We retrace Bem’s original formulations for defining and assessing the concept of psychological androgyny in the United States. By focusing on the early conceptual aspects of Bem’s research, we describe three related but distinct impacts of that work. One impact was a social justice message of equality between women and men in the United States. A second impact was focusing research attention on gender roles as a malleable, socially constructed phenomena that, when polarized across gender groups, had negative consequences for psychological well-being. A third less obvious impact was helping scholars divest themselves of the previous, narrow understanding that gender was ultimately collapsible into a single dimension of masculinity–femininity. As with any new concept for its time, the legacy of psychological androgyny featured both backslides into and advances against the previous understanding of gender that it was designed to challenge. Our discussion of what we believe to be key functions and impacts of the concept of psychological androgyny serves to underscore just how important its introduction was and still is for ongoing gender scholarship and research.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 12, 2016
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