Karen J. Prager, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

Professor of Psychology and  Program Head for Gender Studies

Diplomate in Family Psychology

The University of Texas at Dallas

More Information About Dr. Prager's work


Research on Intimacy

Processes in Couple Relationships 

Teaching and Professional Practice

Selected Papers and Publications


For Students:



GST3301/Psy 3334 Psychology of Gender

Spring, 2002

MW 12:30-1:45

Karen Prager, Instructor

Karen Prager, GR2.214

Email: [email protected]

Webpage: http://www.utdallas.edu/~kprager/

Office hours:

M 2:00-3:00 p.m.

F 11:30-12:30

Telephone: 972/883-2353

Want an answer to your question fast? Use email.

I generally do not check for telephone or email messages over the weekend unless I explicitly say otherwise (e.g., before a test).

Required Texts:

Books and articles are available at the campus bookstore and are on reserve in the library under my name, this course (be sure to check the course number before you start making copies).

                1) The Psychology of Gender, by Anne Beall and Robert Sternberg (Guilford).

2) The Psychology of Gender, by Vicki S. Helgeson (Prentice-Hall).

3) Marital Equality: Its Relationship to the Well-Being of Husbands and Wives, by Janice M. Steil (Sage).

Optional Text (2 readings will be required):

Lectures on the Psychology of Women, edited by Joan C. Chrisler, Carla Golden, & Patricia d. Rozee


70% Two multiple-choice exams over readings and lecture. Test grades will be computed based on the percentage of correct items.

For each test, students must bring SCANTRON FORM #F-1712-ERI (pink form) and a #2 pencil. Students should minimize erasing ontests. Students will be required to use cover sheets (we will provide them) during tests.

20% Student projects on the intersection of gender and (choose) ethnicity, religion, or culture. (See below).

10% Class attendance (Percentage of classes attended will be averaged into final grade)

Class Schedule:



Reading Assignment


Introduction to the Course

Course Objectives



Culture and the Construal of Gender:

Just how many genders are there?

Read in Helgeson, Chapter 1, pp. 1-12


No Class



Comparing females and males: Body

On Reserve:  Read pages in Lips, Hilary M. Sex and Gender, pp. 141-163 (Title: "The biological process of sexual differentiation"). Read in Beall and Sternberg, Sternberg, "What is the relation of gender to biology and environment?", pp. 1-6.

Lecture Outline: Physical Differences


Body, continued


Sign up sheets for groups will be passed out in class today. Be prepared to write your email address and phone number on the sign up sheet.


Those categories do not fit who I am: One person’s experience

On Reserve: Readings from Confessions of a Gender Defender, by Randi Ettner, pp. 20-29; 88-98; 112-118.


Gender is Political: Effects on the Psychology of Gender

Read in Helgeson, Chapter 1, pp. 35-46.

Lecture Outline:  Philosophical & Political Issues


Gender Stereotypes: What I think I am and what I think you are.

Read in Helgeson, Chapter 2, pp. 48-72.

Lecture Outline:  Gender Stereotypes


Gender Attitudes: What I think you should be and what I think I should be.

Read in Helgeson, Chapter 2, pp. 72-101.

Lecture Outline: Gender Attitudes

Summary Points:  Stereotypes & Attitudes


Theories of Gender-Related Differences: Evolutionary theory

Read in Beall and Sternberg: Kenrick and Trost "The evolutionary perspective", pp. 148-172

Lecture Outline: Evolution

Background On Evolutionary Theory


Evolutionary theory, cont’d

Sample test items


Mid-Term Exam



Guest Lecture:

Dr. Monica Basco


Comparing females and males: Intellect


Read in Helgeson, Chapter 3, pp. 103-120.

Lecture Outline:  Cognitive Sex Differences


Comparing females and males: Personality and Emotion

Read in Helgeson, Chapter 3, pp. 121-139.

Lecture Outline: Individual Consequences in Personality and Mental Health 


Comparing females and males: Wrap- up

Recommended:  Read in Helgeson, pp. 195-201.








Theories of Gender-Related Differences: Social Learning Theories

Read in Beall & Sternberg, Jacklin & Reynolds, "Gender and childhood socialization." pp. 197-214.

Social Learning Theories Lecture Outline


Social Learning Theories, cont’d



Theories of Gender-Related Differences: Social Interaction Theory

Read in Beall & Sternberg, Geis, "Self-fulfilling prophesies: A social-psychological view of gender," pp. 9-54

Lecture Outline:  Social Psychological Theories


Social Interaction Theory, cont’d

Gender in Relationships: Friendship

Read in Helgeson, Chapter 273-309

Lecture Outline: Friendship


Friendship, cont’d



Gender in Relationships: Romance & Love

Read, Marital Equality, Chapter 5, pp. 73-89.

Lecture Outline: Romance & Love


Gender & Marital Relationships

Read Chapter 3, Marital Equality, pp.24-42


Gender in Marital Relationships, cont’d

Lesbian and Gay Issues

Read Chapter 4, Marital Equality, pp. 43-72.

Lecture Outline:  Gender in Marriage

Read in Helgeson, Chapter 8, pp. 355-367.


Lesbian & Gay Issues, cont’d

FILM: Because This is About Love

Read 2 articles on reserve: (1) American Psychological Association: Answers to your questions about sexual orientation and homosexuality -- On the Web! --http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/answers.html#whatis

(2) "Life as a Lesbian," pp. 137-152, in Lectures on the Psychology of Women.



