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Chapter 4

Worlds Apart? Gender Differences in Social Behavior and Experience

Jessica Parsons

on 25 September 2012

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Transcript of Chapter 4

Worlds Apart? Gender Differences in Social Behavior and Experience CHAPTER 4 Differences? How Important is Context? Dominance Empathy How important is context in producing gender differences? Gender differences are not apparent in all contexts

May be a product of circumstance rather than being “built in” or “set” by biology or early learning. Essentialism The idea that gender differences in behavior stem from qualities that are inherent or possessed by women and men. Social Constructionism The idea that gender is something that is not composed of traits possessed by individuals but rather something that occurs in interactions. Theorists disagree over which approach is more useful or correct. However, much of the psychological research on gender is grounded in essentialist assumptions. Dominance Encompasses a wide range of behaviors that have to do with:
Imposing one's will on others
Controlling and influencing others behavior

•In Western culture, males are stereotypically viewed as more dominant than females. Studies have been done on African American, European American, and Hispanic undergraduate students
and in all three, social dominance was stronger in the males.

However, the research on speaking patterns of Japanese couples showed they didn’t differ so much on the number of interruptions, but the nature.
Men’s speech: self-oriented, aimed toward gaining center stage and controlling
Women’s speech: other-oriented, focused on supporting men’s storytelling Is there a male difference in the tendency toward empathy? Studies and reports have shown that females are more empathetic than males. Empathy is being sensitive and responsive to the feelings of others. Females have more of an intuition to listening to others’ problems and are more easily swayed than men with feelings. Gendered behavior could be seen as prompted by the gender of others. Is there a gender difference in the tendency towards altruism? Example: In same-sex pairs, men and women were tested for dominance, but when put in mixed-sex pairs, no matter what the dominance score was, the males showed more dominance. Altruism is helping others when they are in need. It is frequently assumed that women are more willing to help strangers than men but results prove inconsistent. Whether men have to keep up with the chivalrous image or not, research has found that men are more consistent with helping strangers than women. Empathy The more competent a person is seen as being in a particular situation, the more leadership she or he will be able to assume Status expectations: Quality of being sensitive and responsive to the feelings of others, known as a feminine characteristic Perceived competence: Self report questionnaire showed that women tend to get more emotionally involved in other people’s problems significantly more than men. Relationship between leadership and gender stereotyping Women have also been found to be consistent at picking up nonverbal cues and auditory cues from people. Example: Males emerge more as leaders when they do “masculine tasks” such as how to invest money and “neutral tasks” such as how to spend money on entertainment items, and females emerged more for "feminine" tasks such as how to spend money on a wedding. Altruism Women are generally viewed to be more altruistic than men in society but the assumed gender difference is apparently wrong. Researchers have found that the situation of the problem normally identifies which gender will be there to help. Gender differences in helping behavior seem to be largely dependent on the situation and gender-role-related factors. Gender-Race-Dominance: Race, like sex, is considered by researchers a status characteristic What Happened to the Differences? Being Black is associated with a lower status than being White.
Being female is associated with a lower status than being male.
Black women = lowest status? NO. Gender differences of social behavior normally range from small to moderate and depend on situational factors. Psychological research proves that men can be just as nurturant as women, and women just as aggressive as men but given current social conditions, they will not always act in such ways. In African-American groups, the women still managed to say what they wanted to say, even though the men had a lack of consideration for their viewpoint, unlike in the women European-American groups with the same male behavior.
African-American women were able to complete what they wanted to say based on their own assertive and active behavior, rather than accommodations by African-American men. Dominance in other cultures Among the Mbuti, equality is favored and leadership/dominance is discouraged.
The Constitution of the Iroquois declared women were the descent of the people would run in the female line and that the women would own the land and soil. Altruism Why Men are Still the Dominant Force Some studies indicate that some women are finding that trying to have a career and a family is too stressful, and are now opting out of the rat race. Not every woman appears to “want it all,” and maybe, just maybe, we are reaching a point of equilibrium. Nurturance Involves caring for and promoting the welfare of others

Comforting a sick child
Mending a leaky roof

There is no evidence of a gender difference in nurturance that includes all activities, BUT: Nurturance: Mothers
Child-care workers
Social workers Easy to accept a stereotype of women as the more nurturing sex. Women may not be more naturally nurturing; rather their participation rates are due to social pressure and gender identification.

In cultures where the differential socialization pressures are minimal – in which, for instance, both girls and boys are expected to help with infant care – gender differences are minimal as well. It is masculine sex-typing, rather than being male, that seems to interfere with nurturant behavior. Example: In one study, androgynous men were as responsive to a baby and to a kitten as women were, but masculine men were less responsive. Current Event Askmen.com Argues: Post-industrial society favors women. Something to Think About:
"The End of Men” postulated that women have more jobs than men because of the type of roles being created; women who go to work create “domestic” jobs for other women to fill -- essentially, paid versions of what the traditional 1950s housewife would have done, and not roles men would generally have much interest in. Questions How aware are you of your own interactions with others when in mixed-gender discussions?
(pay attention right now, in class!)

Women are not supposed to be aggressive or Men are not supposed to be nurturing - Do we see examples of these in our daily lives?
example: Hilary Clinton called a "bitch" by the media

Other questions? Aggression According to lab studies where participants were provoked by an electric shock, when they were given an opportunity to retaliate; men reacted more frequently and with more intensity than women.

Studies also concluded that the difference in levels of aggressiveness are consistent throughout many cultures; both physical and verbal.

Men often use overt aggression, in which they intend to hurt or threaten another person, while women tend to use relational aggression which involves threatening another person through damaging the relationship (a.k.a indirect/social aggression).

• Women tend to use relational aggression as opposed to overt aggression because it does not violate norms of femininity and therefore are more socially acceptable.

• It is reverse for men, the norms of masculinity tell men it is more socially acceptable to act more openly aggressive and avoid relational forms of aggression. Aggression
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