Gender Identity & Children and Gender
Gender Identity refers to how we feel and express our gender. From the time we are born, we are identified as being a male or a female. We learn gender identity from others and interaction helps produce it. A baby by the age of 1 knows if they are a boy or girl and by the age of 2 to 3 they form an opinion about the way they feel about their gender. Children take cues from their environment and the people around them to form gender identity. Anthony Schullo states that parents use gender to construct their children’s reality. They decorate children’s rooms gender specific or place them in clothes that identify them with a specific gender. For example, girls are placed in a princesses dress and boys are placed in patterns that represent cars or trucks. This shows to the child the things they should like and play with. From parents and family members girls are taught to obey and boys are taught to be strong and to be leaders. This expresses to children how they should behave and feel about their own gender identity. By the age of 3 to 4 (pre school age), children test their theories on gender through observation and imitation. They see their parents or other family members on the phone and they to will pick up a block, place it to their ear and talk in it or they will see their mum putting make up on in front of a mirror and pretend with their finger to put makeup on their face. From this early age, children observe and pick up on gender
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A quote from the reading that explains how a child develops gender identity is “to develop awareness of personal identity, a baby interacts with family members and others who are part of a larger social world”. Parents use inanimate objects like toys, clothes and chores they assign to children to teach children what the society expects of them. For example, while I was growing up my dad always gave me presents every time I excelled at something but those gifts were sports related and he always motivated me using stories of great athletes around the globe.
Gender is defined as whatever behaviors and attitudes a group considers proper for its males and females. Unlike sex, gender is something that we learn from the day we are born. “Young children begin to acquire gender role stereotypes at about the same time they develop gender identity and by the age of 3 or 4 most children” (Amanda Youmans). Peers, community, media, religion and our upbringing all play a role in the understanding of our culture and what is considered acceptable for males and females. When the sex of a child is revealed, they are automatically placed into a gender specific role with certain expectations. There are things in this world such as colors, toys, media depiction and taught behaviors that play into these gender roles.
Gender coding is not a natural or biological characteristic. People are born with different physical and biological characteristics, but make sense of their gender roles through cultural influences. “Stereotypes are amazingly powerful, and we may not realize the degree to which our thoughts, beliefs, and actions are shaped by them” (Silverman, Rader, 2010). Boys and girls are labeled as masculine or feminine, which is considered the “norm” for society. Children are not born masculine or feminine, they learn these roles from parents, peers, media, and even religion. Concepts of gender identity are sometimes placed on children even before their birth, such as with the selection of paint colors for the nursery.” Children begin to form concepts of gender beginning around the age of 2, and most children know if they are a boy or girl by age of 3” (Martin & Ruble, 2004). From an early age, children are encouraged to identify with gender coding. Gender is formed at birth, but self-identification as being male or female is imbedded into their minds by parents and society. A child learns to understand their gender role and their identity by what is taught and expressed to them by others. Yet as a child grows, gender coding can cause cultural confusion, and insecurity issues throughout the course of their life.
