The Psychology of Women

The Psychology of Women

From the film The Changing Face of Feminist Psychology (Rutherford, 2010), how have the challenges and focus of feminist psychologists changed over the years? 

Challenges and focus of feminist psychologists over the years are presented through interviews on experiences of feminist presence, work-life balance, intersectionality, and current concerns for feminism psychology. Feminism changes the way one views the world, their place, and purpose in it promoting teamwork in solidarity towards the sociopolitical justice. By presenting the experiences of the newer feminist generations, the film provides a platform for the examination of current feminism negotiations within the postmodern gender, class, race, sexuality, and geographic milieu especially as the practices, politics, and definitions of feminism has become a highly contested area of neoliberalism, post-feminism, and consumerism.


Why do you think Allen (2010) felt it necessary to disclose her “identity” in this article?

Allen disclosed her identity in order to challenge the wider assumptions concerning the relationship between knowledge production and identity. She attempted to elucidate the limits of framing the issue in terms of ‘legitimacy’ to queer projects based entirely on the identity. Although she acknowledges the potential influence of identity on knowledge production, she was motivated to challenge the notion that identity determines how one is likely to produces knowledge (Allen, 2010).


What evidence does Weisstein (1968/1993) use to support her thesis that “psychology has nothing to say about what women are really like, what they need and what they want” ?

The basic failure in both academic personality research and the clinical psychiatry and psychology is the central assumption that human behavior rests on inner dynamics and the individual. This assumption is seen as one that is losing ground as psychologists fail to get consistency in terms of the assumed personalities of the subjects. Evidence has also revealed that an individual’s actions and self-perception are generally a function of expectations from the ones around them and the situations presenting themselves to them (Shields, 1975).


In the video God’s Lake Narrows  by Kevin Lee Burton and Alicia Smith, what specific stereotypes and prejudices does this interactive video interrogate?

The video challenges the simple and stereotypic view of “reserve reality”. Kevin and Alicia juxtapose exteriors with interior photographs as they present the interesting facts as well as the personal expression of growing up in the area. They try to present the notion that although much has changed here over the years, there is a challenging history behind it.


 What three topics does Shield (1975) examine as significant areas of interest during the functionalist era?

The three topics of special significance during the functionalist era were the structural differences in the brains of both males and females and the implication the differences presented to intelligence and temperament. Secondly, shields analyze the hypothesis of the greater male variability as well as its relation to education and social issues. Third he examines the maternal instinct and the meaning it had for the greater female nature psychology (Shields, 1975).

According to Townsend et al.’s (2010) literature review, what accounts for the “negative sexual health statistics among African American girls”?

Studies have revealed that African American girls are at higher risks of involving in first intercourse than their Latina and European American counterparts. A study of high school students in 2005, also demonstrated about 11 percent of girls compared with 4 percent of boys having been coerced to sexual intercourse some time in their lives. Scholars have also linked the over-sexualized stereotypes of the African American women in the media and the broader society and the role of this in shaping the group view themselves and how others value and interact with them (Townsend et al., 2010).

From the video XStress, which you viewed in Unit 3, what are some of the links you saw between genders, stereotyping, and stress as portrayed in this film?

Tyler talks of two different kinds of people, the peak experience junkies who need to eat at amazing restaurants, and accomplish big goals in business so as to enjoy life and the amusement junkies happy with a life full of drinking beer, watching television, and hanging out. The biggest variable is how one manages stress.

From the article you reviewed in Unit 3, LoBue and DeLoache’s (2011) literature review highlights research that looks at gender-stereotyped color preferences in children. What are the main findings of the studies these authors review in their introductory section?

In the study where children between the age of 7 months and 5 years were offered objects of blue and pink colors revealed that girls chose pink more than boys at the age of two, and had a significant preference for the pink objects by the age of 2.5. Consequently, boys showed increased avoidance of the pink and an increased attraction for blue (LoBue & DeLoache’s (2011).

From the YouTube video GCSE gender stereotypes in adverts, what are the differences in products and in the ways these products are promoted for boys as compared to girls?

