Respond to one of your colleagues in one of the following ways:
- Ask a probing question, and provide insight into how you would answer your question and why.
- Ask a probing question, and provide the foundation (or rationale) for the question.
- Expand on your colleague’s posting by offering a new perspective or insight.
- Agree with a colleague and offer additional (new) supporting information for consideration.
- Disagree with a colleague by respectfully discussing and supporting a different perspective.
Support your reply to a colleague’s post with at least one reference (textbook or other scholarly, empirical resources). You may state your opinion and/or provide personal examples; however, you must also back up your assertions with evidence (including in-text citations) from the source and provide a reference.
WK1 discussion Gender Bias
Top of Form
Gender bias is something that I believe is ingrained in each of us through culture and society. When I was a child, the gender roles were defined. Men went to work and provided for their families, and women stayed home and were the caretakers and nurturers of the children and the home makers. The women cleaned the house and cooked meals. The roles inside my home growing up were the girls cleaned the house, and the boys mowed the lawn. As I got older society was changing and the roles in the household changed as well. All my siblings were given chores inside the house and outside with yard chores. The only thing that did not change is the lawn mowing. Only my brothers mowed the lawn until one day I told my dad I wanted to mow the lawn. He looked a little surprised but smiled and said ok, then he showed me how to start and run the lawn mower. I continued to mow the lawn and I loved doing it. My mother got a job to help with the bills and the gender roles in the household were no longer gender based. Everyone was expected to do any household or yard chore.
The gender roles were changing in society. There were more dual parent households where both parents worked. This can be attributed to the cost of living rising and creating a need for both parents to bring income into the home. “The roles of women and men have become more similar, mainly because of women’s increased participation in the paid labor force. Specifically, women’s labor force participation increased from 34% to 60% between 1950 and 1998 and men’s decreased from 86% to 75% (U.S. Department of Labor, 1999), (Diekman, A.B., & Eagly, A.H., (2000).
There are gender specific roles in many cultures, and this can create gender biases. Being culturally conditioned to believe that men or women must have defined roles can create a biased mind set on what each gender should be doing.
An example of a gender bias when I was younger was something that I heard in school a lot. Statements that were made about physical abilities. Boys can run faster than girls. Girls cannot play football. Boys do not play with dolls. And many more gender biased statements. The truth is that there were many girls that could run faster then boys, and some girls did want to play football, and some boys did want to play with dolls. The gender biases that people have and have had throughout many generations, have held people back from doing things that they wanted to do and that they were capable of doing. The women’s movement created a change in gender roles, but there are still many gender biases throughout the world today.
Gender biases are still ingrained in most people’s minds. These biases can create a bias based opinion any number of studies done involving different genders. Studies from medical to social interactions can be affected based on gender biases. One gender biased example could be a study done on breast cancer. A gender biased opinion could be made by thinking that only women get breast cancer, but that is false because men can also develop breast cancer. So the study may focus on women but exclude men so the study would be inaccurate on breast cancer as a whole.
(Diekman, A.B., & Eagly, A.H., (2000). Stereo Types as Dynamic Constructs. Women and Men of the past, present, and future. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1177/0146167200262001
Bottom of Form
Gender: Psychological Perspectives synthesizes the latest research on gender to help students think critically about the differences between research fi ndings and stereotypes, provoking them to examine and revise their own preconceptions. The text examines the behavioral, biological, and social contexts in which women and men express gendered behaviors. The text’s unique pedagogical program helps students understand the portrayal of gender in the media and the application of gender research in the real world. Headlines from the news open each chapter to engage the reader. Gendered Voices boxes present true personal accounts of people’s lives. According to the Media boxes highlight gender-related coverage in newspapers, magazines, books, TV, and movies, while According to the Research boxes offer the latest scientifi cally based research to help students analyze the accuracy and fairness of gender images presented in the media. Additionally, Considering Diversity sections emphasize the cross-cultural perspective of gender.
This text is intended for undergraduate or graduate courses on the psychology of gender, psychology of sex, psychology of women or men, gender issues, sex roles, women in society, and women’s or men’s studies. It is also applicable to sociology and anthropology courses on diversity.
Seventh Edition Highlights
• 12 new headlines on topics ranging from gender and the Flynn effect to gender ste- reotyping that affects men
• Coverage of gender issues in aging adults and transgendered individuals • Expanded coverage of diversity issues in the US and around the globe, including the
latest research from China, Japan, and Europe • More tables, fi gures, and photos to provide summaries of text in an easy-to-absorb
format • End-of-chapter summaries and glossary • Suggested readings for further exploration of chapter topics • A companion website at www.routledge.com/cw/Brannon where instructors will fi nd
lecture outlines, PowerPoint slides, student activities, test questions, and website and video suggestions; and students will fi nd fl ashcards, student learner objectives, chapter outlines, and links to related websites and further reading
Linda Brannon is Professor of Psychology at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“Gender is a very important contribution to the study of gender in psychology. Its innovative format and unique organization provide for an enjoyable learning experience for students of psychology.”
—Florence L. Denmark, Pace University
“Gender strikes the perfect balance between biological and social factors that inform the psychology of gender. Even more importantly, this text is solidly based on scientifi c research fi ndings rather than venturing into the minefi eld of gender politics.”
—Linda Heath, Loyola University Chicago
“Gender provides a readable review of both classic and recent research on gender. Linda Brannon is consistently balanced and empirical in her stance, and original in the way she threads varied topics together to give the reader a comprehensive and nuanced understand- ing of gender.”
—Maureen C. McHugh, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
“Gender thoroughly covers the latest research on traditional topics, such as relationships and sexuality, and clearly presents newer topics such as homosexuality, transsexuals, and sexual abuse. Excellent for psychology and sociology courses.”
—Nancy Netting, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada
“I have been happily using Gender for many editions now, and defi nitely plan to continue having seen the same excellent writing, research foundation, and easy-to-follow organization in the seventh edition. My students like this text; I highly recommend it.”
—Karen J. Prager, The University of Texas at Dallas
Gender Psychological Perspectives
Seventh edition published 2017 by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017
and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business
© 2017 Taylor & Francis
The right of Linda Brannon to be identifi ed as the author of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.
