In this paper I consider the role of freedom in the justification of prohibitions on discrimination. As a case study, I focus mainly on U.S. constitutional and employment law and, in particular, restrictions on sex-stereotyping. I present a new argument that freedom can play at least some important role in justifying these restrictions. Not just any freedom, I claim: the Millian freedom to challenge existing stereotypes and contribute to social change. This ‘social change account’, I argue, can be (...) a useful supplement to the existing theories where their explanations run out. It also draws support from familiar liberal justifications for speech and other liberties, and provides an attractive role for the courts. (shrink)
I argue for compatibility between feminism and medicine by developing a model of the physician-other relationship which is essentially egalitarian. This entails rejection of (a) a paternalistic model which reinforces sex-role stereotypes, (b) a maternalistic model which exclusively emphasizes patient autonomy, and (c) a model which focuses on the physician's conscience. The model I propose (parentalism) captures the complexity and dynamism of the physician-other relationship, by stressing mutuality in respect for autonomy and regard for each other's interests.
Over the last decade, philosophers of education have begun taking a renewed interest in Rousseau’s educational thought. This is a welcome development as his ideas are rich with educational insights. His philosophy is not without its flaws, however. One significant flaw is his educational project for females, which is sexist in the highest degree. Rousseau argues that females should be taught to “please men…and make [men’s] lives agreeable and sweet.” The question becomes how could Rousseau make such strident claims, especially (...) in light of his far more insightful ideas concerning the education of males. This paper attempts to make sense of Rousseau’s ideas on the education of females. While I maintain that Rousseau’s project for Sophie ought to be rejected, I argue that we should try to understand how this otherwise insightful thinker could make such surprising claims. Is it a bizarre inconsistency in his philosophical reasoning or an expression of his unabashed misogyny, as so many have claimed? I argue that it is neither. Rather, it is a product of his conception of human happiness and his belief in the irreducible role human sexual relations has in achieving and prolonging that happiness. For Rousseau, sex, love and happiness are inextricably connected, and he believes that men and women will be happiest when they inhabit certain sex roles—not because sex roles are valuable in themselves, but because only through them can either men or women hope to be happy. (shrink)
We recorded Event-Related Potentials to investigate differences in the use of gender information during the processing of reflexive pronouns. Pronouns either matched the gender provided by role nouns (such as “king” or “engineer”) or did not. We compared two types of gender information, definitional information, which is semantic in nature (a mother is female), or stereotypical (a nurse is likely to be female). When they followed definitional role-nouns, gender-mismatching pronouns elicited a P600 effect reflecting a failure in the (...) agreement process. When instead the gender violation occurred after stereotypical role-nouns the Event Related Potential response was biphasic, being positive in parietal electrodes and negative in anterior left electrodes. The use of a correlational approach showed that those participants with more “feminine” or “expressive” self sex-role descriptions showed a P600 response for stereotype violations, suggesting that they experienced the mismatch as an agreement violation; whereas less “expressive” participants showed an Nref effect, indicating more effort spent in linking the pronouns with the possible, although less likely, counter-stereotypical referent. (shrink)
We argue that Rousseau 's defense of the sex-roled family is not based on biological determinism or simple misogyny. Rather, his advocacy of sexual differentiation is based on his understanding of its ability to bring individuals outside of themselves into interdependent communities, and thus to counter natural independence, self-absorption and asociality, as well as social competitiveness and egoism. This political defense of the sex-roled family needs more critique by feminists.
Some feminists have seen sex role theory as limited, even dangerous; others see it as useful mid-range theory. This article sheds light on this debate through an examination of the discourse of the men's liberation movement of the 1970s. Men's liberation leaders grappled with the paradox of simultaneously acknowledging men's institutional privileges and the costs of masculinity to men. The language of sex roles was the currency through which they negotiated this paradox. By the late 1970s, men's liberation had (...) disappeared. The conservative and moderate wings of men's liberation became an anti-feminist men's rights movement, facilitated by the language of sex roles. The progressive wing of men's liberation abandoned sex role language and formed a profeminist movement premised on a language of gender relations and power. The article ends with a discussion of the implications of this case for debates about sex role theory, and urges the study of contemporary organizations whose discourse is based on the language of sex roles. (shrink)
Most mathematical models used to examine the role of different stages of human immunodeficiency virus infection unrealistically assume that HIV is transmitted through one-off contacts or that transmission rates are the same between males and females. We sought to examine whether inferences from previous models are robust to the relaxation of those unrealistic assumptions. We developed a model of HIV transmissions through sexual partnerships assuming that sexual partnerships have variable duration, sexual partnerships are concurrent, and the male-to-female transmission rate (...) is higher than the female-to-male transmission rate, with a focus on the third assumption. Assuming a higher rate for male-to-female than female-to-male transmissions decreases the overall transmission of HIV but increases the equilibrium fraction of transmissions during primary HIV infection in long-term partnerships, compared to the case where transmission rates are assumed to be symmetric between males an females. Previous modeling studies that assume symmetric transmission rates between males and females may have overestimated the overall spread of HIV, but underestimated the relative contribution of PHI. To make robust inferences on the role of different stages of HIV infection in the sexual spread of HIV, models should take into account that transmission rates may be asymmetric by sex. (shrink)
