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Chapter 4: Psychology and Gender

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William Cockrell

on 10 September 2017

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Transcript of Chapter 4: Psychology and Gender

Chapter 4: Psychology and Gender
Freud and Sexual Development
Sociologists always discuss Freud when they mention psychology.
The field of psychology has long acknowledged that most of Freud's theories are not scientifically valid.
So when I see sociologists use Freud to critique psychology, I tend to roll my eyes.
Psychosexual Development:
This is the theory created by Freud which argues we develop gender identity due to our relationships with parents.
Your textbook constantly claims that Freud's theory explains homosexuality as the failed outcome of psychosexual development. This is NOT part of the original theory.
Psychoanalytic perspective :
movement which acknowledged that the mind can heavily influence the body and vice-versa. This is very important to development. The less reliable part of the theory is that all behavior is influenced by unconscious desires.
Freud's Personality Theory:
Proposed that all people have an ID, Ego, & Superego. 99% debunked in modern times.
Now it's time to go over Freud's famous psychosexual stages.
Freud argues that children are born hedonistic (What does this mean?).
He explains that infant development follows three specific stages : the oral, anal, and phallic stages.
Life in the womb is described as "paradise" and the shock of entering the real world is painful and disorienting to the infant.
Oral Stage:
Since the infant is still unconsciously upset about leaving the womb, they find pleasure from eating. There is a large focus on breastfeeding.
Anal Stage:
Yet again, the infant is very upset when the mother weans the child off the bottle/breast. Now the child will receive pleasure in using the bathroom. Remember, infants do not do the "dirty work" of this process.
Phallic Stage:
When the child is potty trained, they start focusing on their genitalia and observing if it matches their mother or father.
Oedipus and Electra Complexes
Freud stated that the phallic stage is when children learn their gender identity.
His original argument was that boys experienced more difficulty during the phallic stage than girls.
Freud argued that all children from birth until the phallic stage strongly identity with their mother.
During the phallic (sapphic?) stage for girls, they continue to identify with their mothers.
For boys, during the phallic stage they come to realize that it is unhealthy and weak to be so close to their mother. In response, most boys move away from their mother and try to mimic their father.
In doing this, boys realize they are attracted to women. The cray-cray V.C. Andrews part of the theory is that their first sexual attraction will be their mother.
The boy will develop fear for his father when he realizes that his father is the #1 competition for his mother. This fear results in the boy convincing himself that his father will castrate him if he gets too close to his mother.
Oedipus Complex:
this is the name Freud gave his argument about male sexual development. The name comes from the classic Greek play about Oedipus Rex who becomes attracted to his mother (after being separated at birth, he doesn't know she is his momma).
Penis Envy:
Freud's argument that women are angry that they do not have a penis. He argued that women can only receive sexual satisfaction with a man (oh really?? Current sex researchers argue women have more orgasms alone than with a male partner).
Self-in-relation theory
Gender is learned from parent of same-sex
Development is different for males & females
Lack of development = psychological stress
(Bergman, 1991; Miller, 1991)
Implies that opposite-sex parents cannot teach gender development
Clinical theory influenced by Freud
Freud and Homosexuality
There are more comments about Freud on homosexuality than what he actually stated
Originally, Freud argued that sexual orientation developed at the same time as gender identity.
Many theorists took this as Freud argued sexual orientation was socialized and the abnormal outcome of unsuccesful development.
Freud is often depicted as neurotic, insensitive, and sexually charged.
One classic letter between Freud and his worried patient illustrates a more sympathetic and understanding Freud.
Freud's patient was worried that her son was gay.
Freud's response : "Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness;
we consider it to be a variation of sexual function
...Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and moderns times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them....It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime-and a cruelty too."