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First published 1996 by Allyn and Bacon
Sixth edition published 2010 by Psychology Press
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Names: Brannon, Linda, 1948– author. Title: Gender : psychological perspectives / Linda Brannon. Description: Seventh Edition. | New York : Routledge, 2017. | Revised edition of the
author’s Gender, 2015. Identifi ers: LCCN 2016046499 | ISBN 9781138182356 (hardback : alk. paper) |
ISBN 9781138182349 (pbk. : alk. paper) | ISBN 9781315621821 (ebk) Subjects: LCSH: Sex differences (Psychology)—Textbooks. | Gender
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Preface xv Acknowledgments xx About the Author xxi
1 The Study of Gender 1
2 Researching Sex and Gender 22
3 Gender Stereotypes: Masculinity and Femininity 46
4 Hormones and Chromosomes 77
5 Theories of Gender Development 109
6 Developing Gender Identity 136
7 Intelligence and Cognitive Abilities 170
8 Emotion 201
9 Relationships 235
10 Sexuality 280
11 School 324
12 Careers and Work 355
13 Health and Fitness 390
14 Stress, Coping, and Psychopathology 429
vi Brief Contents
15 Treatment for Mental Disorders 468
16 How Different? 499
Preface xv Acknowledgments xx About the Author xxi
1 The Study of Gender 1
Headline: “The End of Men,” Atlantic Monthly , July/August, 2010 1 History of the Study of Sex Differences in Psychology 3
The Study of Individual Differences 4 Psychoanalysis 4
The Development of Women’s Studies 6 The History of Feminist Movements 6 Sex or Gender? 9 Women in Psychology 10 The Appearance of the Men’s Movement 12
Considering Diversity 15 Summary 17 Glossary 18 Suggested Readings 18 Suggested Websites 19 References 19
2 Researching Sex and Gender 22
Headline: “Does Gender Matter?” Nature, July 13, 2006 22 How Science Developed 22 Approaches to Research 24
Quantitative Research Methods 24 Experimental Designs 25 Ex Post Facto Studies 26 Surveys 27 Correlational Studies 28
Qualitative Research Methods 29 Interviews 29 Ethnography 30 Focus Groups 30
Researchers’ Choices 31 Gender Bias in Research 32
Sources of Bias 32 Ways to Deal with Bias in Science 37
Advocating Transformation 38 Decreasing Bias 39
Summary 40 Glossary 41 Suggested Readings 42 Suggested Websites 42 References 42
3 Gender Stereotypes: Masculinity and Femininity 46
Headline: “Gender Stereotypes Don’t Die Easily” Vancouver Sun, June 27, 2013 46 History of Stereotypes of Women and Men 46
The Cult of True Womanhood 47 Masculinities 48
Conceptualizing and Measuring Masculinity and Femininity 50 Explicit Measures of Stereotyping 50 Implicit Measures of Stereotyping 52
The Process and Implications of Stereotyping 53 Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination 53 Perceptions of Women and Men 54 Stereotypes over the Lifespan 59 Negative Effects of Stereotyping 61
Stereotype Threat 61 Benevolent Sexism 64
Considering Diversity 65 Summary 68 Glossary 69 Suggested Readings 69 Suggested Websites 70 References 70
4 Hormones and Chromosomes 77
Headline: “Venus and Mars Collide” New Scientist, March 5, 2011 77 The Endocrine System and Steroid Hormones 77 Sexual Differentiation 79
Chromosomes 79 Prenatal Development of Male and Female Physiology 79
The Reproductive Organs 79 The Nervous System 82
Changes during Puberty 83 Changes during Adulthood 85 Variations in Sexual Development 86
Variations in Number of Sex Chromosomes 86 Problems Related to Prenatal Hormone Exposure 88
Hormones and Behavior Instability 90 Premenstrual Syndrome 90 Testosterone and Aggression 96
Considering Diversity 99 Summary 100 Glossary 102 Suggested Readings 103 Suggested Websites 103 References 103
5 Theories of Gender Development 109
Headline: “Code Pink” Mother Jones , September/October, 2009 109 The Psychodynamic Approach to Gender Development 110
Freud’s View of Gender Identity Development 110 Horney’s Theory of Gender 111 Contemporary Psychodynamic Theories of Gender Development 113
Chodorow’s Emphasis on Mothering 113 Kaschak’s Antigone Phase 115
Social Learning Theory and Gender 116 Cognitive Theories of Gender Development 123
Cognitive Developmental Theory 123 Gender Schema Theory 126
Which Theory is Best? 127 Summary 130 Glossary 131 Suggested Readings 131 Suggested Websites 132 References 132
6 Developing Gender Identity 136
Headline: “A Boy’s Life” The Atlantic , November 2008 136 Gender Identity Development 136
Development during Childhood 137 The Sequence of Childhood Gender Role Development 138 Differences between Girls and Boys 140
Later Development 141 Infl uences on Gender Identity Development 145
Biological Factors and Gender Development 145 Family Environment and Gender Development 148 Peers and Gender Development 151 The Media and Gender Development 152
Gender Bias in the Media 153 Children and Media 155
Considering Diversity 157 Summary 159 Glossary 160 Suggested Readings 160 Suggested Websites 161 References 161
7 Intelligence and Cognitive Abilities 170
Headline: “Is the Female of the Species Really More Intelligent Than the Male?” The Telegraph , July 17, 2012 170
Cognitive Abilities 170 Verbal Performance 173 Mathematical and Quantitative Performance 174 Spatial Performance 178 Other Cognitive Abilities 182
Source of the Differences 186 Biological Evidence for Gender Differences in Cognitive Abilities 186 Evidence for Other Sources of Gender Differences 188
Implications of Gender-Related Differences 189 Considering Diversity 191 Summary 192 Glossary 193 Suggested Readings 193 Suggested Websites 193 References 194
8 Emotion 201
Headline: “Do Get Mad” New Scientist , February 9, 2013 201 Gender in the Experience and Expression of Emotion 201
The Myth of Maternal Instinct 204 Maternal Deprivation and Its Consequences for Nurturing 204 Gender and Caring for Children 206
The Prominence of Male Aggression 209 Anger and Aggression 210 Developmental Gender Differences in Aggression 211 Gender and Aggression during Adulthood 214 Gender and Crime 215 Sexual Violence 219
Expressivity and Emotion 222 Considering Diversity 224 Summary 225 Glossary 226 Suggested Readings 227 Suggested Websites 227 References 227
9 Relationships 235
Headline: “The New Rules of Dating” Men’s Fitness , February, 2013 235 Friendships 236
Development of Styles 236 Friendships over the Lifespan 239 Flexibility of Styles 242
Love Relationships 243 Dating 244 Marriage and Committed Relationships 247
Concepts of Love and Marriage 250 Communication between Partners 252 Balance of Power 253 Division of Household Labor 255 Confl ict and Violence 257 Stability of Relationships 259
Dissolving Relationships 261 Considering Diversity 265 Summary 267 Glossary 268 Suggested Readings 268 Suggested Websites 269 References 269
10 Sexuality 280
Headline: “How to End to War over Sex Ed,” Time Atlantic , April 6, 2009 280 The Study of Sexuality 281
Sex Surveys 281 The Kinsey Surveys 281 Hunt’s Playboy Foundation Survey 284 The National Health and Social Life Survey 285 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior 285 Gender Differences (and Similarities) in Sexual Attitudes and Behavior 286
Masters and Johnson’s Approach 289 Childhood Sexuality: Exploration and Abuse 290 Heterosexuality 294
During Adolescence 295 During Adulthood 298
Homosexuality 303 During Adolescence 306 During Adulthood 308
Bisexuality 311 Considering Diversity 312 Summary 313 Glossary 315 Suggested Readings 315
Suggested Websites 316 References 316
11 School 324
Headline: “The Target,” Vanity Fair , April, 2013 324 The School Experience 324
Early Schooling 326 Changes during Middle School 328 High School 330 College and Professional School 335
Achievement 340 Achievement Motivation 340 Fear of Success 341 Self-Esteem and Self-Confi dence 341 Attributions for Success and Failure 344
Considering Diversity 345 Summary 347 Glossary 349 Suggested Readings 349 Suggested Websites 349 References 349
12 Careers and Work 355
Headline: “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby,” Canadian Business, October 13, 2013 355 Careers 355
Career Expectations and Gender Stereotyping 357 Career Opportunities 359
Discrimination in Hiring 360 Barriers to Career Advancement 363 Balancing Career and Family 367
Gender Issues at Work 369 Gender Segregation on the Job 369 Gender, Communication, and Power in the Workplace 371 Sexual Harassment at Work 373
Considering Diversity 377 Summary 380 Glossary 381 Suggested Readings 382 Suggested Websites 382 References 382
13 Health and Fitness 390
Headline: “Ladies Last,” National Geographic, April, 2013 390 Mortality: No Equal Opportunity 390
Cardiovascular Disease 391
Cancer 393 Violent Deaths 395
The Health Care System 398 Gender Roles and Health Care 398
Gender and Seeking Health Care 398 Gender and Receiving Health Care 399
Reproductive Health 402 Gender and Healthy Aging 405
Gender, Lifestyle, and Health 407 Eating 408
Body Image 409 Eating Disorders 412
Exercise and Fitness 413 Considering Diversity 415 Summary 418 Glossary 420 Suggested Readings 420 Suggested Websites 421 References 421
14 Stress, Coping, and Psychopathology 429
Headline: “White Men Have Less Life Stress, But Are More Prone to Depression Because of It,” Huffi ngton Post , September 23, 2015 429
Stress and Coping 429 Sources of Stress for Men and Women 429
Family Roles 430 Violence 432 Discrimination 433 Poverty 434
Coping Resources and Strategies 435 Social Support 436 Coping Strategies 437
Diagnoses of Mental Disorders 439 The DSM Classifi cation System 439 Gender Inequity in the Diagnosis of Mental Disorders 440
Gender Comparisons in Psychopathology 443 Depression 444 Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders 447 Anxiety Disorders 449 Other Disorders 450
Considering Diversity 454 Summary 456 Glossary 457 Suggested Readings 458 Suggested Websites 458 References 459
15 Treatment for Mental Disorders 468
Headline: “Colorado Launches Man Therapy to Break Down Mental Health Stigmas” Nation’s Health, October 2012 468
Approaches to Therapy 468 Psychoanalysis 468 Humanistic Therapy 469 Cognitive Therapy 470 Behavior Modifi cation 471 Medical Therapies 472 Accusations of Gender Bias in Therapy 473
Gender Issues in Therapy 475 Feminist Therapy 475
Principles of Feminist Therapy 476 Clients of Feminist Therapy 477
Therapy with Men 478 Gender-Sensitive Therapies 479
Sexual Exploitation in Therapy 481 The Self-Help Movement 484
Online Support Groups 486 Gender Issues in Self-Help 487
Considering Diversity 488 Summary 490 Glossary 491 Suggested Readings 491 Suggested Websites 492 References 492
16 How Different? 499
Headline: “Signs of Détente in the Battle between Venus and Mars,” New York Times, May 31, 2007 499
What do Women Want? What do Men Want? 499 Have Women Become More Like Men? 499 Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman? 504
Multiple Roles Have Become the Rule 506 Where Are the Differences? 509
Differences in Ability 510 Differences in Choices 512
Is a Peace Plan Possible? 514 Summary 515 Glossary 516 Suggested Readings 516 Suggested Websites 517 References 517
This book examines the topic of gender—the behaviors and attitudes that relate to (but are not the same as) biological sex. A large and growing body of research on sex, gender, and gender-related behaviors has come from psychology, sociology, biology, biochemistry, neurology, and anthropology. This research and scholarship form the basis for this book, providing the material for a critical review and an attempt to generate an overall picture of gender from a psychological perspective.
