This textbook is called Psychology of Gender. Why not Psychology of Sex? What is the difference between sex and gender? Is gender just the more politically correct term? One of our first tasks is to define these terms and other sex-related and gender-related ideas.
The first distinction to make is between sex and gender.
Sex refers to the biological categories of female and male, categories distinguished by genes, chromosomes, and hormones. Culture has no influence on one’s sex. Sex is a relatively stable category that is not easily changed, although recent technology has allowed people to change their biological sex. Gender, by contrast, is a much more fluid category. It refers to the social categories of male and female.
These categories are distinguished from one another by a set of psychological features and role attributes that society has assigned to the biological category of sex. What are some of the psychological features we assign to sex in the United States? Emotionality is a trait we ascribe to women, and competitiveness is a trait we ascribe to men.
These traits are features of gender rather than sex. Whereas sex is defined in the same way across cultures, gender differs because each society has its own prescriptions for how women and men ought to behave. A feature of the male sex category includes the Y chromosome; regardless of whether a male wears a baseball cap or barrettes, or is competitive or empathetic, he is of the male sex because he possesses the Y chromosome. Personality and appearance are related to the gender category.
In the United States, a feature of the female gender category is nurturance; a person who is nurturant is behaving in a way consistent with the social category for women. Another feature of the female gender category in the United States is to wear a skirt; typically, if you encounter someone in this country wearing a skirt, you can assume the person is psychologically female as well as biologically female.
However, in other countries, such as Scotland, wearing a skirt or a kilt is quite normal for a person of the biological male sex; thus we would not want to use wearing a skirt as a feature of the female or male gender category in Scotland. It is American culture that views a kilt as a skirt; a person from Scotland does not view a kilt as feminine attire. The content of gender categories—but not sex categories— is influenced by society, culture, and time.
1.Methods and History of Gender Research
3.Sex-Related Comparisons: Observations
4.Sex-Related Comparisons: Theory
9.Sex Differences in Health: Evidence and Explanations
10.Relationships and Health
11.Paid Worker Role and Health
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Free download ebook The Psychology of GENDER by Vicki S. Helgeson (Carnegie Mellon University) pdf – Fourth Edition