CENTRAL CONCEPTS IN THE PSYCH OF WOMEN
Sex and gender:
Sex= biological characteristic that is related to reproduction.
Gender= psychological characteristic and social categories that our culture
The problem is that psych articles and books don’t make the distinction
between sex and gender.
Doing gender= expressing your gender by doing things, this makes it an
active and dynamic process.
Sexism= it is a bias against people based on their own gender. It can be
shown through social behavior, media and through job discrimination.
There biases are racism (racial and ethnic groups), classism (social class-
income, education and job), abeleism (against people with disabilities),
Feminism= values women’s experiences and says that men and women
should be equal socially, economically and legally.
Men can also be feminists, its not to antagonize against men and there are
many different viewpoints in feminism.
Theoretical approaches to feminism
1. Liberal feminism= the goal is for gender equality so that both men and
women have equal rights and opportunities. They say that bio factors have
little to do with gender differences.
2. Cultural feminism= it emphasizes the positive qualities that are stronger in
women. So it focuses on gender differences that favor women over men.
3. Radical feminism= they say that the oppression lies in the entire sex and
gender system. So they argue that our society has to change its policies on
sexuality and violence against women.
4. Women of colour feminism= this focuses on ethnicity and social class.
The similarities perspective:
=Women and men are similar in their intellect and social skills but social
forces create some temporary differences between the male and female.
Social constructionism= people and different cultures make their own
versions of reality based on previous experiences, social interactions and
o Because of this we cant ever objectively discover reality because our
belief system always influences our observations.
The differences perspective:
= Men and women are different in their intellect and social abilities.
o They are more likely to be cultural feminists.
So this is when feminist psychologists emphasize women’s positive
characteristics that nobody really pays attention to. Essentialism= it explains gender differences by saying that gender is a basic
non-changeable characteristic that is apart of the individual.
o Its said to be the same in every culture for women.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PSYCH OF WOMEN
Early studies of gender comparisons
In the late 1800s and early 1900s all psychologists were men. The research
was basically on gender comparisons.
Helen Thompson Woolley- did research that men and women actually have