sexual & gender development

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  • Sexual development
    • Sex: whether you are biologically male or female - can be accounted for by the following biological factors
      • genetic sex (chromosomes): 2 X = female; X+Y = male
        • variations: klinefelter's syndrome: boy is born with an extra chromosome - may be feminine, infertile or have undersized sexual organs; turner's syndrome: girl may only have one X chromosome - will be infertile or appear boyish
      • hormonal sex (androgens/ estrogens): everyone produces both hormones, sex differences are related to proportion of hormones found in the body
        • all embryos genetically look the same for the first 6 weeks of prenatal dev - if testosterone is there, penis and other male structures grow - prenatal growth doesnt always match genetic sex - hormonal problems before birth (not enough avail testosterone, androgen insensitivity) may produce an intersexual person (ambiguous sexual anatomy)
      • Gonadal sex: ovaries or testes: gonads (sex glands) secrete hormones
      • Genital sex (vagina/clitorisand penis/scrotum):
        • primary characteristics:sexual and reproductive organs
        • secondary:superficial features that appear at puberty
    • Gender: refers to all psychological and social traits associated with being male or female
      • gender identity: one's subjective sense of being male or female in appearance, behavior and attitudes) - partly learned through gender role socialisation (process of leaning gender behaviors regarded as appropriate for one's sex in a given culture) (parental and cultural pressures)  - boys are encouraged in instrumental behavior (goal -directed) and girls in expressive (emotion oriented) behavior
      • there is a certain level of biological biasing effect: (hypothesized effect that prenatal exposure to sex hormones has on development of the body, nervous system and later behavior patterns) but most human sex linked behaviors are influenced much more by learning
      • gender role: pattern of behaviors that are regarded as male or female by one's culture sometimes also referred to as a sex role  - influences how we act
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