The Topic of Gender
A critical review of gender research is important for several reasons. First, gender is currently a “hot topic,” and almost everyone has an opinion. These opinions are not usually based on research. Most people are not familiar with research fi ndings; they simply know their own opinions. People’s personal experiences infl uence their opinions, but the media cultivate a view of gender through stories and depictions in the movies, on television entertainment and news programs, and in other media. Based on these portrayals, people create images about how they believe women and men should be and attempt to re-create these images in their own lives. This personal reproduction of gender portrayals in the media is another example of what Candace West and Don Zimmerman (1987) described as “doing gender.”
In Gender: Psychological Perspectives , I present fi ndings from gender researchers, although the picture is neither simple nor complete. Research fi ndings are complex and sometimes contradictory, but the volume of research over the past 50 years has yielded suffi cient research to obtain clarity in some areas, whereas other areas are not yet so clear. I believe that it is important to understand this research rather than draw conclusions based on only personal opinions and popular media portrayals.
Second, despite the bias and controversy that have surrounded the research process, research is a valuable way to understand gender. Although scientifi c research is supposed to be objective and free of personal bias, this idealistic notion often varies from the actual research process. Gender research in particular has been plagued with personal bias. Despite the potential for bias in the research process, I believe that research is the most productive way to approach the evaluation of a topic. Others disagree with this view, including some who are interested in gender-related topics. A number of scholars, especially feminist schol- ars, have rejected scientifi c research as the best way to learn about gender.
Although I agree that science has not treated women equitably, either as researchers or as participants in research, I still believe that science offers the best chance for a fuller understanding of gender (as well as of many other topics). Although some scholars disagree, I believe that science can further the goal of equity. I agree with Janet Shibley Hyde and Kristen Kling (2001, p. 369) who said, “An important task of feminist psychology is to challenge stereotypic ideas about gender and test the stereotypes against data.” My goals
are consistent with that view—to examine what gender researchers have found and how they have interpreted their fi ndings. By doing so, I hope to accomplish one of the goals that Meredith Cherland (2008) mentioned for those who teach about gender: “unsettling their students’ collective views of the world and their sense of life’s inevitability” (p. 273). I believe that the research on gender has that potential.
The book’s emphasis on gender is similar to another approach to studying gender— through examining the psychology of women. The psychology-of-women approach concen- trates on women and issues unique to women, whereas the gender approach focuses on the issue of gender as a factor in behavior and in the social context in which behavior occurs. Gender research and theory draw heavily from research on the psychology of women, but the emphasis differs.
By emphasizing women and their experience, the psychology-of-women approach often excludes men, but gender research cannot. Studying both women and men is essential to an understanding of gender. Researchers who are interested in gender issues may concentrate on women or men, but they must consider both, or their research reveals nothing about gender. Therefore, this seventh edition of Gender: Psychological Perspectives examines the research and theory from psychology and related fi elds in order to evaluate the behavior, biology, and social context in which both women and men function.
The gender approach also refl ects my personal preferences: I want a psychology of women and men. When I was completing the fi rst edition of this book, I attended a conference session on creating a course on psychology of women. Several instructors who had created such courses led a discussion about obtaining institutional approval and the challenges they had encountered, including resistance from administrators (who were mostly men) concern- ing a course in which the enrollment would be mostly women. One of the group advised trying for approval of a course on gender if obtaining approval for a psychology of women course was not successful. The implication was that the topic of gender included men and would be more acceptable but less desirable. I disagreed. I wanted men to be included—in the research, in my book, and in my classes. This preference comes from the belief that both women and men are required in order to consider and discuss gender issues. I prefer the gender approach, and I wanted this book to refl ect that attitude. As R. W. (now Raewyn) Connell (2005) has discussed, women’s efforts for change will not succeed completely with- out men’s support and assistance. Men must participate to create gender equity for everyone.
My interest in gender comes from two sources—my research and my experience as a female psychologist. The research that prompted me to examine gender issues more carefully was work on risk perception related to health problems. I was interested in investigating people’s perceptions of the health risks created by their behavior, such as the perceptions of health risks in smokers versus nonsmokers. In this research, I found that women and men saw their behaviors and risks in similar ways, even when the actual level of health risks dif- fered quite a bit for men and women. My research showed gender similarities rather than gender differences.
In examining the volume of research on gender-related attitudes and behaviors, I dis- covered that many other researchers’ fi ndings were similar to mine—more similarities than differences. When differences appeared, many were small. I came to doubt the widespread belief that men and women are opposites. Rather, the evidence indicated that women and men are more similar than different. With the focus on differences, this view was not often voiced. Recently, this view has become more prominent. Concentrating on research fi nd- ings rather than stereotypes or media portrayals, psychologists have come to conclusions of gender similarities rather than differences. Janet Shibley Hyde (2005) has proposed a gender similarities hypothesis rather than one of gender differences, and Rosalind Barnett and Caryl Rivers (2004) have summarized this view as Same Difference.
As a female psychologist, I was forced to attend to gender issues from the outset of my career. Sexism and discrimination were part of the context in which I received my professional training and in which I have pursued my career as a psychologist. Women were a small minor- ity in the fi eld during my early years in psychology, but the numbers have since increased so that now women receive over half the doctoral degrees granted each year in psychology. This increase and several antidiscrimination laws have produced some improvements in equitable treatment for women in psychology (as well as in other professions and in society in general).
The psychology-of-women approach came from the women in psychology during the feminist movement of the 1960s. Most of the women in psychology have not been directly involved in the psychology of women, and some are not feminists, but the presence of a growing proportion of women has changed psychology, making a psychology of gender not only possible but also, I think, inevitable.
Although I believe that research is a good way to understand behavior, including gender- related behavior, I accept the value of other approaches, including personal accounts. In traditional quantitative research, the data consist of numbers, and each participant’s experi- ence is lost in the transformation to numerical data and the statistical compilations of these data. Personal accounts and interviews do not lead to a comfortable blurring of the results. Rather, each person’s account is sharply depicted, with no averaging to blunt the edges of the story. Louise Kidder (1994) contended that one of the drawbacks of personal accounts is the vividness of the data generated by reports of personal experience. I thought that such accounts could be an advantage.
