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Gender Stereotypes in Birthday Cards. Monique Armstrong And Sheri Savino. Outline of Presentation. Explain how each perspective is applied to birthday cards: Structural functional, symbolic interaction, and social conflict.

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monique armstrong and sheri savino
Gender Stereotypes in

Birthday Cards

Monique Armstrong


Sheri Savino

Outline of Presentation
  • Explain how each perspective is applied to birthday cards: Structural functional, symbolic interaction, and social conflict.
  • Explain our research method of experiment and explain what we saw in actual birthday cards (What symbols).
  • Explain our second research method of survey.
  • Explain our survey results for each question asked.
  • Our conclusion about the survey results.
  • An in depth analysis of how symbolic interaction, structural functional, and social conflict is connected with birthday cards.
  • Lastly, our observations and overall conclusions about gender stereotyping in birthday cards.
Structural Functional
  • This perspective views society as a machine whose parts function as a whole.
    • What are the manifest, latent, and dysfunctional structures for birthday cards?
      • Manifest = “intention”
        • To communicate and keep in touch with family.
      • Latent = “side effects”
        • To make relatives happy and show them you care, and keep businesses going.
      • Dysfunction = “issues”
        • Certain cards might offend relatives or friends, and can too expensive.
  • Social change = how structures adapt
    • Productive businesses help stabilize the economy and provide jobs for people.
    • Saves people time and energy from making a birthday card.
Symbolic Interaction
  • This perspective views society as the sum of all personal interactions based on the interpretation of meaning.
    • Mead explains that symbols help shape the sophistication of people. They help us to communicate in order to form human relationships with people we respect or feel obligated to like our parents.
      • People identify images with various age groups.
      • Two examples of symbols on birthday cards are images and age.
    • ***For further information, see next slide***
Social Conflict
  • This perspective views society as a constant struggle for power and resources.
    • The ultimate goal for Social Conflict (SC)?
      • The goal is to distinguish the difference between gender and age groups.
      • Gender roles
        • Women are pressured to buy birthday cards for both sides of the family, whereas men are free from this responsibility.
        • Example:
          • 1. If the wife forgets to purchase the birthday card in time then she gets blamed for it.
          • 2. Men easily forget and therefore not held accountable for their actions.
Research Method:


  • Pick meaningful Ages
  • Looked for the birthday section
  • Saw sections marked: His Birthday, Her Birthday, Birthday Humor, and other occasions
  • Picked cards!
For Him


  • Images:
  • Superheroes, idols, sports, cars
  • Words:
  • Super, fantastic, awesome
For Her


  • Images:
  • Flowers, princesses, glitter on cards
  • Words:
  • Lovely, sweet, wonderful
More Symbols Related To

Symbolic interaction


  • AgeGenderEnvelope Color
  • 1 Male or Female Green
  • 4 Male Blue
  • 4 Female Pink
  • 16 Female Pink
  • Male or Female Orange and Yellow
  • 40 Male Blue

Word Comparisons

  • Words inside cards stereotyped gender
  • Words for females are more girly and cuter, guys are more masculine and cooler
Research Method:


We chose this method of research because we could ask both males and females questions about gender. By using the survey, people could answer the questions without feeling awkward since it is anonymous.

Hypothesis: Women would answer it is the women’s responsibility to buy birthday cards, and men would circle the same answer. Both sexes would circle the expected answer for the particular gender question.

Survey Results For

Question 1

Type of Birthday Card to Buy

Survey Results For

Questions 3 & 4

Survey Results For

Question 5

The results for this question were agreed upon by both men and women due to biased choices. Females chose princesses and fairies seen on birthday cards as symbols for young girls. Men chose sports and cars seen on birthday cards as symbols for little boys. Each participant chose these answers since they only had two to chose from. Basically, the results were 50-50.


What types of symbols are usually seen on birthday cards for young children?


a. Princesses/fairies b. Cars/sports


a. Princesses/fairies b. Cars/sports

Overall Consensus

Results of Survey

Our research method was successful in determining gender stereotypes among men and women. 56 percent of the participants surveyed agreed that it is the women’s responsibility to buy birthday cards for each side of the family. As a result, gender roles play a significant part in shaping society.

Another observation was 63 percent said females more often than men celebrate their 16th birthday. In America, sixteen year-old girls have adapted to the idea of becoming a women at the age of sixteen. This age is a symbol for womanhood and is highly recognized by females. At this age, men don’t really pay attention or care about this idea because of maturity level.

Social Structure of Age

With age comes certain privileges and

expectations (refer to social conflict analysis for more details).

Turning 21

  • As a whole, we learned that society is shaped by creating stereotypes for each gender. Some of the factors that apply to this concept are symbols and age. These vital factors influence certain expectations made among men and women as well from an early age. For instance, symbols seen on birthday cards are one of the key factors. In addition, cars seen on birthday cards for young boys inflict the idea that their role in society is to fulfill hands-on jobs like becoming a mechanic or carpenter.
Observation (con’t)

Another important factor to take into consideration is age. Especially, the subliminal messages within birthday cards such as turning sixteen. According to the consensus, by the participants within the society that girls turning sixteen in America represents womanhood, and forces them to take on more responsibilities like babysitting their siblings whereas, boys are not held up to the same standards and are typically more careless.