Cultural Explanations of Gender

  • Created by: rhallett
  • Created on: 21-09-15 18:31
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  • Cultural Explanations of Gender
    • Margaret Mead studied New Guinean tribes in the 1930s; different gender roles than in the West
      • Tchambuli: opposite gender roles - females were masculine and males were feminine
      • Mudugumor: both males and females were masculine - violent and powerseeking
      • Arapesh: both males and females were feminine
      • Gender is not shaped by biological factors; view is called cultural determinism
      • Mead eventually changed her mind and concluded that there was shared gender roles across cultures
      • Freeman argued that Mead had been misled by some of her RPs in other research - which means were results may not be reliable.
      • Others argue that her methods weren't scientific
    • Other Research
      • Williams & Best - studied gender in 28 cultures - gave RPS 300 adjectives and had to classify them as either male or female, ie: Independent, Sympathetic, Moody, Sensitive - broad agreement between cultures
        • Doesn't show behaviour
        • Used on university students; less population validity
        • Large sample this lots of data
      • Buss studied 37 cultures - questionnaire - about mate preference - in 90% females valued earning potential and men valued physical attractivenes more than women
        • Differences could be due to culture or social factors - women often financially disadvantaged; could explain why key value was earnings
        • Large sample thus lots of data
  • RPs had no choice to say both or neither; perhaps less valid


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