Gender Schema Theory by fjzhangweiqun


									                                  Chapter Two Theoretical Perspectives

“[Girls] notice the penis of a brother or playmate, strikingly visible and of large proportions, at once
recognize it as the superior counterpart of their own small and inconspicuous organ, and from that time
forward fall a victim to envy for the penis.”
        Sigmund Freud
                                           Psychoanalytic Theory
Psychoanalytic theory: a psychological theory originated by Freud; its basic assumption is that part of the
human psyche is unconscious.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
        Humans are dominated by 2 basic instincts
                 Libido: sex drive or life force
                 Thanatos: death force

Libido is focused on the erogenous zones
        Erogenous zones: areas of the body that are particularly sensitive to sexual stimulation

                                        Stages of Development
One of Freud’s greatest contributions was to promote the view of human personality as being the result of

        Stages characterized by focus on an erogenous zone
Stage 1: Oral
        Infant derives pleasure from sucking, eating; experiences world through mouth
Stage 2: Anal
        Toddler derives pleasure from defecating
Stage 3: Phallic
        Ages 3-6; pleasure zone is the genitals; sexual feelings arise toward the parent of the other gender
        Oedipal Complex
                 Named for the Greek myth of Oedipus
                 Boy develops sexual desire for his mother, but sees that father, who is his rival, is so
                 powerful that he might castrate his own son (boy feels castration anxiety) in retaliation
                 By repressing his sexual desire for mother, the boy identifies with his father, and
                 therefore introjects the values and ethics of society (as represented by father), developing
                 a conscience or superego

        For a girl, the phallic stage is considerably different, beginning with the realization that she has
        no penis
        Recognizing that the penis is superior to her clitoris, she feels envious of males and develops
        penis envy

        She also feels mutilating, believing that she had a penis at one time, but that it was cut off
        Electra complex
                Holding her mother responsible for her castration, a girl develops an intense sexual
                attraction for and desire to be impregnated by her father
                Desire to impregnated by father develops into maternal urges

Passivity, Masochism, and Narcissism
        Freud believed there are 3 key female personality traits:
               Passivity: desire to be impregnated,
               Masochism: the desire to experience pain, as in being “penetrated” and through childbirth
Immature Superego
      The girl is not motivated to resolve the Electra complex (she’s already castrated), so she never
      develops a fully mature superego and her moral development is inadequate
      Thus, she maintains lifelong feelings of inferiority, a predisposition to jealousy, and intense
      maternal desires
              Freud (1948): “Their [girls’] superego is never so inexorable, so impersonal, so
              independent of its emotional origins as we require it to be in men.”

                                  Criticisms of Psychoanalytic Theory
Concepts cannot be evaluated scientifically to determine accuracy (how do we measure the unconscious?)
Freud derived his ideas from work with patients who sought therapy; his theory describes disturbed, not
normal, behavior
Freud overemphasized biological determinants of human behavior in seeing origins of gender differences
as rooted in anatomical differences
Freud’s views are phallocentric (male centered, penis centered), assuming that the vagina and clitoris are
inferior to the penis

        Phallocentric theory is an example of a male-as-normative, androcentric model in psychology

                     Variations on a Freudian Theme: Karen Horney (1885-1952)

Importance of penis envy was overstated, that the critical factor was actually womb envy, male’s envy of
woman’s uterus and reproductive capacity
Male achievement represents overcompensation for feelings of anatomical inferiority
Emphasized cultural and social influences and human growth

                   Variations on a Freudian Theme: Helene Deutsch (1884-1982)
The Psychology of Women (1944)
Extended Freud’s theory to later development, focusing on motherhood
Focused on “feminine core” of personality, including narcissism, masochism, passivity, instinct, and
Masculinity complex: some women’s failure to adjust, seen in aggression, active masculine tendencies

                     Variations on a Freudian Theme: Anna Freud (1895-1982)
Youngest of Sigmund Freud’s children, but only child to continue father’s work
Enormous impact on field of psychoanalysis: founding child psychoanalysis and play therapy
Founded a school for orphaned children during WWII, studying their behavior

