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Gender Stereotyping- ECH 535

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Sara Boilard

on 27 July 2013

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Transcript of Gender Stereotyping- ECH 535

Gender Stereotypes and Affects on Children's Play
Task Force Members:
Sara Boilard
Kayla McGrath
Melissa Trider
Group Dynamics
*Peer culture is unique to children who share the same experiences within a school or child care setting and consists of “common activities, rituals, rules, and themes that are based on the children’s sense of togetherness”. Two types of activities take place: play negotiation and play enactment (Johnson, Christie and Wardle, p. 71, 2005).

*Play negotiation is when children decide on roles, props and other symbolic meanings in a play sequence and meta-communication takes play outside of the play sequence. Girls were found to negotiate more and valued harmonious relationships and boys more concerned with having their own way, causing play to become fragmented (Johnson, Christie and Wardle, 2005).

*Play enactment is when children actually act out the script they have created and meta-communication happens within the play sequence. Girls were found to use more complex and lengthier conversations than boys within their play whereas boys often used nonverbal communication in their play (Johnson, Christie and Wardle, 2005).
Developmental Changes
*Children begin to choose same-sex playmates around age four and increase with age as this is when differences in activity levels in girls and boys emerge. As children move into the elementary school years, boys and girls share different peer cultures. For example, girls are more social and can be more intense, affiliative and subjective whereas boys are more competitive, extensive and individualistic (Johnson, Christie and Wardle, 2005).

*Play Development in Girls and Boys:
-Social and structured play emerge earlier in girls than in boys. Boys tend to engage in more solitary play than girls in preschool years.
-Associative play emerges at 3-4 years in girls, 4-5 years in boys
-Cooperative play emerges at 4-5 years in girls, 5-6 years in boys
-Social play emerges at 5-6 years in both boys and girls
(Barbu, Cabanes and Le Maner-Idrissi, 2011).

*Kindergarten students seem to be more fluid in their gender roles and even children ages five through eight do not necessarily let gender stereotypes define or limit their play. However, as students progress into middle childhood they are more aware and self-conscious of gender roles and tend to interact mostly with same-sex partners (Meier, Engel and Taylor, 2010).
Child Perceived
Gender Expectations
By 24 months children begin to look at themselves as “boys” or “girls”

By age five, boys and girls begin to have definitions on how "boys" and "girls" should behave

Girls believe they are expected to play with toys such as dish sets and baby dolls

Boys believe they are expected to play with tools, trucks, and cars
Affects on Gender
Parents have immediate gender specific expectations for their children:
- Dress their sons and daughters differently
- Provide their sons and daughters with different toys
- Paint their sons and daughters rooms different colors

Parents reinforce gender stereotypes through reinforcing or discouraging specific behaviors:
- Mothers encourage interactions that are more warm, supportive, and responsive
- Fathers are more likely than mothers to act negatively towards cross-gender behaviors, more so with sons
More Parental Affects on Gender...
Parents can influence gender through storytelling:
-Sons are more likely to be told stories regarding achievement and success
-Daughters are more likely to be told stories regarding relationships
-Fathers tell more stories based on success
-Mothers stories are typically an expression of emotions

Family Culture and Ethnicity influence a child’s perceptions of gender

Adults are more concerned when boys exhibit cross-gender behaviors than girls; they believe girls are more likely to outgrow their cross-gender tendencies

Children are receiving inconsistent messages from their parents:
-Children believe their parents will approve less of cross-gender behaviors than parents admit
Views of Peers
Boys more than girls tend to pressure peers into gender norms by ridiculing other same-sex peers who demonstrate feminine traits

Children reinforce gender roles through indirectly instructing others to behave a certain way by excluding or teasing peers.
Perceptions on Gender Expectations and Affects on Self-Esteem
Children who do not conform to gender roles experience emotional stress and low self-esteem due to pressures to conform

There are negative effects on the psychological development of young girls who are subject to gender prejudice
Commercialized Gender Stereotypes
in the Toy Aisle
Gender Stereotypes in the Media: Word Clouds Analyzing the Use of Vocabulary Used in 'Boy' vs. 'Girl' Targeted Toy Ads
Peer Culture, Communication and Gender in the Classroom
“Girl” toys...