The text of Gender: Psychological Perspectives consists of an evaluation of research fi ndings— exactly the sort of information that people may fi nd diffi cult to relate to their lives. I decided that I also wanted to include some personal, narrative accounts of gender-relevant aspects of people’s lives, and I wanted these accounts to connect to the research studies. The perils of vividness seemed small compared to the advantages. I believe that people’s personal experi- ences are distilled in statistical research, but I also know that a lot of the interesting details are lost in the process.
These “Gendered Voices” narratives are my attempt to restore some of the details lost in statistical summaries, allowing men and women to tell about their personal experiences. Telling these stories separate from the text was an alternative to presenting information about gender and highlighting the relevance of research fi ndings with vivid detail. Some of the stories are funny, showing a light-hearted approach to dealing with the frustrations and annoyances of discrimination and gender bias. Some of the stories are sad, revealing experiences of sexual harassment, violence, and abuse. All of the stories are real accounts, not fi ctional tales constructed as good examples. When the stories are based on published sources, I name the people presenting their experience. For other stories, I have chosen not to name those involved to protect their privacy. I listened to my friends and students talk about gender issues and wrote down what they told me, trying to report what they said in their own words. I hope that these stories give a different perspective and add a sense of gendered experience to the volume of research reported here.
Long before I thought of writing a book about gender, I noticed the popularity of the topic in the media. Not only are the sexes the topic of many private and public debates, but gender differences are also the topic of many newspaper, magazine, and television stories, ranging
from sitcoms to scientifi c reporting. I had read warnings about the media’s tendencies to oversimplify research fi ndings and to “punch up” the fi ndings to make the story grab people’s attention. I wanted to examine the research on gender to try to understand what the research says, with all of its complexities, and to present the media version along with an analysis of the research fi ndings.
Of particular concern to me was the tendency of the media and of people who hear reports of gender research to seek (or assume) a biological basis for the behavioral differences between the sexes, as though evidence of biologically based differences would be more “real” than any other type of evidence. The division of the biological realm from the behavioral realm is a false dichotomy; the two are intertwined and mutually infl uence each other. Even genes can be altered by environment, and experiences can produce changes in behavior as permanent as any produced by physiology. Many people hold the view that biological dif- ferences are real and permanent, whereas experience and culture produce only transient and changeable effects. This view is incorrect.
The tendency to seek a biological explanation is strong and appealing to many. As Naomi Weisstein (1982) said, “Biology has always been used as a curse against women” (p. 41), which has led many scholars to minimize the focus on biology. However, this book exam- ines biological evidence in some detail because I want to present and evaluate this research rather than ignore it. I want readers to question the extent to which the biological “curse” should apply.
To further highlight the popular conceptualizations of gender, I decided to use headlines from newspapers and popular magazines as a way to illustrate how the media represent gender. Some of the headline stories are examples of responsible journalism that seeks to present research in a way that is easy to understand, whereas other headline stories are more sensational or simplifi ed.
The sensationalism occurs because such stories get attention, but the stories distort research fi ndings and perpetuate stereotypical thinking about the sexes. I believe that Beryl Lieff Benderly (1989), a science reporter, was correct when she warned about media sensational- ism of gender research by writing the headline “Don’t believe everything you read” (p. 67).
According to the Media and According to the Research
In addition to gender in the headlines, I have included two boxed features called “Accord- ing to the Media” and “According to the Research” that concentrate on gender portrayals in the media. According to the Media boxes examine how gender is portrayed in the various media—magazines, television, movies, video games, Internet sources, cartoons, and fi ction. The corresponding According to the Research boxes provide research fi ndings as a more systematic counterpoint to the media topics. The contrast of these two presentations pro- vides an opportunity to examine gender bias and stereotyping in the media. I hope these features lead students to question and think critically about the accuracy and fairness of the thousands of gendered images that they experience through the media.
The history of psychology is not fi lled with a concern for diversity or an emphasis on diver- sity issues, but these topics are of increasing interest and concern within psychology. Indeed, gender research is one of the major contributors to the growing diversity in psychology. In addition, cross-cultural research has fl ourished and continues to expand in countries around the world. This research has begun to provide a more comprehensive picture of psychological issues in contexts beyond ethnic groups within the United States.
To highlight this developing research and tie it to gender issues, this edition of Gender: Psychological Perspectives includes a section in most chapters called “Considering Diversity,” which focuses on diversity research. Although diversity issues enter the text at many other points in the book, the creation of a section to highlight diversity ensures attention to these important issues. In some chapters, the research is suffi ciently developed to present a cross- cultural review of the topic, but for other topics, cross-cultural research remains sparse, so those diversity sections present a specialized topic that relates to the chapter.
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Benderly, Beryl Lieff. (1989, November). Don’t believe everything you read: A case study of sex-difference research turned a small fi nding into a major media fl ap. Psychology Today, 67–69.
Cherland, Meredith. (2008). Harry’s girls: Harry Potter and the discourse of gender. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 52 (4), 273–282.
Connell, R. W. (2005). Change among the gatekeepers: Men, masculinities, and gender equality in the global arena. Signs, 30 , 1801–1825.
Hyde, Janet Shibley. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. American Psychologist, 60 , 581–592. Hyde, Janet Shibley; & Kling, Kristen C. (2001). Women, motivation, and achievement. Psychology of Women
Quarterly, 25 , 364–378. Kidder, Louise. (1994, August). All pores open . Paper presented at the 102nd annual convention of the American
Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA. Weisstein, Naomi. (1982, November). Tired of arguing about biological inferiority? Ms., 41–46, 85. West, Candace; & Zimmerman, Don H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender and Society, 1 , 125–151.
At the completion of any book, authors have many people to thank, and I am no exception. Without the assistance, support, and encouragement of many people, I never could have written this book, much less completed six editions. I thank all of them, but several people deserve special mention. My colleagues in the psychology department at McNeese State University were supportive and helpful. Dena Matzenbacher, Denise Arellano, Cameron Melville, Carl Bartling, Charlotte Carp, Tracy Lepper, and Patrick Moreno offered their expertise and assistance.
Husbands often deserve special thanks, and mine is no exception. My husband, Barry Humphus, did a great deal to hold my life together while I was researching and writing: He bailed me out of tech trouble repeatedly and rendered charts and graphs for many of the fi gures that appear in this edition of the book. I would not have attempted (much less completed) this book without him.
I would like to thank the people who told me their personal stories for the Gendered Voices feature of the book, many of whom have been my students at McNeese. To respect their privacy I will not name them, with one exception. Melinda Schaefer deserves special thanks because her story was so good that hearing it made me realize that I wanted to include others’ stories. Without her story, and Louise Kidder’s (1994) presentation, I would not have realized how important these accounts are.
The people at Taylor and Francis have been helpful and supportive. My editor Debra Rieg- ert and her associate Rachel Severinovsky have smoothed the transition to and supported my efforts in revising and completing the manuscript.
I would also like to thank reviewers who read parts of the manuscript and offered helpful suggestions, especially Carol Tavris, who advised me about how to use one of her excel- lent quotations and Florence Denmark, who took the time and careful attention to offer a review. I am honored. I am also grateful to past reviewers Maggie Felton, University of Southern Indiana; Heather Hill, University of Texas at San Antonio; Mary Losch, Univer- sity of Northern Iowa; Elizabeth Ossoff, Saint Anselm College; and Karen Prager, the Uni- versity of Texas at Dallas. Thanks also for the suggestions from Luciane A. Berg, Southern Utah University; Christina Byme, Western Washington University; Linda Heath, Loyola University–Chicago; Marcela Raffaelli, University of Nebraska; and Stephanie Riger, Uni- versity of Illinois–Chicago.
Linda Brannon earned two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin: a B.A. degree in Psychology and a Ph.D. in the area of human experimental psychology. After completing her doctorate, she joined the Department of Psychology faculty at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She stayed at MSU, attaining the rank of Professor of Psychology.
As a female psychologist in the era when they were rare, she developed an interest in gender issues. That interest led fi rst to research, then to this textbook and a Psychology of Gender course, which she has taught for over a decade. She has also coauthored texts in the area of introductory psychology and health psychology and teaches both these courses. Her honors include the 1998 MSU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Professor Award. In addition to teaching and research, she acts as Program Coordinator for McNeese’s Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, mentors students in MSU’s Psi Chi chapter, and maintains her status as licensed psychologist in the state of Louisiana.
