Masculinity and femininity was traditionally assumed to be opposite end of a single dimension with masculinity implying the absence of femininity and with femininity implying the absence of masculinity. Sandra Bem challenges the traditional assumption with a model having masculinity and femininity as two separate diminsions. A masculine sex-type individual have many masculine characteristics and few feminine characteristics. A feminine sex-type individual have many feminine characteristics and few masculine characteristics. An androgynos individuaul have a large number of masculine characters and a large number of feminine characters.
Bem (1975, 1978) had tested her hypothesis that androgynous men and women are more flexible and are not constrained by rigid sex role concept and are able to respond effectively to a wider range of situations. Androgynous subjects performed like masculine subjects on masculine tasks and performed like feminine subjects on feminine tasks. Androgynous and masculine subjects in one study were more independent than feminine sex-type subjects on testing resistant to social pressure in rating cartoons for funnines when peers gave bogus judgements. Androgynous and feminine subjects more nurturing when interacting with a five month baby for ten minute than masculine sex-type subjects.
Researh had concluded that androgynous adolescents and college students have higher self esteem and are more likable by their peers and are better adjusted than sex typed peers(Major , Carnevale, & Deanux, 1981: Massad, 1981; Spence, 1982)
Spence, J. T. (1982). Comment on Baumrind's "Are androgynous individuals more effective persons and parents?" Child Develoment, 53, 76-80
Judith Hall and Amy Halberstadt (1980) sex role inventory test for grade school children between 8 and 11 years old that 27 to 32% were androgynous.
Hall, J. A,. & Halberstadt, A. G. (1980). Masculinity and femininity in children: Development of Children's Personal Attributes Questionaire. Developmental Psychology, 16, 270-280.
Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psycholgial androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, ,p, 155-162
Bem, S. L. (1975). Sex role adaptability: The consequence of psychological androgyny. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 634-643
Bem, S. L. (1978). Beyond androgyny: Some prescriptions for a liberated sexual identity. In J. A. Sherman & F. L. Denmark (Eds.), The psychology of women: Future directions in research. New York: Psychological Dimemsions.
Bem, S. L. (1979). Theory and measurement of androgyny: A reply to the Podhazer- Tetenbaum and Locksley-Colten critiques. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1047-1054.
Sex Role Development
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copyright 2002: Burton Craddock