Advertising tends to follow a certain format, a striking image or slogans that catch attention, the body contains factual information about the product, and the logo or pack shot reinforces brand identity. Gender stereotyping is presented through products associated with machines for boys and decorative products associated with household or kitchen equipment for girls.

From the film Rosies of the North, what contributions did “Elsie” MacGill make in paving the way for professional women in Canada?

Elsie paved the way for women in the professional world by becoming the first woman in Canada to graduate with a degree in engineering and the first woman ever to design an airplane. She inspired many through her position as the Chief Aeronautical Engineer at Car and Foundry.

Describe four kinds of feminisms discussed in Matlin’s chapter 1. How are the similarities perspective and the differences perspective (with respect to gender comparisons) related to those four kinds of feminism?

Liberal feminists emphasize the gender equality goal to give men and women the same opportunities and rights. Cultural feminism is the proponent of the positive qualities believed to be more in women than in men. Radical feminism holds the view that the basic cause of oppression is rooted in the entire gender and sex system rather than in the superficial policies and laws. Women of color feminism contend that feminism must pay attention to the other human dimensions such as ethnicity rather than gender.

In chapter 2, Matlin discussed how women often seem invisible.  Explain what this means, using information about history, religion, mythology, language, and media to support your arguments.

Historians and archeologists paid greater attention to men’s lives ignoring contributions made by women. In addition, philosophers depicted women as inferior to men for instance Aristotle, who believed that women could not develop as rational beings fully. In traditional myth and religion women are portrayed with negative aspects. In addition, language encourages the use of subordinate terms for women.

Five-year-old Amy is playing with a doll.  Drawing on the materials from Matlin’s chapter 3, discuss how social learning theory and the cognitive developmental approach explain Amy’s behaviour?

According to social learning theory, children are rewarded for their gender appropriate behavior and punished for gender inappropriate behavior thus the girl was bought the doll on the basis of her gender. She is also likely to have watched female adults with babies and wanted to imitate them. The developmental approach contends that children work actively to construct their own gender. The first step towards this is by the girl labeling herself as a girl and consequently assuming feminine roles and behavior.

Compare adolescent females’ and males’ career aspirations. What factors influence these aspirations for women? (see Matlin’s chapter 4)

Research shows that both adolescent males and females have very similar career aspirations. Most of those who aspire to take non-traditional professions had the academic levels and personality traits required for these positions and have supportive families. They also support feminism ideas and are more likely not to be constrained by traditional gender roles.

In terms of the research that has been done on gender differences in cognitive abilities, which of the findings reported in Matlin’s chapter 5 was the most surprising to you?  Briefly explain why

The contention that men seek success to gain fame or money while women seek success for their own personal satisfaction is surprising. This could imply that men draw their satisfaction from external affirmations such as respect, position and power while women get their satisfaction from internal feelings of security and achievement. This could also imply that sources of motivation for both sexes are different.

In chapter 6, Matlin summarizes research relating to gender differences in communication patterns.  Which of these findings was the most surprising to you?  Briefly explain why.

The claim that male leaders are likely to a greater extent to encourage their employees to develop their potential strengths is amazing. This claim may imply that men are likely to perform better as leaders as compared with women. It could also imply that women are more insecure to lose their position in the workplace than their male counterparts.

In terms of women’s work experiences, many things have changed over the past few decades. As you reviewed the materials in Matlin’s chapter 7, of those things that have not changed for working women, which was the most surprising to you?  Briefly explain why.

Most women in the U.S. who have been on welfare and then found jobs still live below the poverty level is surprising. It would be assumed that this group was likely to have improved their living standards as a result of an increase in income. It also implies that the group’s poor living standards are determined by several other underlying factors other than income.

What does the research with respect to gender differences and similarities tell us about 1) the ideal romantic partner, 2) marriage, 3) lesbian women, and 4) single women of colour? (See Matlin’s chapter 8)

Studies show that both sexes value good personality, honesty, and intelligence. It has also been identified that couple’s satisfaction with their marriage decline during the first 20 years but increase later in the marriage life. Lesbian women tend to have a more stable romantic relationship if their partner is a feminist. More Latina and black single women are likely not to have ever married than white women.


