Women and Sex Roles: A Social Psychological Perspective

By Irene H. Frieze; Jacquelynne E. Parsons et al. | Go to book overview
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Classic Theories
of Sex-Role Socialization

*There is very little evidence demonstrating unequivocal behavioral differences between females and males either in adults or in very young children. Thus we concluded in Chapter 4 that socialization is a major factor in sex-role acquisition. In Chapter 5 we demonstrated that gender identity rather than biological sex determines many components of the sex role one learns. Specifically, in a series of recent studies it was found that children whose gender identity differed from their genetic sex acquired sex-role behaviors and attitudes that agreed with their gender identity rather than their genetic sex (Money and Ehrhardt, 1972). In addition, the evidence regarding early behavioral sex differences and cross-cultural behavioral consistencies suggests that of all the behaviors commonly stereotyped as masculine or feminine, only aggression and performance on tasks requiring spatial skills reveal sex differences with any regularity. And even with aggression as the dependent measure, studies do not always find significant sex differences. Based on this review, we concluded, with the possible exceptions of aggression and spatial skills, that there was little, if any, evidence suggesting biological or inborn personality or response differences between sexes.

Instead, the bulk of studies revealing consistent sex differences have focused on sex-role—related behavior such as children's preference for dolls as opposed to toy trucks, rather than response style differences, such as assertive

Jacquelynne Parsons was the primary author of this chapter; she was assisted by Julie Croke.


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