Culture and Gender

  • Created by: anna
  • Created on: 12-05-17 15:25

What is the difference between sex and gender

Sex = refers to a biological difference between men and women. This is determined by genes, for women there is a ** chromosomes and for men it is XY chromosomes. This is biologically fixed. 

Gender = defined as a psychological difference between men and women. Gender is a social and cultural construct specific to a time and place. 

1 of 26

Evolutionary theory

Reproductive differences between men and women have led to psychological differences over evolutionary history. 

This is because women are seen to have heavy parental investment as they carry the child for 9 months and have a period of lactation, nursing the infant for some time.

Men have a much lower parental investment as they only need to donate the sperm and do not need to carry the child or remain invested after the baby is born as the woman offers a lot more.

The parental investment theory was developed by Triver's (1972) who stated that women are choosier than men. This is due to women having higher parental investment for their offspring and want a male who has quality genes, able to provide sufficient resources and protect her and the baby. 

Women cannot risk mating with someone who does not meet these requirements as it is very costly and will regret it more if the mate does not have any parental investment to offer in the long-term as it will be too late for the woman to find someone else. 

2 of 26

Sexual selection

Men and women are likely to choose mates who display desirable traits that enable their own likelihood to reproduce, maximising their genetic fitness and evolutionary theorists argue that there is an essential drive to reproduce that is innate as we want to have generations of our genes to go on. 

Because some traits are preferred in mates, these traits will become selected for in each gender over time. peacocks is an example in the animal world. Female peacocks will mate with a male with an attractive feather display, this is an example of a physical attribute. 

Humans and animals, sexually selected trait is aggression in males, males compete with other males for sexual access to females. Males who can successfully fight with other males or gain more resources to provide for females resulting in higher attraction to mate with females. 

Women are choosier, want a mate that can protect/fight against other males and provide a good resource provider due to showing aggression and dominance. 

3 of 26

Hormonal approach

Gender differences are related to hormonal differences in males and females. Testosterone is associated with aggression. 

Dabbs found that male prisoners with higher testosterone levels were more likely to have committed violent crimes than prisoners with lower testosterone. Women also have testosterone, much lower than men

Disorder in women= congenital adrenal hyperplasia; girls with this condition, mothers produced an excess amount of testosterone in the utero

Research demonstrated that girls with this condition are more likley to show so called masculine traits such as high activity levels and aggression. 

This would suggest that testosterone is partially responsible for some of the stereotypically masculine behaviour

Oestrogen would be responsible for making girls more emotional and relational. Biological theories of gender differences should be universal across cultures 

4 of 26

Sociocultural theory

Sociocultural theory is more likley to locate gender differences within the environment rather than biology. 

Nurture perspective: views gender as socially constructed

Gender is entirely a product of socialisation within a particular culture 

They have a relativist perspective that cultures differ and therefore gender differences also differ.

Gender role conformity tends to be socialised by differential expectations for boys and girls. Reward gender consistent behaviour and punish gender inconsistent behaviour. 

Girls and boys are shaped to be feminine and masculine and follow the expected roles that come with those labels. Boys are encouraged to play with cars, planes. Girls are encouraged to play with dolls and dressing up. 

5 of 26

Biosocial theory: biological and sociocultural per

The major claim from a biosocial theory is that there is a division of labour by sex exists across cultures. 

No matter what society, women are expected to do certain jobs different to men. Universalism, women and men have physical differences

Throughout history, it was functional for women to assume childcare roles. Men have greater strength and speed functional for hunting and physical labour. 

These roles developed in order to match physical characteristics of sexes. Modern developments mean the division of labour is no longer as functional such as birth control and bottle feedings. 

Division of labour becomes culturally entrentched, support differential gender role. Behaviour reflects an accomodation to these roles. Girls are encouraged to play with dolls and boys with cars. 

Boys are socialised to become tough, breadwinners to achieve high status and leadership roles. Girls and boys are rewarded and punished for conforming or not conforming to these roles. 

