psychological androgyny and gender dysphoria

 Explanations for psychological androgyny and gender dysphoria including relevant research

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Psychological Androgyny is when people don't fit Gender Stereotypes they have a mixture of male and female traits. Bem argued that it is better to me androgynous as subjects are more adaptable in different situations and have a higher self esteem.


Androgyny frees us from the straight jacket of stereotypes and allows us to be more flexible. Usually we try to supress parts of our personality thought to be unmasculine or unfeminine such, as when men are afraid to be gentle.


Bem believes that there is significant evidence that traditional sex typing is unhealthy.

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Positive evaluation

Supported by Bem who found that masculine and androgynous individuals showed lower levels of conformity than feminine women when judging humour in cartoons alongside someone ridiculing their choices.

Families with one or more androgynous parent have been found to be highky encourging reagardinf achievement and self worth in sons and daughters (Sedney)

Ludy and Rosenberg- Androgynous individuals have been found to have higher self esteem.

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Negative evaluation

 Masculine identity was associated with high self esteem not androgyny. 



Meta analyses have found high correlation between masculinity and psychological adjustment. (Bassoff and Glass,1982, Whitney 1983) 


Bias, as Bem is a feminist so her research is likely to have a feminist spin on it.


Just creating a third stereotype?

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Gender Dysphoria explanations

The term gender dysphoria describes an individuals experience of feeling uncomfortable with the gender assigned to them at birth, which may result in sex change or gender reassignment.

The biological explanation:it is caused by unusual development in the brain before birth. There are small areas of the brain that are different in males and females. It is possible that hormones can cause parts of the brain to develop in a way that is not consistent with the genitalia and, usually, with the chromosomes. This means that the brain has not developed in a way that corresponds to the gender assigned to the child at birth.

 Zhou et al studied one of the brain structures that is different in men and women and found that in six male-to-female transsexuals this followed a totally female pattern

Psychological explanation:  Stoller - For boys who want to be girls, he suggests that there is an over-close relationship with the mother and a distant father. For girls who want to be boys, he suggests that that they have a depressed mother in the first few months of their life and a father who is either not present or does not support the mother but leaves the child to try to control the mother’s depression.

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Positive evaluation

 Research on gender dysphoria has lead to organisations that campaign for the rights of intersex individuals.

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