are there any improvements i could make/how many marks would i get?
Androgyny refers to a personality type that is characterised by a high and balanced mixture of masculine and feminine traits, attitudes or behaviours. Bem first introduced the idea of androgyny, arguing that people can show both masculine and feminine traits. Being androgynous was considered psychologically healthy as it avoids fixed sex-role stereotypes. They are also able to adapt to a range of contexts and situations that non-androgynous people would struggle with, along with Bem suggesting that they have higher self esteem and better relationships. To measure this, Bem formed the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSR) which consists of 60 different traits: 20 masculine such as risk taking and independent, 20 feminine such as warm and shy , and 20 neutral traits such as reliable and adaptable. The individual was asked to rate themselves on each trait using a 7-point Likert scale, with 1 being never true' and 7 being 'always true. The scale scored individuals on two dimensions, masculinity to femininity and androgenous to undifferentiated (low on both).
One limitation of Bem’s theory is that further research has cast doubt over the link she stated between androgyny and wellbeing. Bem placed great emphasis on the idea that androgynous individuals are more psychologically healthy as they are best placed to deal with situations that demand a masculine, feminine or androgynous response. However, Adams and Sherer challenged this assumption. They suggested that people who develop a higher volume of masculine traits such as independence and risk taking may be better adjusted due to these being valued in individualist western cultures. Therefore, this highlights that Bem’s explanation ignores this factor and may not provide a full explanation of the advantages of certain gendered characteristics.
However, a strength of Bem’s advocacy for the advantages of androgyny is it’s application to the real world. In the 1970’s when Bem proposed her sex role inventory, many gender stereotypes were present in society such as that gender must be the same as sex or that those who showed atypical gender traits should be stigmatised. However, Bem’s work provides greater understanding and validation of not only gender having the possibility to not match biological sex but also that this can be an advantage which had the potential to lead to positive social change and the decreasing prejudice towards those displaying non gender normative behaviour, thus having an overall positive effect on the lives of the individuals research represents.
Although, another limitation of Bem’s sex role inventory is that it lacks temporal validity. Despite countering some gender stereotypes, the questionnaire created more than 40 years ago no longer matches contemporary understanding of gender. Many of the traits Bem measured such as gentle being considered feminine and dominant being considered masculine are now not limited to one gender or the other and would be seen as stereotypical in themselves when stated this way which means that any conclusions about the impact of certain traits are likely to be biased too. Therefore, this explanation of gender is outdated does not accurately represent gender under the view of dominant modern social norms.