Biosocial approach to gender development essay plan


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Biosocial Approach to Gender Development
· Focuses on both biological and social factors influencing gender development;
states biology is foundation upon which social factors are built
· Idea child's gender is consistent with way it has been raised, highlights importance
of how baby's behaviour influences parent's response to them - influence
parent's response by how they look / act
· Moss (1967) 3 weeks, boys more irritable & harder to pacify than girls, theory
suggests social explanation "boys don't cry", carers wont respond, baby further
irritated before carer gives expected response
· Money and Ehrdart (1972) `anatomy is destiny' how an infant's gender is labelled
at birth determines how it's socialised. Social factors have a bigger influence on
gender identity than biological. Thought to be a period of flexibility when gender is
malleable, possible to change it as long as child is under three. Supported by case
study of Mr. Blackwell, a hermaphrodite, identified at birth as male and raised so,
breasts developed at puberty, found to have both a working teste and ovary as
well as a penis and a vagina, felt male, female parts removed, lived successful
and fully functioning life as a male, never displayed behaviour described as being
· Thought early identification and formation of gender identity is key. Case studies,
hermaphrodites, gender reassignment surgery, support theory. Anatomical and
behavioural cues are generated at birth, subsequent labelling and socialisation
prompted the future gender identity of the hermaphrodite.
· Research support Smith and Lloyd (1978) importance of cues and labelling in
socialisation of infants, adults in study treated babies according to gender they
perceived them to be; infants supposed biology determines their social
· Recent support Wood and Eagly (2002) physical differences between men and
women cause psychological differences, due to interaction between physical
attributes and social contexts in which they interact. Male roles were assigned to
them due to physical strength, size and speed - good hunters and so providers.
Female roles due to ability to give birth and feed young - could raise young more
efficiently, nurturers and domesticated roles
· Wood and Eagly examined cross cultural research, similarities and differences in
sex-differentiated behaviour, if gender behaviour that is very important to humans
it would be found across many cultures, differences between cultures indicate
less essential behaviour, moderated by society for example as women's status
has been increasing they take on more male-dominated roles their psychological
attributes change in parallel
· Konrad at al (2000) found despite increasing leadership, power and prestige in
women, particularly in Western cultures, women are still the only sex which can
reproduce, may not able to combine production with reproduction as efficiently,
many non western cultures are still patriarchal, gender behaviour is still
constrained to physical attributes, flexible to a degree and can respond to cultural

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Research against Luxen (2007) biosocial is incompatible with evolutionary,
especially in claim that evolution is responsible for physical attributes only rather
than neural and psychological development, no evidence to say that evolution
hasn't designed different psychological mechanisms in the sexes to respond to
different adaptive problems
· Theory also does not take into account biological influences on gender - role of
hormones in prenatal development or hormone cycles which cause differences in
behaviour between males and females
· Theory fails to explain overlap between human…read more


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