Outline two factors that contribute to the development of gender stereotypes and gender role adoption in children.
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, or 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 such as the differences in the physiological and hormonal characteristics of males and females. However, the ...view middle of the document...
Factors Influencing Gender Stereotypes and Gender Roles in Children
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. Parents exert a strong influence on their children for a number of reasons. Children recognise their authority in the household and they exercise moral ascendancy over their children. During the development stage, children look up to their parents in developing perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards various aspects including gender characteristics and roles. (Eckes & 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 (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, blue is the colour for male babies and pink for female babies. The design or patterns of clothes are also differentiated by gender. Floral and other similar patterns are bought for girls while cars and truck prints are designated for boys. There are also stark differences in the toys given as gifts for male and female children. Dolls are typically for girls and cars, trains or soldiers for boys. These attitudes and behaviour of parents communicate differences between males and females together with expectations on the concurrent attitudes and behaviour of their male or female children.
Another manifestation of parental influence is the activities and chores assumed by parents and assigned to their children (Cunningham, 2001). Usually, girls have more chores inside the household. Mothers that do not work are likely to take primary responsibility for household work and help is obtained from daughters. Sons are also assigned chores but these commonly pertain to work such as lifting or other manual work outside the house. During...