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Socialization and Gender Roles Chapter 5 Is There a Difference Between Sex and Gender? Sex refers to biological characteristics with which we are born. Such characteristics determine if we have male or female genitalia, among other things. We refer to primary sex characteristics as those physical characteristics at birth such as testicles for boys or ovaries for girls. Secondary sex characteristics are those that develop during puberty. Is There a Difference Between Sex and Gender? Gender is more fluid—it represents learned attitudes and behaviors that characterize people as men or women. Children develop gender identity as a perception of themselves as masculine or feminine. Sex and Gender Sex refers to the biological characteristics with which we are born. Gender refers to the learned attitudes and behaviors that characterize people of one sex or the other. Gender roles are the characteristics, attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that society expects of females and males. Gender identity, usually learned in early childhood, refers to one’s perception of him or herself as either masculine or feminine. Gender stereotypes are the cultural believes about how men and women are supposed to behave. Assumptions / Stereotypes Nature-Nurture Debate Nature-Nurture Debate Arguments favoring “Nature” (biological differences between men and women) come from the following sources: Developmental and Health differences Effects of sex hormones (chemical substances secreted into the bloodstream) Sex differences in the brain Unsuccessful sex reassignment Nature-Nurture Debate Arguments favoring the “Nurture” side of the debate, suggesting that culture shapes human behavior, come from: Cross cultural variations in gender roles Cross cultural variations in male violence Successful sex assignment particularly with intersexuals (people born with both male and female sex organs). Nature-Nurture Debate What can we conclude? Women and men exhibit some sex-related genetic differences. Cross cultural research shows much variation in characteristics typically ascribed to men and women. Nature and Nurture clearly interact to explain our behavior. How we learn gender roles Social learning theory: People learn attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors through social interaction. Learning occurs through reinforcement or imitation and modeling. Cognitive development theory: Children acquire female or male values on their own by thinking, reasoning, and interpreting information from their environments. Gender schema theory suggests people have mental organization systems (schemas) to help them identify as male or female. How we learn gender roles Sociobiology Evolution and genetic factors can explain why men are generally more aggressive than women. To propagate their genes, they must defeat their competition. Symbolic interaction theory Says that gender roles are socially constructed categories that emerge in social situations. Feminist approaches: Gender is a role that is socially constructed. Focus on power differences and inequality. Who teaches gender roles? Parents Talking and communication patterns Setting expectations Providing opportunities Toys, Sports, and Peers Toys tend to be sex typed Female athletes still face institutional barriers Young children prefer same sex play partners Who teaches gender roles? Teachers and Schools In elementary and middle school, boys usually get more time to talk, are called on more often, and receive more positive feedback. In high school, counselors may steer students into gender-typed futures. In college, there are gender differences in academic discipline. Who teaches gender roles? Books & Textbooks Many books show gender typed behaviors More nonstereotypical books are now available Popular Culture and the Media—There are many sex stereotyping examples in: Advertising Newspapers and Magazines Television and other Screen Media Music Videos Gender Roles Traditional Gender Roles Instrumental roles direct men to be procreators, protectors, and providers. Expressive roles direct women to provide emotional support by being warm, sensitive, and sympathetic. Women are the kinkeepers and family mediators. Traditional Gender Roles Benefits Promote stability, continuity, and predictability Expectations are clear Costs For men, losing a job can become catastrophic. Women can feel trapped in exhausting, never ending tasks of housekeeping. Both men and women can be unhappy. Traditional Gender Roles Gender Roles at Home The “second shift” refers to the household work and child care many mothers face after coming home from work. Men’s and women’s perceptions of their domestic contributions vary. Gender Roles at Home Why Do Traditional Roles Continue? For many families, traditional roles are beneficial for several reasons, especially when one partner can be the sole breadwinner and one partner can be the caregiver when it comes to the children. Gender Roles in the Workplace Two key issues affect women, men, their partners and families: Sex discrimination continues to exist in many professions. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance or other conduct that makes a person uncomfortable and interferes with her or his work. Many men are confused about what sexual harassment is and many women are reluctant to report it. Gender in the Workplace In the U.S. (as is true in most of the world), occupations are gendered. While we say that anyone can do any job, there still tend to be jobs that are “women’s” jobs and jobs that are “men’s” jobs. There is certainly greater equality in the U.S., but we still have a long way to go. Gender and Politics Again, as with workplace discrimination, discrimination in politics has come a long way. We still don’t have a female president, but with Hillary Clinton being appointed as the Secretary of State, and some female governors now, we are starting to make progress. Gender and Education Our educational system seems to be gendered to some regard. When children enter kindergarten they score the same on similar tests, but by third grade the boys are scoring better on math and science. In higher education women earn the higher percentage of post-graduate degrees, but in typically “male” fields like engineering, a woman is much less likely than a man to be hired in higher education as an instructor in that course. Gender and Education Contemporary Gender Roles Gender and the consumer marketplace Numerous examples exist where women are overcharged for car and home repairs or receive inaccurate financial advice. Gender and Communication Deborah Tannen, a sociolinguist, suggests men and women have different communication styles that include: Different purposes Different rules Different ways of interpreting communications Current Gender Roles: Changes and Constraints Role conflict refers to the frustration and uncertainties a person experiences when confronted with the requirements of incompatible roles. Are we waging war against boys and men? There are concerns about men’s and boys’ development, especially with respect to education. Some argue this concern is a backlash against girls’ and women’s progress. Is Androgyny the Answer? In Androgyny, both culturally defined masculine and feminine characteristics are blended in the same person. The Global Gender Gap Index The GGGI tries to measure the well- being of women on a global scale. It gauges the relative equality between men and women on an indicator. Top Ten: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, New Zealand, the Philippines, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Lativia Other High Ranking Countries: U.S., Canada, South Africa, most of the European countries, Australia, S. Korea, Cuba, Argentina, Greece, Israel, and Kuwait Low Ranking Countries: India, several Middle Eastern countries, and several African societies.
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