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Chapter Three Notes.docx

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PSYC 3480
Noreen Stuckless

Chapter Three Notes Psychology of Women  Gender typing: how children acquire their knowledge about gender and how they develop their gender related personality characteristics, preferences, skills, behaviour’s and self-concepts BACKROUND ON GENDER DEVELOPMENT  Important components of gender such as sex characteristics and hormones develop during the prenatal period  the time before birth  Culture conveys messages about gender during infancy  period between birth and 18 months (1.5 years) Prenatal Sex Development  At conception, female egg (23 chromosomes) combines with male sperm (23 chromosomes) to form embryo containing 23 chromosome pairs  The 23 chromosome is called the sex chromosome and determine whether the embryo will be genetically male or female  The other 22 chromosomes are responsible for the rest of the characteristics, such as hair colour eye colour height etc.  When determining gender, the egg from the mother always supplies an X, however, the sperm from the father can either supply an X or a Y  Therefore females are genetically XX and males are genetically XY  Males determine gender of child @ conception Typical Prenatal Development  Embryos, either male or female are virtually identical until about 6 weeks after conception  Initially, each embryo contains two primitive reproductive systems – however, one will eventually disappear depending on the gender of the child  The female reproductive system is called the Mullerian ducts (which will eventually develop into a uterus, egg ducts and a vagina)  The male reproductive system is called the Wolffian ducts which will eventually develop into the prostate gland and vesicles for semen  Gonads are the sex glands – as noted above, they are identical in the embryo until about 6 weeks  At the third month, hormones encourage further development of either male or female sex differentiation  Testes secrete two substances: the Mullerian inhibiting hormone  shrinks the Mullerian ducts. Also, androgen one of the male sex hormones which encourage the development of the Wolffian ducts, as well as external characteristics like penis etc.  Females secrete estrogen one of the female hormones, however it is believed that estrogen does not play a part in the development of the female organs  We know much less about female development versus male development Atypical Prenatal Development  Occurs when prenatal development takes a different pathway  RESULT: intersexed infant  who is neither biologically male or female  An intersexed individual has genitals that are not clearly male or female, they do not have clear male or clear female hormones, nor do they have clear male or female reproductive systems, external genitalia etc.  Fausto Sterling estimated that 2% of population is are intersexed individuals  Examples of atypical development:  Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: genetic females XX receive as much androgen as a genetic male would and thus develop somewhat masculine genitals at birth  modern solution: surgery to become more female  Androgen insensitivity syndrome: genetic males XY produce normal androgen however their body is not receptive to the hormone, thus tubercle does not grow into a penis and they look female externally (a shallow cavity for a vagina)  no reproductive system and notice this when they do not begin to menstruate  Big question  why does our culture force individuals into only two categories? Male and female. Why not add another category? Why do we have to conform to these roles?  Reason: gender polarization Peoples Responses to Infant Girls and Boys  Our society places a great importance on the gender of an individual “male or female”  Why do pregnant women obsess about knowing the gender of their baby prior to birth?? To prepare  should the nursery be blue or pink? GENDER SOCILIZATION Parental Preference About Sex of Children  Several decades ago, people tended to prefer males over female babies  However, now, research shows no clear preference  Study  examined 386 news paper postings about births and found that people were more likely to express pride with the announcement of a boy and happiness following the birth of a girl  Other cultures (China, India and Korea) have very strong preference for boys, so much so that in India and Korea, they will request an abortion with the news of a girl during pregnancy  China 120 boys per 100 girls  many boys will be without a mate as they mature  People often respond differently to females versus males Peoples Stereotypes About Infant Girls and Boys  Study conducted on new parents 10 days after newborn either male or female born to see responses regarding their new child  Results  parents of boys consistently said their sons were strong whereas parents of girls said they were weak and fine-featured  Choosing gender appropriate room colors and toys  Adults who live in a “liberal community” are less likely to follow these gender norms  Adults treatment regarding the different gender of a child support the social constructionist theory  we tend to construct or invent our own versions of reality based on prior experiences and beliefs  Example: if we are told the infant is female, automatically we justify seeing delicate features and sweet characteristics  Ideas about gender typing come from parents, schools, teachers, peers and institutions etc. Theories of Gender Development  Early explanation  Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, however no longer supported  Now, we focus on: social learning approach and cognitive developmental approach  Social learning is behaviour based while cognitive learning is thoughts based Social Learning Approach  Explains how girls learn to act feminine and boys learn to act masculine  First, children are rewarded for gender-appropriate behaviour
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