ABSTRACT

The chapter provides an introduction and framework for the textbook. I define some commonly used terms in the psychology of gender, including the distinction between sex (biological category) and gender (psychological category), as well as gender identity, sexual orientation, and feminism. I discuss other cultures’ views on gender, challenging assumptions about the binary view of gender, the link of gender to status, and the link of gender to roles. Then I describe some of the political and philosophical issues surrounding gender, such as whether gender can be studied independent of its context (social constructionism), how gender is inherently linked to other social categories (intersectionality), and whether sex comparisons should be made (contrasting views of minimalists and maximalists). A brief overview of women’s movements and men’s movements is provided. I discuss the use of sexist language and its implications for perception and behavior. The chapter concludes by providing an overview of the textbook’s approach to the study of gender.