Androgyny & Bem's Sex-Role Inventory

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  • Androgyny & BSRI
    • Androgyny
      • When a person can be both masculine & feminine in different situations
      • Usually develops after 9 years old as they are more independent & think for themselves
    • BSRI
      • Bem, constructed inventory to investigate male & female traits.
        • All traits were on a continuum
      • Bem came up with the androgynous hypothesis - stated androgyny should be a desired condition
      • Found men scored more highly on masculine traits & females scored more highly on feminine traits
      • Androgyny is more common than extreme masculinity / femininity
        • Research shows high levels of androgyny lead to better mental health
    • Cognitive explanations for Androgyny
      • Different Cognitive Style
        • When deciding how to behave, they act independently of gender concepts as they are not influenced by sex-role stereotypes
          • Orlofsky - Androgyny is learnt through reinforcement, so develop masculine & feminine qualities applicable to different situations
    • Evaluation of BSRI
      • Can be repeated to get similar results in many locations
        • Test-retest reliability
      • Androgynous traits might not be the reason for having better mental health
        • Masculine traits such as competitiveness in western cultures are more important than typical feminine characteristics
          • Possibly male characteristics are for better mental health
      • Lacks temporal validity
        • Test initially took place in the 1970's. Ideas of what is considered masculine & feminine have changed
      • Reductionist
        • Reduces masculinity & femininity to basic scores. Gender behaviour is much more complex
      • Not all androgynous behaviour is desirable
        • Androgynous individuals could display negative stereotyped characteristics such as being to aggressive or too timid


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