chapter 5.doc

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University of Guelph
Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 2100
Cindy Clarke

1 Gender Issues: chapter 5 The information contained in this chapter and these notes is an overview of some of the concepts related to Gender Identity and Gender Roles. It is not intended to be comprehensive. Consider the following quote. What is your reaction when you read the following: “I was taught early on what appropriate gender behaviour was. I remember thinking how unfair it was to do weekly cleaning chores while all my brother had to do was take out the garbage. When I asked my mom why, she said, “Because he is a boy and that is man’s work, and you are a girl and you do woman’s work”. Definitions SEX: biological maleness and femaleness GENDER: The psychological and socio-cultural characteristics associated with our sex. our sex. GENDER ASSUMPTION; Assumption about how people are likely to behave based on their maleness or femaleness. GENDER IDENTITY: How one psychologically perceives oneself as either male or female. GENDER ROLE; A collection of attitudes and behaviours that are considered normal and appropriate in a specific culture for people of a particular sex. Masculine/Feminine Terms used to attribute behaviours to male and female Notions of masculine and feminine are dependent on the era which they occurred. 1950’s not ok for males to change diapers as considered to be female duty Mowing lawn considered to be male duty How Much Do You Know About Gender? Consider the following: The term “gender” is generally used to refer to the social aspects of one’s biological sex. A few behavioural characteristics in men and women may be different due to A few behavioural characteristics in men and women may be different due to biological factors. Still, the overwhelming majority of gender behaviours are socially determined. Practically the only biological determined behavioural difference between men and women for which there is overwhelming evidence is that males tend to be more aggressive than women, a trait that is evident even in small children. 2 Even though male aggression may have biological roots, culture can overcome it. IIn the Tchambuli tribe, described by Margaret Mead, the women take a more aaggressive role than the men. Though all societies recognize at least two sexes, some societies treat certain iindividuals as members of a third gender category. Transsexuals believe they are members of the gender opposite their biological oones; for example, a male transsexual may feel he is a woman “trapped” in a mman’s body and may undergo sex reassignment surgery to bring his body into cconformity with his mind. Another rare case is the biologically asexual person wwho is born with a total absence of internal or external sexual organs, ttherefore having no sexual hormones and no gender. Masculine and feminine traits appear in both men and women. Research tools, such as Bem’s Sex Role Inventory, that measure masculine and feminine traits, find that most people have a combination of traits. Some feminine traits, find that most people have a combination of traits. Some ppeople measure high in both masculine and feminine traits, and the people are cconsidered androgynous. Genetic Development Prenatal Development Complex organisms reproduce through sexual reproduction Two parents each donate a gamete or germ cell, which combine to create a new oorganism The germ cells from the sperm and ovum each contains half of the new person’s ggenes The germ cells direct the development of the genitals and reproductive organs The biological clock what triggers puberty, female menopause and male aandropause is set. Most cells in the human body contain 46 chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs. Two sex chromosomes are made up of X or Y chromosomes are donated by a mman’s sperm. If the male contributes an X chromosome, the child will be female (XX = female) If the male contributes a Y chromosome, the child will be male (XY = male) Fertilization A sperm and egg each containing 23 chromosomes join to produce a zygote ccontaining 46 chromosomes The zygote can now undergo mitosis (cell division) It then reproduces its 46 chromosomes chromosomes 46 chromosomes are threadlike bodies made up of over 100,000 genes 3 Each gene contains DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) DNA acts as a blueprint for how every cell in the organism will develop Sexual Differentiation in the Womb A human embryo typically undergoes approximately nine months of gestation 4-6 weeks, the first tissues that become the embryo’s gonads develop Internal Organs th tth 5 – 6 week of gestation the primitive gonads form Develop into either testes or ovaries Primitive Duct System develop by the 10 or 11 weekth Mullerian duct (female) Wolffian duct (male) In male embryo testes begin producing Mullerian inhibiting factor (MIF) and testosterone, cause Mullerian duct to disappear 4 – 6 weeks – external sex organs Male and female organs that began from the same prenatal tissue are called homologous homologous In females, hormones cause the mound of skin beneath the umbilical cord to develop into the clitoris, the labia minora, the vestibule, and the labia majora In males, androgen stimulates the skin beneath the umbilical cord to develop the penis, the urethra and the scrotum 4 -6 weeks – Hormonal Development and Influences Endocrine glands (ie gonads), secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream to be carried to the target organs Ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone Estrogen influences the development of female sexual characteristics throughout life Progesterone regulates the menstrual cycle and prepares the uterus for pregnancy Testes produce androgen, Androgen influences the development of male sexual characteristics throughout life 4 - 6 weeks – Brain Differentiation Most hormonal secretions are regulated by the brain Hormones also affect the development of the brain Female brains control menstruation and must signal the release of hormones in a monthly cycle Male brains signal release of hormones continuously Atypical Sexual Differentiation Atypical sexual differentiation may be caused by hormone or genetic irregularities The result may be that an infant may be born with ambiguous genitals or genitals that do match the infant’s genetic sex that do match the infant’s genetic sex 4 Sex chromosomes disorders Klinefelter’s syndrome Occurs in approximately one in 700 live male births XXY – ovum containing an extra X chromosome is fertilized by a Y sperm XXY – men with XXY are infertile, have small testicles, low levels of testosterone, can have gynecomastia, and are tall with feminized boy contours Gynecomastia Testosterone therapy can enhance the development of secondary sexual characteristics Turner’s syndrome Occurs in about one in 2,500 live female births XO – an ovum without any sex chromo
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