* Tend to be more nurturing the stronger the emphasis on femininity is

* Tend to encourage household or domestic skills

* Less likely to promote cooperation than any other toy, especially the more feminine it ranked

* Associated with appearance and attractiveness

“Boy” toys...

* Especially those ranked as “strongly masculine” toys, are clearly more violent than all other categories as described in the study

* Are clearly seen as more competitive than girls’ toys

* Were rated as more “dangerous” than girls’, and requiring more supervision
Characteristics of Boys’ and Girls’ Toys:
A study done by Judith Blakemore & Renee Centers
Two studies were conducted to rate boys’ and girls’ toys on gender-typicality (1) and on the qualities and characteristics of these toys (2).

The researchers stated that “toy play is an integral part of the process of children’s gender development. This is so much the case that children’s preferences for and their knowledge about the gendered nature of toys have often been used as a measure of their gender development”.

The concluding evidence supports that “in the contemporary world, children’s development is probably best served by exposure to moderately stereo- typed toys and gender-neutral toys, rather than to strongly gender- stereotyped toys.”
Marketing Avenues
TV commercials
Spots in movies
Ads in traditional and online magazines for kids
Website ads
In school marketing, both direct and indirect
Fast food restaurants
$pending on Marketing
Children account for more than $30 billion in direct purchase
Children indirectly influence more than $600 billion of U.S. household spending
Over $15 billion a year is spent on children's advertising

Bakir, Blodgett & Rose (2008)
Play Complexity
Examined with Gender Stereotyped Toys
A study by Cherney, Kelly-Vance, Glover, Ruane and Ryalls (2003)
Girls spent the most time on gender neutral toys, followed by boy toys

Boys played predominantly with boy toys, followed by neutral toys

Boys display stronger own-sex stereotyped preferences than girls

“The highest levels of play complexity for boys and girls at each age group were elicited more frequently when they were playing with female stereotyped toys” (p. 101), with the kitchen/food area being used the most used by both sexes
The Blue and Pink Project, by JeongMee Yoon
"Rethinking Sponge Bob and Ninja Turtles"...
Hedges (2011) did a year long study examining how teachers extend off children's interest in a curriculum focused on funds of knowledge. It was found that although children expressed references to popular culture most frequently in their play, teachers avoided building off of these interests due to personal beliefs

“Children’s interest in popular culture was not often about popular culture characters, scripts, or games per se... Rather popular culture represented something that influenced children’s language, play, relationships, and behavior in ways consistent with the concept of funds for knowledge” (p.26)

“Teachers might then also be able to engage in discussions with children about issues related to identity, fairness and justice on which popular culture may encourage a focus, such as gender and gendered roles and expectations” (p.28)

Aina, O. E., & Cameron, P. A. (2011). Why goes gender matter? counteracting stereotypes with young children. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 39(3), 11-20.

Barbu, S., Cabanes, G., & Le Maner-Idrissi, G. (2011). Boys and girls on the playground: Sex differences in social development are not stable across early childhood. Plos ONE, 6(1), 1-7. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0016407

Blakemore, J. O., & Centers, R. (2005). Characteristics of boys' and girls' toys. Sex Roles, 53(9/10), 619-633. DOI: 10.1007/s11199-005-7729-0

Brinkman, B. G., Jedinak, A., Rosen, L. A., & Zimmerman, T. S. (2011). Teaching children fairness: Decreasing gender prejudice among children. Analyses of Social Issues and Policy, 11(1), 61-81. DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-2415.2010.01222.x

Cherney, I., Kelly-Vance, L., Glover, K. G., Ruane, A., & Ryalls, B. O. (2003). The effects of stereotyped toys and gender on play assessment in children aged 18-47 months. Educational Psychology, 23(1), 95-104. DOI 10.1080/0144341022000022960

Evans, K. S. (1998). Combating gender disparity in education: guidelines for early childhood educators. Early Childhood Education Journal, 26(2), 83-87.

