Gender roles are the combination of attitudes, behaviors, and personality characteristics that a culture considers appropriate for an individual’s anatomical sex. Psychologists have proposed a number of theories to explain gender typing (LeFrancois, 2012).
For this discussion, you will choose and analyze two of the four scenarios in the videos below, and explain how each scenario relates to the theories that explain gender typing.
In this discussion I chose Boy meets girl and Free to be you and me- William wants a doll
In boy meets girl
This is a cartoon about two newborn babies talking to one another and they don’t know what gender they are, they just know, one wants to be a firefighter and the other a cocktail waitress. In the cartoon the baby on the left was stereo typing by saying that boy babies are bald and girl babies have hair but when the baby on the right pointed out to the baby on the left they too were bald. Once the nurse comes to change them they discover what their gender is. Gender typing describes the processes by which boys and girls learn masculine and feminine (Lefrancois, 2012).
Free to be you and me-William wants a doll
In this video there is a five year old boy who wants a doll, even though dolls typically are considered a toy only for girls. William wants to be able to diaper it, dress and care for it when it becomes sick. William’s father is uncomfortable with William’s request, tries giving William toys the father considers more gender-appropriate, such as a basketball, bag of marbles and a baseball mitten. In the video it showed his friends teasing him and his older brother called his a jerk. William played baseball and was really good at it but he still wanted a doll. William told his grandmother one day he wanted a doll and his grandmother fulfills the request of giving him a doll, dad became upset at the sight of William holding and playing with his doll but the grandmother placed her hand on dads shoulder and explained to the father that William will use the doll to practice being a good father someday. One important explanation of gender typing is social learning theory this theory holds that parents, siblings, playmates, and powerful symbolic models (such as television or book characters) suggest sex-appropriate behaviors for children. And as these behaviors occur, they are reinforced. Thus do boys learn to be masculine, and girls, feminine? As Bussey and Bandura (1999) put it, “In this theoretical perspective, gender conceptions and roles are the products of a broad network of social influences operating interdependently in a variety of societal subsystems”.
I actually enjoyed the video of William because when I was younger even though I am a girl I loved playing with cars and trucks, I enjoyed being outside making roads for me to drive the cars and trucks on. I had a friend who was a boys and he enjoyed my dolls as I played with his cars and trucks so I personally don’t want to teach my grandchildren that society says the girls can only play with dolls and has to wear bows and heals or teach my grandson he should only play with cars and truck to be excepted by society. My grandchildren are very open minded to any toy, one of my grandson’s actually sleeps with a buddy baby doll.
In the scenario William Wants a Doll it correlates with the social cognitive theory of gender typing. This theory says that parents, siblings, playmates and media influence how a child sees their self as either a male or female and what roles each should pursue. For example William’s family and friends teased him that girls play with dolls and tried offering him more gender specific toys for a boy such as a ball. I like how at the end of the story the grandmother explained that a boy can have a doll just as a father has a baby and needs to know how to care and nurture the infant.
The scenario of boy meets girl mostly correlates with the Kohlberg and Gender Schema Theory. This theory is in tow stages the first being when an infant recognizes that there are two different genders and that they are either a boy or a girl. Many infants around the age of 18 months can recognize their own gender but may have a hard time recognizing another child’s gender. Many children at a young age will correlate a child’s clothing or hair to determine their gender which at times makes it difficult for children to comprehend the concept. The second stage is gender constancy and means that they understand that gender can not be changed.
I think that in both videos the children were affected by peers and close relationships. I feel as if when I grew up my parents did not pressure me into a certain stereo type I had many choices to define my role of who I was. I was given a variety choices of what I wanted to wear, what extra curricular acclivities I wanted to participate in and what toys I had. Growing up I often chose to play outside and wear jeans, a shirt and boots. As I matured I then would change my mind on what clothes I wanted to wear and different activities. Such as I always wanted to play baseball in elementary but as I got older and in junior high I became interested in art and music and dressing up for school.
I believe when parents give their children choices and let them know it is okay to be a girl and play with dinosaurs, as well as it is okay for a boy to play with dolls and wear a tutu for dress up that one day they will become confident with their identity and In gender role. If my parents would have pushed me to be girly all of my life, today I might not be as interested in dresses and more feminine things as I could have grown to resent them for being forced into gender specific clothing.
In the past I have changed my environment a bit to avoid gender stereo typing. As I had a couple boys that really enjoyed babies, and granted there were many boys who would make comments about it to them. We would of course talk about it but I thought I needed to change my environment to supports this issue. I placed baby dolls with slings in a basket next to blocks put dinosaur theme in dramatic play and ensured there was a variety of dramatic play clothes, shoes and props. I had many items that were gender neutral so that a boy or a girl would feel comfortable in exploring with different types of clothing. Because of this boys were building cities in the block center and had babies strapped to them while girls were playing dinosaurs in dramatic play and vis versue. We also incorporated books into each center or pictures of dads with babies, or women as firefighters, policeman and construction workers.