6 of 26

Ecocultural theory

Different ecologies give rise to different subsistence economies, nomadic hunting and gathering, herding, agricultural, industrial, post-industrial. 

All these different subsistence economies tend to enforce a greater or lesser division of sex and what is functional according to that ecology. 

This division of labour by sex and are linked to different child rearing practices. 

Barry et al found that, girls tend to be socialised for nurturance, responsibility and obedience which is compliance dimension. 

Boys are socialised for independence, self-reliance and achievement which is assertiveness dimension. 

In agricultural societies there is a larger gender division of labour, which results in larger gender differences. Agricultural societies, farming is something only boys will do as it is intense physical labour whereas girls have childcare responsibilities. 

Nomadic or industrial societies there is a smaller division of labour and this results in smaller gender differences. Both girls and boys are socialised to be assertive. 

In case of hunters and gatherers, girls and boys are needed to locate food sources according to their environments their surivival and entire subsistence is dependent on spotting food sources. 

7 of 26

ecocultural theory

The ecocultural perspective is the idea is that if you have a greater divsion of labour, you find greater differences in boys and girls in terms of how they are socialised for assertiveness and compliance. 

8 of 26

Gender stereotypes

Gender stereotypes refer to behaviours that are believed to be more characteristics to women or men. There is a stereotype that women are more emotional and men are more aggressive

Gender stereotype that women are more emotional and men are more aggressive 

Gender stereotypes are used as a justification for gender roles or as discrimination against a particular gender

Claims that women are naturally good at taking care of children, women should stay at home and take care of children, men should go out and earn the money 

Sayings that men are more naturally assertive than women therefore make better business executives and these gender stereotypes are equally harmful for men and women.

9 of 26

Williams and Best (1982) gender stereotype across

They asked university students in 27 countries to look at a list of adjectives and they were instructed to indicate whether in their own culture, each trait is more associated with men, women or both. 

They found that there was a high agreement acorss cultures on stereotypes. Participants ascribed the same stereotypes to men and women. 

Males were associated with words such as adventerous, confident, individualistic, loud 

Women were associated with being affectionate, dependent, emotional and home orientated. 

Williams and Best factor analysed gender stereotypes and they found cultural differences in three componenets of stereotypes. They found that men were greater in activity and strength compared to women. 

Men and women were equal for favourability. 

10 of 26

Williams and Best (1982) gender stereotype across

Gender differences were large in low economic development cultures, low literacy rates, women were less educated and therefore men were rated as more active. 

In economically developing countries women were seen as more active as they were more educated,

In some cultures men were seen as more favourable such as Nigeria whereas women were more favourable in countries like Italy.

Catholicism favoured a stronger female stereotype because of virgin Mary women have a more favourable dominant stereotype.

Across cultures dominance and autonomy were associated with men and nurturance with women. 

Gender stereotypes appear to be universal. This supports the sexual selection perspective that dominance selected for in men, nurturance in women. 

11 of 26

Gender stereotypes are internalised to varying deg

Bem (1974) found that gender traits are not inevitable rather they tend to be internalised based on how parents socialise you. She argued that masculine and feminine traits are separate, independent constructs. 

You can be high in masculine and feminine traits, psychological androgyny, you can be compliant and assertive.

It has been found to be associated with high psychological well-being. Having too many masculine and feminine traits and not a balance could lead to poor health outcomes, if women are too nurturing without being assertive they suffer less occupational success.

12 of 26

Gender ideology

This refers to our beliefs about how men and women ought to be. 

Cultural scripts that regulate male and female interactions

Men ought to be the breadwinner and women to be the housewife, child carer. 

13 of 26

Traditional ideology

Men and women are fundamentally different

Women tend to have less status 

14 of 26

Egalitarian ideology

Men and women are fundamentally similar

Across cultures, men tend to be more traditional

Individualistic wealthy countries, less traditional 

Wealthier and more educated cultures tend to be more individualistic

Kagitcibasi (1996) economic development leads to higher status of women. 