Cognitive - Development Theories
Children learn gender through forming personal cognitive representations
Action Figures
Gross Stuff
Video games
Being Dirty
What they learn to cognitively associate with their gender determines behavior/personality
(Kohlberg, 1966; Pleck, 1975)
Emphasizes gender rigidity during adolescence
Some theories consist of multiple stages of gender conceptualization
Gender variability/flexibility more common in adulthood
Gender Role Transcendence
: Final stage, responding according to situation instead of by gender
The Implicit Association Test is a research design that measures
unconscious biases
So when I have a student say "I don't think this is real, it isn't measuring what I am thinking about"......I tend to sigh.
The whole point of the test is to measure automatic cognitive associations that we have created through lifelong socialization.
The theory is that a majority of prejudiced and discriminatory behaviors operate at the unconscious level.
Therefore, the test is believed to measure
automatic associations
that normally occur so fast, we are not capable of acknowledging them.
Defying Gender Socialization
Most gender researchers argue we cannot avoid gender socialization completely.
At most, some children "pick and choose" what their personal identity means to them.
These children are less restricted to traditional gender roles.
Unfortunately, these children often experience higher rates of childhood bullying (when they live in a culture that promotes gender inequality).
Research on Sex Differences
Typically, one journal article covers around 1-4 studies.
When a topic has generated a large amount of published research, it is time to perform a meta-analysis.
A detailed examination of hundreds (or thousands) of studies on the same topic. The goal is to use statistical procedures to "combine" the effects of the studies in order to provide an "overall finding"
Hyde conducted a meta-analysis on 46 different meta-analyses. In other words, she conducted a double meta-analysis.
Hyde found that 78% of all developmental experiences, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, etc between the sexes are insignificant.
Maccoby & Jacklin performed another meta-analysis that combined the results of over 1,600 studies on developmental sex differences.
Across the 1,600 studies they only found four significant developmental differences between men and women.
The reported significant differences are: girls have higher verbal ability, boys have better spatial and visual skills, boys are better at math, and boys are more aggressive.
Those 1,600 studies were conducted between 1966 - 1973. Do you think we would find the same significant differences now?
Gender Socialization Experiment
Review the study on pages 101 - 104. This is a prime example of a study that measures cognitive associations and sex roles.
60 preschool children were divided into two different groups. The
experimental group
was told that a tool set was for boys and the kitchen set was for girls. The
control group
was NOT given this message.
All children were asked "What would your parents think about playing with these toys".
No significant differences were found for daughters.
Their mother's opinion did not influence the boys the way their father's opinion did.
Today, this theory is disputed. Very little empirical support.
Gender Socialization
In the United States, mothers tend to be more emotionally responsive and understanding of their daughters in comparison to their sons. Fathers are more responsive to their sons, but do not encourage emotional expressions from the son.
Both fathers and mothers in the United States encourage their sons to be independent and competitive (Karraker et al., 1995).
When parents were asked to report their children's academic performance in elementary school, they reported daughters excelling in English whereas sons were better at math. When the researchers compared the scores submitted by the schools, there were NO significant differences between the grades of the sexes (Eccles, Jacobs, & Harold, 1990; Tiedemann, 2000).
Multiple studies report that children ignore and ostracize peers who do not follow typical, American gender roles (Leaper & Friedman, 2007; Legewie & DiPrete, 2012; Riley & Jones, 2007).
At all levels of education, teachers tend to give boys more attention in the classroom (Crombie et al., 2003; Jobe 2002). They are also more forgiving of boys antisocial behavior in comparison to girls (Garrahy, 2001; Huang et al., 1998; Leaper & Friedman, 2007).
One study reported teachers tend to give girls the answer whereas they try to encourage boys to figure the solution out on their own. This will improve the boys self-esteem while encouraging girls to rely on others (Huang et al., 1998).
A majority of teachers will say they are "gender-blind" even though evaluations demonstrate otherwise (Garrahy, 2001; Geist & King, 2008).
Gender Socialization in the Media
Halim et al., (2011) and Pike & Jennings (2005) reported the following American gender portrayals when utilizing a content analysis of American media.