Theories of Gender-Related Differences: Social constructionism

Read in Beall & Sternberg: Beall, "A social constructionist view of gender" pp. 127-147.

Lecture Outline:  Social Constructionist Theory


Social constructionism, cont’d



Constructing male sexuality

FILM: Stale Roles & Tight Buns

Read chapter on reserve: "Hard Issues and Soft Spots," by Jeffrey Fracher & Michael S. Kimmel, in Men’s Lives.

Lecture Outline: Hard Issues


Best Student Project Presentations!

Bonus points for presenters! Bonus questions about presentations on final!


Overflow Student Project Presentations & Wrap-Up/Review

Lecture Notes:  Review of Theories





Bring pictures, newspaper stories, magazine articles, poetry – anything that you either created yourself or found that makes a statement about gender in the modern world, good or bad!

Policy: On Taking Exams on an Alternate Date

Make-up exams will be given to students with bona fide medical problems, work emergencies, or family problems (such as death in the family). You must have, on the appropriate stationary, a note from a doctor, hospital, or funeral director, or other appropriate documentation or you will automatically receive a 10-point deduction from your test grade.

Students with work or family conflicts may take an exam 1-3 days early without a note.

Schedule make-up exams with Brooke Bailey, GR 2.240, 972-883-2354. She will schedule these at her convenience.

Instructions for Group Projects (Required)

GST3301/Psy 3334 Psychology of Gender

Spring, 2002

The purposes of the group project are (1) to encourage you to talk among yourselves about the ways that gender issues intersect with, and cannot be fully separated from, the ethnic, religious, and/or cultural milieu within which they arise (i.e., perhaps your own milieu?), and (2) for you to produce a potentially presentable project that reflects your reading and your conversations about gender within a particular cultural/ethnic context. Your project will be grounded in (but not limited in content to) one of the articles in the list below (all will be available on reserve). Your project should have the potential to educate your fellow students in an enjoyable way, if possible.

If possible, groups will be limited to 3 (at most 4) students. This will facilitate your getting in touch with one another and working out meeting times.

Grading for these projects will be flexible, so this is your chance to be creative. The only criteria are these:

1. The main points from the article should be clearly articulated as part of the project. You may summarize them, illustrate them, or expand upon them. I should be able to see evidence that the project is based upon the article.

2. The project should in some way reflect the conversation among the group members about the article. This is your chance to do something creative and talk about your views with two or three other people.

3. The project will receive one grade; everyone who worked on the project will receive the same grade. HOWEVER, if one or two people in the group made exceptional contributions to the project, that person can receive extra credit (3 extra points, added to project grade). The group may vote to give extra credit to one of its members; if you wish to do so, convey that to me on your name sheet.

Your project may contain:

A Power Point presentation or overheads

A script for a dialogue or skit

A video or audiotape

Poetry, music, art, collages, etc.

A group discussion project for the class to do – in class – with accompanying objectives, explanations, etc.

An essay reviewing the article

Whatever you can think of . . .

Bonus: The 3 (or 4) student groups who turn in the most interesting, informative projects will have the opportunity to present their projects, as a group, to the class on April 29. I will choose the 3 projects I think are best suited to be presented and notify those students by email or telephone a week in advance (so you can practice if you haven’t already). The advantage of being chosen: 5 extra credit points on your project grade if you present to the class!

With your project: Turn in a title and name sheet with your project that has all group members names, email addresses, and telephone numbers. Indicate if you want to be considered for the group presentation and the 5 extra credit points (your choice).


Choose one of these readings to focus your project:

The following readings are in Men’s Lives (listed in the order in which they appear in the book).

Marable, Manning. "The black male: Searching beyond stereotypes."

Baca Zinn, Maxine. "Chicano men and masculinity."

Le Espiritu, Yen. "All men are not created equal: Asian men in U.S. history."

Brod, Harry. "Of mice and supermen: Images of Jewish masculinity."

Hantover, Jeffrey. "The Boy Scouts and the validation of masculinity."

Addelston, Judi & Stirratt, Michael J. "The last bastion of masculinity: Gender politics and the Citadel."

Pena, Manuel, "Class, gender, and machismo: The treacherous-women folklore of Mexican male workers."

Almaguer, Thomas, "Chicago men: A cartography of homosexual identity and behavior."

Cochran, Susan D. & Mays, Vickie M., "Sociocultural factors of the black gay male experience."

Allen, Robert L. "Racism, sexism, and a million men."

The following readings are in Lectures on the Psychology of Women, again listed in order from the book.

Chrisler, Joan C., "Asian American Women and Adolescent Girls."

Weiner, Kayla Miriyam, "Appreciating Cultural Difference: On Being an American Jewish Woman."

Castaneda, Donna, "Gender Issues Among Latinas."

Goodwin, Beverly J. "The Impact of Popular Culture on Images of African American Women."

Gillem, A.R., "Beyond Double Jeopardy: Female, Biracial, and Perceived to be Black."

Golden, Carla, "Relational Theories of White Women’s Development"

The following readings are in Women: A Feminist Perspective, listed in order from the book.

Terrelonge, Pauline, "Feminist Consciousness and Black Women."

Segura, Denise & Pesquera, Beatriz M., "Chicana Feminisms: Their Political Context and Contemporary Expressions."

Glazer, Ilsa, M. "A Cloak of Many Colors: Jewish Feminism and Feminist Jews."

                Ransdell, Lisa. "Lesbian Feminism and the Feminist Movement."