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What is androgyny?

The display of a balance of masculine and feminine characteristics in one's personality


What is the BEM sex role inventory?

The first systematic attempt to measure androgyny using a rating scale of 60 traits, 20 masculine, 20 feminine and 20 neutral to produce scores across two dimensions: masculinity-feminity & androgynous-undifferentiated


What did Sandra Bem suggest about high androgyny in an individual?

She suggested it was associated with psychological well-being. She thought individuals that were psychologically balanced in terms of masculinity and femininity were better equipped to deal with a range of situations and contexts.


What is crucial for androgyny and why?

There must be a balance of male and female characteristics, a female with very masculine traits would not be androgynous because there is not a balance it's one sided.


How does the Bem sex role inventory work?

60 characteristics - 20 male - 20 female - 20 neutral - respondents rate themselves on a seven-point rating scale - 1 is never true, 7 is always true - scores are classified in two dimensions - masculinity-femininity & androgynous-undifferentiated
High masc. Low fem. = Masculine
Low masc. High fem. = Feminine
High masc. High fem. = Androgynous
Low masc. Low fem. = Undifferentiated


What is a positive for androgyny and the BSRI?

The scale appears to be valid and reliable - 50 male & female judges valued male and female characteristics which became the test criteria - test piloted on over 1000 students - results broadly corresponded to own description


What are the negatives for androgyny and BSRI?

Bem assumed that androgynous individuals were more psychologically healthy as they can cope with wider range of situations – this has since been challenged as people believe those with higher levels of masculine behaviour are healthier as these are valued highly in Western society - not fully considerate of social and cultural context of the theory

It has been suggested gender identity is too complex to be reduced to a single score its very difficult to quantify and not representative of the global issues

The BSRI was developed over 40 years ago and behaviours that were regarded as typical or acceptable in relation to gender have since changed. The scale is made of stereotypical ideas that may be outdated and lacking in temporal validity.