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Chapter 8

Gender Textbook Notes Chapter 8

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Glen Gorman

PS287: Gender Chapter 8 Friendship  Focus on platonic nonromantic relationships  Cross-sex friendship not platonic  Cross-sex friendships are most likely to occur at work Two levels of analyses to study gender and friendship  Dispositional Level of Analysis: emphasizes the characteristic of the person as a determinant of friendship o One attribute; sex, gender role  Structural Level of Analysis: emphasizes the different positions/roles of women and men in society as a determinant of friendship o One position/role; traditionally men more in paid employee role then women  Quantity: number of friends or size of the network  Quality: nature of the friendship Network Size  Boys and girls have similar number of friends  Boys may have a larger social network due to structural differences in boys’ play (large group focused on some activity) versus girls’ play (interact in groups, talking)  Girls primary network consists of friends  Boys primary network consists of friends and non-friends  Difficult to know if there are sex differences in the sixe of friendship networks because the concept of friend may differ for men and women Nature of Friendship  Differences between females and males are overemphasized compared to similarities for friendship  Women’s friendships are closer than men’s  Boys view friendships as instrumental: someone you do things with, emphasis on shared activities, find more companionship  Girls view friendship as emotional: someone you connect with, emphasis on self- disclosure, find more intimacy  Some activities are be considered intimate based on opportunity to self-disclose (going to a dinner vs. a movie), and the same activity can be performed differently  Providing support; women express sympathy, men change the subject  more similar than different in this aspect, no difference in offering advice, sharing similar experiences, or trying to cheer up one another  Men and women are more likely to respond negatively to a man sharing a problem than a woman  Men and women want a friend who is trustworthy, source of support, fun and relaxation  Differ in how important they perceive a feature of friendship but agree on which attributes are more or less important (men’s friendships are less intimate and supportive than women’s but intimacy and support are equally associated with friendship satisfaction for women and men)  Egalitarianism: equal status of friends, important feature for a satisfying friendship Closeness of Friendship  Lionel Tiger; men were biologically predisposed to develop superior friendships compared to women, male-male bond important for survival, male-female bond important for reproduction  More recent; female friendships are closer and more satisfying  Girls report greater validation, support, security, caring and self-disclosure, place more trust in friends  Women report greater nurturance, affection, intimacy, and support  Rochester Interaction Record (RIR): method used by researchers to get a better sense of the closeness of women’s and men’s friendships o Describe nature of social interactions on day-to-day basis o Participants fill out sheet describing/rating every 10-minute interaction o Found men’s same-sex interactions were significantly less meaningful than women’s o Shows friendship closeness is due to a dispositional variable (sex of person) AND structural difference (sex of friend they were interacting with)  Men’s interactions involving women can be just as intimate as women-women interactions  When same-sex best friends talked about an important issue to them; both were equally intimate with similar levels of self-disclosure but males discussed less intimate topics  both capable of intimacy but men prefer not to behave as intimately  Sex differences in intimacy are a Western phenomenon  Men and women define intimate interactions as containing more self-disclosure and emotional support than shared activities and practical support  Another study found; self-disclosure predicted closeness for both women and men but men also thought shared activities predicted closeness  Agree on definition of intimacy  Intimacy is a process, self-disclosure alone is not sufficient  Reis and Shaver; intimacy involves revealing one innermost self, intimate interactions lead to feeling understood, validated, and cared for Self-Disclosure  Primary reason for women’s friendships being viewed as closer  Small effect indicating that women self-disclose more than men  Sex differences in self-disclosure is larger in the context of close relationships than among acquaintances or strangers  Women more likely to disclosure about personal issues (relationship process, areas of personal weakness)  Co-rumination: repeatedly discussing problems, including the causes, the consequences, and negative feelings in a relationship/friendship –form of disclosure women do with friends o Related to higher friendship quality AND greater anxiety and depression o May have more psychological costs for females o Pathway to closer relationships for males  Dindia and Allen: two targets of self-discloser (who is being disclosed to) o People are more willing to self-discloser to women o People are more willing to self-disclose to the same sex  Situational variables affect willingness to self-disclose o Men more willing to self-disclose if it was to a women they thought there was a possibility of a future interaction with o Manipulation of future interaction changes willingness to self-disclose o The way people disclose; face-to-face, online (Facebook) Barriers to Closeness in Male Friendship  Upholding masculinity; teasing, taunting, and mocking, identities defined as heterosexism (not feminine or gay), expectations of stoic and to hide their emotions  Three barriers: competition, homophobia, emotional inexpressiveness  Competition o Limits intimacy; difficult to be close to someone that is competition –don’t reveal weaknesses or inadequacies o Threatened; men more sensitive to status features in relationships o Direct for men, indirect for women o Kinds of competition;  Hyper-competition; intense desire to win at all costs, without any regard to the effects on the opponent  Non-hostile social comparison; occurs when we compare our achievement to that of another but without anger, hostility or jealousy  Enjoyment of competition; intense engagement in a competitive activity  Personal development competition; aimed at using competition for self- improvement –healthy for both boys and girls  Homophobia o Homophobia: fear of homosexuality or the fear of appearing homosexual o Limit physical contact and emotional closeness o High gender self-esteem; have more negative attitudes toward homosexuals o When homosexuality is said to be biological, homophobia is reduced and heterosexual men no longer need to differentiate themselves  Emotional Inexpressiveness o Maintain power, expense of closeness o Expressing emotion may appear feminine o Revealing weakness and vulnerabilities is inconsistent with male role o Reduced social support, increased psychological distress o If expressive, compensate with increased masculine behaviour in other areas like more instrumental behaviour o Most self-disclosure between men occurs during shared activities; more comfortable having something to do during the interaction o Nothing to do with men’s personality, its society’s expectation of men Conflict In Friendship  Do women or men have more conflict in their relationships?  Despite their greater closeness, girls say they spend more time resolving conflicts with friends  Females friendships are also more fragile than males  Study: seventh grade males and females had the same number of friends, but proportionally more of the females’ friends were new and not the same as those they had in sixth grade  Greater stability in friendships for 7 and 8 year old boys over the course of a year  In college – females’ closest friendship seems to be of shorter duration than males’ o Female was more likely to say that their closest friends had done something to hurt the friendship – they had more friendships ended  Women are less tolerant than men of friends who betray them, violate trust, or fail to confide in them  Women have more expectations of friendships  One reason may be that females have more difficulty resolving conflict compared to males th th o Study with 4 /5 graders:  Girls more likely to say they would accommodate and compromise  Boys were more likely to say they would assert their own interest, walk away from situation, and use verbal aggression o Adults:  Women more likely to bring up the subject of conflict  More concerned than men with the threat that such expressions bring to the relationships  Men are more likely to be direct in terms of how they discuss the conflict  More likely to express anger to their friends Cross Sex Friendship  Can men and women be friends?  Majority of children (grade 3-12) agree that it is possible to have a cross-sex friend, and 93% have one  Number of cross-sex friends increases with age o Within college:  USA: 27% of closest friends are opposite sex  Russia: 25% were other sex for women, 17% were other sex for men o In Greece:  ¾ believe cross-sex friendship was possible  more women thought cross sex friendship was possible compared to men (81% vs. 69%)  historically, cross-sex friendships were rare o traditional division of labor in society did not provide much interaction Comparisons to Same-Sex Friendship  in many ways the same o characterized by intimacy, loyalty and shared activities o “birds of a feather flock together” o demographic similarity; age, education, marital status, parental status o personality traits (locus of control), behaviors (self-disclosure), and relationship beliefs (how to resolve conflicts)
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