How evolutionary psychology, social role theory, and biosocial constructionist theory account for the origins of gender stereotypes.
Explain how evolutionary psychology, social role theory, and biosocial constructionist theory each account for the origins of gender stereotypes. Describe why the specific content of stereotypes applied to men and women (e.g., men as relatively high on agency and women relatively high on warmth) emerged, according to each theory.
Theoretical Origins of Gender Stereotypes
Over the past several decades, there has been an increasing willingness by psychologists to appreciate the fact that various aspects of social behavior, abilities, and personality differ between women and men (Bosson, Vandello, & Buckner, 2019). This has meant that attention has shifted to making an inquiry into the fundamental reasons behind the differences. Some of the theories that have been used to provide an understanding of the differences include; the evolutionary theory, the social role theory, and the biosocial constructionist theory. This discussion will delve into an analysis of how the three above-stated theories contributed to the emergence of gender stereotypes.
According to the evolutionary theory, psychologists contend that males and females were exposed to different pressures when they were in their primeval environments and when they were undergoing the process of evolution. Their differing status when it came to matters appertaining to reproduction was a key distinctive feature that framed their variant gender roles (Bosson, Vandello, & Buckner, 2019). Women were required to undertake domestic activities while men were required to conduct more mechanical duties in the outdoors.
Social role theorists contend that the specific situations that were faced by men and women across various societies and historical periods accounted for the direction the societies would take with regard to division of labor (Bosson, Vandello, & Buckner, 2019). It is also noted that the differing physical attributes between the sexes “such as men’s greater size and strength and women’s childbearing and lactation” are of principal importance because they intertwine with cultural beliefs and the demands of the economy, and they ultimately influence division of labor within the society (Bosson, Vandello, & Buckner, 2019). In line with this theory, women were more likely to be accorded lighter duties and shorter shifts while men were more likely to be given heavier responsibilities and full-time working opportunities.
Based on the biosocial constructionist theory, gender roles are impacted by both biological sex and socialization. This means that apart from the gender-specific physical features and reproductive roles that are played by men and women, the social context within which they reside plays an important role in the determination of the different gender roles they will play. Of significance to note in this respect is that socialization plays a dominant role in determining gender roles. This provides an explanation for the fact that in while in certain societies men are the main breadwinners and women nurture children at home, in other societies these roles are swapped. The social context, therefore, plays a significant role with regard to gender stereotypes.
Psychologists have increasingly become appreciative of the variant gender roles between men and women. The three fundamental theories that can be used to give an account of the origins of gender stereotypes are; the evolutionary theory, the social role theory, and the biosocial constructionist theory.
Bosson, J. K., Vandello, J. A., & Buckner, C. E. (2019). The psychology of sex and gender. SAGE Publications.