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York University
PSYC 3480
Noreen Stuckless

INTRODUCTION TO PSYC AND WOMEN 1/11/2013 8:36:00 AM There are many experiences women go through (preganancy, menopause) and are more likely to experience (rape, domestic violence) then men do  Also important to focus on areas that are studied more using males (achievement, retirement, sexuality) Another important topic is being able to compare men and women  i.e. treatment of boys/girls; intellectual abilities of men and women CENTRAL CONCEPTS IN PSYC AND WOMEN Sex vs. gender  Sex: narrow term; refers to inborn bio characteristics relating to reproduction, includes concepts like chromosomes and sex organs  Gender: psyc and social categories that human culture creates o Doing gender: concept of expressing your gender when you interact w. others (considers gender as active and dynamic) o Gender messages are transmitted through ones appearance, tone of voice, conversational style The extent of social biases  Sexism: bias that is based on gender; can be blatant or subtle (using the word “girl” to talk about a women of 40, but not referring to a man of 40 as “boy”)  Racism: bias based on ones racial/ethnic group o Sexism and racism can often combine i.e. treating a black women very different than a white man  Classism: bias based on social class – income, occupation, edu o Ppl of higher classes have more special privileges (not discussed that much in terms of psychology)  Ableism: bias against ppl w. disabilities (not studied much in psyc)  Heterosexualism (sexual prejudice): bias against anyone who isn’t exclusively heterosexual  Ageism: bias based on chronological age; directed towards elderly Feminist approaches  Feminism: principal that values women’s experiences and ideas; emphasis is on fairness b/w m&w socially, economically and legally  Both men and women can be considered feminist (and they don’t need to overtly consider themselves one to be one) Four kinds of feminist viewpoints:  Liberal: goal is gender equality and equal rights b/w m&w – can reach this by passing laws of equality o Consider m&w to have little gender difference (apart from bio), and having equality would make the gap even smaller  Cultural: emphasize +ve qualities that are stronger in women than men (nurturing/care-taking); focus is on gender difference which values women o Also think society should be restructured to promote cooperation and not aggression  Radical: disagrees that womens oppression lies in “superficial law/policy”; instead its based on the entire sex and gender system – from the personal m&w r/s to international levels, sexism floods our society o They argue that society needs to change policies on sexuality/violence on women  Women-of-colour: think the other 3 types of feminism OVEREMPHASIZE gender; argue that feminism needs to pay attn to ethnicity and social class o Cant achieve genuine feminism by making a few adjustments to the first three types i.e. a black lesbian has it more hard then a white lesbian Psychological Approaches to Gender Similarity and Difference  There are 2 approaches to gender issues: similarity and differences perspective The Similarities Perspective  Men and women are generally similar in intellect/social skills – social forces create temporary differences  Favour liberal feminism  Social constructionism: individuals / cultures construct or invent their own versions of reality, based on prior experiences, social interaction and beliefs The Differences Perspective  Men and women are generally different in intellect/social ability  Emphasize womens +Ve characteristics that have been undervalued bc those values are associated w. women  Favour cultural feminism  Problem w. this perspective: emphasizing gender diff leads to strengthening ones stereotype abt gender  Gender diff is explained using essentialism: gender is a basic, unchangeable characteristic that resides w.in an individual – women are more concerned w. caregiving cause its inborn (not bc society assigns them to it) o Believe women’s characteristics are universal A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PSYC OF WOMEN  Hall (founder of psych) opposed edu for women bc “it would come at the expense of reproduction” Early Studies of Gender Comparisons  Early researchers were men, and gender comparison studies were often influenced by sexist biases  Women couldn’t vote in USA until 1920 (had inferior intelligence/reasoning skills)  2 studies conducted by women early on concluded that women had similar IQ’s to men and lead to arguments of equal access t
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