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Chapter 3 Gender Issues


biological maleness and femaleness


The psychological and sociocultural characteristics associated with our biological sex.

gender assumptions

assumptions about how people are likely to behave based on their maleness or femaleness


the male reproductive cell


the female reproductive cell


the 22 pairs of human chromosomes that don't significantly influence sex differentiation

gender identity

how one psychologically perceives oneself as either male or female

gender role

collection of attitudes & behaviors that a specific culture consideres normal and appropriate for people of a particular sex

sex chromosomes

single set of chromosomes that influence biological sex determination

female sex chromosomes


male sex chromosomes



male gonads inside the scrotum that produce sperm and sex hormones


the male and female sex glands
-male sex glands: testes
-female sex glands: ovaries


female gonads that produce ova and sex hormones


class of hormones that produce female secondary sex characteristics and affect the menstrual cycle

progestational compounds

class of hormones, including progesterone, that are produced by the ovaries


class of hormones that promote the development of male genitals and secondary sex characteristics and influence sexual motivation in both sexes. These hormones are produced by the adrenal glands in females and the testes by males.


small structure in the central core of the brain that controls the pituitary gland and regulates motivated behavior and emotional expression.


largest part of the brain, consisting of 2 cerebral hemispheres

cerebral hemispheres

the 2 sides (R & L) of the cerebrum

cerebral cortex

outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres that is responsible for higher mental processes

corpus callosum

broad band of nerve fibers that connects the R & L hemispheres


term applied to people who possess biological attributes of both sexes

true hermaphrodites

- exceedingly rare individuals who have both ovarian and testicular tissue in their bodies.
- their external genitals are often a mixture of male and female structures


Individuals whose gonads match their chromosomal sex but whose internal and external reproductive anatomy has a mixture of male and female structures or structures that are incompletely male or female.
(there are 5 types of pseudohermaphrodites)

Turner's Syndrome

-rare condition characterized by the presence of one unmatched X chromosome (XO)
-normal female external genitals but the internal reproductive structures do not develop fully
- individuals do not develop breasts, menstruate, & are sterile
- do not have gender identity problems (identify as female)

Klinefelter's Syndrome

- occurs in 1 in every 1000 male births
- characterized by the presence of two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome (XXY)
- individuals have undersized male genitals (anatomically male), and sterile; may have somewhat feminized physical features
- little to no sex drive
- individuals usually identify as male, however there is some degree of gender-identity confusion

Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS)

- rare genetic defect that causes chromosomally normal males to be insensitive to the action of testosterone & other androgens
- individuals develop female external genitals that appear normal
- child is usually identified and reared as female
- problem is often discovered during puberty when child is taken to the dr. to see why menstruation has not started
-most individuals identify as female

fetally androgenized female

- rare disorder where a chromosomally normal female (XX) who, as a result of excessive exposure to androgens during prenatal sex differentiation, develops external genitalia resembling those of a male
- medical tests ID babies as females & they are treated with surgery/hormones to eliminate genital ambiguity, and reared as girls (they are fertile)
- some individuals do not associate themselves with a female gender identity and tend to be orientated toward traditionally male activities

DHT-deficient male

- chromosomally normal (XY) male who develops external genitalia resembling those of a female
- result of a genetic defect that prevents prenatal conversion of testosterone into DHT
- typically identified as female at birth & reared as girls, BUT their testes are still functional, so at puberty their secondary sex characteristics rapidly change from female to male
- majority of individuals make the switch from a female gender identity to a male gender identity in adolescence or early adulthood

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