Social Implications Tied to Gender in the United States Essay

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The term gender acts as a basic biological means of dividing and classifying men and women. Even though being biologically male or female merely means one has the corresponding reproductive parts, there is much more to gender than this. Within the United States, being male or female comes with many social implications and expectations. The issue of gender is so powerful that it has become an organizing construct for national development. A popular, though controversial method for dealing with gender has been to compare the sexes and discern the differences between the two. In their book The Psychology of Sex Differences, Maccoby and Jacklin (1974) discovered four major differences between males and females: verbal, quantitative, spatial…show more content…
147). Gender differences in social behavior have also been discovered, leading psychologists to develop theories to explain such variations. The social role theory states men and women behave differently in different social contexts and engage in differing roles. The communal role is typically taken on by women because it is characterized by friendliness, openness, and nurturing behavior, while the agentic role is taken on by men because it encompasses roles of dominance, assertiveness, and autonomy. These social expectations organize men and women into certain social roles that make up “typical” male or female behavior. Eagly states that we learn about gender segregation as early as childhood in what she calls the separate cultures idea, or the “idea that children learn rules for social interaction from experience in largely sex-segregated peer groups in childhood and then carry this learning into adult social interaction” (Eagly, 1995, p. 148). The idea of evolutionary psychology states that we are innately programmed to behave a certain way based on our gender and on what context we find ourselves in. As males and females have faced differing adaptive issues throughout history, our sex differences have arisen from the need to survive these different situations. Women have had to adapt to pregnancy and childbirth, while men have had to find ways to provide for families,
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