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.
How we learn gender is part of gender socialization. It begins the moment we are born and continues till the end of our life. We are exposed to many factors that may influence our gender identity. Some of the factors are, media, our experience in school and our parents. In Martin & Kazyak’s essay titled “Hetero-Romantic Love and Hetereosexiness”, he explains how the media plays a part in shaping a child’s gender identity. In Thorne’s essay titled “Girls and Boys together…” he explores how sex segregation occurs predominantly in elementary school. In the film “Tough Guise”, Katz explains that men aren’t naturally violent but are taught to be so. And lastly, in Cornell’s essay titled “Masculinities and Globalization” he says that there are
The nurture argument can explain why some people adopt the gender role not expected of their sex. In theory, a feminine boy would have had a set of experiences which have led him to acquire a different gender role from most boys. If gender roles are nurtured, it also explains why an individual’s gender may change over time as anything that is learnt can be unlearnt and replaced by a new set of behaviours.
Gender is one of the most prominent features of a human being and not enough people pay attention to the development of such delicate trait. Our gender contributes a lot to our daily lives. Whether we are shopping or talking to somebody, people act differently based on your gender. Penelope Eckert and Sally McConnell-Ginet wrote just about this peculiarity in their article “Learning to be Gendered”. Penelope Eckert’s and Sally McConnell-Ginet’s article exposes some things that define a boy as a boy and a girl as a girl.
Gender is an age-graded event that affected my childhood. Being able to identify as a woman and learning society’s expectations for women was critical for my development. At the age three, I discovered that society does not have the same expectations for males and females. Therefore, I had to learn how to act like a “lady”.
West and Zimmerman’s theory of “Doing Gender” defines sex and gender as two separate entities within this binary society. Sex refers to the biological characteristics that are typically attributed to males and females. Gender is the status of the individual performing the activities that are commonly associated with masculinity and femininity. These traits are rigid in dictating the individual’s consistent performance of them. A gendered individual must execute the appropriate acts that are linked to masculinity or femininity respectively. It is a learned behavior that is taught at an early age through observation of society. Therefore, it is society that decides whether an action is attributed to masculinity or femininity. Gender is a socially constructed idea of thought that people unconsciously follow. The acts that constitute a particular gender can change based on the views of society within a generation. Certain activities and forms of appearance have shifted between males and females. As society evolves throughout history, the interactions between individuals and their gendered actions have changed. West and Zimmerman state, “When we view gender as an accomplishment, an achieved property of situated conduct, our attention shifts from matters internal to the individual and focuses on interactional and, ultimately, institutional arenas” (West and Zimmerman, 1987, page 126). Thus the performance of gender has developed passed the individual and is engrained within the
From a young age, boys and girls are told to act a certain way based on their gender. The norms they are told often contradict each other, with boys being told to be confident and girls compliant. As a UNICEF report from 2008 describes, “Children start facing norms that define ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ from an early age. Boys are told not to cry, not to fear, not to be forgiving and instead to be assertive, and strong. Girls on the other hand are asked not to be demanding, to be forgiving and accommodating and ‘ladylike’.
Finally from the learning approach we seem to understand that gender identity and role as a set of behaviours that are learned from the environment. The main way that gender behaviours are learned is through the process of observational learning. Children observe the people around them behaving in various
In “Becoming Members of Society:Learning the Social Meanings of Gender,” Aaron H. Devor battles the topic of gender identity with an excerpt from his book, Gender Blending: Confronting the Limits. Children grow up being defined by a certain gender. From birth, they learn the language and how to act if you are a male or a female. Boys turn into men and should act masculine. Females turn into women and should act feminine. There is no middle ground for the gender identifications to intertwine. Everyone learns to behave in accordance with their gender identity and it is a lifelong process. And as people move through life, society demands different gender performances.
Having an experience playing with my sister, allows me to imitate and reinforce to behave in gender appropriate ways and develop a concept of gender and than engage in activities consistent with the emerging concept. In addition, when I started school age, I engage to play with just my same gender and choosing just girls to play with. According to Hughes, the sex of one’s playmates is related to the tendency to choose the gender appropriate and inappropriate toys (Hughes, 168). In same time, playing with children in different gender allows me to discover and explore the differences between boys and
From the minute we are born our gender identity begins even thou we are not conscious of it. We are allocated roles, like buying pink clothes, dolls, and teapots for girls, and blue clothes, monsters, and cars for boys.
The occupation of play in children across cultures is seen as beneficial in physical, social, mental, and cognitive development, but the level of importance and the construction of play differs through cultural traditions. Play conditions, styles, themes, and materials are diverse around the world. Children acquire cultural patterns and meanings through play by observing the roles of adults within their society. The occupation of play portrays and reflects the children own social values and family ethnic practices. It also provides a social context for cultural learning. Prior research is focused on cultural traditions, along with socioeconomic factors that influence how the occupation of play is viewed and practiced. This research is more
After reading the textbook my thinking has not changed and on page 261 explains how when children grow up during the socialization process they are introduced to roles associated with their biological sex. Masculine roles are associated with strength, aggression, and dominance, while feminine roles are mostly associated with passivity, nurturing, and subordination children start learning their roles at birth. Also children learn these traits through playing because parents provide boys with trucks and girls with baby
Gender is a social production. The origin of gender derives from the necessity for labels or classification. From birth gender roles are assigned to girls and boys. Before a child is born the baby is either dressed in baby blue or bubble gum pink, for many years this has been the norm. Not only are living beings gendered, but so are inanimate concepts such as color. From the moment boys can hold an object they are taught to play with race cars while girls are told that dolls and playing playhouse is what is ideal play. These assigned roles begin at an early age and continue to affect the individual development of a person. However, all of these ideas are constructed by individuals. In fact, “like all social identities, gender identities are dialectical: they involve at least two sets of actors
Society has clearly defined boundaries between what is considered to be male or female. The development of an individual’s gender role is formed by interactions with those in close proximity. Society constantly tells us how we should look, act and live based on gender. Family, friends and the media have a tremendous impact on how these roles are formed and the expected behavior of each gender role.