Psychology of Women: Theories of Sex Differences and Sex Role Development
Before we begin to study the psychology of women, it is important to understand what psychology is and is not. The popular media is full of false images of psychology and psychologists. Most depictions of psychologists, for example, are caricatures of clinical psychologists. These are psychologists who study and try to change abnormal behavior. An example of this depiction can be found on the past popular television series, Cheers. Two of the characters, Lillith and Frasier, were portrayed as clinicians, and, in particular, as psychoanalists. Not all psychologists are clinical psychologists, though, and those that are do not all adhere to the psychoanalytic (Freudian) viewpoint demonstrated in the media depictions of clinical psychologists. In fact, that viewpoint is in the minority. As we shall see in this chapter, psychologists and others who study women's behavior are quite varied in their opinions of why women behave in the way that they do. Other psychologists study normal behavior, and not just the behavior of humans, but that of animals as well. What is psychology then?