Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present

By Sue V. Rosser | Go to book overview

Personality/Rationality/
Emotionality

JANINE P. BUCKNER


Personality

Everyday stereotypes about being male or female include beliefs regarding the kind of individual one should be; preferences, activities, personality attributes, and emotional behaviors are all parts of stereotyped identities that we ascribe to others and apply to ourselves. As early as two years of age, children expect different kinds of interactions with women and men, and they assume that different personal qualities “belong” to these kinds of people. Both girls and boys describe men as confident, strong, aggressive, dominant, and even cruel, whereas women are characterized as being delicate, emotional, gentle, weak, and affectionate. These beliefs expressed by children expose the cultural expectations that shape their knowledge and lead them to view gender as being represented along a single continuum of personality traits—with masculinity on one end of the spectrum and femininity at the other.

Typically, stereotypes for masculinity describe features focused on a concern about one’s own interests and success, a concept described as agency. Such qualities as self-confidence, competitiveness, dominance, and leadership are included in this set of masculine traits. Stereotypes for femininity, on the other hand, prescribe the “opposite” features and are characterized as representing a connectedness to others, or dependence (Tannen 1990). As such, women are expected to be more socially attuned: relational rather than rational; emotional and collaborative rather than competitive; nurturing rather than selfish; weak and yielding rather than strong and assertive.

As children become adults, assumptions about the bipolarity of gender continue to shape perceptions of self and interpretations of experience. Indeed, when adults are asked to select traits that are most like themselves, men rate high agency-type features and infrequently endorse communal/dependent traits; however, women more often select features associated with social identities (caring, friendly, emotional) rather than qualities of agency (Bem 1993).

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Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chronological Section- Changes in Myths of Gender over Time 1
  • Antiquity 3
  • Medieval Era 17
  • Renaissance 31
  • The 18th Century 43
  • The 19th Century 61
  • Early 20th Century 79
  • Thematic Section- Concepts of Gender in Different Contexts 93
  • Disciplines - Chemistry 95
  • Physics/Astronomy 103
  • Mathematics 109
  • Computer Science 115
  • Biology 123
  • Psychology 129
  • Medicine 135
  • Technology 141
  • Aspects of Human Biology and Behavior - The Brain 149
  • Cognitive Abilities 155
  • Mental Illness 161
  • Personality/Rationality/Emotionality 167
  • Endocrinology and Hormones 173
  • Menstruation/Menopause/PMS 177
  • Early Modern Health 181
  • Gender/Sex—How Conjoined 187
  • Homosexuality 193
  • Race 201
  • Nature/Nurture 207
  • Institutions - Women’s Education 213
  • Motherhood 223
  • Religion 229
  • Universities 235
  • Federal Agencies 249
  • Industry 259
  • Professional Societies 263
  • Discrimination 273
  • Women Scientists as Leaders 283
  • Nobel Laureates 295
  • Gender and Occupational Interests 319
  • Other Perspectives on Gender and Myths and Beliefs in Scientific Research - Feminist Philosophy of Science 325
  • Biologists Who Study Gender/Feminism 337
  • Historians of Science and Technology Who Focus on Feminism 347
  • Primatologists Who Focus on Females/Gender 357
  • Critiques of Science 365
  • Marxism/Socialism and Feminism/Gender 373
  • Ecofeminism 381
  • Cyberfeminism 387
  • Race, Postcolonial Gender, and Science 393
  • Feminist Science Studies 399
  • Women’s Health Movement 405
  • Science Fiction 419
  • Conclusion 427
  • Appendix of- Statistical Tables 437
  • Glossary 445
  • Bibliography 469
  • Index 481
  • About the Editor 501
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