Sex and gender

-Sex: The biological differences between men and women in terms of anatomy, hormones and chromosomes

-Gender: The behavioural, cultural and psychological differences between men and women

-Psychosocial status: Either masculinity or femininity are partly innate and partly environmental (interactionist)

David Reimer

-One of two biologically male twins

-During a botched circumcisation, David's penis was destroyed so Dr Money gave him an operation that gave him a biologically female appearance. Dr Money believed that gender was entirely environmental. It is believed that Dr Money requested for/botched the operation deliberately, to prove his theory that gender was completely environmental

-David was raised with the belief that he was a girl

-But as David grew up, he was constantly uncomfortable with his female-looking body and being told he was a girl. It is also thought that Dr Money behaved in a pedophilic way towards David and his brother, as a way of 'forcing' David to believe that he was female.

-Dr Diamond said that gender was entirely biological, and explained why David was so uncomfortable in his body. David then transitioned from physically female to physically male and was much happier, however he did commit suicide later on in his life, as did his twin brother. 

Eval: The Batista boys- born physically appearing female, but actually biologically male and this was revealed as they hit puberty. All settled well into their new sex, possibly because their Dominican patriarchal culture values men more highly than women. But David Reimer also had a traumatic childhood as his mother tried to commit suicide, he was manipulated by Dr Money and before his death his wife left him and he was in severe debt.

Evidence that gender is biological

-Mice experiment: Female mice were given more testosterone and they displayed more masculine behaviour eg. trying to mate with other females. 

-Gorski's rats: The sexually dimorphic nucleus (SDN) in male rats is bigger in males than females. It is 2x bigger in humans. 

-He also found that in trans people, they have the same SDN as their gender, not their sex. 

-Refuting this: Batista boys. Identified as female even though they had a biologically male body. 

Sex role stereotypes

-A set of beliefs and preconceived beliefs about what is expected of males and females in any given society

-Affected by peers: Children are bullied if they don't fit gender stereotypes. Older children are less biased than younger children.

-Affected by parents/strangers Treat children differently if they know the gender of the children. 

-Affected by teachers: Who may reinforce gender stereotypical behaviour through rewards/punishment. Only 3% of nursery teachers are male. Men are seen as threatening, women as nurturing. 


-An equal balance of both traditionally male and female characteristics

-Bem-1974. Androgynous people are psychologically healthier than non-androgynous people because they are better equipped to deal with more situations

-The BSRI- Bem Sex Role Inventory measures femininity, masculinity, androgyny and unspecified gender identity. 60 characteristics- 20m, 20f, 20u, rate of truthfulness from 1-7

-Almost 1/4 of…


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