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Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
The social psychology of gender has grown to become a thriving, scientifically sound research theme that encompasses a wide variety of topics and questions. The story of how this came to be has been told from a number of perspectives (e.g., Crawford & Marecek, 1989; Deaux, 1999; Rutherford, Vaughn-Blount, & Ball, 2010; Unger, 1998). In this article, the authors focus on how, from psychology of gender's murky beginnings in early 20th century Freudian personality theory and even deeper roots in androcentric paternalism of 19th century science (Shields, 1975, 1982; Shields & Bhatia, 2009), feminist psychologists have shaped how sex and gender are scientifically defined, theorized, and studied. The authors identify three intertwined streams of investigation from which the contemporary psychology of gender grew: (a) research focusing on gender identity as a feature of personality, (b) research on behavioral sex differences, and (c) research on gender roles and the study of gender in social context. They interweave into this story how each of the six key articles highlighted in this special section illustrate turning points in that history. They then describe the critical importance of networks and mentors toward making the research reported in those articles possible. They conclude with their thoughts on future directions in the social psychology of gender.