                          Variations on a Freudian Theme: Nancy Chodorow
The Reproduction of Mothering (1978)
       Childcare done by women produces vastly different experiences for daughters than for sons;
       daughters want to mother, sons devalue and dominate women
       The early, intensely close relationship with the mother affects the sense of self and attitudes
       toward women: expect women to be caring, self-sacrificing
       Girl sees similarity to mother, defines self in relational terms, but boys define masculinity as
       non-femininity, and thus devalue women
       Mothering perpetuates itself and the gendered division of labor

Chodorow’s work integrates feminism
       Feminist reconstruction of Freudian theory: penis envy stems from the fact that the penis
       symbolizes the power men have in our society
       Prescription for social change to eliminate inequities for women: men must participate equally in
       childcare to break cycle of female devaluation
Testing Chodorow’s Theory
        Mother-daughter pairs are physically and psychologically closer than mother-son pairs
Criticisms of Chodorow’s Theory
        Heterosexist bias: no attempt to understand lesbian development
        Ignores influences of race and social class
        Like Freud, Chodorow’s evidence stems from observations of clinical population

                               Sociobiology & Evolutionary Psychology
Sociobiology: application of evolutionary theory to explaining the social behavior of animals, including
        Initially proposed by E.O. Wilson (1975)
        E.g., how does evolution shape maternal behavior?
Review evolution by natural selection…

Evolution by Natural Selection
        First proposed by Charles Darwin (1881)
        The process by which the fittest animals survive, reproduce, and pass their genes on to the next
        generation, whereas animals that are less fit do not reproduce and therefore do not pass on their
        Central theorem of sociobiology: When a social behavior is genetically influenced, the animal
        should behave so as to maximize fitness.

Parental investment: behaviors or other investments in the offspring by the parent that increase the
offspring’s chance of survival
        Importance to psychology of women:
                Females invest egg, pregnancy, nursing...
                But males must invest only sperm
        Parent with greater investment should care for young—quality, not quantity
        Other parent should try to produce as many offspring as possible—quantity, not quality

Why do women do the childcare?
       Greater parental investment
       Maternity is always certain, paternity is not
Exception to pattern of maternal care:
       Songbirds: equal participation in care of young; monogamous mating system makes paternity

Explaining female orgasm…
        Babies are born helpless, dependent, in need of care
        Monogamous mating systems are adaptive
        Female orgasm evolved to keep the parents together
Explaining the double standard…
        Tolerance of male promiscuity and disapproval of female promiscuity is adaptive, given the
        gender differences in parental investment

Sexual selection: process by which members of one gender (usually males) compete with each other for
mating privileges with members of the other gender (usually females), and members of the other gender
(females) choose to mate only with certain preferred members of the first gender (males)

Evolutionary psychology (Buss, 1995)
        Humans’ complex psychological mechanisms are the result of evolution based on natural
        Sexual strategies theory: women and men had different short- and long-term mating strategies
                It is to men’s evolutionary advantage to inseminate many women, so they invest in
                short-term mating (especially because they can’t be certain of paternity), preferring
                younger women who are at peak fertility
                Because women have greater parental investment, they put energy into long-term mating
                strategies to ensure a man’s commitment to provide for family, preferring men who
                possess resources

Feminist criticisms
       Biology is often a convenient rationalization for perpetuating the status quo
       Sociobiologists view data from an androcentric perspective, only discussing data that support
       their androcentric theories

        Sociobiology rests on an outmoded version of evolutionary theory that modern biologists
        consider naïve
        Many studies contradicting evolutionary psychology are beginning to emerge

        Eagly & Wood (1999) re-analyzed Buss’s cross-cultural data and proposed an alternative to his
        sexual strategies theory
        Social-structural theory: a theory of the origin of psychological gender differences that focuses on
        the social structure, particularly the division of labor between men and women

                                         Social Learning Theory
Principles of operant conditioning explain the acquisition of gender roles

