Development Gender/Sexuality

Episode 94: How Do You Learn to Act Like a Man/Woman? Gender Identity and Gender Scripts

How do we learn to act in what are called “gender typical” ways? How did you learn to act like a girl and then a woman? Or like a boy and then like a man? Did you experience either penis envy or womb envy? Did this happen as a result of what Freud would call an oedipal complex or perhaps does our tendency to behave in stereotypical masculine and feminine ways come about more simply as a result of watching other males and females in your family, among your friends and on TV? In this episode of The Psych Files we look at the interesting and complex issue.






About Author


  1. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    Consider: Women/Females who are professionally in the sport of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), and (literally) the bloody mess they are able to make of their opponents and themselves in pursuit of winning, requiring very impressive skills— when interviewed afterward outside the ring some have typically very “feminine” characteristics while others are quite “masculine”. This observation leaves me befuddled— can you comment on this with good insight regarding their “Gender” and “Sexuality”, and also keep in mind the women who are professional “Female Bodybuilders”.

  2. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    Shannon’s comment is a bit paradoxical wouldn’t you say? She begins her comment by implicating her offense to the word “typical” because the way it’s used in context would imply that she is in fact not typical, but then she concludes with the comment, “I blame this on my mother not raising me right.” What then would have been the “right” way?

  3. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    A couple of interesting comments from Ruth and Ryan. I have seen more mention of this ring finger and index finger length being associated with sexual preference phenomenon. Here’s an article which links finger length as an indicator of motor neuron disease: and check above: I’ve embedded a very interesting video on testosterone and finger length.

    Definitely a good idea to do an episode on Gender Identity Disorder.

  4. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    This podcast seems to conclude that masculinity/femininity are largely learned behaviours and do not come naturally. I am wondering then how you account for Gender identity disorder?
    Just a suggestion for a future topic…

  5. Avatar

    Ruth Eyrich

    May 18, 2009

    I only can agree with Shannon.
    And after listening to the podcast, I had the feeling of: Okay, so. I’m not really femal!” I played with dolls, when I was little but I rather played with my older brother with playmobile, lego and matchbos cars, or we played soccer outside or what you called typical boys because of the aggression, we played to shout each other.
    Maybe my parents just didn’t want to do the gender enforcment, and I just my brother was my role model. (Fo instance my mother didn’t want to buy me any Barbie stuff, I had to do it secretly.)
    What caught my interest was that you talked about the influence of hormones on the fetus. My university did a research on the influence of testosterone on the fetus. They measured this with the proportion of the index finger and the ring finger. They found that these were acting more manly (it didn’t matter if they were men or women), if there was more testosteron present. I was a little bit amazed to here that about androgene as well. You said, you are going to make an episode on this but I couldn’t find it. Did you make one? Whick one is it?
    Thank you,

  6. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    Gaynelle – thanks for the comment and I’m glad the podcast is helping out. Keep on listening – lots more episodes to go. – Michael

  7. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    I just wanted to comment that I am currently taking a Lifespan Development course and this web site great to help the student understand and make it easy to learn!

  8. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    Thanks Jed! You may be my first listener from the Philipines. Glad you found the podcast – enjoy. Michael

  9. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    Hi, I’m a newbie to your show and I’m on the 29th episode now!
    I’m so happy that i’ve found a psych podcast.

    Keep up the great podcast!

    -Jed from Philippines

  10. Avatar


    May 18, 2009


    I understand where you’re coming from on this. I’ll keep an eye on this in future episodes.


  11. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    Hi there, I’d like a little more of “typical” when talk about gender based behaviour — as a female who DOESN’T have a lot of typical female skills, I find saying “girls do XX, b0ys do YYY” very annoying — you did use “typical in a few places, but not initally.

    (PS, yeah, I blame this on my mother not raising me right — in a good way)

  12. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    Thanks Lily!

  13. Avatar


    May 18, 2009

    I love this podcast.
    Happy Birthday from Germany. You’ve got quite bunch of fans here, too. 🙂

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like

Development Learning/Memory

Episode 2: Rewards and Punishments

Do you believe in spanking children to get to them to behave? There is a lot of controversy, discussion and

Episode 21: Erikson’s Eight Stages of Life

This week we take a stroll through the various phases of life: from childhood, to adolescence, into mid-life and then