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Gender and Children

Gender and Children

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Gender and Children

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  1. Gender and Children

  2. Nature vs. Nurture • How are gender roles created? • Innate • Socially Constructed • Parentally Constructed • Individually Constructed • All of the Above?

  3. Gender Flexibility: Good or Bad? • Gender Identity gives a sense of belonging to children • Strict Adherence to gender roles leads to • Construction of the Other • Suppression of counter interests/impulses • Hierarchical thinking

  4. Boy & Girl Culture • Emotion • Play • Morality • Exclusion Zones

  5. Boy Culture: Emotion • Emotional Development – suppressed by the male stereotype that “boys don’t cry” • Male play seen as disruptive (counter-culture to school behavior)/ sets up resentment/suppression • Mastery is a primary motivation which can lead to rebellion, aggression, high activity • “created” by innate preference, channeling through toys & social messages (people & media) • Emotional expression isn’t nurtured and/or well received • Punishment is often physical/intimidation

  6. Boy Culture: Emotion • Effects of emotional suppression • Anxiety • Anger • Lack of Empathy • Depression (85% of teen suicides are male) • Violence

  7. Boy Culture: Emotion • How do we counter the belief “Boys Don’t Cry”? (Beliefs are Based on Perceptions) • Give boys permission to have an internal life Validate emotional expression/Vocab • Recognize and accept high activity/safe zone • Talk to boys in their own language: Be direct, let them be problem solvers (How angry are you? What can we do about it?) • Teach boys that emotional courage and empathy are strengths • Use discipline to build character (boundaries/punishment) • Model manhood with emotional attachment/flexibility

  8. Girl Culture: Emotions • Girls are overly emotional • Emotion seen as unnecessary or illogical • Emotion is seen as a weakness • Empathy, attachment, and the emphasis on relationships can lead girls to develop complex and difficult social groups as they age. • Avoidance of conflict and anything that will “hurt”

  9. Girl Culture: Emotion • Validating a girl’s emotions • Seeing emotional courage and empathy as a strength • Teaching conflict resolution through consensus vs. win/lose • Develop critical analysis vs. emotional reaction skills (older girls/ “hurting animals”

  10. Boy Culture: Play • Play is based on mastering new physical skills • They often establish power relationships within their play • Conflict is something to be mastered (battle) • It’s a bonding & acculturating ritual • Reinforced by marketing of toys, socializing groups, and the media • Gender flexibility (i.e. dolls) seen as “sick” or “strange”

  11. Girl Culture: Play • Play emphasizes narrative with relationships • Conflict is something to be peacefully resolved (reform) • Reinforced by marketing of toys, socializing groups, and the media • Gender flexibility (Tom Boys) seen as a phase • Dolls are not inherently sexist/antifeminist. They can be opened toys that allow for imaginative play • Girl Culture is seen as less “valuable” • Girls don’t see that the world doesn’t fully validate their culture until adolescence

  12. Kids and Morality • Maturity in moral reasoning (Piaget & Kohlberg) was traditionally evaluated based on a child’s ability to develop a hierarchical understanding of logic • For instance, the ability to prioritize responsibilities – this is a “male” trait • The “female” traits of moral reasoning have therefore been overlooked and/or established as other • These traits are different not good/bad

  13. Boy Culture: Morality • Boys are more likely to justify a given choice by specific criteria • Boys prefer clear cut rules that determine moral behavior (laws) • They tend to depersonalize the situation to be fair and objective • They tend to prioritize responsibilities • Self is defined as separate/assessed by an ideal

  14. Girl Culture: Morality • Girls explain a particular choice by discussing the nature of choice • In conflict, they seek to understand the network of relationships in question: whose needs are meet/whose aren’t – How does this make them feel • Self defined through connection and measured through “activities of care”

  15. Gender Zones of Exclusion • Kids seeking a sense of belonging will exclude children based on their inability to meet subject role expectations – gender • Gender Bias in teachers/parents • Play – female teachers condone girl culture • Emotion- emotional expression in boys isn’t validated • Education- gendered subjects (i.e. Math-Boys) • Morality-Male moral development scientifically validated

  16. So Now What? • Knowing • Gender Expectations • Gender Biases • Gender Exclusions • Gender Bonding/Inclusion Allows you to addresses biases/exclusions and facilitate bonding and inclusion