Freeman, N. K. (2007). Preschoolers' perceptions of gender appropriate toys and their parents' beliefs about genderized behaviors: Miscommunication, mixed messages, or hidden truths?. Early Childhood Education Journal, 34(5), 357-366. DOI: 10.1007/s10643-006-0123-x

Hedges, H. (2011). Rethinking Sponge Bob and Ninja Turtles: Popular culture as funds of knowledge for curriculum co-construction. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(1), 25-29. Retrieved June 28, 2013, from the ERIC database.

Hilliard, L. J., & Liben, L. S. (2010). Differing levels of gender salience in preschool classrooms: Effects on children's gender attitudes and intergroup bias. Child Development, 81(6), 1787-1798.

Johnson, J., Christie, J., & Wardle, F. (2005). Play, development and early education. Boston: Pearson.

Meier, D., Engel, B., & Taylor, B. (2010). Playing for keeps: Life and learning on a public school playground. New York: Teachers College Press.Manaster, H., & Jobe, M. (2012). Supporting preschoolers' positive peer relationships. Young Children, 67(5), 12-17.

Sandberg, A., & Ärlemalm-Hagsér, E. (2011). The Swedish National Curriculum: Play and learning with fundamental values in focus. Australasian Journal Of Early Childhood, 1), 44-50.
Perceptions on Gender Expectations
*Research shows that 50% of young children choose a same sex partner when playing and girls were shown to choose same-sex partner playmates earlier than boys. However, once gender bias was established, males were found to be more rigid about playing with same-sex partners (Johnson, Christie and Wardle, 2005).

*Boys were much more likely to be involved in competitive play with a large group of peers further away from adults while girls were more comfortable playing with a smaller group or a “best friend” closer to an adult (Johnson, Christie and Wardle, 2005; Manaster and Jobe, 2012).

*While boys and girls seem to have the same amount of conflicts in their play, girls focus on the social relationships of resolving a conflict while boys focus on the activity itself (Johnson, Christie and Wardle, 2005).
*Girls prefer inside environments that provided the opportunity for quieter and social play. Boys prefer outside environments which allow them to engage in high-activity play such as running, ball games and tag (Johnson, Christie and Wardle, 2005).

*Teachers must observe their students and get to know their play preferences so they can group like personalities together and encourage cross gender play. Teachers must also set up their classroom areas in a manner that promotes cross-gender play and provide materials that are gender neutral (Manaster and Jobe, 2012).

*Researchers found that preschoolers that spent the most time in same-sex play where more gender stereotypical in their behaviors. Encouraging cross-gender play by providing gender neutral materials and opportunities for cross-gender role play activity may help students to not create gender schemas and the reluctance to engage with opposite-sex peers (Manaster and Jobe, 2012).
Swedish schools are known for their values in gender equality. They provide their teachers with professional development on gender equality to ensure that both boys and girls have “ the same opportunities to develop and explore their abilities and interests without limitations imposed by stereotyped gender roles and patterns” by creating an environment that is gender neutral (Sandberg and Ärlemalm-Hagsér, 2011).
For Teachers
Be careful not to use gender-typed language such as, “Girls may line up first”

Use non-biased literature that contradict gender stereotypes, play that encourages mixed-genders and curriculum that promotes cooperative and not competitive learning

Encourage inclusion and do not tolerate exclusion. For example, create a positive classroom culture where boys and girls are encouraged to try out different types of stereotypical gender role play

Teachers may also move around their classroom environment to encourage cross gender play. For example, if a teacher notices there are more girls at the kitchen center and more boys at the tool bench, she may move them closer together or incorporate them all into the house center
For Parents
Provide opposite sex children with the same toys and play materials

Engage children in play that is both masculine and feminine

Give positive messages about empowerment regardless of gender

Equip children with the critical thinking skills to identify stereotypes

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