Gender Revision Notes AQA A2 Unit 3

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: jesspre
  • Created on: 01-06-16 22:51
Preview of Gender Revision Notes AQA A2 Unit 3

First 609 words of the document:

Introduction and Biological Influences on Gender
Sex: male/ female biological sex
Gender: an ambiguous term but usually means a sense of masculinity or femininity
Also known as gender identity
Also encompasses psychological characteristics and gender role behaviours associated with being
male or female
Biological Influences on Gender Development
A persons biological sex is determined at the time of conception by the fathers sperm. The ovum
produces XX chromosomes and the sperm XY. Some of the sperm will be X and some Y, the sex is
dependent on which sperm fertilises the egg.
There are two systems which can determine the sex organs, the Mullerian System which has the
potential to develop into female sex organs and the Wolffian System is the precursor to the male
sex organ.
Up until the 6th week all foetuses, regardless of their genetic potential, contain the same sex
organs which have the potential to grow into either female or male.
During pregnancy with XY individuals, androgens form the testes and create testosterone.
Collectively these lead to changes to external genitalia which leads to a specific gender label which
in turn creates specific socialisation.
Androgens such as testosterone, are male hormones. Some XY individuals have an insensitivity to
these hormones, their bodies do no respond to the effects of the male hormones and in some
extreme cases, no male genitalia develop. One case comes from a family in the Dominican
Republic. Four children in the Batista family were born with female genitalia and raised as girls,
the large amounts of testosterone during puberty caused their male genitalia to appear. The
children were genetically XY but had not developed male due to the inherited gene that caused
Male and female brains are different, although the differences are few. For example, girls
generally appear to be better at social skills and boys are better at spatial navigation ( Hoag, 2008 ).
Geschuind and Galaburda (1978) were the first to suggest that such sex differences may be caused
by the effects of testosterone levels developing in the brain. Male brains are exposed prenatally to
more testosterone and this leads to a masculinised brain. If the brain of a female is exposed to too
much testosterone this may lead to masculinity of the brain.
There is supporting evidence in the role of biological factors in gender development. Money and
Ehrhardt 1972 , claimed that biological sex was not the main factor in determining gender
development, it was sex of rearing. They argued that intersex children could be raised as either a
boy or a girl. However, Moneys famous case study, David Reimer is unsupporting of this as
despite being raised as a girl, after David learnt of his real gender, he reverted back to male and
lived the remainder of his life as a male. This shows that biological sex is more a determiner of
gender development. However, there are issues with using evidence of case studies. The main
problem is the lack of generalisability to a wider population. It could also be argued that intersex
individuals may be susceptible to social influences more so than others meaning that they are
looking for others for guidance in their identity. Despite this, there is further supporting evidence
from Reiner and Gerhardt 2004. They studied 16 genetic males with almost no penis, 2 were
raised as males and the other 14 were raised as females. However, 8 reverted to male by the age

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

This is therefore unsupporting of Moneys claims and supporting of the biological influences
explanation of gender development.
The gender outcome for individuals cannot be attributed to just one factor. The eventual outcome
for each individual when establishing gender appears to be complex and an unpredictable
combination of genes, hormones, sex of rearing and socialisation. There do not appear to be any
simple rules. For example, CAH occurs when XX females have high levels of male hormones,
resulting in varying degrees of external male genitalia.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

Another criticism of evolutionary explanations is that they are speculative,
they are not formed on a factual basis. For example, the appearance of division of labour and the
extinction of Neanderthals may be a plausible explanation however, we have no direct proof that
this was the cause. They are also several other plausible theories for their disappearance e.g.
climate change. (Tzedakis et al 2007) . Another key criticism is that the evolutionary approach is
determinist.…read more

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Here's a taster:

P: Support for gender roles
E : Comes from a no. of sources historical data, experiments, observations, q's, comparative
studies and cross cultural studies. Main issue with CC studies is the data actually representative of
the culture. E.g. people aren't honest in q's.
E : Another criticism they are speculative. Not formed on a factual basis. E.g. Neanderthals,
plausible explanations but so is climate change. TZEDAKIS ET AL 2007 .
E : Another criticism determinist. Likely to be other influences.…read more

Page 5

Preview of page 5

Here's a taster:

Eagly and Wood however suggest that
selective pressures cause physical differences and these leads to sex role allocations which in turn
create psychological sex differences. The evolutionary view suggests that social roles grow out of
biologically determined psychological differences.
Division of Labour:
The SRT argues that the biologically based physical differences between men and women allow
them to perform tasks more efficiently.…read more

Page 6

Preview of page 6

Here's a taster:

Biology will determine how they are reared. If intersex, they will be the label they are
Selective pressures cause physical differences, which lead to sex role allocations, which
create psychological sex differences.
Division of labour is due to certain physical differences enabling different roles to be done
more efficiently.
Societies where strength in occupational roles isn't necessary/ care outside of the home:
social roles are similar and less psychological differences.
Mates are chosen in relation to social roles i.e.…read more

Page 7

Preview of page 7

Here's a taster:

Gender Dysphoria is also known as gender identity disorder. It is characterised by a mismatch
between biological appearance and the way they feel about their gender.
People with gender Dysphoria:
Are unambiguously male or female in appearance but are uncomfortable with the sex
assigned.…read more

Page 8

Preview of page 8

Here's a taster:

Coates et al suggests that the trauma may have led to
cross gender fantasy as a means of resolving the ensuing anxiety.
There are actual implications for the socially sensitive research. Research on gender Dysphoria
has potential social consequences for those represented by the research. However, it needs to
be considered that they may be better off with the research existing.…read more

Page 9

Preview of page 9

Here's a taster:

Gender Schema Theory
Martin and Halverson 1981
Children learn schemas related to gender from their interactions with other children and adults or
the media. They learn about what toys are appropriate for each gender, clothes, hair ,etc. These
gender schemas are like naive theories about appropriate behaviour for men and women.
The term ingroup refers to the groups with which a person identifies. Once a child has identified
with a group this leads them to positively evaluate their own group and negatively evaluate the
outgroup.…read more

Page 10

Preview of page 10

Here's a taster:

Furthermore, Zosuls et al (2009) supported gender schema by illustrating children
could label their gender group earlier than indicated, when observed playing. They were using
gender labels by the age of 19 months. Ultimately the clash between the two theories led to
Stagnor and Ruble (1989) proposing a unifying of the approaches as they may represent different
processes.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all resources »