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PSYC 3480 (233)
Chapter 1

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PSYC 3480
Noreen Stuckless

Chapter 1 Central Concepts in the Psychology of Women  Sex and Gender  Sex is a narrow term that refers only to those inborn biological characteristics relating to reproduction.  Gender is a broader term, which refers to the psychological characteristics and social categories that human culture creates  According to the concept doing gender, you express your gender when you interact with other people; and you also perceive gender in these other people o It emphasizes that gender is active, dynamic process rather than something that is stable and rigid o It is virtually impossible to stop doing gender because it’s part of our actual identity  The Extent of Social Biases  Sexism: a bias against people on the basis of their gender  Racism: a bias against people on the basis of racial or ethnic groups  Classism: a bias based on social class o Social class is defined by such factors as income, occupation, and education o As with sexism, and racism, classism provides special privileges to some people, based on their social category  Ableism: a bias against people with disabilities  Heterosexism: a bias against anyone who is not exclusively heterosexual o Encourages many people to believe that male-female romantic relationships should be considered normative and therefore people in same-gender relationships do not have the same rights and privileges  Ageism: a bias based on chronological age  Feminist Approaches  Feminism: the principle that values women’s experiences and ideas o Emphasizes that women and men should be socially, economically, and legally equal  Four different theoretical approaches to feminism: o Liberal feminism: emphasizes the goal of gender equality, giving women and men the same rights and opportunities  Argue that people can achieve this goal by passing laws that guarantee equal rights for women and men o Cultural feminism: emphasizes the positive qualities that are presumed to be stronger in women than in men- such as nurturing and caretaking.  It focuses on gender differences that value women, rather than on the gender similarities of liberal feminism  Argue that society should be restructured to emphasize cooperation rather than aggression o Radical feminism: argues that the basic cause of women’s oppression lies deep in the entire sex and gender system, rather than in some superficial laws and policies.  Emphasize that sexism permeates our society, from the personal level in male-female relationships to the national and international level  Argue that our society needs to dramatically change its policies on sexuality and on violence against women o Women of color feminism: points out that the other three types of feminism overemphasize gender.  Emphasize that feminism must pay attention to other human dimensions such as ethnicity and social class  According to this perspective, we cannot achieve a genuinely feminist approach by making a few minor adjustments to liberal, cultural or radical feminism  Psychological Approaches to Gender Similarity and Differences  Psychologists either favor a similarities perspective or a differences perspective  The Similarities Perspective o Believe that men and women are generally similar in their intellectual and social skills o Argue that social forces may create some temporary differences o Ex. Women may be mores submissive than men in the workplace because women typically hold less power in that setter o Supporters of the similarities perspective tend to favour liberal feminism o To explain why women and men seem so different, the similarities perspective has a theory called the social constructionism o According to s
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