Online Two Factors That Contribute to the Development of Gender Stereotypes and Gender Role Adoption in Children. Essay Example

Pages: 5 (1802 words) Published: February 16, 2011
Gender stereotypes refer to the characterisation of groups based on their basic gender attribute as male or female. The gender-based stereotypes are the simplified evaluations of male and female groups that are shared by the community, a culture, a society. The evaluations usually encompass the attributes of physical capability, psychological state, personality, interests and behaviour. (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008) These attributions could be based on fact that such as the differences in the physiological and hormonal characteristics of males and females. However, the evaluations may be overstated. The other attribute evaluations may not be supported by evidence. (Myers, 2008) The nature and source of stereotypes lead to two implications. One implication is on the positive or negative impact of gender stereotypes. Women as emotional and men as rational could be positive when considered as strengths but these stereotypes could also be negative when used to discriminate or exclude in the workplace and in other situations. The other implications is the non-predictive value of these stereotypes over the individual attributes of members of the group. While women are stereotyped as emotional and men are stereotyped as rational, these are not necessarily the core attributes of all females or males. Nevertheless, gender stereotypes are pervasive in different cultures and form part of day-to-day lives. As such, gender stereotypes form during the growing up years (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008). Acquired gender stereotypes develop alongside gender roles, influence gender roles and are reinforced by gender roles. Understanding the factors that foster the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles provide the key areas in influencing the development or in changing the stereotypes and gender roles developed during childhood. Children going through the developmental stages are exposed to different factors that influence their development of gender stereotypes and gender roles. Two of the most pervasive influences on the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles in children are parental influence and media influence. The earliest exposure of children to the meaning of gender and gender differences is from parents. During the development stage, children look up to their parents in developing perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards various aspects including gender characteristics and roles. (Erkes & Trautner, 2000) Gender socialisation is one concept that explains parental influence on the development of gender stereotypes and gender roles in children. Gender socialisation is the process that facilitates interactive learning of certain behaviours considered as acceptable for males and females based on social-cultural beliefs and values (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008; Myers, 2008). The different expectations for males and females build stereotypes that are reinforced by how these are exacted from children by their parents, The attitudes of parents towards their children, in terms of the encouragement of gendered activities and interests, influence the development of gender stereotypes and roles (Eckes & Trautner, 2000). One manifestation of parental attitudes towards gender is differentiation through colours and patterns (Cunningham, 2001). As early as the pregnancy, the baby’s room is designed and furnished according to the expected gender of the baby. When babies are born, parents buy things such as clothes and other items depending on the gender of their child. Typically, pink is the colour for female babies and blue for male babies. Floral and other similar patterns are bought for girls while cars and truck prints are designated for boys. Dolls are typically for girls and cars or trains for boys. These attitudes and behaviours of parents communicate differences between males and females together with expectations on the concurrent attitudes and behaviour of their male or female children. Another...
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