The mechanisms of social learning theory:
       Reinforcement: something that occurs after a behavior and makes the behavior more likely to
       occur in the future
       Imitation: when people do what they see others doing; we imitate same-gender adults more than
       other-gender adults
       Observational learning: when a person observes someone doing something, and then does it at a
       later time;

Evidence for social learning theory:
       Effectiveness of imitation and reinforcements in shaping children’s behavior, in particular
       gender-typed behaviors such as aggression
       Bandura (1965) found boys to be more aggressive than girls
                gender differences disappeared when children were offered reinforcements for being

                                    Cognitive-Developmental Theory
Piaget & Inhelder: children have different cognitive organization from adults
Gender identity: individual’s knowledge that she or he is a female or male; develops ~18-24 mos
Gender constancy: child’s understanding that gender is a permanent, unchanging characteristic of the self;
develops ~5-7 yrs; crucial for adoption of gender roles
Gender-role learning as one aspect of cognitive development
        Children self-socialize based on gender constancy

Evaluation of theory
        Children who have acquired gender constancy imitate same-gender models
        Preschoolers who have acquired gender constancy are more stereotyped in their views of adult
        occupations than are preschoolers who do not have gender constancy
        But, children’s gender-typed interests appear before gender constancy (~ 2-3 yrs)
                                        Gender Schema Theory
                                         Gender Schema Theory
A father and his son were involved in a car accident in which the father was killed and the son was
seriously injured. The father was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident and his body was taken
to a local mortuary. The son was taken by ambulance to a hospital and was immediately wheeled into an
operating room. A surgeon was called. Upon seeing the patient, the attending surgeon exclaimed, “Oh
my God, it’s my son!”
Can you explain this?

A schema is a general knowledge framework that a person has about a particular topic; it processes,
organizes new information on topic
Our perception and memory of information are a result of an interaction of incoming information with our
preexisting schema

A gender schema (Bem, 1981) is a person’s general knowledge framework about gender; it processes
and organizes information on the basis of gender-linked associations

Gender schemas are closely linked to our self-concept
        A girl’s self-esteem is dependent on how well she measures up to her girl schema
Different individuals have, to some extent, different gender schemas
The gender schema is more central to self-concept for some people—those who are highly gender-typed

Evidence for gender schema theory
       5- and 6-year olds tend to remember the picture on the left but distort the picture on the right so
       it’s stereotype-consistent

                                            Feminist Theories
Gender as status and power
       Gender is a class variable in our society; males and females are unequal in status
       Sexism is pervasive, existing in political, academic, economic, and interpersonal spheres
       Men have greater power than women
       The personal is political: personal, individual experiences are manifestations of larger political

        A central issue for feminism because women’s sexuality has been repressed and depressed, but
        rarely expressed
        Women’s sexuality is controlled by men

Gender roles and socialization
       American society has well-defined roles for males and for females; such roles are constricting to

External vs. internal attributions of problems
        Feminists view the sources of women’s problems as being external
Consciousness raising
        Major technique of analysis, structure of organization, method of practice, and theory of social
        change of the women’s movement (MacKinnon, 1982)
        Focus on seeing personal experiences in larger political context
Varieties of feminism:
        Liberal feminism: women should have the opportunities and rights equal to those of men; work to
        reform current system
        Cultural feminism: women have special, unique qualities that differentiate them from men; our
        patriarchal society devalues those qualities
        Marxist feminism: oppression of women is just one instance of oppression based on class, rooted
        in capitalism
        Radical feminism: patriarchal values have saturated society to such an extent that radical changes
        are needed, such as female-only space safe from oppression
        Postmodern feminism: questions rationality and objectivity as methods for getting at truth;
        advocates social constructionist epistemology

Gender, race/ethnicity, and class
       Gender cannot be understood as a social variable in isolation; it can be understood only in the
       context of race and social class as well

Social construction of gender
        Social constructionism: theoretical viewpoint that humans do not discover reality directly; rather,
        they construct meanings for events in the environment based on own prior experiences and beliefs

Attitudes toward feminism
        21% of women think of selves as feminists
        75% of women think feminism improved lives

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