Chapter Five_M&F _Overview - Chapter 5 Overview Men and...

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Chapter5 OverviewMen and women are perceived and treated differently. The terms “sex,” “gender,” “genderidentity,” and “gender roles” are differentiated in the social sciences. Sex refers to the biologicalcharacteristics with which we are born, while gender refers to learned behaviors and expectationsassociated with our physiological sex. We were born male or female, and we learn to be men or women.The problem ofgender stereotypesis presented in relation to the concept of “gendered,” the process oftreating and evaluating males and females differently because of their sex,The debate rages on as to whether gender roles are a reflection of nature (biology) or nurture(environment). Those who believe that nature is more important than nurture argue that there are innatedifferences between men and women. Although most social scientists acknowledge that biology isimportant, there is little evidence that women are naturally better parents, that men are naturally moreaggressive, or that men and women are inherently different. Evidence relating to “nature” is discussed interms of health differences, effects of hormones, and unsuccessful sex reassignment. The importance of“nurture” is discussed in terms of cross-cultural variations in gender roles, cross-cultural variation in maleviolence, and successful sex reassignment.Five major theories that focus on early learning processes are introduced in the chapter ongender-role learning: sociobiology, social learning theory, cognitive development theory, symbolicinteraction theories, and feminist approaches.

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Term
Fall
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Erving Goffman

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