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Chapter 3

PSY3121 Chapter 3: Gender Stereotypes - Masculinity and Feminity notes

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University of Ottawa
Evelyne Girard

Gender stereotypes: the beliefs about the characteristics associated with, and the activities appropriate to, men or women. • More generalized beliefs and attitudes about masculinity and femininity. o Such attitudes do not have a perfect relationship with observe d behaviors: when people associate a pattern of behavior with either women or men, they may overlook individual variations and exceptions and come to believe that the behavior is inevitably associated with on gender but not the other. o Therefore, gender stereotypes go beyond behavior, forming categories that may not correspond to reality. o Very influential; they affect conceptualization of women and men.  They establish social categories that represent what people think. • Current gender stereotypes, especially those about women, reflect beliefs that appeared during the 19 century (the Victorian era). • Industrial Revolution o Moving men outside the home to earn money o Leaving women at home to manage households and children. Doctrine of the Two Spheres: belief that women’s and men’s interests diverge – women and men have their separate areas of influence. • For women, the areas of influence are home and children, whereas men’s sphere includes work and the outside world. • These two spheres have little overlap, which has allowed them to be seen as opposites. Cult of True Womanhood: • Arose between 1820 and 1860. • The attributes of womanhood, by which a woman judged herself and was judged, could be divided into four cardinal values: piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity. o The Cult of True Womanhood held that the combination of these characteristics provided the promise of happiness and power to the Victorian woman, and without these, no woman’s life could have real meaning. Four cardinal virtues: piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity. • The criteria were too demanding for any woman to meet, nonetheless, these virtues were held as attainable and women tried to meet these ideals. • Piety: o Society viewed piety as more natural to women than men. o Religious studies were appropriate for women, whereas other types of education were thought to detract from women’s femininity. o Other types of education include formal studying and reading romantic novels (encourages women to become overly romantic, lose their virtue, and their purity (virginity). • Purity: o Although women were seen as uninterested in sex, they were vulnerable to seduction and the loss of purity was “a worse fate than death”. o Men, on the other hand, were not naturally as religious and thus not naturally as virtuous as women. o Men were prone to sin and seduction. o True women could withstand the advances of men, dazzling ad shaming them with their virtue. • Submissiveness: o Not true of or desirable in men. o Women were expected to be weak, dependent and timid, whereas men were supposed to be strong, wise and forceful. o The wife would not question the man’s authority. • Domesticity: o True women were wives whose concern was with domestic affairs – making a home and having children. o Domestic duties included cooking and nursing the sick children and husband. Male Sex Role Identity: • Men were seen as opposite of women; men were active, independent, coarse and strong. • Industrialization, world exploration and civil wars associated with men, basis of masculinity • The Victorian ideal of manhood was the basis for what Joseph Pleck referred to as the Male Sex Role Identity. o This was a source of problems for society and for individual men. • Robert Brannon’s four themes of the Male Sex Role: o No Sissy Stuff: a stigma is attached to feminine characteristics. o The Big Wheel: men need success and status. o The Sturdy Oak: men should have toughness, confidence, and self-reliance. o Give ‘Em Hell: men should have an aura of aggression, daring and violence. • The more closely a man conforms to these characteristics, the closer he is to being a “real man”. o This idealization is unrealistic. o This role prohibits close personal relationships and requires persistent competition and striving for achievement. • Hegemonic masculinity: for each society, one version of masculinity is sanctioned as the one to which men should adhere. o Attempts to subordinate femininity and less accepted version of masculinity, such as male homosexuality. o There has been little change in hegemonic masculinity in the past 2 decades and strong representation of the four themes of the Male Sex Role Identity.  Boys and men are still supposed to be stoic, aggressive, dependable, and not feminine. Stages of gender stereotype development: • In order to develop gender stereotypes, children must have gender knowledge. • By age 2, children apply gender labels, which predicts future behavior based on gender. • Children as young as 3 show signs of gender stereotyping. • This development is not uniform or simple. o Stage 1. Behaviors and characteristics are directly associated with gender and gender stereotypes are undeveloped. o Stage 2. Beginnings of indirect associations with gender for own sex but not for other sex. So, self-stereotypes but none for other sex. o Stage 3. Complex, indirect gender –related associations for same and other sex. So, stereotypes for self and other sex • As they get older, children’s gender stereotyping becomes stronger. • Children’s tendency to gender stereotype creates distortions in their memory for gender- related information. • Between the ages of 8 and 10 years, children make stereotypical judgements for both genders. • Illusory correlation allows children (and adults) to form and maintain stereotypes. • Children do not ignore counter stereotypical information, and the presentation of such information may be a way to diminish gender stereotyping. o For example, men cooking and women performing home repairs. o These observations may act to reduce stereotyping by breaking down illusory correlations. • Younger children show less gender stereotyping than older children. • Men are subject to harsher stereotyping than women. • Girls stereotype less strongly than boys. • Younger children look for male-female differences and try to understand and categorize such differences, whereas older children are more acceptant of deviations from gender stereotypes. • Gender stereotyping is highest from ages 5-7 then becomes more flexible with age. • Another period of inflexibility occurs during adolescence, followed by greater flexibility in young adulthood. • See page 60 Table 3.4: “Stages of Gender Stereotype Development” Illusory correlation: the incorrect belief that two events vary together, or the perception that the relationship is strong when little or no actual relationship exists. • Illusory correlation allows children (and adults) to form and maintain stereotypes. • Also aids stereotyping by exaggerating existing differences. • People perceive that relationships exist between gender and carious behaviors when no relationship exists or when the relationship is not as strong as their perception indicates, and people accentuate the existing differences to sharpen the categories. nd th • In 2 and 4 grade children • The perception of correlations can be an important factor in maintaining stereotypes for both children and adults; when people believe that activities are related to one or the other gender they feels comfortable thinking in terms of these categorizations. o This perceptual bias acts to maintain stereotypes. Attitude InterestAnalysis Survey: • Create by Lewis Terman and Catherine Coz Miles in 1936. • Consists of 456 items. • This test yielded masculinity-femininity (MF) scores that lay along a continuum with strong masculinity at one extreme and strong femininity at the other extreme. • This test was not valid in any way other than distinguishing men from women • This test is no longer used but it influenced others to develop measurements of masculinity and femininity. MMPI MF scale (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory): • Appeared in 1940 • Became the most common measure of masculinity and femininity, largely because of its inclusion of measuring psychological disorders. • One-dimensiona
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