Men dominate interactions that are cross-sexed. Meaning men initiate, control, and determine many conversations in films.
Common characteristics of men in media: rational, ambitious, smart, competitive, powerful, stable, and violent.
Common characteristics of women in media: sensitive, romantic, attractive, happy, warm, peaceful, and submissive.
For 50% of male characters studied in a content analysis, their marital status is not discussed. Only 11% of female characters in film are present without their relationship status discussed.
Multiple, different estimates report that around 65% of characters present on modern, American television are men.
In group settings, men are often the characters that come up with the solution.
The most reported, discussed, and observed media trend is that women are sexualized at a significantly higher rate than their male counterparts.
The less TV that a child watches, the less supportive they are of American gender roles.
When children watch gender-incongruent media, they are more supportive of less traditional gender beliefs (e.g., watching Wonder Woman as well as watching Batman and Superman).
Sex, Psychology, and Aggression
In children, we see that boys commit more violent behaviors than their female peers.
When aggression is broadly defined, measurements usually report men as being more aggressive.
If aggression is operationalized more specifically (e.g., direct, indirect, and relational) we notice that the differences are less significant.
Across all age groups, women use relational aggression more than men (Miller-Ott & Kelly, 2014; Werner & Crick, 1999).
Researchers have noted that there is an increase in women participating in violence in the United States. The media is actively distorting the statistics though.
In contrast to aggressive responding, research indicates women are better at responding to emotional, facial expressions. The better a person is at reading facial expressions, the less likely they are to aggressively react (Hall, 1978; McClure, 2000).
Overlapping-Curve Model of Gender Differences:
instead of always comparing differences, we need to examine the similarities (or overlap) of the data. Two common research findings that follow this trend are aggression and arousal.
Psychological Theories of Gender
Two-Dimensional Model of Gender:
the argument that people contain BOTH masculine and feminine characteristics.
Bem Sex Role Inventory:
One of the most famous psychological measurements related to gender. The survey measures a person on both masculine and feminine scales.
the combination of both male and female
Research today measures correlations between androgyny and other personality traits. For instance, people high in androgyny appear to also have higher levels of self-esteem than people who have rigid gender beliefs (Taylor & Hall, 1982).
Androgynous people in heterosexual relationships appear to have an easier time expressing their emotional experiences and being more receptive of their partners feelings than people who are less androgynous in a heterosexual relationship (Coleman & Ganong, 1985).
In mixed-sex groups, androgynous leaders appear to be more persuasive. This is not found in same-sex work groups (Kark et al., 2002).
A common and valid critique of Bem's Sex Role Inventory and androgyny is that eastern countries are NOT replicating the original, American research (Peng, 2006; Turkum, 2005; Yim & Mahalingam, 2006). This implies that androgyny is also influenced by culture.
Theory of Positive and Negative Androgyny:
Review the following slides characteristics to understand if one has positive male and female characteristics it is perceived as
positive androgyny
. Negative male and female characteristics are typically attributed to
negative androgyny
Positive & Negative Androgyny
Positive Feminine Traits:
Patient, Appreciative, Loves Children, Responsible, and Loyal.
Negative Feminine Traits:
Worried, Timid, Self-Critical, Nervous, and Bashful.
Positive Masculine Traits:
Firm, Confident, Competitive, Strong, and Outspoken.
Negative Masculine Traits:
Bossy, Showing Off, Noisy, Aggressive, and Sarcastic.
The theory implies that various different combinations lead to unique identity compositions.
Yet again, this concept is heavily an American approach to gendered expectations.
Age, Generation, and Race will also influence interactions between positive and negative androgyny.
As you should notice by now, most research on androgyny is not related to physical appearance.
Meaning, the media inaccurately focuses on androgyny as being unable to distinguish a person as being physically a man or woman (e.g., David Bowie, Grace Jones, Justin Bieber, or Ruby Rose).
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