About the Author
Headline: “The End of Men,” Atlantic Monthly , July/August, 2010
According to Hanna Rosin (2010), boys and men are losing out to girls and women; the male advantage is declining. For example, in 2010 women became the majority of the workforce in the United States. More boys than girls fail to graduate from high school; women receive the majority of college degrees. These days, about half of doctorates in medicine and law go to women. Many wives earn higher salaries than their husbands do. Rosin pointed out that in modern societies, strength is not the important factor that it was throughout most of history. Instead, intelligence is important, and women and men are equally intelligent. In addition, women have better communication skills and a greater willingness to undergo the schooling that has become so critical for economic success. Rosin proposed that economic and societal forces have changed women’s roles to—and sometimes beyond—the point of equality: “For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point?” (Rosin, 2010, p. 56).
Is it possible that women will become dominant? Anthropologist Melvin Konner (2015) argued that they will; the end of male supremacy is near. Konner’s reasoning is similar to followers of evolutionary psychology who contend that women and men have evolved in different ways that furnish modern humans with “hard-wired” gender differences. Both take an essentialist view , which contends that some “essence,” or underlying biological component, makes men and women different. The evolutionary psychology view (Buss & Schmitt, 2011) holds that evolutionary pressures have shaped women to prioritize their role in raising children, whereas men must gather resources to attract women. These differences in priorities have created modern men who are forceful and dominant and modern women who focus on childbearing and child care.
According to most people’s views of the relationship between biology and behavior, bio- logical differences determine behavior. Therefore, if the differences between women and men are biological, those differences are perceived as fi xed and invariant (Keller, 2005). Recent changes in society should make little difference in women’s and men’s basic natures. Konner argued that the situation of boys and men losing out to girls and women is part of the recent changes in society: The evolved tendencies that have made women more cooperative, caring, practical, and patient have made them better adapted than men in modern society. This twist on an essentialist view of gender differences is not likely to calm the debate about gender.
Confl icts and questions about the roles of women and men occur in debates about gender: Which is more important, nature (biology) or nurture (culture and society)? What types of differences exist? What is the basis for these differences? What is the extent of these differ- ences? A switch from male dominance to equality or female dominance seems inconsistent with an evolutionary view but also with many people’s views: Women and men are born with biological differences that dictate the basis for different traits and behaviors. Indeed, they are
The Study of Gender 1
2 The Study of Gender
so different that women are the “opposite sex,” suggesting that whatever men are, women are at the other end of the spectrum. Those who hold this view fi nd the differences obvi- ous and important. Those who emphasize social and economic factors as the driving forces in behavior see the possibility that roles are fl exible. Drawing from research in psychology, sociology, biology, and anthropology, the differences between women and men seem to be a complex puzzle with many pieces (Eagly & Wood, 2013).
The battle lines have been drawn between two camps, both of which look to volumes of research for support for their view and see supporting evidence for their different views. Some people at some times have believed that differences between males and females are few, whereas others have believed that the two are virtually different species. These two posi- tions can be described as the minimalist view and the maximalist view (Epstein, 1988). The minimalists perceive few important differences between women and men, whereas the maximalists believe that the two have large, fundamental differences. Many maximalists also hold an essentialist view, believing that the large differences between women and men are part of their essential biological natures. Although these views have varied over time, today both the maximalist and the minimalist views have vocal supporters. Table 1.1 summarizes the most prominent version of these two positions and the intersection between these views and the essentialist view.
This lack of agreement coupled with commitment to a position suggests controversy, which is almost too polite a term for these disagreements. Few topics are as fi lled with emotion as discussions of the sexes and their capabilities. These arguments occur in places as diverse as playgrounds and scientifi c laboratories. The questions are similar, regardless of the setting: Who is smarter, faster, healthier, sexier, more capable, and more emotional? Who makes better physicians, engineers, typists, managers, politicians, artists, teachers, parents, and friends? Who is more likely to go crazy, go to jail, commit suicide, have a traffi c accident, tell lies, gossip, and commit murder? The full range of human possibilities seems to be grounds for discussion, but the issues are unquestionably important. No matter what the conclusions, at least of half the human population (and most probably all of it) is affected. Therefore, not only are questions about the sexes interesting, but also the answers are important to individuals and to society. Later chapters explore the research concerning abilities and behaviors, and an examination of this research allows an evaluation of these questions.
Answers to these important questions about differences between women and men are not lacking. Almost everyone has answers—but not the same answers. It is easy to see how people might hold varying opinions about a controversial issue, but some consistency should exist among fi ndings from researchers who have studied men and women. Scientists should be able to investigate the sexes and provide evidence concerning these important questions. Researchers have pursued these questions, obtained results, and published thousands of
Table 1.1 The Maximalist and Minimalist Views of Gender Differences
Position View of Differences between the Sexes
Differences Created through How Strongly Essentialist?
Maximalist Differences are large and important
Evolutionary history and sex hormones
Minimalist Differences are small with few large enough to be important
Stereotyping and different treatment for males and females
The Study of Gender 3
papers. There is no shortage of investigations—or publicity—about the sexes. Unfortunately, researchers are subject to the same problems as everyone else: They do not all agree on what the results mean—or even what they are.
In addition, many research fi ndings on men and women are not consistent with popular opinion, suggesting that popular opinion may be an exaggeration or distortion, most likely based on people’s personal experiences rather than on research. Both the past and the present are fi lled with examples that exaggerate differences between women and men.
People have a tendency to think in terms of opposites when considering only two exam- ples, as with the sexes (Fausto-Sterling, 2000; Tavris, 1992). If three sexes existed, people might not have the tendency to draw comparisons of such extremes. They might be able to see the similarities as well as the differences in men and women; they might be able to approach the questions with more fl exibility in their thinking. The sexual world may not actually be polarized into only two categories (as Chapter 4 explores this in more detail), but people do tend to see it that way. This perception of only two sexes infl uences people to think of the two sexes as polar opposites. To maintain these oppositional categories, people must exaggerate the differences between women and men, which results in stereotypes that do not correspond to real people (Bem, 1993b). Although these stereotypes are not realistic, they are powerful because they affect how women and men think about themselves and how they think about the “opposite” sex.
History of the Study of Sex Differences in Psychology
Speculations about the differences between men and women probably predate history, but these issues were not part of the investigations of early psychology. Indeed, questions about sex differences were not part of early psychology. Questions in early psychology were guided by its founder, Wilhelm Wundt, and revolved around the nature of human thought processes (Schultz & Schultz, 2012). Wundt wanted to establish a natural sci- ence of the mind through experimentation; he established a laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany in 1879 (although this date is subject to some controversy). Students fl ocked to Wundt’s lab to study the new psychology. Using chemistry as the model, they devised a psychology based on an analytical understanding of the structure of the conscious mind. This approach to psychology became known as the structuralist school of psychology.
The structuralists were interested in investigating the “generalized adult mind” (Shields, 1975a), and therefore any individual differences, including differences between the minds of women and men, were of no concern to these early psychologists. This inattention to sex differences did not mean equal treatment of women and men by these early psycholo- gists. The generalized adult mind on which psychology’s early fi ndings were based was a generalization drawn from data collected from and by men. Indeed, women were expressly prohibited from one of the early groups of experimental psychologists in the United States (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).
Some scholars from the United States went to Germany to study with Wundt and brought psychology back. Despite their training in Germany, many found the views of German psy- chology too limiting and impractical. As psychology grew in the United States, it developed a more practical nature. This change is usually described as an evolution to functional- ism , a school of psychology that emphasized how the mind functions rather than its struc- ture (Schultz & Schultz, 2012). As psychologists with a functionalist orientation started to research and theorize, they drew a wider variety of subjects into psychological research and theories, including children, women, and nonhuman animals.
