Gender roles are the behaviours that society teach us as appropriate for boys and girls. These are based on gender stereotypes, which are “assumptions made about the characteristics of each gender, such as physical appearance, physical abilities, attitudes, interests or occupations.” (Gooden and Gooden, 2001). This essay will define and discuss gender and its significance throughout early childhood. Gender socialisation will be related to throughout this discussion as the effects of the family, the school, the media and the peer group on gender socialisation will also be looked at. To conclude the essay, statistics and studies will be discussed with relation to gender role socialisation.
DESCRIBE AND EVALUATE EVOLUTIONARY EXPLANATIONS OF GENDER. Cultural and psychological differences between men and women are often referred to be a socialization consequence. Individuals are born in either one of the genders but they become feminine or masculine through a complex developmental process that takes many years to unfold. For example, Women usually look after the babies, while men usually provide food. The evolutionary approach argues that gender role division is a consequence of the adaptation to the challenges and circumstances faced by our ancestors.
It is thought that these brain differences cause differences in the behaviour of males and females and could provide insight into the cause of gender dysphoria. The suggestion is that pre-natal hormones cause atypical brain development in the foetus and the child’s brain develops in a way that is not consistent with its genitalia and chromosomes. A strength of the brain sex theory is that it has supporting evidence, Kruijver (2000) carried out a post mortem analysis of
Outline and evaluate the Biological approach to gender development The biological approach to gender development tells us that sex determines if an individual is genetically a male or female but that gender determines your own feelings about who you are as a person, either masculine or feminine, and this is due to the differences in their brains. This usually is due to the chromosomes a person has or hormonal differences. Every individual has 23 pairs of chromosomes. Women have 2 X chromosomes while men have an X and a Y chromosome. As an embryo, a male’s Y chromosome starts to produce testosterone and other male sex hormones.
Bussey came to this conclusion when he found that children imitate same sex models but do not imitate same sex models that are gender inappropriate. Gender roles are also affected by social influences like parents. Parents sometimes have strong opinions on the divides between genders which results in different reinforcements for different behaviours. For example, a mother may react negatively to their daughter playing with masculine toys but positively to their son playing with the same toys. Parental influence has strengths, for example there is a wealth of scientific evidence supporting it.
Parents also give their children gender-specific toys. Common toys for boys are action figures, toy cars, and balls. Girls are frequently given dolls, tea sets, and stuffed animals. Even how children are treated is based on the child’s sex. Mothers are often stern with their daughters and easy on their sons.
Gender development starts at conception, it is from this point forward that one is treated as male or female (WebMD, 2011) . At conception a female embryo has the XX chromosome while the male embryo has the XY chromosome. Those who suffer with a gender identity crisis may possess either the XX or XY chromosome but in fact identify with as well as exhibit traits of the opposite sex. One's sense of gender and one's anatomical sex are two distinct elements: each developing at different times in different parts of the body (Kaneshiro, 2011) . According to Nevid (2008) in his book, Psychology: Concepts and Applications, the biggest argument related to gender identity is the nature versus nurture, the role played by hereditary and environmental factors as well as their relationship to gender identity.
Can parts of gender stereotype be biological? Can we link this to how children develop the ability to communicate and how they use it at a young age? There are many researchers discussing whether language acquisition between men and women are indeed different and many believe that its caused by gender bias among our society. The general concept is that we are not born with gender, but that gender is something we perform or learn to do. However, there is evidence to show that even at a young age, boys and girls that learn how to communicate, will learn at different speeds and will struggle with different aspects of learning how to communicate.
Socio- biologists argue that biology, meaning our genetic make up; shapes the behavior of the individual and in turn also determines social in-equalities such as gender inequalities present in society. Socio- biologists believe that the sex a person is born, categorizes them into the way society will perceive and treat them, this theory is known as biological determinism(O’ Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2006). Socio- constructionists believe however that ‘gender is a social distinction between men and women (Germov & Poole, 2007) and you are not born a woman or a man but rather female or male and develop into either a woman or a man due to society and its structures .Social ideologies such as gender hierarchy, culture, order and institutions are said to contribute to gender inequality, not the sex of the person as thought by socio-biologists. Prior to the feminist movement in Australia in the 1970’s, the word ‘gender’ did not exist; there was very much a socio-biologists view present in society at this time. This meant there was great masses of gender inequality present in Australia, males and females role’s in society were given to them based on a whole range of other differences: ‘bodily strength and speed, physical skills (men have mechanical skills and women are good at homemaking work i.e.
While boys are encouraged to be adventurous and granted freedom that is perhaps undeserved, their female counterparts will be given toy ovens and princess dolls to play with. Well meaning adults will often correct or shame a child who exhibits behaviors that are not suitable for the gender roles Ornelas 2 they are being raised to fill. Though parents and relatives mean no harm by introducing children to the societal constructs of behavior befitting their gender, these practices directly harm the child.