped activities while continuing to live and dress as female. GENDER DIFFERENCES IN PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING • Aggressiveness: Cross-culturally, males more aggressive than females for all indicators including physical, verbal, and fantasy aggression. Also true at all ages. • Communication: Women tend to self-disclose more than men do in communication, about both sexual and non-sexual issues. Traditional gender roles favour emotional expressiveness for females and repressiveness for males. • Today, more focus on good communication and openness for both genders and movement towards norm of greater emotional expressiveness for men. • Women are better at decoding non-verbal cues of body language and facial expression GENDER DIFFERENCES IN SEXUALITY Masturbation • One of the largest gender differences is in incidence of masturbation. Not only do fewer women masturbate, in general those who do start at a later age – many report masturbating for the first time at age 25 or later. • This gender difference shows no evidence of diminishing, 80% of men and 48% of women at UBC recently Attitudes about Casual Sex • Casual sex is sexual intercourse in a situation in which there is no emotionally committed relationship • Men are considerably more approving of such interactions than women; females more likely to believe that sex without love is not satisfying • 68% of male adolescents and 48% of females approve of premarital sex, 66% and 32% each for casual sex • 20 of top 25 reasons for having sex the same for men and women, but men more likely to include reasons due to physical desirability of their partner, physical pleasure, and insecurity. The women did not endorse emotional and commitment motives, but did say they were more likely to have sex to express love for their partner. Use of Pornography • Men considerably more likely to report using pornography than women, and to go online to engage in sexual activity with a partner Arousal to Erotica • Research shows men are more aroused by erotic materials, but not by much • Heiman: Physiological measures of arousal using penile strain gauge and photoplethysmograph (both measure vasocongestion), as well as self-ratings of arousal of male and female university students to erotic materials. o Participants heard 1 of 4 kinds of tapes depicting heterosexual couples. Erotic tapes included excerpts from popular novels giving explicit descriptions of heterosexual sex. Romantic tapes included a couple expressing affection and tenderness without engaging in sex. Erotic-roman
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