4 The Study of Gender
The Study of Individual Differences
Among the areas of interest in functionalist psychology were the issues of adaptability and intelligence. These interests prompted the development of intelligence testing and the com- parison of individual differences in mental abilities and personality traits, including sex dif- ferences. The functionalists, infl uenced by Darwin and the theory of evolution, tended to look for biologically determined differences, including a biological basis for sex differences. Although female psychologists pointed out the effects of social infl uence on women’s and men’s behaviors, functionalist psychologists were hesitant to acknowledge any possibility of social infl uence in the sex differences they found (Milar, 2000).
The studies and writings of functionalists of this era tended to demonstrate that women were less intelligent than men, benefi ted less from education, had strong maternal instincts, and were unlikely to produce examples of success or eminence. Women were not the only group deemed inferior; people who were not white were also considered less intelligent and less capable.
Findings of the intellectual defi ciencies of women did not go uncriticized. As early as 1910, Helen Thompson Woolley contended that the research on sex differences was full of the researchers’ personal bias, prejudice, and sentiment (Shields, 1975a), and Leta Stet- ter Hollingworth took a stand against the functionalist view of women (Shields, 1975b). These female psychologists argued against the prevailing view. Hollingworth contended that women’s potential would never be known until women had the opportunity to choose the lives they would like—career, maternity, or both.
The functionalist view began to wane in the 1920s, and a new school of psychology, behaviorism , gained prominence. The behaviorists emphasized observable behavior rather than thought processes or instincts as the subject matter of psychology. The behaviorist view of psychology was consistent with the prevailing style of masculinity during the early 20th century—tough-minded and combative (Minton, 2000). With the change from a functionalist to a behaviorist paradigm in U.S. psychology, the interest in research on sex differences sharply decreased. “The functionalists, because of their emphasis on ‘nature,’ were predictably indifferent to the study of social sex roles and cultural concepts of masculine and feminine. The behaviorists, despite their emphasis on ‘nurture,’ were slow to recognize those same social forces” (Shields, 1975a, p. 751). Rather, behaviorists were interested in the areas of learning and memory, concentrating on studies with rats as subjects.
In addition, research on learning ignored social factors, including sex roles and sex dif- ferences. In ignoring gender, psychologists created “womanless” psychology (Crawford & Marecek, 1989), an approach that either failed to include women as participants or failed to examine gender-related factors when both men and women participated in psychological research. Until the 1970s, psychology was overwhelmingly male. As Rhoda Unger (1983– 1984) commented about her education in psychology, “Even the rats were male” (p. 227).
When behaviorism dominated psychology, the only theorists who unquestionably had an interest in sex differences were those with a psychodynamic orientation—the Freudians.
Both Freud’s psychodynamic theory of personality development and his psychoanalytic approach to treatment appear in more detail in Chapter 5 . However, the history of psy- chology’s involvement in issues of sex and gender necessitates a brief description of Freud’s personality theory and his approach to treatment.
Although Sigmund Freud’s work did not originate within psychology, the two are popu- larly associated. And unquestionably, Freud’s work and Freudian theory concerning person- ality differences between women and men have infl uenced both psychology and society in general. These infl uences have made the work of Freud very important for understanding how theorists within psychology conceptualized sex and gender.
The Study of Gender 5
In the United States, Freud’s work began to gain popular attention in 1909, when Freud came to the United States to give a series of invited lectures at Clark University (Schultz & Schultz, 2012). Immediately after his visit, newspapers started carrying features about Freud and his theory. By 1920, interest in Freudian theory and analysis was evident both in books and in articles in popular magazines. Psychoanalysis gained popular interest, becoming almost a fad. Indeed, popular acceptance of Freud’s work preceded its acceptance by academicians.
Freud emphasized the role of instinct and physiology in personality formation, hypoth- esizing that instincts provide the basic energy for personality and that the child’s perception of anatomical differences between boys and girls is a pivotal event in personality formation. Rather than rely on genetic or hormonal explanations for sex differences in personality, Freud looked to early childhood experiences within the family to explain how physiology interacts with experience to infl uence personality development.
For Freud (1925/1989), the perception of anatomical differences between boys and girls was a critical event. The knowledge that boys and men have penises and girls and women do not forms the basis for personality differences between boys and girls. The results of this perception lead to confl ict in the family, including sexual attraction to the other-sex parent and hostility for the same-sex parent. These incestuous desires cannot persist, and Freud hypothesized that the resolution of these confl icts comes through identifi cation with the same-sex parent. However, Freud believed that boys experience more confl ict and trauma during this early development than girls, leading boys to a more complete rejection of their mother and a more complete identifi cation with their father. Consequently, Freud (1925/1989) hypothesized that men typically form a stronger conscience and sense of social values than women do.
Did Freud mean that girls and women were defi cient in moral standards compared to men? Did he view women as incomplete (and less admirable) people? It is probably impossible to know what Freud thought and felt, and his writings are suffi ciently varied to lead to contra- dictory interpretations. Thus the question of Freud’s view of women has been hotly debated. Some authors have criticized Freud for supporting a male-oriented society and the enslave- ment of women, whereas others have defended Freud and his work as applied to women. In defense of Freud (Tavris & Wade, 1984), his view of women was not suffi ciently negative to prevent him from accepting them as colleagues during a time when women were not wel- come in many professions. In addition, he encouraged his daughter, Anna, to pursue a career in psychoanalysis. Freud’s writings, however, reveal that he held many negative views about women and seemed to feel that they were inferior to men, both intellectually and morally.
Regardless of Freud’s personal beliefs, the popular interpretation of his theory repre- sented women as inferior to men—less ethical, more concerned with personal appearance, more self-contemptuous, and jealous of men’s accomplishments (and also, literally, of their penises). Accepting the feminine role would always mean settling for inferior status and opportunities, and women who were not able to reconcile themselves to this status were candidates for therapy because they had not accepted their femininity.
Freud’s theory also held stringent and infl exible standards for the development of mascu- linity. For boys to develop normally, they must experience severe anxiety during early child- hood and develop hatred for their father. This trauma should lead a boy to identify with his father out of fear and to experience the advantages of the male role through becoming like him. Boys who do not make a suffi ciently complete break with their mothers are not likely to become fully masculine but to remain somewhat feminine, thus experiencing the problems that society accords to nonmasculine men.
The psychoanalytic view of femininity and masculinity has been enormously infl uential in Western society. Although not immediately accepted in academic departments, the psycho- analytic view of personality and psychopathology was gradually integrated into the research and training of psychologists. Although the theory has prompted continuing controversy,
6 The Study of Gender
interest continues in the form of both attacks and defenses. This continuing stream of books and articles speaks to the power of Freud’s theory to capture attention and imagination. Despite limited research support, Freudian theory has been and remains a force in concep- tions of sex and gender.
In summary, psychological research that includes women dates back to the early 20th century and the functionalist school of psychology, but this approach emphasized sex differences and searched for the factors that distinguish men and women. When the behaviorist school domi- nated academic psychology, its lack of interest in sex differences created a virtually “woman- less” psychology. During that same time, Freudian psychoanalysts held strong views on the sexes, but this theory proposed that women are physically and morally inferior to men. This belief in the innate inferiority of women infl uenced research on women. Table 1.2 summarizes psychological theories and their approaches to gender. In contrast to these male-dominated theories, some investigators emphasize the study of women.
The Development of Women’s Studies Women’s studies came about as a result of political, social, and intellectual developments that began in the 18th century and continue in the present (Sommers, 2008). Those develop- ments have affected psychology and have changed society and people’s daily lives.
The History of Feminist Movements
The feminist movement of the 1960s prompted the development of women’s studies (Freed- man, 2002). This version of feminism is referred to as the second wave of feminism. The fi rst wave of feminism began with the campaign for changes in women’s roles and legal status, focusing on voting rights for women, the availability of birth control, and other legal changes to improve women’s social and economic status (Sommers, 2008). That movement experi- enced some success—for example, women gained the right to vote in many countries—but other legal changes did not occur.
The feminist movement of the 1960s grew out of the U.S. civil rights movement and brought about some of the changes that earlier feminist movements had sought (Nachescu, 2009). One of the most prominent changes was women’s entry into the workforce in record numbers in many industrialized countries. Both professional and working-class women experienced situa- tions of discrimination that led many to work toward legal and social changes for women. These goals fi t the defi nition of liberal (or equal rights) feminism and included people who wanted to end discrimination based on sex and extend equal rights to women (Freedman, 2002).