Spelke, E. (2005). Sex Differences in Intrinsic Aptitude for Mathematics and Science? American Psychologist, 60(9), 950-958.

The article critically reviews the issue of the gender disparities in the academic field of universities in the United States. The author contends that there are gender disparities across the universities especially in the mathematics, engineering, and science fields. There are three claims trying to explain the sex differences in intrinsic aptitude; males and females are predisposed to learn about different things from birth, specific cognitive systems that generate effective reasoning in mathematics, and gender disparities that exist at the upper end of the ability distribution.

Proponents of sex differences in processing of objects by infants propose that males from birth are predisposed to objects and their mechanical processes while females are to learn about people and the emotional interactions related to them. This is demonstrated by an experiment where infants viewed side by side an active person and a similarly sized inanimate object. The male infants looked more on the object while female infants concentrated on the person. Males and females show variance in cognitive profiles when dealing with complex tasks solvable through multiple strategies. However, they also exhibit equal abilities to learn advanced mathematics. The distribution of male talent shows a greater spread for performance with males showing a greater variability in mathematical ability than females.

In conclusion, there are fewer women in the mathematics and engineering subjects, a phenomenon associated with the presence of fewer talents in this field among the women. The sex difference can also be attributed to a genetic basis whereby women are seen to have less intrinsic aptitude for science and mathematics.


Schultheiss, D. (2006). The Interface of Work and Family Life. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37(4), 334-341.

The author contends that the modern workplace is characterized by dynamic changes and transformations in terms of composition and structure. Changes in the labor markets for instance have been identified as ones with substantial effects on individual and family lives. In this regard, the structure, experience, and pace of work have intensified, and family structures weakened in their ability to cushion workers from the stresses presented by the economy. Research has also demonstrated the relationship between conflict and dissatisfaction and distress in the workplace and family.

The meaning of work as is embodied in the people’s lives is reflected in the modern views of work psychological experiences by considering the notion of inclusion in social, cultural, and familial contexts. The importance of multiple roles is highlighted in the broad-based considerations of work. Multiple roles are interconnected both within and across individuals with recent studies also recognizing care giving and other forms of unpaid as vital forms of work roles. Motivational and conflicting nature relationships of work and family can function to promote or prevent career progress, healthy family functioning, and work-related tasks. Consequently, supportive families and availability of secure emotional base enables individuals to deal with stressful situations effectively.

In conclusion, vocational psychology supports the notion that work and family need not be reviewed as distinct and unrelated entities. The two, work and family, are basically interwoven constructs. Care giving and other unpaid work is increasingly receiving recognition among vocational psychologists as vital work.


Allen, L. (2010). Queerying the Straight Researcher: The Relationship between Researcher Identity and Anti-Normative Knowledge. Feminism & Psychology. 20: 147

Lobue, V.  and DeLoache, J.S. (2011). Pretty in Pink: The Early Development of Gender-Stereotyped Color Preference. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Vol 29. 656-667.

Matlin, M.W. (n.d ) The Psychology of Women. Retrieved from:

Schultheiss, D. (2006). The Interface of Work and Family Life. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37(4), 334-341.

Shields, S. A. (1975). Functionalism, Darwinism, and the Psychology of Women A Study in Social Myth. Retrieved from: file:///C:/Users/Administrator/Downloads/17335857_Article_3_A_study_in_social_myth_4%20(1).pdf

Spelke, E. (2005). Sex Differences in Intrinsic Aptitude for Mathematics and Science? American Psychologist, 60(9), 950-958.

Townsend, T. G., Thomas, A. J., Neilands, T. B., and Jackson, T.R. (2010). I’m no Jezebel; I Am Young, Gifted, and Black:Identity, Sexuality, And Black Girls. Retrieved from: file:///C:/Users/Administrator/Downloads/17335857_Article_4_IDENTITY_SEXUALITY_AND_BLACK_GIRLS_5%20(1).pdf

Weisstein, N. (1993). Psychology Constructs the Female; or, The Fantasy Life of the Male Psychologist. Feminism & Psychology. Vol 3. 194.