Understanding Gender

In the old days, it seemed simple: Men hunted and women bore and raised kids. Then we moved out of caves, invented gender studies, and learned a thing or two about genetics. Now nothing is clear cut. While social and biological analyses of gender offend some, they have freed others to finally feel comfortable in their own skin. Whether you're gay or straight, transgender or cisgender, or just curious about why men and women treat each other the way they do, there's something in here for you.

Recent posts on Gender

Masculinity Does Not Equal Toughness, Research Argues

The traditional view of the manly man is that he is tough, hard, and unfeeling. A new viewpoint suggests that manly men can also show they care, benefiting everyone.

Is Sexual Objectification Automatic?

By Nathan A Heflick Ph.D. on September 30, 2016 in The Big Questions
Sexual objectification may help preserve self-control.

The Top Ten Myths About Men’s Sexuality

By Joe Kort Ph.D. on September 30, 2016 in Understanding the Erotic Code
It is time to stop gender bias and catch therapists up to understanding what really is happening in men’s erotic universe.

How Frequent is Sexual Objectification?

By Nathan A Heflick Ph.D. on September 30, 2016 in The Big Questions
New research tests the frequency of unwanted sexual gazing.

Does Gender Matter When It Comes to Addiction Recovery?

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on September 29, 2016 in Sure Recovery
Does gender matter when it comes to addiction treatment? Focusing on women's treatment needs help speed up recovery.

The Cerebellum May Drive Sex Distinction in Our Social Brain

By Christopher Bergland on September 29, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
How do sex differences play a role in the development of our social brain? A new study on specific neurons in the cerebellum (Latin for "little brain") offers some valuable clues.

Bad Moms: Social Stigmas and Postpartum Mental Illness

By Jean Kim M.D. on September 29, 2016 in Culture Shrink
We need to examine how the biological symptoms of postpartum mental illnesses intersect with the high societal expectations regarding the "perfect mother."

The Mirage of Sexism

By Liz Swan Ph.D. on September 27, 2016 in College Confidential
Sexism is real. But what about when it's not? Find out why calling something "sexist" when it's not can be counterproductive and self-defeating.

Wedding Vows for Modern Times

Today's marital vows seem to be much more about personal fulfillment than about making a life and a home together.

White Sensitivity Is Like Black Sensitivity

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on September 26, 2016 in Feeling Our Way
Being put in your body unexpectedly is status-lowering, whatever color your skin is.

Helping Clinton Become Engaging, Memorable and Fearless

By Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A. on September 24, 2016 in Just Listen
Deborah Shames, author of "Out Front: How Women can Become Engaging, Memorable and Fearless Speakers" is a specialist in helping people put their best and most real foot forward.

New Study Finds the Average American Woman is Now Plus-Size

Although it is widely acknowledged that the standard sizing system is flawed, being designated as plus-size is nevertheless something of a damning fate for many women.

Research Tip: Ask About What You Want to Measure

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on September 22, 2016 in Pop Psych
Asking questions targeted at what you're actually interested in knowing about is a strategy more psychology research should adopt.

Sibling Conflict and Gender

By Roberta Satow Ph.D. on September 22, 2016 in Life After 50
Are your siblings sharing the burden of caring for Mom?

Mindfulness for All

By Susan M. Pollak MTS, Ed.D., on September 21, 2016 in The Art of Now
Can mindfulness and compassion reduce racial bias?

Women’s Right to Say YES to Sexuality

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on September 21, 2016 in In the Name of Love
Women’s sexual right to say “yes” should be respected, including their right to freely shape their sexual performances, without incurring any social or emotional censure.

Will We Ever Notice Boys' Struggles?

I was a strong supporter of feminism until I discovered — nearly 25 years ago — that boys, much more than girls, were struggling in school and other very important ways.

Bare Faced, Glowing and Dewy

Freckled and fresh-faced, these are the girls we want to be: evolved beyond the tyranny of traditional makeup, but effortlessly beautiful. It is a paradoxical beauty ideal.

The Mothers of Mankind

Proposed self-domestication of our species raises the issue of who the domesticators were. Insights of the imprinted brain theory argue they were ancestral mothers.

Crying on the Job: When Anger turns to Tears

Crying on the job is a catch-22; you’re weak if you "tear up" or "break down," but something worse if you "amp up" and "call out" the person who ticked you off.

Gender Equality Baffles Evolutionary Psychologists

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on September 15, 2016 in The Human Beast
The fact that men and women were reliably different around the globe was a foundation of evolutionary psychology. This idea is challenged by rising gender equality.

Who's Keeping You Quiet?

By Katherine Hawley Ph.D. on September 15, 2016 in Trust
The best listeners recognize they don't already know it all.

The American Dream: For Single People, Is It Just a Fantasy?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on September 14, 2016 in Living Single
New reports offer new insights on the psychology and economics of home buying for single women, single men, and unmarried couples.

Feminine Is the New Balance

By Megan Dalla-Camina on September 14, 2016 in Real Women
There's a new kind of balance in town that, if we get right, can address the root causes of why our lives (and the world) are so out of whack.

Benevolent Sexism and the Art of the Deal

By Peter Glick Ph.D. on September 13, 2016 in The Enquiry
Benevolent and hostile sexism have proved a winning combination for men for thousands of years, but it is not working for Donald Trump.

Age as a Factor in Sexual Orientation and Attraction

By Loren A. Olson M.D. on September 13, 2016 in Finally Out
Sexuality research focusing exclusively on genital sex to the exclusion of attraction, affection and affiliation falls short in our understanding of sexual orientation or identity.

Why I Still Don’t Like Diversity Events

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on September 13, 2016 in Feeling Our Way
Humility itself becomes a perfectionistic ideal, and it’s alarming how arrogant people can become about how self-effacing they are.

Why Clinton’s “Basket of Deplorables” Is Not Romney’s “47%”

By Kyle D Killian Ph.D., LMFT on September 12, 2016 in Intersections
Was Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment vicious and vile, or a truthful gaffe?

Say No to Discrimination Against Expectant and New Moms

Discrimination against expectant and new moms is on the rise. Time to stop it once and for all - and here are some ideas how.

Failing at Psychotherapy a Second Time

How do we figure out which therapies work with whom and why?