Chapter 4: Early Childhood Gender Socialization: Course Number: Gender Studies 100 Women, Men, and Society Annette Schonder Orange Coast College Division of Social Sciences Department of Sociology
Intro Today, baby boys are in blue and baby girls in pink. -> boys are seen as strong -> girls are seen as delicate Gendered expectations are transmitted to children through socialization. Socialization: the process by which a society’s values and norms, including those pertaining to gender, are taught and learned. Gender socialization can be very explicit/rewards and punishment Or, subtle/modeling, literature, media
Learning Gender: The Process Children as young as 18 months show preference for gender-stereotyped toys. 2 aware of own and other’s gender 2-3 can identify specific traits and behaviors in gender-stereotyped ways.
Learning Gender: Psychoanalytic Theories: Freud: Identification Theory Oral Anal Phallic: know male/female genitalia differs->Oedipus Electra complex-> identification takes place /4 yrs Latency Genital Boys: Oedipus Complex: sexual attraction to mother, fears castration by father, chooses to be like dad rather than a competitor, sexual attraction to mother is lived vicariously through the father
Learning Gender: Girls: Electra Complex: Penis envy: Pulls away from mother as she too has the “deformity.” Shifts her love to her father, as he has the prized penis, and identifies with her mother to win him over. A girl learns she can have a penis in two ways: intercourse, symbolically through birthing/especially birthing a boy. However, females continue to feel inferior and envious -> female personality Read: Freud 74/75
Learning Gender: Freud: Scientist began to think about children having sexuality. Critique: Unconscious processes are impossible to verify Sees gender as static: non-changeable misogynistic phallocentric Karen Horney: rejected penis envy, but suggested “womb envy” Erickson: Women’s inner reproductive capacity gives them ability to nurture/care Men’s external reproductive function ->external focus and action oriented
Learning Gender: Klein: primary relation in the development of gender identity is the mother-child relationship centering around the breast: emotions and conflicts the breast evokes in children i.e.. Goodness/plentitude, badness/destructiveness Thompson, Lacan, Mitchell: women do not envy the organ penis, but the power males have Nancy Chodorow: Feminine personality/connectedness to others/mothering due to mothers presence during childhood Masculine personality/emotionally detached and repressed as the same sex parent is absent most of the time. Critique: ethnocentric (western division of labor) white middle class
Learning Gender: Social Learning Theory Backbone of social learning theories is behaviorism: Rewards and punishment Direct: ladies don’t sit like that (punitive), what a little lady (positive) Indirect reinforcement: dad will play with son if he rough houses -> son will rough house more Modeling/Imitation: Will imitate those who positively reinforce their behavior. Critique: children seem to model those more who hold power/not necessarily same sex person Girls imitate more male models than boys female models Children copy same sex model only if the behavior is gender appropriate.-> there must be underlying mental processes.
Cognitive Development Theories: Cognitive Developmental Theories: study underlying mental processes children use to understand their observations and experiences. Gender acquisition between 3 and 5 Piaget: Sensori motor stage: Preoperational stage: 2-6, have rigid categories, is Dr. Kelly a girl Concrete operational stage: can accommodate new info Formal operational stage: understands the concept of femininity and masculinity Kids naturally learn gender with mental efforts ->chaos is reduced They use schema: categories i.e. male and female as they categorize male and female. Schemas are accommodated as the child matures - from simple to complex i.e. a young girl will say she is a girl because she has a flower on her shirt. She has observed that boys don’t have flowered shirts. She at this point can attach a label of gender appropriate (good) or inappropriate (bad).
Cognitive Development Theories: Critique: Age: might be as young as 2 Race, and social class, culture, parental values Bem’s Enculturated Lens Theory of Gender Formation: Lens: hidden assumptions about how the members of a society should look , think, feel and act. Passed on through social institutions, from generation to generation 3 gender lenses in US and most Western cultures: 1. Gender polarization: males/females fundamentally different -> a central organizing principle for the social life of the society 2. Androcentrism: male is the standard, female inferior 3. Biological essentialism: biology is destiny
Cognitive Development Theories: Bem: cont. Gender acquisition: enculturation/socialization 1. institutionalized social practices 2. metamessages: bombardment of implicit lessons about what is important and valued, and what differences in people are significant. -> we become a cultural native -> we can no longer distinguish between reality and what our culture construes as reality Social change can only occur if the alter/eradicate the cultural lenses. Need for new lenses i.e. individual differences
Growing up feminine or masculine Until 1980 American parents expressed bias toward wanting male offspring. Cross culturally bias towards boys can be seen. Gender stereotyping may begin in uterus, but is definitely present at birth. Boys: tall, large, athletic, serious, broad, wide hands Girls: small, pretty, fine, delicate features. (20 year old study found the same thing) Parents use clothes as a clear marker of their child’s sex-> elicits sex specific response in others
Growing up feminine or masculine Parent Child Interactions: Ongoing exchange/reciprocal Male infants and toddlers fussier/active-girls more well behaved Conners found: Girls and boys 3.5 -14 months/few differences in behavior Mothers of girls were more sensitive to their children, while the mothers of boys were more restrictive of their children. -> girls more securely attached Fagot et al. 13-14 month olds kids: boy got attention when they were aggressive, cried, whined or screamed, but ignored the girls of that age. Adults paid attention to the girls when they used gestures or gentle touching.
Growing up feminine or masculine Differential interaction: More emotion words with girls Discuss sad with girls and anger with boys ->by 6 girls use a greater number of and more specialized emotion words than boys->training to be more sensitive/attached boys more detached and assertive, women are better able to retrieve positive and negative emotions from the past/men and women were equal when the event was non-emotional -Parents more physical play with boys. -Fathers: more physical games/interactions w. boys more verbal with girls -Fathers seek physical proximity with girls -Parents believe girls need more help -mothers teach and question boys more -Even mothers who were more aware treated boys and girls differently. **mainly white, middle class, heterosexual studies
Toys: 25 years ago study found girls had toys relating to domesticity and motherhood. Boys had toys relating to building, vehicles. Boys had more toy that were diverse. Boys and girls had equal instruments. 10 years later: not much had changed. Today: Toys are very gendered. Boy toys tend to encourage exploration, manipulation, invention, construction, competition, and aggression. Girl toys: rate high on manipulability, but also creativity, nurturance, and attractiveness. With few exceptions: toys strongly reinforce gender stereotypes.
Books • Children's books 1970 showed males as active adventurers and women as passive followers. • Boys were rewarded for their accomplishments and for being smart, girls were rewarded for their good looks • Adult men were shown doing a wide rage of jobs • Adult women mainly in domestic roles..only in 1/3 of the books there were no women at all • 1987: only 12.5% had no women • They ways they were depicted remained the same
Books • 1997 Odean found females in supporting roles and very few female characters brave, athletic, or independent. She found only six hundred books about girls who went against the gender stereotype. • African American authors/illustrators depicted females more androgynously • Nontraditional gender messages are mostly hot appreciated by kids-only those who were reared differently.
Early Peer Group Socialization: • Children’s same sex peers are the most powerful agents of socialization • Voluntarily segregate into same sex groups, begins 2-3 and grows stronger • Boys operate in larger groups, are more aggressive and competitive, and play more organized games. • Girls smaller groups/cooperative • Some do borderwork by crossing over • Some play is sex integrated
By the Time a Child is 5: • Little boys are taught independence, problem-solving abilities, assertiveness, and curiosity about their environment-skills that are highly valued in our society. • Little girls are taught dependence, passivity, and domesticity-traits that our society devalues. • Children reinforce this notion of gender