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Benefits_of_Androgynous_Gender_Role_Orientatio

Benefits_of_Androgynous_Gender_Role_Orientatio - Abstract...

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Abstract In a society which is rife with gender stereotypes and biases, children regularly learn to adopt gender roles which are not always fair to both sexes. As children move through childhood and into adolescence, they are exposed to many factors which influence their attitudes and behaviors regarding gender roles. These attitudes and behaviors are generally learned first in the home and are then reinforced by the child's peers, school experience, and television viewing. However, the strongest influence on gender role development seems to occur within the family setting, with parents passing on, both overtly and covertly, to their children their own beliefs about gender. This overview of the impact of parental influence on gender role development leads to the suggestion that an androgynous gender role orientation may be more beneficial to children than strict adherence to traditional gender roles. Introduction Children learn at a very early age what it means to be a boy or a girl in our society. Through a myriad of activities, opportunities, encouragements, discouragements, overt behaviors, covert suggestions, and various forms of guidance, children experience the process of gender role socialization. It is difficult for a child to grow to adulthood without experiencing some form of gender bias or stereotyping, whether it be the expectation that boys are better than girls at math or the idea that only females can nurture children. As children grow and develop, the gender stereotypes they are exposed to at home are reinforced by other elements in their environment and are thus perpetuated throughout childhood and on into adolescence(Martin, Wood, & Little, 1990). A child's burgeoning sense of self, or self concept, is a result of the multitude of ideas, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs that he or she is exposed to. The information that surrounds the child and which the child internalizes comes to the child within the family arena through parent-child interactions, role modeling, reinforcement for desired behaviors, and parental approval or disapproval (Santrock, 1994). As children move into the larger world of friends and school, many of their ideas and beliefs are reinforced by those around them. A further reinforcement of acceptable and appropriate behavior is shown to children through the media, in particular, television. Through all these socialization agents, children learn gender stereotyped behavior. As
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