Gender Schema Theory And Psychoanalytic Theory Essay

Gender Schema Theory And Psychoanalytic Theory Essay

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The following paper explores two different theories, gender schema theory and Psychoanalytic theory, which seek to explain sex and/or gender. Both theories that will be depicted throughout this paper has its own orientation towards what gender is, where it is located, and what this means for every day.
Ryle (2013) claims the gender schema theory is constructed on the frameworks of both cognitive development and social learning theory which seeks to explain how individuals become gendered in society. The theory was developed by Sandra Bem (1981) arguing that cultural influences predominantly impact how children establish and develop their ideas about what it means to be a man or women. The theory proposes that to learn such definitive information regarding gender a child must create a schema which according to Bem (1983), “a schema is a cognitive structure, a network of associations that organizes and guides an individual’s perception” (603). In other words, the child learns to encode and categorize information from the outside world, that then guides the child’s perception on gender which leads to sex typing results. Then the child learns to apply the schema, as a result, the child alters their behaviors to conform with the gender norms and expectations of their culture.
To demonstrate, a child that lives in a traditional culture might learn that a woman’s role is in the caring and nurturing of children whereas a man’s role is in work and strength. Through this observation, the child creates a schema corresponding to how both genders should behave and these schemas then address how they think, process information and perceive the world around. With this in mind, a girl brought up in this traditional culture may believe that the ...


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...ol to explain the key factors of women’s subordination. One similarity between the two theories is that it employs a connection with identifying gender and socialization.
Although, Ryle states “psychoanalytic theory has had a widespread influence and has inspired many studies to explore these dimensions of masculine and feminine personality” (127). However, I believe the gender schema theory to potentially have more of an influence in conquering gender inequality. The theory is heavily associated with categorizing gender, so by neutralizing these categorizes which produce limitations to gender, therefore can dissolve negative stereotypes which would release these limitations. For instance, promoting parents to discourage sex-typing with their children, which could be cutting out stories that emphasize traditional sex roles (stay at home mother and father works).

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