Expanding the Role of Gender Essentialism in the Single-Sex Education Debate: A Commentary on Liben

Expanding the Role of Gender Essentialism in the Single-Sex Education Debate: A Commentary on Liben In this commentary we expand on Liben’s exploration of the effects of differing gender conceptualizations – gender essentialism and gender constructivism – on the single-sex education debate within the United States. We examine these conceptualizations in the context of current behavioral and neuroscientific research, which we argue undermines an essentialist view of males and females, while supporting an expanded constructivist version of the account endorsed by Liben. We then extend Liben’s work to argue that gender essentialism has indirectly facilitated popularization of neuroscientific research used to support claims of brain-based evidence in favor of single-sex education. Finally, we develop Liben’s observations regarding the association of gender essentialism with negative attitudes towards reducing gender-differentiation, by examining the relation between gender essentialism and the folk concept of innateness. This reveals the empirical challenge to essentialist arguments that social interventions designed to reduce gender-differentiation go against nature. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

Expanding the Role of Gender Essentialism in the Single-Sex Education Debate: A Commentary on Liben

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11199-015-0474-0
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this commentary we expand on Liben’s exploration of the effects of differing gender conceptualizations – gender essentialism and gender constructivism – on the single-sex education debate within the United States. We examine these conceptualizations in the context of current behavioral and neuroscientific research, which we argue undermines an essentialist view of males and females, while supporting an expanded constructivist version of the account endorsed by Liben. We then extend Liben’s work to argue that gender essentialism has indirectly facilitated popularization of neuroscientific research used to support claims of brain-based evidence in favor of single-sex education. Finally, we develop Liben’s observations regarding the association of gender essentialism with negative attitudes towards reducing gender-differentiation, by examining the relation between gender essentialism and the folk concept of innateness. This reveals the empirical challenge to essentialist arguments that social interventions designed to reduce gender-differentiation go against nature.

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: May 9, 2015

References

  • New research, old problems: Methodological and ethical issues in fMRI research examining sex/gender differences in emotion processing
    Bluhm, R
  • Self-fulfilling prophecies: The influence of gender stereotypes on functional neuroimaging research on emotion
    Bluhm, R
  • Gender differences in risk behaviour: Does nurture matter?
    Booth, A; Nolen, P
  • Single-sex education and the brain
    Eliot, L

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