Table 1.2 Role of Gender in Psychological Theories throughout the History of Psychology
Theory Emphasis of Theory Role of Gender
Structuralism Understanding the structure of the human mind
Minimal—all minds are equivalent
Functionalism Understanding the function of the mind
Sex differences are one type of individual difference
Behaviorism Studying behavior in a scientifi c way
Minimal—behavior varies with individual experience
Psychoanalysis Studying normal and abnormal personality development and functioning
Biological sex differences and their recognition are motivating forces
The Study of Gender 7
Some feminists believed that calling for an end to discrimination was not suffi cient; equal- ity for women required more drastic changes in society. These radical feminists believed that women have been oppressed by men and that this oppression has served as a model for racial and class oppression (Nachescu, 2009). According to radical feminists, the entire social system requires major change to end the subservient role that women occupy. Both liberal and radi- cal feminism call for political activism designed to bring about changes in laws and in society.
In the 1960s and 1970s, women entered colleges and universities in increasing numbers. These scholars pursued their interest by focusing on topics related to women, which resulted in the development of courses and curricula devoted to women’s studies as an academic discipline. This emphasis was often compatible with another variety of feminism, cultural feminism , which also advocates social change. Inspired by Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice (1982), cultural feminists advocate moving toward an acceptance and appreciation of traditionally feminine values. Cultural feminists believe that, were women in charge, many of the world’s problems would disappear, because women’s values of caring and relationships would eliminate them.
Radical and cultural feminists have received more publicity than other types of feminism, creating an inaccurate image of and a backlash against feminism (see According to the Media and According to the Research). Feminists were cast as loud, pushy, man-hating, unattractive women who always seemed unsatisfi ed, even with the changes that had offered them the opportunities they sought. This image led to many women’s reluctance to identify with feminism, and media sources proclaimed that feminism was dying (Hall & Rodri- guez, 2003). Feminist values did not disappear; indeed, women and men continued to
Photo 1.1 The fi rst women’s movement pushed for voting rights for women.
8 The Study of Gender
endorse equal right and opportunities, but fewer identifi ed as feminists. This development began the third wave of feminism, often called postfeminism. Underlying this concept is the notion that feminism is not necessary because the goals of second wave feminism have been accomplished. Many dispute this notion, but it remains a common belief. Table 1.3 summarizes the three waves of feminism.
Table 1.3 Waves of Feminism
Wave of Feminism Time Frame Dominant Theme Goals
First Wave Mid-1800s–Early 1900s
Suffrage Movement Women deserve legal rights Voting rights and access to birth control for women
Second Wave 1960s–1980s
Liberal/Equal Rights Women deserve equal legal rights
Equal access to education, workplace, and political careers
Radical Male dominance has oppressed women
Overthrow male oppression
Cultural Women’s values are different and deserve respect
Acceptance and appreciation of women and female values
Third Wave 1990s–present
Postfeminism Feminism is no longer necessary
Women have achieved equal treatment and opportunities
According to the Media . . . Feminists Are Bra-Burning Man-Haters The media image of a feminist is a radical, man-hating woman who is uninterested in attracting (or unable to attract) men. This description is remarkably consistent throughout the United States, reported Courtney Martin (2007), who attributed this consistency to “media manufactured myths.”
The image of feminists as “bra burners” originated with one of the prominent events in the second wave of feminism: the protest at the 1968 Miss America pageant (Kreydatus, 2008). A group of feminist women organized a protest of the beauty pageant, arguing that its emphasis on a specifi c standard of beauty was degrading to women. Heavy media coverage accompanied these protests, and one reporter used the term “bra burner” to describe these feminists. The description stuck.
The media have focused on radical feminists, probably because these femi- nists provide better stories. As feminism grew, the medial labels became even more uncomplimentary, including the term “feminazi,” popularized by Rush Limbaugh (MediaMatters for America, 2005). The focus on radicalism and the uncompliment- ary media terms helped to promote feminists as radical, bra-burning man-haters.
Television and movies have portrayed that image and other variations of feminism in ways that belittle, satirize, or dilute feminism. The PowerPuff Girls (1998–2005) portrayed kindergarten female superheroes, but the show’s worst villain, Femme Fatale, called herself a feminist. Recent televisions shows, such as 30 Rock , Scandal , and Homeland , feature leading female characters that display a mixture of intelligence and competence but also stereotypically poor judgment problems concerning men. These female characters do not match the radical feminist stereotypes, but they dilute their strong female characters to make their strength more acceptable.
The Study of Gender 9
According to the Research . . . Feminists Are Neither of the Above
According to research conducted with feminist women, they fail to match any of the stereotypes promoted in the media. An examination of the events of the protest during the 1968 Miss American pageant failed to show any burned bras (Kreydatus, 2008). A “freedom trash can” was part of the protest, and the protesters threw in objects they associated with “female garbage,” such as bras, girdles, false eyelashes, and steno pads, but they did not set the objects on fi re. The bra burning was symbolic, not literal, but the image persisted.
The notion that feminists hate men is also a widespread belief, but little research has investigated and none has supported this stereotype. One study assessed wom- en’s feminism and then tested their attitudes toward men (Anderson, Kanner, & Elsayegh, 2009). The results indicated the opposite of the stereotype: Feminists had lower levels of hostility toward men than women who did not identify themselves as feminists.
Some feminist scholars (Barakso & Schaffner, 2006) have contended that the media focus on the more extreme issues and members of feminist groups, which has created the image of Limbaugh’s “feminazis” but fails to capture the women or the issues of feminism. As feminist Courtney Martin (2007) said, “Feminism in its most glorious, transformative, inclusive sense, is not about man-hating” but about educated choices for men as well as for women, genuine equality, and a vision of gender roles that allow individuals to become their most authentic selves. This image lacks the controversy and varies from the media stereotype of feminists.
Sex or Gender?
With the growing interest in women’s issues came concerns about how to phrase the questions researchers asked. Those researchers who have concentrated on the differences between men and women historically have used the term sex differences to describe their work. In some investigations, these differences were the main emphasis of the study, but for many more studies, such comparisons were of secondary importance (Unger, 1979). By measuring and analyzing differences between male and female par- ticipants, researchers have produced a huge body of information on these differences and similarities, but this information was not of primary importance to most of these researchers.
When differences between women and men began to be the focus of research, contro- versy arose over terminology. Some researchers objected to the term sex differences , con- tending that any differences trace back to biology (McHugh, Koeske, & Frieze, 1986). Critics also objected that the term has been used too extensively and with too many mean- ings, including chromosomal confi guration, reproductive physiology, secondary sex char- acteristics, as well as behaviors or characteristics associated with women or men (Unger, 1979). Rhoda Unger proposed an alternative—the term gender . She explained that this term describes the traits and behaviors that are regarded by the culture as appropriate to women and men. Gender is thus a social label and not a description of biology. This label includes the characteristics that the culture ascribes to each sex and the sex-related char- acteristics that individuals assign to themselves. Carolyn Sherif (1982) proposed a similar defi nition of gender as “a scheme for social categorization of individuals” (p. 376). Both Unger and Sherif recognized the socially created differentiations that have arisen from the
10 The Study of Gender
biological differences associated with sex, and both have proposed that use of the term gender should provide a useful distinction.
Unger suggested that use of the term gender might reduce the assumed parallels between biological and psychological sex, or at least make those assumptions explicit. That attempt to draw distinctions between the concepts of sex and gender has not been entirely success- ful. Some researchers use the two terms interchangeably, whereas others have substituted the term gender for the term sex but still fail to make any distinction (Pryzgoda & Chrisler, 2000). Others choose the terminology that refl ects their point of view—those who use the term gender often intend to emphasize the social nature of differences between women and men, whereas those who use the term sex mean to imply biological differences. Thus researchers who are biological essentialists use the term sex to refer to all differences between men and women, whereas those who use the term gender want to emphasize the social nature of such differences.
