There are several perspectives on gender development. These perspectives have been studied and formulated into theories. Freud led the way with psychodynamic theories of gender development suggesting that early childhood interaction with parents was the foundation of gender development. Social learning theories are founded in reinforcement and observational models suggesting that gender development is learned. Cognitive development theories suggest that gender differences develop by observation of gender consistencies, gender schemata, or gender scripts within a culture. Whatever the theory, gender roles differ in different cultures. Remember that culture includes age, religion, sexual orientation, etc., as well as race and ethnicity. In this Application Assignment, you will apply gender theory to gender development by comparing gender roles in different cultures and using theory to explain the difference.
To prepare for this assignment:
- Review the assigned pages in Chapter 1 and all of Chapter 5 in the course text, Gender: Psychological Perspectives. Focus on how gender studies have evolved over the decades and the difference between the gender development theory perspectives.
- Review the article, “Perspectives on Gender Development.” Focus on the limitations of traditional social learning and cognitive perspectives and what an expanded view might look like.
- Select a specific culture (e.g., geographical, religious, racial, etc.) that is not your own. Using the Internet and the Walden Library, research gender roles for this culture.
- Think about how each of the different theories of gender development might explain the development of the gender roles in the culture you have selected and for your own culture. Your text explores psychodynamic approaches, social learning theory approaches, and cognitive theory approaches.
The assignment (3 pages):
- Briefly describe the specific culture you selected, focusing on the gender roles of both males and the females.
- Compare (similarities and differences) the gender roles in the culture you selected with the gender roles in your own culture. Use clear, concrete examples to make your comparisons.
- Apply one of the following theories to explain the development of the male and the female role in each of the two cultures (your own and the culture you selected). Use clear, concrete examples to illustrate your points.
- Discuss development of gender roles in at least three different areas of life (e.g., family, work, community, etc.)
- Select your theory from the following:
- Social Learning Theory
- Cognitive Developmental Theory
- Gender Schema Theory
- Gender Script Theory
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