Social role theory for gender

question

Eagly and Wood
answer

Studied non-industrialised societies. Similarites across cultures suggest a biological basis to gender role while differences suggest a dependence of factors that vary across societies. Men generally contribute more to providing food and women contribute more to child care. Activities such as making fire, weaving and harvesting were ‘swing activites’ because they could be performed by men and women depending on the society involved.
question

Eagly and Wood/ Buss
answer

Re-examined data. Looked at 37 cultures and suggested the pattern of sex differences can be explained by social roles. The evidence showed that in all cultures women seek a man with resources, since women generally have less earning capacity I seems universal. Men have power and dominance and want women because they are likely to be obedient. Found when women had a higher status and male-female division of labour was less pronounced, differences in mating preferences became less pronounced. Suggests that social roles are the driving force in psychological sex differences.
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Luxen
answer

Argues evolutionary theory provides a simpler theory that is preferable for several reasons. It is argued behaviour is as important as physical characteristics and therefore selective pressure would act directly on behaviour to create psychological and physical differences. Also suggest research has shown young children and animals display sex differences in toy preferences. Suggests such preferences would be biological rather than psychological because sex role socialisation is unlikely to have occurred in young children and animals.

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