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Gender is determined by society, forming a self-concept whether we are male or female - gender concept. Sexual identity is a reference towards our biological status as males and females. However gender identity is society bred

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Introduction

Gender is determined by society, forming a self-concept whether we are male or female - gender concept. Sexual identity is a reference towards our biological status as males and females. However gender identity is society bred, it refers to the classification of others, as male or female and us. Gender role refers to behaviors and attitudes on which society expects from them or considers appropriate behavior to, their biological sex. To be typically masculine or feminine they have to conform to their respective gender roles. Gender stereotypes are widely held beliefs about psychological differences between males and females, which can often lead to prejudices between the sexes. Prejudice is defined as an attitude. Stereotypes are over simplifications, which can lead to prejudices and discriminations. Prejudices are caused by three main theories: - * Social inequality theory * Scape-goating theory * Personality theory Social inequality theory proposes that prejudice is caused by: - a) Competition for unequally distributed resources. For example the brown eyes, blue eyes experiment (Elliott, in Aronson & Osherow, 1980. b) Group identity, which relies on using language and dress to distinguish between in members and out members. c) Stereotyping is the simple distribution of certain characteristics to all members of a social group. For example brown-eyed people were more intelligent than blue-eyed people. d) Ethnocentrism is favoritism towards the in group and disfavor towards the out group in order to enhance our positive self image, especially those who have low self esteem. ...read more.

Middle

Eagly (1983), argued that in at least some cases a significant difference does reflect a considerable sex difference. He compared the results of different but equivalent studies and from this arose substantial sex differences on some measures. According to Eagly, research has tended to hide sex differences than uncover sex differences. 'The differences within each gender are, as noted earlier, at least as great as the differences between them (Maccoby, 1980)'6 Androgyny is the term used to describe people who possess qualities, which are regarded as both typically masculine and feminine. An androgynous person has no trouble in coming to terms with their biological identity but clinches masculine and feminine elements into their persona. In 1974, a Stanford University psychologist, Sandra Bem, developed the concept of androgyny. "Andro-" means "man," and "gyn-" refers to "woman." Bem does not view femininity and masculinity at opposite poles of a continuum. In other words, if you are high in masculine traits, you are not automatically low in feminine traits. The androgynous person is high in both masculine and feminine traits. Androgynous people can be aggressive or yielding, forceful or gentle, sensitive or assertive, as the particular situation requires. Usually, bright or creative people tend to be androgynous. Androgynous people are more adaptable. They behave in ways appropriate to the given situation, regardless of whether the behaviour is masculine or feminine. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whitley's studies (1985) contradicted Bems work. He suggests that most psychologically healthy individuals are those that rate themselves higher on masculine traits. Also another criticism of Bems work is where the study was conducted, in Stanford University, which is an Ivy League school in America. The methodology of her original study is not a representative sample. The aim of the study is to investigate the attitudes towards gender stereotyping in the 21st century. As a result of Bem's study the experimental hypothesis is 'An individuals sex will have an effect upon their score in a psychometric test.' And the null hypothesis is 'The sex of the individual will have no effect upon their score in a psychometric test, any differences will be due to chance factors.' This is a two-tailed hypothesis because it predicts that the independent variable will have an effect on the dependant variable but the direction is not specified. It also does not predict which direction the experimenter expects to take. 1 Gross R and McIlveen R Psychology A New Introduction (P463) 2 Gross R Psychology The Science of Mind and Behaviour (P524) 3 Gross R & McIlveen R, op cit (p369, box 45.3) 4 Gross R & McIlveen R, Ibid, (p369) 5 Gross R, op cit (p524) 6 Gross R & McIlveen R, op cit, (p396) 7 Bem S.L. http://www.garysturt.free-online.co.uk/bem.htm 8 Bem S.L. op cit ...read more.

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