Gender roles are anti-dichotomous and malleable social constructs that should theoretically be constructed independently from biological sex. However, it is unclear whether and how the factor of sex is related to neural mechanisms involved in social constructions of gender roles. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate sex specificity in gender role constructions and the corresponding underlying neural mechanisms. We measured gender role orientation using the Bem Sex-Role Inventory, used a voxel-based global brain connectivity method based on (...) resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to characterize the within-network connectivity in the brain reward network, and analyzed how the integration of the reward network is related to gender role scores between sex groups. An omnibus analysis of voxel-wise global brain connectivity values within a two-level linear mixed model revealed that in female participants, femininity scores were positively associated with integration in the posterior orbitofrontal cortex and subcallosal cortex, whereas masculinity scores were positively associated with integration in the frontal pole. By contrast, in male participants, masculinity was negatively correlated with integration in the nucleus accumbens and subcallosal cortex. For the first time, the present study revealed the sex-specific neural mechanisms underlying distinct gender roles, which elucidates the process of gender construction from the perspective of the interaction between reward sensitivity and social reinforcement. (shrink)
Sex and sensibility: The role of social selection Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9464-6 Authors Erika L. Milam, Department of History, University of Maryland, 2115 Francis Scott Key Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA Roberta L. Millstein, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA Angela Potochnik, Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210374, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA Joan E. Roughgarden, Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA Journal Metascience (...) Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Previous studies have emphasized a person’s biological sex as a factor which influences online search behavior. This study aims to investigate how people search online for political information and if gendered online search exists. We examined online search behavior via eye tracking while the participants searched for information about political party positions on the Internet. A content analysis of the eye tracking data followed and was evaluated with a special focus on the role of biological sex and social gender, (...) and the relationship of both factors with other variables, such as self-reported prior political knowledge, political interest, and Internet skills. The results accord with previous studies in that the sex influences the online search process. However, this relationship was partially mediated by self-reported political interest and prior knowledge. This outcome calls for a more critical use of the sex variable in reference to political online search behavior, and the inclusion of sex and gender related variables. (shrink)
This paper explores the psychological phenomena of sex stereotypes and their consequences for the occurrence of sex discrimination in work settings. Differential conceptions of the attributes of women and men are shown to extend to women and men managers, and the lack of fit model is used to explain how stereotypes about women can detrimentally affect their career progress. Commonly-occurring organizational conditions which facilitate the use of stereotypes in personnel decision making are identified and, lastly, data are provided demonstrating the (...) way in which affirmative action programs and practices can act to promote the stereotyping of women suggesting, that rather than being a remedy for sex discrimination, such programs might in fact be another contributor to the problem. Conclusions focus on the importance of attending to the role sex stereotypes play in hindering women's career progress when procedures to combat sex discrimination in organizations are designed and implemented. (shrink)
This book endorses feminist critiques of gender, yet upholds the insight of traditional Christianity that sex, commitment and parenthood are fulfilling human relations. Their unity is a positive ideal, though not an absolute norm. Women and men should enjoy equal personal respect and social power. In reply to feminist critics of oppressive gender and sex norms and to communitarian proponents of Christian morality, Cahill argues that effective intercultural criticism of injustice requires a modest defence of moral objectivity. She thus adopts (...) a critical realism as its moral foundation, drawing on Aristotle and Aquinas. Moral judgment should be based on reasonable, practical, prudent and cross-culturally nuanced reflection on human experience. This is combined with a New Testament model of community, centred on solidarity, compassion and inclusion of the economically or socially marginalised. (shrink)
We look to mitonuclear ecology and the phenomenon of Mother’s Curse to argue that the sex of parents and offspring among populations of eukaryotic organisms, as well as the mitochondrial genome, ought to be taken into account in the conceptualization of evolutionary fitness. Subsequently, we show how characterizations of fitness considered by philosophers that do not take sex and the mitochondrial genome into account may suffer. Last, we reflect on the debate regarding the fundamentality of trait versus organism fitness and (...) gesture at the idea that the former lies at the conceptual basis of evolutionary theory. (shrink)
The evidence favoring sex differences in pain seems compelling (berkley). This commentary considers the role of such factors as anxiety, somatosensory amplification, and coping style in accounting for the differential response to pain in the laboratory and clinic, and emphasizes the need to base evaluation and treatment upon individual reports rather than gender-based stereotypes.
