Masculinity and Femininity

  1. Starting with common sense
    1. List 3 ways in which you are masculine and three ways in which you are feminine
    2. Describe a masculine man and a feminine man; similarly, describe a masculine woman and a feminine woman
    3. What do masculinity and femininity comprise? -- personality traits, appearance, nonverbal behaviors, dress, hobbies and interests, occupations, college majors, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, biological traits?
    4. The essentialist versus social constructionist debate as applied to masculinity and femininity
  1. Masculinity-femininity as a bipolar, unidimensional trait
    1. Terman and Miles's (1936) Sex and Personality: describing the first MF scale
      1. The analogy between MF and intelligence
      2. The bipolar, "either, or" assumption about MF
      3. Terman and Miles's Attitude Interest Analysis Survey
      4. Correlates of MF -- self and other ratings of MF, intellectual and academic achievement, creativity, sexual orientation, adjustment
      5. The value judgments attached to early MF scales and early MF measurement
  1. Masculinity, femininity, and androgyny: Masculinity and femininity as two separate trait dimensions
    1. Constantinople's (1973) influential critique of traditional bipolar MF scales
    2. The two dimensional conception of masculinity (M) and femininity (F): Masculinity as instrumental or agentic personality traits; femininity as expressive or communal personality traits
    3. The M and F scales developed by Bem (1974) and by Spence, Helmreich, and Stapp (1974)
    4. Classifying people as masculine sex-typed, feminine sex-typed, androgynous, or undifferentiated: A two-by-two system that resulted from categorizing people as "low" or "high" and masculinity and on femininity
    5. Are androgynous people "best"? -- e.g., do androgynous people show both good masculine traits (e.g., independence) and good feminine traits (nurturance, warmth); do androgynous people display more flexible kinds of behavior than sex-typed people?
    6. M, F, and psychological adjustment: research evidence
    7. Problems with the two-dimensional model of M and F
      1. M and F overlap with the Big Five personality traits
      2. M and F scales don't broadly assess masculinity, femininity, sex-typing, or gender-role orientations; rather, they more narrowly assess instrumentality (dominance) and expressiveness (nurturance)
    1. Do MF, M, and F scales assess real personality traits, or do they assess arbitrary social constructs? -- the social constructionist position
    2. Bem's gender schema theory -- sex typing reflects whether people possess or don't possess strong gender categories and stereotypes, not essential traits of the individual, such as M or F
    3. Spence's multifactorial view of gender
  1. Lay people's conceptions of masculinity and femininity
    1. How do lay people think about masculinity and femininity? -- studies show that people construe M and F to have many components, including personality traits, social roles, physical appearance, interests, occupations, sexuality, and biological factors
    2. Possible translation: Masculinity and femininity are real but complex
  1. Masculinity-femininity defined in terms of interests: the gender diagnosticity approach
    1. Focusing on interests rather than on the personality traits of instrumentality and expressiveness
    2. Two important pieces of evidence suggesting the importance of gender-related interests
      1. Gender-related interests and sex differences in interests appear quite early in life
      2. Chilhood gender-related interests are associated with adult sexual orientation
    1. The gender diagnosticity approach is a compromise between essentialist and constructionist views of masculinity and femininity
      1. GD is the probability that an individual is predicted to be male or female based on some set of gender-related information (e.g., their occupational preferences)
      2. Correlates of gender-related interests: sex-ascribed M and F; M and F as rated by others; sexual orientation; transsexual versus nontranssexual status; men's prejudice and social dominance; mortality
      3. GD in terms of Holland's RIASEC model and the People-Things dimension: People-orientation is feminine and female-typical; Thing-orientation is masculine and male-typical
      4. Behavior genetic studies of GD: There is a significant genetic component to individual differences in GD, and most of the environmental component reflects the effect of unique or noncommon environments (which differ between siblings and make them dissimilar) rather than the effects of shared or common environments (which are shared by siblings and tend to make them similar)
  1. Synthesis and summary
    1. There are three primary dimensions that have emerged from several decades of research: instrumentality; expressiveness; and gender-related interests, which are strongly linked to the People-Things dimension
    2. Masculinity and femininity are traits that can be measured in various ways, and these traits prove to be correlated with a number of social significant criteria