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Psychology of Gender

Psychology of Gender

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Published by ashmalik
PSYCHOLOGY OF GENDER AND TRANSGENDERISM
Gender is one of the most important categories, if not the most important category, in human social life. Though at first sight distinguishing between female and male may seem straightforward, a closer look readily reveals that this fundamental categorization is fairly complex -- it is imbued with a host of cultural meanings and practices group, and pervading societal and often each and every In aspect all on of individual, and interpersonal, exerting proc
PSYCHOLOGY OF GENDER AND TRANSGENDERISM
Gender is one of the most important categories, if not the most important category, in human social life. Though at first sight distinguishing between female and male may seem straightforward, a closer look readily reveals that this fundamental categorization is fairly complex -- it is imbued with a host of cultural meanings and practices group, and pervading societal and often each and every In aspect all on of individual, and interpersonal, exerting proc

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Published by: ashmalik on Jun 21, 2009
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PSYCHOLOGY OF GENDER AND TRANSGENDERISM

Gender is one of the most important categories, if not the most important category, in human social life. Though at first sight distinguishing between female and male may seem straightforward, a closer look readily reveals that this fundamental categorization is fairly complex -- it is imbued with a host of cultural meanings and practices pervading each and every aspect of individual, interpersonal, group, and societal processes. In all known cultures, females and males meet with distinct sets of gender-related beliefs and expectations exerting powerful, and often subtle, influence on their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (Eckes & Trautner, 2000).

The first distinction to make is between sex and gender. Sex refers to the biological categories of male and female, categories distinguished by genes, chromosomes and hormones. Male and female are biological terms. Culture has no influence on one\u2019s sex. Sex is a relatively stable category that is not easily changed. Gender, by contrast, is a much more fluid category: it refers to the social categories of male and female. Gender is determined by biological, psychological and sociological factors. Masculine and feminine are psychological terms, which refer to a person's gender. These categories are distinguished from one another by a set of psychological features and role attributes that society has assigned to the biological categories of sex. For example, emotionality is a trait we ascribe to women and competitiveness is a trait we ascribed to men. These traits are features of gender rather than sex. Where as sex is defined in the same way across cultures, gender differs because each society has its own prescriptions for how men and women ought to behave. Unger (1990) defines gender as \u201cthe cognitive and perceptual mechanisms by which biological differentiation is translated into social differentiation\u201d. For example: one category of gender feature in United States is to wear a skirt, so if we encounter someone wearing a skirt, we can assume the person is psychologically female as well as biologically female (Helgeson, 2005).

1
Origin of Psychology of Gender:The term "gender role" was firstly used in a press

release, November 21, 1966, to announce the new clinic for transsexuals at The Johns
Hopkins Hospital. This made people focus on concept of gender, and the sociologist and
psychologist started focusing on gender identity and gender roles and why some people
do not identify with their biological sex. As long as a person\u2019s perceived physiological
sex is consistent with that person's gender identity, the gender role of a person is so much
a matter of course in a stable society that people rarely even think of it. Only in cases
where, for whatever reason, an individual has a gender role that is inconsistent with his or
her sex will the matter draw attention.Such discordance between anatomical sex and
gender identity is termed gender dysphoria. Transgendered were considered gender
dysphoric. These discussions also lead the focus towards gender differences, and equality
and ultimately lead to the development of the concept of feminism (Feinberg, 1992).

Feminism:Feminism comprises a number of social, cultural and political movements,

theories and moral philosophies concerned with gender inequalities and equal rights for women.A feminist is a person who believes that men and women should be treated equally. A defining feature of feminism is a high regard for women. Feminism advocates the political, economic and social equality of the sexes (Brabeck & Brown, 1997).

Feminism is the belief that society is disadvantageous to women, systematically depriving them of individual choice, political power, economic opportunity and intellectual recognition. Most feminists argue that traditional gender roles are oppressive for women. They believe that the female gender role was constructed as an opposite to an ideal male role, and helps to perpetuate patriarchy The Feminist Movement is concerned with individual autonomy, rights, freedom, independence, tolerance, co-operation, nonviolence and diversity. Some themes explored and campaigned within Feminism include domestic violence, gender, stereotypes, sexuality, discrimination, sexism, objectification, patriarchy, abortion, reproduction, control of the female body, divorce, equal pay, maternity leave, breast feeding, prostitution and education. The majority of feminists today reject the relationship between our biological and cultural evolution. Thus implying that our biological makeup has no connection to informing social roles and behaviors (Brabeck & Brown, 1997).

2
Feminine Psychology

As the first woman to present a paper on feminine psychology at an international
meeting, Karen Horney pioneered and developed a feminine psychology that provided a
new way of thinking about women. Horney was also a pioneer in the discipline of
feminine psychiatry. She wrote fourteen papers between 1922 and 1937, which she
compiled to form a volume titled "Feminine Psychology". She had a feeling that, as a
woman, it was her task to work out a fuller understanding for specifically female trends
and attitudes in life. In her book titled "The Problem of Feminine Masochism", Horney
proved that culture and society encouraged women to be dependent on men for love,
prestige, wealth, care, and protection. She pointed out the overemphasis on pleasing men
and the overvaluation of men and love. Women, she found, were to be beautiful and
charming, according to society. Also, women gained value only through their husband\u2019s
children, and family. Her "The Distrust between the Sexes" compared the husband-wife
relationship to a parent-child relationship. In "The Problem of the Monogamous Ideal",
Karen focused on marriage, and six of her other papers were based on marriage problems.
Finally, her "Maternal Conflicts", shed new light on the problems associated with raising
adolescents. For Horney, psychic differences between men and women are not the result
of anatomy but rather of cultural and social expectations (Fiest & Fiest, 2002).

Structure of Personality:
According to psychology of gender an individual\u2019s personality is made up of
several elements that shape his/her personality:
\u2022
Gender role
\u2022
Gender identity
\u2022
Sexual orientation/preference
Gender Role: Another term that better captures society\u2019s influence on the

biologically based categories of male and female is gender role rather than gender. A role is a social position accompanied by set of norms or expectations. For example female or a daughter what role is expected of you? Gender role refers to the expectations that go3

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