15 of 26

Williams and Best gender role ideology across cult

They measured gender role ideology in 14 countries

They found that women are more egalitarian

Cultural differences in gender role ideology were larger than sex differences

The most egalitarian countries were: the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, England

more traditional countries: Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Japan

Egalitarianism is associated with socioeconomic development, protestant church and further from the equator

There is a higher percentage of educated and employed women and individualism

16 of 26

Ecocultual approach to gender differences in spati

Agricultural societies were found to have greater division of labour, boys explore enviornment and develop better spatial ability. 

In nomadic societies both sexes explore the environment to find food and no gender differences in spatial ability

cultural relativist perspective of masculinity and femininity, masculinity and femininity are culturally constructed and differ from culture to culture and time and place. 

Most research is based on western standards, traits considered to be feminine in the west may endorsed for both sexes in other cultures. 

17 of 26

How do cultures shape masculinity and femininity

There are ecocultural factors which shape femininity and masculinity. 

There is a larger division of labour which results in larger gender differences

Boys are socialised to be assertive and girls to be complaint 

Another factor that influences gender differences is sex ratio

Male surplus populations in parts of India and China, this can have a lot of psychological and behavioural effects

18 of 26

Male surplus populations

There has been some speculation that gender ideologies tend to become more polarised as a result of male surplus= more males, less females

this is because there is a higher level of competition for scarce females through status competition with other men, hypermasculinity 

Being more aggressive is more likley a trait to attract females as this signals being able to acquire resources and wealth. 

19 of 26

Hyper femininity

Women tend to show gender behaviour as well as there is greater paternal uncertainty, males are more likely to control women's sexual behaviour which leads to hyperfemininity

They place higher cultural value on women's chasity, no premarital sex and women are encouraged to be obedient

20 of 26

Cultural shaping of gender in Punjab, india

In an agricultural society such as punjab, india, there is a larger division of labour due to larger cultural differences, it is a wealthy country. 

Approximately there are 800 girls for every 1000 boys, stark gender imabalance

This is linked to dowry system. Girls are an economic liability to family of origin

This may resort to female infanticide sex selective abortions or neglect or infant girls. 

21 of 26

Culture, gender traditionalism and intimacy

Chinese Canadians reported experiencing less emotional intimacy in hetereosexual relationships than european

The reasons were that Chinese canadians were more traditional gender role ideology encourages less self-disclosure and results in less emotional intimacy

chinese canadians lower intimacy was linked with a higher rate of relationship termination

22 of 26

Machismo and relationship satisfaction

a Latin American script of hypermasculinity

Male dominance, power and control

Males are the providers and protectors

They are the head of the household and has more decision making power

Machismo is females submissive to males

There is importance of childcare women should be a mother and sacrafice to take care of her family

They found that when men were higher in negative machismo, both husbands and wives reported lower marital satisfaction

Negative machismo leads to conflict

When men were higher in positive machismo,both husbands and wives reported higher marital satisfaction 

23 of 26

Gender equality and sexual relationships in South

Mantell et al interviewed African and Indian women at a south african uni

Gender equality is increasingly in post-apartheid south africa

south african women experiencing greater education and economic freedom

negative effects of apartheid still linger it was related to unemployment and poor educational oppurtunities for non-white citizens

Linked with domestic violence women expected to be more submissive to men

greater inequality linked with higher rates of unprotected sex and HIV transmission

24 of 26

Egalitarian in south african relationships

Men were more accepting of gender equality

women have the right to refuse sex and expect men to wear the condom

womens increasing education and financial autonomy made them more assertive in hetereosexual relationships

25 of 26

Traditionalism in south african relationships

But men continue to be more dominant 

male dominance extends into sexual relationships, prioritized male sexual pleasure over their own. 

26 of 26


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Visual System resources »