Introduction to Gender Role in Society
Gender is a term used to refer to the anatomical sex of a human being. It has a deep relationship with the cultural and social features of a person being a male or a female. This article aims to provide an explanation of gender role in the society and stereotypes associated with different gender roles. The problems that are faced by society due to stereotype thinking are ever-increasing and affect the behaviour of individuals in their daily social, professional and academic life. Particularly stereotypes attached with the women have significant negative consequences. Research scholars associate the lack of development in societies, of third world countries specifically, with such negative stereotypes and discrimination of gender roles. The paper will further discuss the behaviour of parents and other socializing agents in comprehending the gender roles to children. It explains the role of genders which are expected in society from male and female and criticism on those who don’t follow their gender role.
Gender Role development
A phenomenon in which personal awareness is developed to any individual about its maleness or femaleness is known as gender identity. An individual usually acts, behaves and expresses according to social and cultural belief of a society. Such outward style and utterance reflect the gender role of an individual. It is assumed by peoples in society that any individual can perform any gender role, either male or female. For instance, being a homemaker is a duty that can be done by a female or a male too. Contrary to that, sex role is restricted to a particular gender such as women can only give birth to a baby but not a man.
Gender Role in Children
Physical appearance and chromosomal makeup are significant parts through which gender identity is obtained in a child. Addition to these parts, gender socialization has a remarkable role in the upgrowth of a child. It helps in developing a sense in the mind of a child about their gender. Gender socialization also helps a child to understand and practice the correct norms and roles which are related to their gender. It is a process in which children starts to behave and act according to the gender about which he or she was told at an early age. Gender identity is mostly recognized by children at an early age of 4 years. Most of the parents deal with their children according to their genders. Parents are more conscious and careful while handling their female baby as compared to the male baby. These behaviours draw a clear picture in the minds of the children regarding their real gender. A sense to adopt suitable manner and behaviour that reflects their gender is developed in their mind. Moreover, early age of interaction in the social environment also makes the child realize about their gender identity.
Gender role is strongly connected with two roads, personal and cultural. These roads provide a framework for the males and females about their interaction in society. It teaches the male and female regarding their way of dressing, speaking and thinking which they have to adapt in society. The gender schema is like a mental framework that is implanted to differentiate the gender roles of masculine and feminine in society. It enables a child to understand the relationship that is related to any particular gender. The sense of selecting and adopting the right thing that reflects gender is developed in the mind of males and females. Such as boys and girls become aware of toys which are made by their gender and take a wise decision while selecting. Similarly, if a child observes a respectable position of a woman in her family, he will judge a female as a respectable gender. Contrary to that, if he sees a woman been punished and maltreated in the family, he will ultimately think of her like a low-grade person.
The teaching of Gender Roles
Furthermore, there are many types of socializing agents that enable a child to comprehend these roles more profoundly. Such socializing agents include teachers, movies, television, books, music and religion that play a vital role in teaching and identifying the children about their role. The youngster is taught about their gender role through their parents too. According to the research study, the view of adults is different from their male and female infants. Conventionally, fathers love to teach and guide boys about fixing and building things whereas mothers feel pleasure in teaching cooking, sewing and homemaking to the girls. The additional imposing of such guidance is done by media. All these socializing agents assist the males and females in understanding their gender role.
The children’s understanding of gender role is the same as understanding anything else of their type. As they experience both the male and female in their childhood, they start noticing the style, behaviour and manner of each gender. The observation helps the children in adopting the actions and activities which are performed by the people of their own gender. The research says that children classify themselves and other genders in their surroundings. They observe the behaviour of males and females in society and sort their activities in the classification. Their early attention helps them in acquiring the gender roles from the organized classification.
Preschoolers learn the role of gender very simply. They judge the males and females by their face and appearance therefore both these genders are opposite in their view. They just take a simple concept to differentiate both the genders and ultimately apply this concept widely. Piaget defined three stages to explain the development of gender role. The three stages include the preoperational stage, concrete operational stage and formal operational stage. Preoperational stage ranges from the two years to four-year children. In this stage, the thinking of the children is not logical. They usually judge things based on appearances. The children of the preoperational stage think that gender could be changed if the dress and hairstyle are changed. The second stage children range from seven years to twelve years. Such children have logical thinking but are limited only. A cognitive understanding is developed in the concrete operational stage that gender cannot be changed.