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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
Progression Through Development

Children are taught sex-role concepts at an early age.  They model their parent's behavior but are also exposed to gender stereotyping at school and in all of society. 


In 1964, a study was done by Patricia Minuchin in hopes of finding the true cause for gender role behaviors in children. She studied how children are taught these behaviors in the home environment and also in the school setting.  Her research suggests that gender role commitment is more characteristic of girls than of boys and in lower and middle class families than of upper class, highly educated children. Children who were enrolled in schools  where "socialization toward generalized cultural standards" was not found exhibited less sex-typed behavior than children in schools where this socialization was not found.(Kaplan, 220)


       Sex-role research indicates that androgynous individuals have cognitive abilities which are maximally developed.   This may because exceptionally intelligent and creative people are the ones who choose to reject stereotypes, we can not establish causality, but there is a high correlation.(Hoyenga, 256)

     Very little research has been done on the development of androgynous behavior in men and women. However, research has shown that androgynous women  moved more frequently in childhood, were raised in large communities, had had parents with more education than feminine women.  These experiences may promote sex-role flexibility. 

     In a study done by Kelly and Worell in 1976 college students were asked to recall how their parents treated them when they were 16.   Maternal warmth was associated with femininity in males, whereas parental involvement in intellectual activities was associated with masculinity in males.  Encouragement of achievement was associated with masculinity in females, whereas  strict parental control was feminizing in females. Androgynous people perceived their parents as engaging  in both feminine and masculine behavior.  Worell states that " the likelihood of androgynous orientation is especially enhanced when the same-sex parent exhibits cross-typed characteristics" (Hoyenga 223)