Children learn as early as age two what it means to be a “boy” or a “girl” (Aina & Cameron). This is described as gender identity, a person’s sense of self as male or female. Gender stereotyping emerges hand in hand with the development of gender identity in Early Childhood (Halim). Gender roles are society’s expectations of the proper behavior, attitudes and activities of males and females. When babies are born they are either put in pink or blue, as they grow up they still maintain the same “gender” colors. As young children start to socialize, they are playing with either “girl” toys or “boy” toys. When they get older they
Environmentally, a child’s experiences impact gender identity. Depending on family values or morals, a child could be confused by their gender. When a baby is born, there is much control on colors (if boy or girl) and ideas of the parents on how they would want to raise their daughter or son. For an example, a father would treat his son in a rough or unemotional way, while a girl would be protected and nurtured. Known as traditional roles, a boy doesn’t cry or play with dolls, but he can roll
Devor starts by be explaining how gender identity starts between eighteen months and two years. Children then start to understand which specific group the fall into when it comes to gender. Culture also plays a large role in this because different cultures have different thoughts as to how gender is perceived. Masculine and feminine characteristics are usually believed to be opposites of each other. Masculine attributes consist of being competitive, aggressive, and territorial. On the other hand, females are maternal, caring, and sensitive. Gender identity can also be seen through the way individuals speak, their body posture, and personal goals. Society plays a big role in the definitions of masculinity and femininity since children learn values based on the settings around them.I agree with Devor when it comes to the belief that society shapes how individuals understand gender.Gender role characteristics reflect the conceptions that our society sees
Brinkman, B. G., K. L. Rabenstein, L. A. Rosen, and T. S. Zimmerman. “Children 's Gender
From the moment babies are born, they are already categories into which gender behavior they would soon perform. An example provide from the text book, ‘‘Social and Personality Development, the sixth edition’’, of how parents would start to call their baby boy ‘‘big guy’’ or ‘‘tiger’’ in terms of the child more masculine behavior that would later appear. Also how parents would also call their baby girl, such as ‘‘sweetie’’ or ‘‘sugar’’ because that’s who girls should be viewed as, all sweet and soft. As children get older, around the age of 2 to 3, the idea of sexes and gender hasn’t become very clear to them, but seem to be able to understand the gender labels which leads to gender stereotyping. So at that age, their fully aware if their labeled
I observed three different children’s television programs through watching and listening at times to see how gender roles were portrayed, specifically towards children. The first observation that I made that was consistent throughout each of the different programs where that the females were either: bossy, deceitful, or very gentle. Males that were portrayed within the programs were either: aggressive, confident, or passive. I noticed that when the girls were being bossy (or sassy) they were viewed as “just being girls” rather than mean or acting inappropriately. However, if the boys within the programs were acting assertive (or bossy) they were being portrayed as mean, and acting in an inappropriate way.
Gender is a major cause of a person’s identity. People act the way the do because of the gender that has been assigned to them. Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s just their nature to act like that.” A sense of identity can be seen in many young children. When a child is ready to make the decision of what they are and who they want to be, they will do so. The child creates their own
Gender should not be intertwined with the term sex, which refers to the physical differences in individuals. Instead, gender is the idea of being male or female, and it is well understood by the time children reach the preschool years. Differences in gender become more pronounced as children age, and societal expectations are reinforced by parents and peers. Behavioral differences may be evident since parents may treat their child differently according to gender. A big example of this is how parents may react to a child’s first
Gender identity is an outlet many people use to express how comfortable they are with being masculine, feminine, both, or neither. Many kids are harassed at a young age because they do not feel comfortable with themselves. Teaching gender identity to children would help them find where they comfortably stand on the issue. Teaching children who are already comfortable in their gender identity would show more empathy for kids who struggle with their identity, and it would create a more educated world when in effect.
The very first article I read discusses the thoughts about children and gender identity. In today’s society children go through a major struggle at who they are in their own gender. They must decide whether or not to be set to stereotypes or to be “out of the box.” The researchers were trying to determine a few things. First of which are children set to stereotypes? Secondly, are children able to recognize the pressures of culture, to conform and adjust their behavior to fit this stereotype? (Brinkman, Rebenstein, Rosén, & Zimmerman, 2014, p. 836).
The construction of a self-identity can be a very complex process that every individual is identity is developed through the lenses of cultural influences and how it is expected to given at birth. Through this given identity we are expected to think, speak, and behave in a certain way that fits the mold of societal norms. This paper aims to explain how gender perform gender roles according these cultural values. I intend to analyze the process in which individuals learned and internalized their respective gender identities, through their cultural background. I will be conducting a set of interviews with the intention to compare my experience as a self-identified male of Mexican descent, to the experience of another male character of Japanese heritage in order to understand how we come to self-identify as masculine in diverged cultures. In this paper, I argue that the construction of gender identities is a direct consequence of societal influential factors such as family values; values that reflect the individual’s culture. This analysis will not only utilize evidence from these identity formations, but also in explaining why and how these self-identities were constructed using both theoretical sources and empirical studies as a framework.
“Gender” is a social construct that is developed solely by our society and the early developmental stages of an adolescent’s life. By introducing youths to the roles, behaviors, expectations and activities that correspond with males or females we give a clear guideline of what is accepted from a young male or female. An individual however can identify his or her gender based on their own system of beliefs without corresponding to their natural biological sex. Our lives are shaped by our true biological identities but the influence of the world and society is enough to define what a male and what a female truly is to an individual.