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Discussion Assignment

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In this assignment, you will define and explore what a gender stereotype includes. You will examine beliefs about psychological traits and characteristics of what society views as appropriate activities and behaviors for men and women.

During this discussion, you will evaluate the history of stereotypes about women and men.

Answer the following questions:

  • In your opinion, has feminism in the United States been guilty of exclusion based on race and social class? Why or why not? Provide a rationale for your answer.
  • Have there been any particular cultural groups that had a difficult time identifying themselves as feminists? If yes, why do you think this happened?
  • Using the Internet, conduct research on the National Coalition for Men (NCFM), an organization that opposes sexism. The NCFM questions whether sexism oppresses men more than women. What do you think?
  • How did the male gender role conceptualize masculinity? Identify how and why this was a potential contributor to the problems for both men and women.

Justify your answers with appropriate reasoning and research. 

Part 2

A gender stereotype consists of beliefs about the psychological traits and characteristics of men and women (Yarber, Sayad, & Strong, 2010). Gender roles are defined by behaviors, but gender stereotypes are beliefs and attitudes about masculinity and femininity (Yarber et al., 2010).

According to Bem (1981), gender roles furnish the material for gender stereotypes. This is because when people associate a pattern of behavior with men or women, they tend to overlook individual variations and draw conclusions about the behavior associated with a particular gender.

Recently, social media has captured public and political debates containing gender disparities that may add to oppression and gender stereotyping.

In the United States, sexism toward women has always been an issue in advertising, especially in the 1950s. Women have traditionally been expected to fulfill gender-specific roles, such as rearing children, cleaning, and cooking. Today’s society has evolved to a place where such discrimination is discouraged and looked down upon. Men too have experienced gender bias, especially those who embraced roles typically associated with women (for example, nursing and stay-at-home dads).

In your exploration of these concepts, your response should include answers to the following:

  • Other than in gender-specific areas (for example, in trade magazines, on television, in movies, in political debates, in video games, on the Internet, and in cartoons), how do images represent genders inaccurately or unfairly? Be sure to define gender, gender roles, and gender stereotypes.
  • How does the media impact people’s views about gender stereotypes—the concept of being male or female?
  • A gender stereotype consists of beliefs about the physiological traits and characteristics as well as the activities appropriate to men or women. Who determines what is appropriate?
  • How does the media influence this perception of appropriateness and gender roles?

 Justify your answers with appropriate reasoning and research. Possible sources:

Bem, S. L. (1981). Gender schema theory: A cognitive account of sex typing.Psychological Review88(4), 354–364.

Yarber, W., Sayad, B., & Strong, B. (2010). Looseleaf for human sexuality: Diversityin contemporary America. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

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