Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett

in The Truth About Girls and Boys

Published by Columbia University Press

Published in print April 2013 | ISBN: 9780231151634
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780231525305 | DOI:

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This chapter delves into the conception that men, by nature, are incapable of nurturing. Psychoanalyst Nancy Chodorow asserts that while mothers create and nurture a strong bond with their daughters, they push their sons away to allow them to form a masculine identity. With this severed connection to their mothers, men turn to the impersonal world of public life and work, their caring capacities having been thoroughly restrained. The chapter explains how some targets of care are characterized as “gender appropriate”—such as dolls for girls—and other as “gender neutral,” meaning suitable for both sexes. Caring for animals, for one, is perceived by children as gender neutral. Boys and girls are equally capable of nurturing behavior, although the target of their caring changes over time, most likely due to gender stereotypes.

Keywords: nurturing; Nancy Chodorow; masculine identity; gender appropriate; gender neutral; gender stereotypes

Chapter.  4602 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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