Chapter 4 Women’s Personalities

  1. Personality, defined
    A term that refers to a complex of motivations, traits, and behaviors produced in the process of psychological development
  2. Nature versus nurture research
    -Impossible to separate the effects of “nature” versus “nuture”
  3. Does research support the view that there are innate personality differences between men and women?
  4. -There is no clear substantiating evidence of universal and innate differences between women and men despite easy and widespread claims to the contrary both in the scientific literature and in U.S. culture more broadly.
    • -Differences that do appear are never consistently found
    • -Hormonal differences
  5. Sources of bias in research studies of gender differences
    • - Context of observation
    • - Neglect of variation among women and among men
  6. Evolutionary theories, ‘selfish gene” model
    • Males and females can be thought of as trying to exploit
    • the other, trying to force the individual of the other sex to invest more in
    • their offspring in order to optimize the chances that their own genes will be
    • passed down to future generation.
  7. Freud’s theory of psychosexual development, alternative feminist psychodynamic theories
    • -Theory of psychosexual development
    • -Freud saw it fundamental characteristics for female personality: dependence, passivity, masochism, and inferior sense of justice.
    • *Alternative feminist psychodynamic theories
  8. Karen Horney’s explanation of ‘feminine psychology"
    • -Suggests that social change might be able to remedy
    • traits deemed undesirable.
    • -If socialization practices were changes so as to permit
    • the development of women’s sexuality and independence, the female personality
    • would be different
  9. Joan Riviere’s notion of gender as a verb not a noun, as a performance
    Feminine identity is a masquerade, not an essence but a role played
  10. Difference between cognitive-development theory and socialization theories
    • - Cognitive-developmental theory focuses on the individuals’ internal need to fulfill a learned gender Identity
    • - how people organize and understand their perceptions of physical and social reality and how these perceptions change at different developmental stages

    • - Socialization Theories- focus attention on the social context of this learning of gender roles that gives rise to characteristically female and male personality traits and behaviors
    • - more interested in the messages a child receives from others in the social environment and how these messages are conveyed
  11. Research findings on the differences and similarities among the gender socialization of white, African
    American, Asian American and Latina girls in the US?
    • White
    • -White mothers are more talk to their female babies than male babies
    • -Have high expectations for their children to be advanced and successful
    • -In adolescence female and males begin to segregate

    • African American
    • -Less likely to reinforce gender stereotypes as prescribed by the larger society than that of white children
    • -Encouraged toward independence, employment, and childcare
    • -More African American women than white women are heads of households
    • o Given a lot of responsibilities at a young age
    • -Will grow up with the expectation of working
    • - Express greater feelings of competence and self-confidence than do white women
    • o This evidence suggests that African Americans hold less polarized gender-role stereotypes and have more equalitarian childrearing practices

    • Asian-American
    • -“ideal” woman and man has traditionally been quite extreme and girls are often taught from birth to be subservient to men
    • -Encourages affiliation, altruism, adaptability, and timidity
    • -Discouraged from acquiring such traits as activism, independence, and competitiveness
    • - Asian American males are reluctant to make changes

    • Latina
    • -Relies on strict gender roles that serve as deterrents to women who want to venture outside of traditional gender boundaries and to the development of characteristic such as assertiveness and independence
    • Perceives college-educated, career oriented women as elitist and threatening to their male counterparts, a factor that has been shown to discourage Chicanas from breaching traditional gender roles by participating in the work force
    • -Face economic hardship because of dual minority status.
    • -Suffer from even more unyielding gender-role guidelines and limitations than to white or African American women
  12. Is there such a thing as a lesbian psychology or personality?
    • -Research doesn’t indicate greater pathology among lesbians than among heterosexual women
    • - Doesn’t suggest greater adjustment problems among their children
    • -“ Lesbians may be perceived as having greater power than heterosexual women because they live independently of men, and do not depend of men for sexual, emotional, or financial support”
    • - Multiple factors, including cultural, historical, and psychocosical ones, influence one’s sexuality
    • -Lesbians and gay men have different experiences than heterosexuals do
    • o May be subject to hate crimes, victimizations, and verbal abuse
    • o Avoid acknowledging sexual orientation to avoid disappointment, rejections, misunderstanding, and loss of support, loss of job.
    • o For other cultures lesbianism may be perceived as betrayal
  13. Meaning and example of double and triple jeopardy
    • Double/ triple jeopardy is what a lesbian of color may face
    • Triple jeopardy: sexism, racism, and homophobia
  14. Research findings regarding women and aging?
    • Women sometimes become depressed when their children leave “ the nest”
    • don’t feel whole when they go through menopause
    • … are glad that they are over the menstruation days
    • … widowness is a stress, but it is less problematic than it is with men
    • … feel abandoned by families
  15. Why are some feminists wary of self-help discourse?
    Because it allows individuals to deny responsibility for their own problematic behavior
Card Set
Chapter 4 Women’s Personalities
Chapter 4 Women’s Personalities