Nature-Nurture Debate In Gender Development Notes Lesson
The Nature Argument • The nature debate states that gender is biological. This explains the strong relationship between a person’s sex and gender. • Evolutionary mechanisms such as procreation are instinctive, this could mean that gender is innate as well.
Cross-cultural Research Studies • Buss (1994) – Heterosexual preferences in males and females. • Mead (1935) – Cultural variations in gender role. (Berdache)
Challenging Western Assumptions of Gender Role. • Best et al (1994) – Challenges ‘Males and females are naturally different in their parenting roles.’ • Pontius (1997) – Challenges ‘Males have innately superior spatial skills.’ • Roscoe(1998) – Challenges ‘There are only two genders.’ • Sugihara and Katsurada (1999) – ‘Males are born masculine and females are born feminine.’
The Nurture Argument • Gender is a essentially a product of socialisation. Therefore, family upbringing and societal expectation must play a role. • It explains why some people adopt the opposite gender role to their sex. • It also explains cultural variations in gender roles. People will rely on cultural beliefs, values and norms.
Sex-Role Stereotyping • Beliefs, values and norms are transmitted by agents of socialisation, such as parents, peers the education system and the media. These groups work collectively to reinforce certain behaviours and discourage others.
Sex-Role Stereotyping • Sex-role stereotyping leads to a situation where individuals are expected to behave in certain ways associated with their sex. E.g. Females are the main carer and Males are the main bread winner.
Research studies for Sex-Role Stereotypes (Content Analysis) • Kortenhaus and Demarest (1993) – Teenage magazines. • Peirce (1993) – TV Adverts. • Furnaham and Farragher (2000) – Sex-Role Stereotypes in British TV Adverts.
Example - Heineken http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfZ0UC-VxGI
Furnaham and Farragher (2000) – Sex-Role Stereotypes in British TV Adverts • Samples of TV adverts were taken over a month. 200 were analysed according to the central figure of the advert. • Men were presented in autonomous roles (for example, as professionals, celebrities) whereas women were most likely to be presented in familial roles (for example as home-makers).
Fagot (1978) – Investigating Parental role and the effect on gender. • Parents acted in a more positive way when a child was engaged in gender- appropriate behaviour and in a more negative way in the opposing instance.
Gender: Nature or Nurture • Diamond and Sigmundson (1997) • Review of the Bruce – Brenda Case study first conducted by Dr John Money. • This is clear evidence of nature outweighing the attempts to nurture this male child into a feminine role.
Interactionist Approach • Many psychologists nowadays adopt an interactionist approach to explaining gender, and recognise that gender is a product of both biology and environmental experiences.
Innate Cross-cultural research Universal Gender role Ethnographic Western Society Socialisation Norms Agents of Socialisation Sex-Role Stereotyping Sex-Role Stereotypes Interactionist Approach Key Terms