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Feminine? Masculine? Both? : Androgyny


Test for Androgyny
Biology of Androgyny
Emotional Characteristics
Behavioral Characteristics
Societal Influences and Effects
Sex-Role Development
Behavioral Characteristics

There are universal sex differences in the behavior of children that are influenced by social pressures and by the modeling of parents. These differences can be noticed by age eleven and androgynous children generally show behaviors stereotypical to both genders.

In 1973 a study was done by Beatrice Whiting and Carolyn Edwards examining  the presence of sex stereotyped behaviors in children. Masculine boys and feminine girls and androgynous boys and girls were studied.  These are the results of that study...

  • Stereotype - Girls are more dependent than boys

            Research shows that girls aged three to six sought help more often than boys did, but both girls and boys aged seven to eleven sought help the same amount.


  • Stereotype- Girls are more passive than boys

            Research shows that girls of all age groups are more likely to withdraw from achieving a goal when it is blocked by some obstacle, and also are more likely to withdraw from their peers.  Boys in all age groups were more likely to  respond aggressively to aggressive instigations. Androgynous children withdrew from all of these situations


  • Stereotype- Girls are more nurturing than boys

            Research shows that girls age three to six were more likely to offer help than boys in the same age group, but boys and girls aged seven to eleven offered help the same amount.  Both androgynous boys and girls offered help at age three to six and seven to eleven.


  • Stereotype - Girls are more responsible than boys

            Research shows that three to six year old girls offered responsible suggestions  to a problem more than boys did, but by age seven to eleven both boys and girls offered these suggestions the same amount.


  • Stereotype - Boys are more physically aggressive than girls, but girls are more verbally aggressive

            Research shows that boys of all ages engaged in rough and tumble play more often than girls but despite popular belief, boys were also more verbally insulting than girls.  Androgynous boys did not exhibit this behavior to the extent that masculine boys did, and androgynous girls exhibited some of this aggressive behavior.



(All previous information from Kaplan 188-204)