The its theory on the assumption that

The phrase ‘gender role’ refers to the
behaviours defined by social and cultural norms that are associated with each
gender (Glassman and Hadad, 2013). How
people become socialised to adhere to these roles is a topic that is explained
in many different ways by the different approaches.  In this case, the two
approaches of interest are the behaviourist approach and the psychodynamic
approach.

Behaviourist theories tend to describe concepts
in terms of conditioned responses. There are two main forms of conditioning:
classical, which involves evoking a reflexive response to a previously neutral
stimulus by associating that neutral stimulus with another stimulus that causes
the reflex response, and operant, which increases or decreases the occurrence
of voluntary behaviour by responding to it with reinforcement or punishment
respectively (Flanagan, Hartnoll and Murray 2015).
Gender development could be explained through classical conditioning, but
operant conditioning provides a stronger and more persuasive argument when
applied to scenarios of gender role development. Positive reinforcement
increases desirable behaviours by rewarding it with a pleasant stimulus. For
example, a teenage girl who begins wearing make-up and is then met with praise
and positive attention from her peers would then be more likely to continue
wearing make-up. Negative reinforcement increases desirable behaviours by
removing an aversive stimulus. For example, a boy who is good at sports would
gain popularity, removing the aversive stimulus of loneliness. Punishment (or
positive punishment) reduces undesirable behaviours by responding to them with
an aversive stimulus. For example, a boy who plays with dolls is punished by
being shouted at or made fun of. Omission (or negative punishment) reduces
undesirable behaviour by removing a pleasant stimulus. For example, a girl who
doesn’t adhere to gender norms would be labelled a ‘tomboy’ and socially
isolated, denying her the pleasant stimulus of friendship.

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The psychodynamic approach bases its theory on
the assumption that our experiences in childhood shape our adult personalities.
There are five psychosexual stages: oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital. At
each of these stages “the mode of gratification” – as in, the way we satisfy
our natural biological drives- changes, and the occurrences within these stages
shape our personalities in adulthood (Glassman and
Hadad, 2013). Another assumption that is important to this theory is the
idea that our personality is split into three parts: the id, which is based on
the pleasure principle and demands that it gets what it wants when it wants it,
the superego, which is based on the morality principle and wants to adhere to
social and ethical boundaries, and the ego, which is based on the reality
principle and tries to satisfy the needs the id while taking in the reality of
a situation (Flanagan, Hartnoll and Murray 2015).
The psychosexual stage related to gender development is the phallic stage,
which occurs from three to five years of age. At this stage, the focus of
gratification is the genitals. For boys, the mother
becomes the focus of affection and desire and the father becomes a rival for
the mothers’ attention. This situation causes intense anxiety for the boy as
the id wants to be the sole focus of affection for the mother and so wants to
remove the father as a rival, but the ego understands that the father is more powerful
than him and may retaliate if he discovers their true feelings. In order to
deal with this inner conflict, the defence mechanisms ‘identification’ and ‘repression’
are used. The boy models his behaviour and ethics on his father and pushes his
feelings towards both parents into his unconscious mind so that he is no longer
aware of them. The relationship with the mother becomes a prototype for future
relationships, while the moral values and ethics of the father are internalised
as the superego develops (Glassman and Hadad, 2013).

One similarity between these two approaches is
that they both accept that the environment has an affect on the development of
gender. The behaviourist theory is entirely based on stimuli present in the
environment, and the psychodynamic theory focuses on the parents and the way in
which the child was raised.

Another similarity is that they are both
deterministic, labelling people are passive learners and their thoughts, feelings
and emotions as simply results of their environment. Free will does not seem to
play a part in these theories.

A difference is that the behaviourist approach
carries far more scientific support behind its theories. The basics of operant
conditioning were introduced and proved by Skinner
(1938), who carried out a series of experiments on rats to show the various
contingencies of reinforcement. The effects of our peers on our gender
conformity was proven by Ewing-Lee and Troop-Gordon
(2011), who found that peer harassment was a predictor for reduced
gender atypical behaviour in children with many male friends, and increased
gender atypical behaviour in boys with more female friends than male friends.
These results, described in terms of behaviourist theory, shows the effects of
punishment and positive reinforcement respectively. Pomerlau,
Bolduc, Malcuit and Cossette (1990) also provide support for the
behaviourist theory as they show that boys are girls are treated differently
from birth, so they are reinforced differently which explains the difference in
their behaviour as they grow up. Comparatively, the psychodynamic theory is very
difficult to support with scientific evidence as much of it is based on workings
within the unconscious mind, which cannot be tested in a scientific setting.
However, there are some aspects of the theory that have limited support. The phallic
stage takes place at three to five years of age, a period of time that has been
outlined as important in gender role development (Fagot, 1985, as cited by Glassman and Hadad, 2013)

Another difference between these theories is
that the behaviourist approach does not take into account any biological influence
on behaviour. It focuses entirely on nurture and the effect of the environment,
whereas the psychodynamic approach includes this aspect through the innate
nature of the psychosexual stages and the biological drives that motivate our behaviour
(Glassman and Hadad, 2013).