In "Learning to Be Gendered", Penelope Eckert and Sally McConnell-Ginet argues that the gender identification does not begin at birth. The dichotomy between a male and a female in biology is what sets them apart. The authors address the false assumptions with gender identification for people who think they figured out the pattern for boys and girls. The article gives examples of instances where parents and adults have unconsciously made judgments for males and females based on their expectations and roles. As a result, boys have learned to perform as a male and girls have learned to perform as a female.
Unlike ‘sex’, which typically refers to the biological and physiological differences, gender is a sociological concept that describes the social and cultural constructions that is associated with one’s sex (Giddens & Sutton, 2013, p. 623-667). The constructed (or invented) characteristics that defines gender is an ongoing process that varies between societies and culture and it can change over time. For example, features that are overly masculine in one culture can be seen as feminine in another; however, the relation between the two should not be seen as static. Gender socialization is thought to be a major explanation for gender differences, where children adhere to traditional gender roles from different agencies of socialization. Gender
Some folks assume that girls and boys behave and like different things based on their distinctive innate nature and physical differences. While it might be true that they identify themselves based on biological traits like their gender/sex, Penelope Eckert, the author of Learning to be Gendered, argued that receiving different treatments and nurture can have influence on how girls and boys learn to identify themselves. Penelope suggest that there’s a social matter where an individual’s gender can be a heavy label on how he or she would be like, but part of the gender label is developed by parenting while growing up. Even at birth, gender roles are conditioned by their milieu. Baby girls are given flowery or pink gifts while boys are
These studies suggest that children observe gender stereotypes at an early age unintentionally. Since children’s brains are constantly soaking in new information about the world around them, they have to do so in a way that they are seemingly most comfortable. Studies show that children are most comfortable learning from people who are actively in their lives and attractive movie and TV
The essay “Why Boys Don’t Play With Dolls” by Katha Pollitt, is an essay angled at young people who are, or potentially will be parents. The piece begins with an analysis of the indoctrination of gender roles upon children, with the focus beyond societal influences. Pollitt says other people claim that the reasoning behind children’s affinity for specific toys can be traced to things innate in humans, listing “...prenatal hormonal influences, brain chemistry, genes…” (Pollitt 1) as the top offenders. She also includes “...that feminism has reached its natural limits.”
A child's earliest exposure to what it means to be male or female comes from parents. From the time children are babies, parents treat their sons and daughters differently. Parents’ dress their children gender specific colors, give them gender differentiated toys, and expect different behaviors from boys and girls. Parents inspire their children to participate in sex-typed activities. Such activities include doll playing and engaging in housekeeping activities for girls, and playing with trucks and engaging in sports activities for boys.
The article states that, “Chronologically, another important contribution was Maccoby and Jacklin’s (1974) book, The Psychology of Sex Differences. This book presented an unparalleled synthesis of research findings on gender differences in development” (para. 9). It highlights that within-gender differences are often larger than those between the genders (a point still lost in many of the popularized beliefs held today) (Para. 9). This quote explains that the way a girl or a boy looks at the opposite gender, may not be the way the opposite gender looks at itself.
In this study they tested the idea of ‘nature or nurture’ when it comes to gender identity. The researcher that began this experiment was psychologist John Money. Money told David Reimer's parents to raise him as a girl. David became Brenda, had a constructed vagina and took hormone pills his whole childhood. When it was time for Brenda to check in with Money, Brenda's twin brother would come to the visits as well.
Although some people believe that nature affects the gender identity, others argue that, based on the education an individual receives, it is actually nurture. For example, John Moore, a teacher at a female-only school, says, “My findings suggest that, in some senses, the single-sex school is strongly feminist” (Moore, 2005). On the other hand, many societies teach the children gender stereotypes to try and limit them from becoming against what the society feels is appropriate. Gender roles or stereotypes are “a set of qualities, behaviors, and attitudes that are considered appropriate for males and females based on their biological sex” (Whalen & Maurer-Starks, 2008). Most of the time, these stereotypes are taught and explained to the children in the early stages of learning, since as mentioned above, gender identity is most likely detected after the child is two years old.
In the essay “Even Nine-Month-Olds Choose Gender-Specific Toys,” Jennifer Goodwin acknowledges the possibility of gender being innate, as a research showed that “even 1-day-old boys spent longer looking at moving, mechanical options than 1-day-girls, who spent more time looking at faces” (89). However, she claims that even actions this early in life may already be influenced by the parents’ different treatments, which start almost instantly after their child is born. Goodwin states that, even when their children are still infants, parents tend to show more affection towards girl than boys, who are dealt with in a more active and playful manner, which could explain the findings of the research mentioned. This difference in treatments is later
Most toddlers are given one of two categories of toys: those for boys and then those for girls. When parents see that their kids are born as boys then they will probably start buying them blocks, race cars, balls, and action figures while for their daughters they will lean towards dolls, baby strollers, crowns, and kitchen sets. At sight, these toys seem harmless and innocent; that is to say what is wrong with a little boy and girl playing with their cars and dolls; however, these toys are the just the beginning of their molding. These kids are slowly being molded into their respective gender role: which are behaviors learned by an individual as appropriate to their gender. For example, gender norms or roles for a girl would be that they’re supposed to be thin, passive, and submissive to males.
By closing the door on kids playing with a variety of toys, we deny them the opportunity to develop a wide variety of skills (“Toys”). During the Imprint Period (0-7 years), gender stereotypes in toys affects kids development. From ages zero to seven, kids soak up everything around them “like a sponge” (“Teenager”). During the Imprint period, the "neural network for how to do things in life is being laid down," and kids develop life skills.
In my placement at the private nursery, there are identical twins of around 2 years – they have just began to see that they are separate people by recognising that they have different names and are different people. When they first commenced at nursery they didn’t recognise themselves as separate children. Evidence of increased self awareness is the change in a child’s language to using ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’. As part of self-awareness, a child’s sex concept begins to develop between 2 and 5 years. Toddlers begin to play with gender stereotyped toys, such as dolls and cars, etc.
When reading chapters seven and eight from Peggy Orenstein book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, it was interesting and yet horrifying to see it written out on paper. The chapter that really stuck out to me was chapter eight, Its all about the cape, was still the issue of girls and their weight. I know from growing up I have heard all about physical appearances and how it should be maintain in a healthy way. During my late high school days and even into early college days, going on diets was the newest trend and even television shows were participating in them. The latest gossip was about which diet people were on and who was going home on, The Biggest Loser. It was great that America wanted to start being healthy again, but by doing so we were
Margaret Mead’s (1935) classic study of sex and temperament in three New Genuia cultures clearly showed it. “Mead found out, that among the Arapesh, both men and women were cooperative, nonaggressive and responsive to the need of others . . . In contrast, both genders among the Mundugumor were expected to be fierce, ruthless and aggressive. Among the Tchambuli there was a complete reversal of the male – female temperaments considered usual in our society; that is, females were the dominant, impersonal partners who were aggressive food providers, whereas males were less responsible, more emotionally determined . . . “(Ferraro, Andreatta 263).