It will take the voices of everyone to make a change in the way that society portrays boys and men, girls and women. We are doing an injustice to our children by encouraging these roles. Educators need to become increasingly aware of their practices in their classrooms. It is very easy to fall into the trap of segregating the sexes; all of us have to support and encourage our children that they can do and be anything. When enough people believe that the sex roles can be diminished, then society, the media and the government will follow.
As a result, this points out how strongly children are affected when they gradually imitate behaviors that the media is promoting. Throughout childhood, advertisements have the ability to target young minds, leaving children accustomed to damaging behaviors. Specifically, ad’s that promote toys obviously target the younger audience in ways that seem gender appropriate. According to the theory about social learning, not only can they learn through direct experience but also can experience by observation of same-sex models which is caused by television exposure. Authors of The Effects of Commercials on Children’s Perceptions of Gender Appropriate Toy Use claim “girls would be more influenced than boys by the commercials” and how “traditional commercials contained images of women as housewives, mothers, and sex objects, or women performing domestic activities, such as sewing” (Pike & Jennings 2005).
Also, hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, and evolution offer some insight in to the psychological differences in the genders (Santrock, 2009). However, there is mounting evidence that the gender roles and stereotypes are being taught from childhood, and studies point out that the teaching of gender roles at an early age greatly affects a child’s identity of their gender and the opposite sex. Through parents’ toy selections, children learn what is appropriate and inappropriate for their gender (Wood, Desmarais & Gugula, 2002). Though boys have a strict set of rules and expectations for their role in society, girls’ roles are not as consistent. This factor causes gender conflict within girls and causes problems with boys because they are highly restricted in what they can do (O’Brien, Peyton, Mistry, Hruda, Jacobs, Caldera, Huston & Roy, 2000).
They get ideas about their gender roles from their parents, their school teachers and subconsciously from the toys they play with and the television shows they watch. Even before the children are born, parents begin choosing clothing and decorations by color based on the sex of the baby. The stereotype of pink, pastels, yellow and white for girls and bright or dark colors like green, blue and red for boys has long been a part of our culture. How many times have you heard kids argue over toys because the girls don’t want the icky boy color or the boys don’t want the gross girl color? The issue of color may go deeper than just fighting for toys.
Within the family it is also evident how parents are stereotyping their children. This is done through many ways, however, one of these is story telling. Fiese and Skillman (2000 as cited in Aina and Cameron 2011) suggests that mothers are more likely to tell their daughters stories about relationships and support, whereas farther’s are more likely to tell their sons stories about bravery and achievement. This means even within the household children are being raised in, they are being brought up into stereotypes through doing stereotypical activities with their parents like storytelling, meaning that the children are growing up wanting to succeed in them roles. They will grow up thinking men have more power than women and this could lead to gender inequality, treating them differently.
In the third phase, we find that Kohlberg believes that children age 6 to 10 years begin to comprehend the gender differences between them. We find that kids at this stage, they begin to develop their skills on this basis. At this stage may not happen without any intervention of the parents, but the children get some confusion; for example, a child who has a tendency to carry out activities of gender, we find the parents are suffering at this stage because the child 's return to its own stereotypes. Also, at this stage, we find that the competition between the sexes is increasing somewhat, so that we see the kids are trying to prove gender personality. We can now say that the stereotype of children throughout
Disputing or questioning gender in a society that tells a person how to act, dress, and behave based on one’s sex has had a major influence on individual’s psyche, especially in children who are learning these social norms, and trying to adjust to a society that has strict rules on how the different genders are to behave. Children are now questioning gender norms more now in recent years, than in the past. I had many questions in the beginning of this article such as will a child grow into a confused adult if they are not forced to abide by social norms in regard to their gender? Should professionals and parents try to sway them to conform to the socially accepted path? One reason children are able to be more individualized in their gender identity now is because it’s recognized
For instance, when boys get hurt their parents say things like "shake it off," or "that didn't hurt much," but when little girls got hurt, they would give her attention and pull her aside and take care of her. Parents treat each child in completely different regard. These patterns and thought processes continue on into our adulthood and begin to play out in our relationships with others, which include dating and marriage. With these gender biases and stereotypes in mind, it is easy to see how gender roles are created. As Dianne Cullims states, in her book Gender Roles "Parents have a lot to do with how their children turn out"(47).
This confirms that television has become an overwhelmingly huge part of a child’s development that it simply can’t be ignored or deemed unrelated. What television does is not only shape a particular idea of how men and women differ from each other with visuals, but also the verbal aspect of television, meaning the news, commercials, and what the characters of these kids shows teach them, plays a role in influencing them with what’s socially acceptable for their gender. One problem with television is that it instills a lot of gender bias and stereotypes. For example, Witt talks about just how the different genders are portrayed on television by stating, “men on television are often portrayed as rational, ambitious, smart, competitive, powerful, stable, violent, and tolerant while women are sensitive, romantic, attractive, happy, warm, sociable, peaceful, fair, submissive, and timid” (Witt, pg. 322-323).
This review traces those steeps that Maccoby has taken in her research. She began her research with parent-child interactions, studying the affect parents have on the sex-typing behavior of their children, in hopes of establishing where children learn about gender identity. Maccoby then took that information and combined it with research on children’s interactions in play groups, which led her to believe that parental sex-typing is inconsequential in children’s decisions to play in sex-segregated groups. Maccoby (1987) argues that it is the combination of dominance and control with gender labeling that drives children to interact in same-sex groups. Maccoby then ascertains the importance of the interaction skills learned in these same-sex-segregated groups in affecting adult behavior, and illustrates the many parallels that exist between the interactions of the two different age groups.