Gender Roles: Socialization And Gender In Child Development

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The topic of gender roles is a highly controversial one that is debated worldwide. However, opinions about gender roles, norms, and stereotypes differ from one culture to the other. This topic is interesting to me due to the fact that there are many gender stereotypes and prejudices against women, so it would be helpful to study how this develops in children. In a highly patriarchal world, how do behavioral expectations influence the behaviour of girls and boys? Are are children taught to see girls as inferior to boys? When does this occur? This paper will help to shed light on how gender roles develop in childhood and why certain roles are cast for certain genders in various cultures.
From a very young age, children are socialized to adhere
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These gender roles evolve from standards put in place by society. What do theorists say about socialization and gender in child development? One of the major theories that are beneficial in learning about gender role development is the Social Learning Theory. According to behaviorist, Bandura, children first learn gender roles by observing behaviors of an adult of the same sex, imitating said adult (Bandura, 1977). Then, the surrounding adult will respond either with positive or negative reinforcement (Bandura, 1977). To clarify, if a…show more content…
The media plays a huge role in informing children on how to behave. Hollywood as an industry has a history of sexism. Movies may often have limited female roles, or show girls to be docile and subservient. The “Disney princess” phenomena arguably encourages young girls to be overly concerned with their appearances and, sadly, not much else. Young girls may grow up watching popular Disney animated features, such as Cinderella, which center on female protagonists who are obedient, passive, domesticated, and accept the status quo. While more recent Disney animated feature films are evolving to include more complex female characters, these films remain to be novelties. There is still a trend of princesses amongst young girls, which can be seen in the growing merchandise industry. Independent and fierce protagonists, such as Merida from Brave, deviate from the norm, but when it comes to merchandising, their idiosyncratic, rebellious qualities are removed. Merida differed from other Disney princesses with her style and personality. She had curly red hair, abhorred wearing a dress, engaged in archery and challenged societal convention that tried to put her in a box. In the case of Merida 's characterization, Disney attempted to give her a feminine “makeover” but public outcry led them to rethink this decision (Child, 2013). It begs the question: Why must these young girls always be limited to the roles of perfect princesses? Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My

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