Thursday, September 17, 2009

So far, so good

I currently have 98% in each of my classes for the items that have been graded. I was especially pleased to find that I received full credit (100 points) for a paper I wrote on gender roles. I had thought it was pretty good, but I am sort of biased. I do know when I write something that I'm totally unhappy with and then am very surprised when I get a good grade on it. My lowest score on a paper is 45 points out of 50, and I totally agree with it. It was NOT one of the better papers I've written. In fact, I knew when I submitted it that it was missing something - I just couldn't put my finger on it.

Now I know... It's missing five points of "quality" work. LOL!

Here is my Understanding Gender Roles paper...

“Gender, the sense of being male, or female, is well established by the time children reach the preschool years” (Feldman, 2009, p. 255). As children get older and mature, gender differences become more pronounced, from the types of play they engage in to the playmates they choose. Societal influences impact not only they types of play boys and girls choose, but also how they are rewarded, referred to, and what is expected of them during play. Boys are typically encouraged to take on more mentally challenging roles, while girls are usually encouraged to be compliant, polite, and to develop their personalities. Parents begin at an early age in the differences in their treatment of their children. Women tend to respond to both boys and girls differently than men, and both respond to girls differently than to boys.

Boys are expected to be rough and tough, while girls are supposed to be more demure, quieter, and prefer more domesticated types of play. Even in preschool-age children, they have very pronounced ideas of how each gender is supposed to act and are less tolerant of variations in their expectations (Feldman, 2009). Although hormone influence can’t be denied in gender development, it’s important to note that there may also be biological differences that exist within the brains of girls and boys. This biological difference may be caused by the differences in experiences between girls and boys. If girls are exposed to watching their mothers in active or athletic roles, and boys are exposed to watching their fathers take a more active role in the running of the house and with the children, then they’ll each grow up with the ideas that these are not necessarily “gender specific” roles and be more inclined to integrate both into their lives (Health Topics FAQs).

As children reach preschool age, they begin to show defined preferential treatment to others in their same gender class. Girls would rather play with other girls and boys would rather play with other boys. According to Freud, children at this age are going from the phallic stage into the Oedipal stage, which occurs around the age of five. Since boys have the fear of retaliation from their fathers because of their “sexual interest” in their mother, they take on more identity of their fathers and attempt to be as similar to them as possible (Feldman, 2009).

Girls, on the other hand, are seen to have developed envy of the male genitalia and, in an attempt to solve the dilemma, they develop stronger bonds with their mother and begin to emulate their activities and actions. Based on the tendency of girls and boys to bond with their same-sex parent, they continue to pass down the gender expectations from one generation to the next.

Many researchers believe that learned gender influence can start at a much younger age than five and even occurs in households with only one parent (Feldman, 2009). In addition, not all gender influences are positive. Because the strongest influences on perceived gender roles are parents, both positive and negative influences have the potential to be passed down. If children grow up in abusive environments, they have the potential of repeating the same activities as adult (Health Topics FAQs).

Even television and movies tend to play into the gender specificity connotation. Many shows portray the victims as female, softer and in need of being rescued. Males, on the other hand, are often portrayed as the hero, or the villain, or some other potentially “strong” individual.

One way to help overcome gender-specific roles and assumptions is to shoot for more androgynous activities – those that cross both sides of the spectrum. By encouraging boys to view typical “female” traits as non-feminine and acceptable, and by encouraging girls to view typical “male” traits as less male-appropriate, then each gender will be more inclined to accept the others on a more individual basis instead of “because he’s a boy” or “because she’s a girl” in their interactions (Feldman, 2009).

Feldman, R. (2009). Social and Personality Development in the Preschool Years. In Development Across the Life Span (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education International.
Health Topics FAQs. (n.d.). Gender roles. Retrieved from

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