Written by Haley Hembree
“Who run the world? Girls!” Well, not quite. The theory that women alone are the saviors and peacemakers who can bring world peace has been discredited (Hudson, Ballif-Spanvill, Caprioli, & Emmett, 2012). This theory has, however, opened a discussion that should be examined. Women alone may not prevent World War III, but evidence shows that feminism and equality in gender roles might (Hudson, Ballif-Spanvill, Caprioli, & Emmett, 2012).
Does gender equality reduce war?
Hudson and colleagues (2012) emphasize that a higher degree of equality in gender roles in democratic states is responsible. Breuning (2013) found that “necessary (but not sufficient) preconditions for the emergence of democracy were monogamy and later marriage, as these reduced the inequality of women and men within the household.” Therefore, the reduced inclination for a nation to go war boils down to “smallest unit of human society: the family” (Breuning, 2013).
Perpetrators of Gender Inequality
Breuning (2013) demonstrates that the physical security of women correlates with different measures of peacefulness. This preliminary analysis can help to open a dialogue about the role of gender quality, particularly regarding the status of women, in global stability (Breuning, 2013).
Fahs (2013) evaluated how Sex and World Peace accomplished its claim: “[The authors] take on a range of perpetrators—academics who perpetuate the absence of women in international relations courses and scholarship; policymakers who ignore convincing data about the role of women in producing healthy and successful societies; public health ‘experts’ who forget about the ‘microaggressions’ women face (lack of bodily security, lack of equity in family law, lack of parity in decision-making and government); and the US media, who all-too-willingly ignore women (particularly outside of the US) and the different challenges they face.” These perpetrators all add to lowering the status of women and, thus, possibly making the road to world peace that much more difficult (Fahs, 2013).
What Can Be Done to Promote Gender Equality?
It is important to enforce national policies that support the equal status of women, but it is just as important for women to look out for one another and men to look out for women on a personal level. Gender equality begins in the home. Creating an environment of equality at home can lead to widespread effects. Children in such an environment will learn to expect equal opportunities in education and physical security. Romantic partners will learn to expect equal divisions of labor and respect. Peers will learn to expect equal participation in the work force and politics. By using everyday relationships as a model to inspire equality, each person could, in turn, encourage a society of justice that is one step closer to global stability.
Breuning, M. (2013). Why world peace depends on gender equality in the family. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 19(3), 311-312.
Hudson, V. M., Ballif-Spanvill, B., Caprioli, M., & Emmett, C. F. (2012). Sex and World Peace. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Fahs, B. (2013). Review of Sex and World Peace. Feminism & Psychology, 24(3), 408-409.
Written by Makeela Wells
Prosocial behavior is essential for successful communication and relationships with others. It allows individuals to help, share, and understand others who are encountered in daily life. Prosocial behavior can be promoted through portrayals of altruistic behavior and imitating others who engage in such behavior (Wilson, 2008). However, when one is excluded from engaging with others, this can reduce prosocial behavior within that individual (Twenge, Baumeister, DeWall, Ciarocco, & Bartels, 2007). The goal of this blog is to define prosocial behavior, discuss how social exclusion decreases prosocial behavior in individuals, and examine the relationship between the media and prosocial behavior.
Defining Prosocial Behavior
Prosocial behavior can be defined as actions that are performed to help or benefit others (Twenge et al., 2007). Actions that are associated with prosocial behavior rarely have any direct benefit for those who are performing the act. These actions can include devoting time to helping others, volunteering, and assisting others in both emergency and non-emergency situations. Prosocial behavior also encourages cohesiveness in society and among individuals. Helping or sharing with others increases one’s own confidence and self-esteem (Twenge et al., 2007). Prosocial behavior also aids one in being able to interact and communicate with others.
How Does Exclusion Decrease Prosocial Behavior?
They may feel that others would not assist them if they needed help. Social exclusion also has the ability to impair the emotions that are needed, such as empathy, to push a person to want to help others (Twenge et al., 2007). In the end, it is imperative to include and make individuals feel socially accepted so that they may be more willing to selflessly assist others when needed.
Media and Prosocial Behavior
Often, research and data on media and behavior explore how violent television shows and movies promote aggression and antisocial behavior (Wilson, 2008). However, media, such as television and movies, also has the potential to promote prosocial behavior within individuals. Research shows that approximately 73% of television shows depict at least one act of prosocial behavior, including sharing or donating (Wilson, 2008). Those who viewed these types of shows saw roughly three acts of altruism in an hour (Wilson, 2008). Prosocial behaviors have been found to be depicted more on children networks, such as Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, and are less likely to be displayed on general audience channels, which are typically geared toward adults (Wilson, 2008). Television shows and movies that display individuals helping others increase the likelihood of prosocial behavior by individuals who view the media, but it also helps children and adolescents to develop empathy and sympathy for others who may experience a negative event or emotion (Wilson, 2008). Prosocial media also lead to positive social development, which is essential in adulthood (Wilson, 2008).
Additional references: Learn more about prosocial behavior and promoting prosocial behavior.
Twenge, J. M., Baumeister, R. F., DeWall, C. N., Ciarocco, N. J., & Bartels, J. M. (2007). Social Exclusion Decreases Prosocial Behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(1), 56-66.
Wilson, B.J. (2008). Media and Children’s Aggression, Fear, and Altruism. Future of Children, 18(1), 87-118.
Dr. H. Colleen Sinclair
Social Psychologist, Relationships Researcher,
Ms. Chelsea Ellithorpe
Lab Manager of the Social Relations Collaborative and Blog Editor
Ms. Areal Carter
Undergraduate Student in Psychology
Mr. Hal Bronson
Undergraduate Student in Psychology