On the basis of Buber’s distinction between “I-It” and “I-Thou” relationships, this paper explores the role of sex in intimate relationships by analyzing research in the fields of psychoanalysis and attachment theory. In the “I-Thou” relationship mode, both parties are often able to fully participate in the current sexual behavior and respond wholeheartedly. When there is incoordination in sexual activities, they can negotiate sincerely, and can even repair the relationship if it breaks down. In the “I-It” relationship mode, sex (...) exists more as a tool to achieve a certain purpose, and the intersubjective relatedness is abnormal: either the boundary will be blurred and others become my vassal or I become others’ vassal ; or the relatedness will be cut off, leading to loneliness or false independence. (shrink)
Although moral psychologists and feminist moral theorists emphasize males’ interest in justice or fairness and females’ interest in care or empathy, recent work in evolutionary psychology links females’ interests in care and empathy for others with interests in fairness and equality. In an important work on sex differences in cognitive abilities, David Geary (1998) argues that the evolutionary mechanism of sexual selection drives the evolution of particular cognitive abilities and selection for particular interests. I mount two main challenges to Geary’s (...) claims. First, I argue that female social and intrasexual competitive environments evolve, which challenges the assumption that such environments are largely nonkin-based and characterized by reciprocity. Second, I grant Geary’s entire characterization of female environments, but argue that the natures of reciprocal relationships themselves do not require and may not select for interests in fairness and equality. This analysis not only challenges claims regarding sex differences in moral interests, but also suggests the need for a diachronic model of male and female social and intrasexual competitive environments. In addition, I propose a return to Trivers’s (1971) focus on the suite of emotions underlying reciprocal altruism as properties and features of individuals as fodder for selection. (shrink)
Anxiety disorders are more predominant in women than men, however there is a lack of understanding as to what neurocognitive mechanisms drive this sex difference. Recent investigation has found a potential moderating role of sex in the relationship between anxiety and the error related negativity —a component of error-monitoring that is prevalent in high anxiety individuals—such that females display a positive relationship between anxiety/worry and ERN amplitude. We strove to further explore the influence of sex on the relationship between (...) trait anxiety and performance monitoring, specifically with ERN, as well as extend this work to include another hallmark of anxiety, attentional bias to threat. To meet this end, participants performed the flanker and dot-probe tasks, respectively. We did not find a significant difference in the relationship between attention bias scores and anxiety for female vs. males participants. Furthermore, ΔERN amplitudes were greater in males compared to females, and males had more positive CRN amplitudes than females. There were no significant associations between ERN or ΔERN with anxiety in both male and female participants. However, there was a significant relationship between CRN amplitudes and trait anxiety in male but not female participants. Given these results, the effect of sex on the relationship between components of performance monitoring—namely the CRN and ERN—and anxiety may be more nuanced than the current understanding. Our study was limited to detecting medium to large sized moderation effects. Our findings may be important for future meta-analysis on sex differences in anxiety. (shrink)
John Millar's Origin of the Distinction of Ranks contains one of the first extensive and systematic discussions of the status of women in different societies. In this paper I attempt to show first that a combi nation of circumstances associated with the teaching of moral philos ophy at Glasgow and with the reform of Scots law undertaken by Lord Kames made the status of women a critical problem for Millar. Second, I attempt to demonstrate that Millar drew heavily upon the (...) resources of associationist psychology to explain how female status changed from hunting to pastoral to agricultural to commercial societies and that in doing so he diverged substantially from the perspectives developed by his mentor, Adam Smith. Finally, in view of Millar's extraordinarily positive reputation throughout Europe prior to the French Revolution and in view of the potential relevance of his analysis to early feminism and to mid-19th-century anthropological discussions of early matri archy, I seek to account for why his work was virtually ignored from around 1802 to 1960. (shrink)
Earlier evidence predominantly supports that women are more ethical than men. With the replication of such a hypothesis for testing, this study further examined whether feminine gender roles are a better predictor of ethical attitudes, ethical behaviors, and corporate responsibility values than the biological sex. Four hundred ten management students from two technical institutes in eastern India participated in this study. Along with the socio-demographic variables in the questionnaire, inventories were used to assess gender roles, ethical attitudes, ethical behaviors, and (...) corporate responsibility values. The inventories had acceptable reliability and validity. The results suggested that when the confounding effects of age, caste, and rural/urban origin are controlled, women manifest higher corporate responsibility values than men, but they embody similar ethical attitudes and ethical behaviors as men. Furthermore, the feminine roles of the participants were found to be more consistent, potent, and direct predictors of ethical attitudes, ethical behaviors, and corporate responsibility values than the biological sex. Hence, individuals with feminine roles may be better suited for ethical responsibilities. (shrink)
Well-organized and highly readable Sex and Gender: The Human Experience provides a current, multicultural analysis of gender-related issues, theories, and research. The authors' clear presentation of the perspectives and issues related to sex and gender studies enables students to easily comprehend the material. Further, a highly practical approach prompts students to examine their self-awareness and social tolerance. Sex and Gender: The Human Experience is appropriate as a primary or supplementary text in Psychology, Family Studies, or Women's Studies curricula.