Gender Norms And Gender Roles Essay

Gender Norms And Gender Roles Essay

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Gender norms are ideas that are deeply ingrained in us at a very young age. At birth infants are dressed in gendered clothing, given gendered toys and talked to in different ways. These gendered ways of acting and thinking are upheld all throughout childhood. Society and parents inflict their gender ideas and norms on children and expect them to act and behave in certain ways. Children learn gender from being subjected to society’s expectations, even though pressuring kids to conform to those rigid roles can end up having serious consequences for the children whose social circles try to over-correct their behavior. From working at an elementary school and wanting to pursue teaching as a profession I am emotionally invested in the physical and mental wellbeing of children. I see everyday how gender norms and gender roles play out on the playground and classroom and was initially interested what research has been done on gender roles in children.
Conry-Murray (2015) examined whether children judged that differential treatment for boys and girls is unfair when the differences in treatment coincide with gender stereotypes related to interests or abilities. The participants of the study judged whether it is acceptable for a teacher to reward children in a class by giving the boys a robotics kit and the girls an old maid card game. At a very young age children are concerned with fairness, research indicates that young children have a strong sense of justice but may have more difficulty than adults in considering other relevant information that would justify an unequal split of resources (Conry-Murray, 2015). “The current study examines whether children at ages 6, 8, and 10 are more accepting of unequal distributions when the ite...

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...y will be seen as less “feminine” or “manly”.
From these few studies on how gender norms affect children and youth we can see that gender norms play a huge role in the lives of children and majorly dictate how they act and view themselves. I believe that there needs to be a serious shift in how we perceive gender norms. Adults often think that it’s impossible to change gender norms because they’re already so deeply entrenched. But they’re much more rooted in adults than they are in young people; it’s actually very easy to reach young people if we create opportunities for discussion, if we get them to think about their own experiences. By shifting how adults view gender norms we can easily change how they affect children both physically and mentally. I believe that a simple solution like opening up more discussions on gender norms is a big step towards change.

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