Women in Psychology
The history of studying gender in psychology is lengthy, including the individual differ- ences approach and psychoanalysis. However, women were rarely prominent psychologists. Women were admitted as students in doctoral programs from the early years of psychology, but they had a diffi cult time fi nding positions as psychologists, especially in academic set- tings. In 1941, a group of female psychologists formed the National Council of Women Psychologists to further the work of female psychologists in the war effort (Walsh, 1985). In 1944, this group became the International Council of Women Psychologists, and despite attempts to become a division of the American Psychological Association (APA), they expe- rienced repeated rejections.
The dramatic increase of women attending college in the 1960s affected psychology, and the new area of women’s studies changed the discipline. Infl uenced by feminist scholars and their own research priorities, women expanded the earlier area of gender-related behaviors and individual differences to create a new psychology of women and gender (Marecek, Kimmel, Crawford, & Hare-Mustin, 2003; Walsh, 1985).
In 1968, psychologist Naomi Weisstein presented a paper that infl uenced a generation of psychologists, “‘Kinde, Küche, Kirche’ as Scientifi c Law: Psychology Constructs the Female.” In this paper, Weisstein (1970) argued that psychological research had revealed almost nothing about women because the biases, wishes, and fantasies of the male psy- chologists who conducted the research contaminated the results. Although the criticism was aimed mostly at clinical psychology and the Freudian approach to therapy, Weisstein also charged research psychologists with fi nding only what they wanted and expected to fi nd about women rather than researching women as they were. She wrote: “Present psy- chology is less than worthless in contributing to a vision which could truly liberate—men as well as women” (p. 231).
Weisstein’s accusations came at a time when the feminist movement in society and a growing number of women in psychology wanted a more prominent place for women in the fi eld and sought to create feminist-oriented research. Weisstein made the point that psycho- logical research had neglected to take into account the context of behavior, without which psychologists could understand neither women nor people in general. This criticism seems to have contained a great deal of foresight (Bem, 1993a); psychological research on women began to change in that specifi c way. “During the 1970s psychological researchers made an important discovery: humans are gendered beings whose lives and experiences are (most
The Study of Gender 11
likely) infl uenced by their gender” (Smiler, 2004, p. 15). Psychologists held no monopoly on women’s studies. Sociologists, anthropologists, ethnologists, and biologists also became involved in questions about biological and behavioral differences and similarities between the sexes (Schiebinger, 1999).
The struggle for professional acceptance is clear in the history of the formation in the APA of a division devoted to women’s issues, which did not occur until 1973. Division 35, Society for the Psychology of Women, can be directly traced to the Association for Women in Psychology, a group that demonstrated against sex discrimination and advocated for an increase in feminist psychological research at the 1969 and 1970 APA national conventions (Walsh, 1985). Unlike the earlier International Council, Division 35 goals included not only the promotion of women in psychology, but also the advancement of research on women and issues related to gender. The great volume of psychological research on sex and gender that has appeared in the past 35 years is consistent with the Division 35 goal of expanding the study of women and encouraging the integration of that research with current psycho- logical thinking. Indeed, Division 35 members have conducted much of that research, but other disciplines have also contributed substantially. The current plethora of research on sex and gender comes from investigations in biology, medicine, sociology, communication, and anthropology, as well as psychology.
In summary, the feminist movement of the 1960s prompted a different type of research, producing results that questioned the stereotypes and assumptions about innate differences between the sexes. Not only did this research begin to examine sex differences and similari- ties, but these researchers also expanded ways to study women and men. This more recent orientation has led to voluminous research in the fi eld of psychology, as well as in sociology, anthropology, communication studies, literary analysis, art, and biology.
The feminist movement questioned the roles and stereotypes for women, and soon the questioning spread to men, who began to examine how the infl exibility of gender stereotypes might harm them, too.
Gendered Voices: I’m Not a Feminist, But. . . .
Women (and a few men) utter the phrase, “I’m not a feminist, but. . . .” usually followed by a statement that is clearly feminist. This unwillingness to identify with the women’s movement highlights the emergence of a new F-word shocking polite company: feminism (Penny, 2013). Even women and men who espouse feminist values seem to feel obligated to distance themselves from the label.
One example of that reluctance came from Katie Perry, who said “I’m not a femi- nist, but I do believe in the strength of women” when she received the 2012 Billboard Woman of the Year award (Jezebel, 2012). Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that she would not consider herself a feminist because that term seems very negative (Mandell, 2013), but she also said “I certainly believe in equal rights. I believe that women are just as capable, if not more so, in a lot of different dimensions.” Beyoncé Knowles is another accomplished woman who was not anxious to be identified as a feminist; the word feminism seems extreme to her, too (Ellison, 2013). But she finally conceded: “But I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality.” This is one of the basic definitions of feminism.
12 The Study of Gender
The Appearance of the Men’s Movement
The men’s movement mirrors the women’s movement, beginning during the 19th-century women’s suffrage movement. During that time, the women’s suffrage movement was not the only challenge to society’s roles for men and women. Men felt increasing threats to their mascu- linity by the change from agricultural to industrial society, by women entering the workforce, and by increasing demands for education, which seemed dominated by women (Minton, 2000).
The contemporary women’s movement has also questioned and challenged men concern- ing the status quo of legal, social, and personal roles and relationships. Although some men have failed to see the problem, other men from around the world have begun to consider how these challenges pertain to their lives, too. R. W. Connell (2001) argued that societal roles constrain men, too, giving men a reason to seek change: “The gender positions that society constructs for men may not correspond exactly with what men actually are, or desire to be, or what they actually do. It is therefore necessary to study masculinity as well as men” (p. 44). Connell (2005, 2012) continued to study masculinity and began to emphasize the necessity of men’s participation in reforming gender roles, contending that: “Moving toward a gender-equal society involves profound institutional change as well as change in everyday life and personal conduct. To move far in this direction requires widespread social support, including signifi cant support from men and boys” (2005, p. 1801).
Feminist men formed groups equivalent to the consciousness-raising groups common in the women’s movement (Baumli & Williamson, 1997). Although group members discussed their common problems and sought support from each other, their activities usually did not progress to the larger organizations that sought political power, as the women’s groups had done. They tended to remain small and local, but a few grew into national organizations.
During the 1970s, men who were interested in furthering feminist goals joined the National Organization for Women and proclaimed themselves to be feminists. During the 1980s, mas- culinity and the problems of men became a focus, and other profeminist men’s organizations arose. The National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) is a profeminist men’s organization that also works to obliterate racism and prejudice against gay men. This type of concern with masculinity and exploring positive options has spread to countries around the world, including Australia, Sweden, Japan, Latin America, and the Caribbean (Connell, 2012).
Within psychology, the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity suc- ceeded in gaining divisional status in 1995, becoming Division 51 of the APA. The goals of this division include (1) promoting the study of how gender roles shape and constrict men’s lives, (2) helping men to experience their full human potential, and (3) eroding the defi nition of masculinity that has inhibited men’s development and has contributed to the oppression of others.
Another approach to men’s groups appears in national groups that are not interested in feminist goals; indeed, some of these men are interested in restoring the traditional gender roles that they believe have been destroyed by the women’s movement. These men argue that men—not women—are the oppressed sex. One such group is the National Coalition for Men (NCFM, formerly the National Coalition of Free Men), a group that opposes sexism but sees feminist groups as sexist. The men in NCFM (Baumli & Williamson, 1997) have argued that sexism oppresses men more than women.
Some men’s rights groups are organized around specifi c issues, such as changing divorce laws or promoting joint child custody (Baumli & Williamson, 1997). Many of these men see women’s rights groups as enemies because women’s groups tend to oppose joint custody and no-fault divorce laws. Few in the men’s movement actively promote a return of “the good old days” and a reversal of the changes brought about by the women’s movement. Many participants in men’s groups would like to see a less sharply gendered society, in which both women and men have choices not bound by gender stereotypes. The changes that would
The Study of Gender 13
fulfi ll these goals differ among men, and both antifeminist and profeminist men consider themselves part of the men’s movement (Strapagiel, 2013).
Yet another variation of the men’s movement came from men trying to fi nd a masculine identity that differs from tra