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Sex Roles

Definition

Sex roles, or gender roles, consist of the social expectations about the typical and appropriate behavior of men and women. Generally, the female gender role includes the expectation that women and girls exhibit communal traits and behaviors, which focus on interpersonal skill, expressivity, and emotional sensitivity. In contrast, the male gender role includes the expectation that men and boys exhibit agentic traits and behaviors, which focus on self-orientation, independence, and assertiveness. In addition, gender roles include expectations about other elements, such as cognitive skills, hobbies and interests, and occupational choice. Because gender roles transcend many different situations, they can exert considerable influence, and thus studying them is critical to understanding the psychology of men and women.

Gender roles include both descriptive norms, which describe the ...

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