Psychology of Women
Chapter 1 Notes
- In many ways women’s lives are improving
o However, even in the twenty-first century, women are frequently treated in a biased
o the popular media and the academic community frequently neglect women and issues
important to them.
- Two related terms:
o Sex: is a relatively narrow term that typically refers only to those inborn biological
characteristics relating to reproduction, such as sex chromosomes or sex organs
o Gender: refers to the psychological characteristics and social categories that human
culture creates (For example, a friend showed me a photo of her 7-month-old son, whom
the photographer had posed with a football.)
Doing gender: you express your gender when you interact with other people;
you also perceive gender in these other people, such as an infant posed with a
football. (you provide gender messages to other people by your appearance,
your tone of voice, and your conversational style.)
You probably respond differently to a male than to a female.
The phrase doing gender emphasizes that gender is an active,
dynamic process rather than something that is stable and rigid.
Impossible to stop doing gender because it’s part of our actual identity
Sexism: is bias against people on the basis of their gender. A person who
believes that women cannot be competent lawyers is sexist. A person who
believes that men cannot be competent nursery school teachers is also sexist.
Sexism can reveal itself in many forms, such as social behavior, media
representations of women and men, and job discrimination.
One social category is considered normative or standard, whereas the
other categories are considered deficient
Racism: is bias against people on the basis of racial or ethnic groups. Research
suggests that White preschoolers tend to choose other White children as their
friends, even when the classroom includes many Black children
Classism: bias that is based on social class. Social class is defined
by such factors as income, occupation and education.
Provides special privileges to some people based on their social
Ableism: bias against people with disabilities.
can create inequalities for people with disabilities, both in the
workplace and in personal relationships
Heterosexism: bias against anyone who is not exclusively heterosexual.
ncourages 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: bias based on chronological age. Ageism is typically directed toward
Feminism: principle that values women’s experiences and ideas; feminism also
emphasizes that women and men should be socially, economically, and legally
Definition does not exclude men. In fact, men as well as women can
be feminists. People mistakenly assume that a feminist must be a person who
Feminism encompasses a variety of ideas and perspectives.
- Four different theoretical approaches to feminism:
o Liberal Feminism: people can achieve this goal by passing laws that guarantee
equal rights for women and men
emphasize that biological factors have relatively little effect on gender
Women and men who are liberal feminists believe that everyone benefits if we
can reduce our culture’s rigid gender roles
o Cultural Feminism: emphasizes the positive qualities that are presumed to be stronger in
women than in men—qualities such as nurturing and care- taking.
Cultural feminism therefore focuses on gender differences that value women,
rather than on the gender similarities of liberal feminism
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.
o Women- of Color Feminism: other three types of feminism overemphasize gender.
feminists emphasize that feminism must pay attention to other human