Gender and Motivation

Gender and Motivation

Gender and Motivation

Gender and Motivation

Synopsis

Does knowing a person's gender give us a reliable sense of how aggressive, competitive, or emotional he or she is? In this volume leading scholars examine different aspects of this issue. Carol Tavris discusses the state of gender research and the reasons for the continuing popularity of essentialist theories of gender opposition. Nicki Crick and a team of researchers reassess stereotyped assumptions about gender and aggression, employing a more comprehensive definition of aggression as damaging relations rather than only bodies. Diane Gill looks at the relationship between gender and sports competition, explicating how the unique social context of sports affects gender perceptions and performances. Reed Larson and Joseph Pleck question the popular conception of men as less emotional than women, studying gender differences in "felt" rather than "expressed" emotions in daily life. Leonore Tiefer considers the ways in which gender roles in sexuality are socially rather than biologically constructed.

Excerpt

Dan Bernstein University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This volume is about motivation and gender. The chapters outline recent research and conceptual analysis related to four important motivational constructs—sexuality, emotion, competition, and aggression. In each case the author has examined the relation between the motivational construct and gender; the chapters describe those relations and analyze their origins and implications. There are two primary ideas that connect these accounts of gender and motivation: the authors generally report great diversity within gender groups in the degree to which these motivational characteristics are found, and they note that there is much to be considered in exactly how these motivational constructs are defined and measured. One could easily conclude that there is tremendous overlap in the amount of aggression, sexuality, emotion, and competition shown by males and females, even given conventional conceptions of the measurement of those constructs. When an alternative and thoughtful reconstruction of the motivational variables is added to the analysis, the overlap becomes even greater, and differences disappear or even reverse their order. Faced with data showing substantial overlap in characteristics, one is left to ponder why human perception of gender differences is so richly caricatured and so firmly held. This is an . . .

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