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Nature vs. Nurture

the ongoing debate between those people who feel the influences of aging determined by nature or by nurture


biological traits that distinguish males from females, such as the internal and external reproductive anatomy, chromosomes, hormone, and other physiological characteristics.


encompasses characteristics such as gender role, gender identity, gender presentation, and gender stereotypes.

XX sex chromosome

this chromosome combination results in a "female" genetic blueprint for the developing embryo

XY sex chromosome

this chromosome combination results in a "male" genetic blueprint for the developing embryo


testes produce androgens (testosterone), the masculinizing sex hormones

sex hormones

estrogen and testosterone, which influence the masculinizing or feminizing process in development


the masculinizing hormone produced by the testicles


the feminizing hormone

intersex, intersexual

refers to when a child's genitalia are ambiguous or indistinguishable

Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS)

a disorder characterized by an abnormality on the X sex chromosome, typically passed down form the mother; this results in prenatal development that differentiates as if no androgen at all was present

Turner's Syndrome

occurs when one of the X sex chromosomes is completely or partially absent. affecting only female infants, who are sometimes referred to as XO babies (meaning an X and a zero, or no other chromosome). the individual does not develop ovaries and is consequently sterile

Klinefelter's Syndrome

a genetic disorder in which an extra X chromosome is present, resulting in an XXY chromosomal pattern. this disorder is considered to be one of the most common of all genetic abnormalities. while the internal reproductive organs and external genitalia develop normally, a male affected by it will have smaller-than-normal testes and will not produce sperm

gender role

the explicitly expressed and implicitly implied behaviors, feelings, atributes, and traits that society expects of the male or the female

gender identity

our intuitive sense of our maleness or our femaleness; our internal feelings of what it is to be a man or a woman

gender presentation

the way in which an individual presents his or her gender identity through personality, habits, and behaviors

gender stereotypes

long-held assumptions or labels about male and female capabilities and limitations

gender attribution

the process by which we encounter someone and reach an opinion of what his or her gender is

gender socialization

the specific messages and practices we receive from our culture concerning the nature of being a male or a female, of being feminine or masculine


a socially/culturally constructed set of beliefs, values, and opinions that shape manly character, or manliness

hegemonic masculinity

each culture's ideal, dominant standard of masculinity to which men are to aim

cool pose

a version of masculinity within black culture that "presents a powerful face to the world" while also entailing the expected cooperative behaviors of black culture


the attitude, common in Latin American cultures, that men are superior to women, and that men are socially and physically dominating

Masculine Gender Role Stress theory (MGRS)

this theory maintains that there are stressors that may result from a man's fear that he is not measuring up to or meeting societal expectations for masculinity


the qualities, behaviors, and attitudes that are deemed by a particular culture to be ideally appropriate for girls and women; most often associated with nurturing and life-giving attributes such as kindness, gentleness, and patience


the belief among Latin American cultures that women are semi-divine and are morally superior to and spiritually stronger than men

gender polarization, bipolar gender

a model in which cultural viewpoints almost always emphasize the differences between men and women

gender inequality

the obvious or hidden disparities or discrimination in opportunities or advancements among individuals, based solely on a person's gender


a prejudice or discrimination based on biological sex; a belief system that assumes a hierarchy of human worth based on the social construction of the differences between the sexes; an ideology of male supremacy, superiority, authority, and beliefs/behaviors that support and sustain this ideology

glass ceiling

refers to discrimination against women in the workplace, specifically in situations where advancement in an organization is stopped because of occupational sexism

wage gap

the inequality between men's and women's wages in the U.S.

confidence gap

the phenomenon in which men and women haver different confidence levels in their academic abilities-men tend to have more confidence in their academic abilities than women

gender schemas

the way in which we internalize and incorporate specific gendered behaviors and expectations

instrumental schemas

patterns associated with masculinity and focus on task-oriented behaviors and "getting the job done."

expressive schemas

patterns of behavior associated with femininity; having an interpersonal or relational orientation


without assigned gender value; when a person possesses traits, behaviors, or characteristics typically associated with the opposite gender


in androgynous cultures, there are no rigid gender roles guiding men and women's behaviors

sexual orientation

the focus of a person's erotic desires or fantasies, or a person's affectionate or romantic feelings toward a particular gender

sexual preference

the term used by people who believe that sexuality is fluid and is more a matter of choice than of biology


refers to people who feel that their biologically assigned gender is a false or incomplete description of themselves


a person whose sexual identity is opposite to assignment at birth

sex reassignment surgery (SRS)

the surgical alteration to the body that transforms a person's gender from male to female, or female to male


a peson who dresses and acts as a person of the opposite gender from the one with which he or she was born

Learning theory

the theory that traits and behaviors are not inborn, but learned

Social Learning theory (SLT)

albert bandura's theory that children acquire behaviors and personality traits by observing others. an offshoot of the traditional behaviorism theory, this theory addresses the roles of reward and punishment and it goes a step further to include an individual's realm of cognition-the role of observation-in the process of learning

Cognitive Development theory

this theory holds that before social and environmental forces can influences a child's concept of gender, the child must first gain a certain awareness of understanding about gender

gender stability

between the ages of 4&6, children reach the realization that their gender will always be the same-that they were a boy or a girl as a baby and will be a boy or a girl when they grow up

gender constancy

between kindergarten and about second grade, children understand that acting like a girl if you are a boy doesn't make you a girl, and acting like a boy if you are a girl doesn't make you a boy. children realize that sex is a permanent attribute

homosocial play

children's preference for same-sex playmates; occurs from age 3 to age 11 or 12

sexual harassment

any unwelcome sexual or physical conduct by a person of either gender, directed to a person of either gender

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