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Gender Expectations to Children Nowadays

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Words: 1391 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Sep 1, 2020

Words: 1391|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Sep 1, 2020

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Burden of Gender Expectations
  3. Allowing Children to Define Their Identities
  4. Promoting a Gender-Neutral Culture
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works Cited

Introduction

Gender, a mere noun used to define the two sexes of male and female, seems to be a simple classification based on biology. However, societal perceptions have long created a scenario in which it is believed that men and women are not only physically but also emotionally different. This has given rise to deeply ingrained gender role expectations that influence people's lives from an early age. This essay delves into the complexities of gender expectations, discussing the impact on individuals, the importance of allowing children to define their identities, and the need to promote a gender-neutral culture.

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The Burden of Gender Expectations

Gender expectations have been deeply embedded in our society for centuries, influencing the way individuals perceive themselves and others. While gender is indeed a biological classification, it has been conflated with societal roles and stereotypes, leading to the belief that men and women are fundamentally different not just physically, but also in terms of their capabilities, preferences, and behaviors.

These expectations can exert significant pressure on individuals, particularly during their formative years. From an early age, children are bombarded with messages about how they should conform to specific gender roles. Boys are often told to be tough, stoic, and competitive, while girls are encouraged to be nurturing, empathetic, and submissive. These stereotypes not only limit the potential of both boys and girls but also create a rigid framework that restricts self-expression and self-discovery.

The burden of gender expectations can manifest in various ways. Boys may feel compelled to hide their emotions, leading to difficulties in expressing vulnerability or seeking emotional support when needed. Conversely, girls may encounter challenges when they aspire to pursue traditionally male-dominated fields or assert themselves in positions of authority.

Moreover, the media plays a significant role in perpetuating these expectations. Television shows, movies, advertisements, and even children's toys often reinforce gender stereotypes. Boys are given action figures and encouraged to engage in physical activities, while girls are provided with dolls and steered toward domestic play. This constant exposure to gendered messages can make it challenging for individuals to break free from these constraints and discover their true selves.

In essence, gender expectations can be stifling, leading individuals to conform to predefined roles that may not align with their authentic identities. The pressure to adhere to these expectations can be particularly damaging to mental health, resulting in anxiety, insecurity, and low self-esteem. Therefore, it is crucial to challenge these traditional norms and promote an environment where individuals can embrace their uniqueness and be free from the constraints of gender stereotypes.

Allowing Children to Define Their Identities

Children are born with innate curiosity and a natural desire to explore the world around them. However, they are also born into a society that imposes gender roles and expectations from a very young age. Parents, caregivers, and educators play a vital role in shaping a child's perception of gender and their understanding of what it means to be a boy or a girl.

It is essential to acknowledge that every child is a unique individual with their own personality, interests, and talents. While some children may naturally gravitate toward activities and preferences that align with traditional gender norms, others may have different inclinations. Therefore, parents should foster an environment that allows children to define their identities based on their individual interests rather than conforming to preconceived notions of gender.

To achieve this, parents should encourage open communication with their children, actively listening to their thoughts, feelings, and desires. By engaging in conversations about gender and identity, parents can gain insight into their child's perspective and provide guidance that is supportive rather than restrictive.

Exposure to a wide range of activities, toys, and experiences is also crucial. Children should have the opportunity to explore activities traditionally associated with both boys and girls, from sports and arts to science and technology. By allowing children to make choices based on their interests rather than their gender, parents empower them to discover their passions and talents without the constraints of societal expectations.

Furthermore, parents should avoid imposing their own preconceived notions of gender on their children. Instead, they should create an environment that nurtures self-discovery and self-expression. This approach allows children to develop a strong sense of self and a healthy self-esteem, unburdened by the pressure to conform to rigid gender roles.

In essence, allowing children to define their identities based on their interests and preferences is a fundamental step toward breaking free from the limitations of gender expectations. It empowers children to embrace their authenticity and discover their true selves, fostering a sense of self-worth and confidence that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Promoting a Gender-Neutral Culture

Challenging and dismantling gender expectations is not solely the responsibility of parents; it extends to society as a whole. To create a more inclusive and equitable world, it is essential to promote a gender-neutral culture that recognizes the diversity of human experiences and identities.

Society has long perpetuated harmful stereotypes about what it means to be a man or a woman, and these stereotypes continue to influence how individuals are expected to behave and conform. Boys are often pressured to exhibit traits associated with toughness, dominance, and emotional restraint, while girls are encouraged to embody traits like passivity, nurturing, and submission.

While some argue that these messages are merely encouraging certain behaviors rather than forcing them, the reality is that the constant bombardment of these images leaves little room for deviation. Boys who do not conform to traditional masculinity may face ridicule or rejection from their peers. Girls who challenge gender norms may encounter resistance or criticism for not adhering to societal expectations.

In this context, promoting a gender-neutral culture involves challenging and redefining these traditional gender norms. It means acknowledging that individuals are not limited by their biological sex and that there is a wide spectrum of gender identities and expressions. It means rejecting the notion that certain behaviors or interests are exclusively masculine or feminine and recognizing that all individuals should be free to pursue their passions without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Parents, educators, media, and society at large can contribute to this cultural shift by offering children choices that are not confined by traditional gender norms. Children should be exposed to diverse role models, both male and female, who demonstrate that there is no one way to be a man or a woman. They should have access to a wide range of activities, toys, and experiences that allow them to explore their interests and develop their unique identities.

Conclusion

Gender expectations have been deeply ingrained in society for generations, creating rigid roles for men and women. However, it is essential to recognize that individuals are born with their own unique personalities and interests, which may not align with these expectations. Parents and society should create an environment that allows children to define their own identities, explore their interests, and break free from the constraints of gender stereotypes.

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Promoting a gender-neutral culture, where boys and girls are given equal opportunities and choices, is crucial in fostering a society where individuals can be their authentic selves. By challenging traditional gender norms and expectations, we can create a world where people are free from the burden of conforming to roles that do not reflect their true selves. Ultimately, gender should not be a limiting factor in determining who a person can be or what they can achieve, and it is our responsibility to ensure that future generations can live in a society that values and respects individuality above all else.

Works Cited

  1. American Psychological Association. (2018). Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men. https://www.apa.org/about/policy/psychological-practice-boys-men.pdf
  2. American Psychological Association. (2021). Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Girls and Women. https://www.apa.org/about/policy/guidelines-psychological-practice-girls-women.pdf
  3. Eagly, A. H., & Wood, W. (2012). Social Role Theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 458-476). Sage Publications Ltd.
  4. Martin, C. L., & Ruble, D. N. (2010). Patterns of Gender Development. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 353-381. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100511
  5. Risman, B. J. (2009). From Doing to Undoing: Gender as We Know It. Gender & Society, 23(1), 81-84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243208326529
  6. Wiseman, J. P., Albaugh, J. A., & Novy, D. M. (2016). Gender Role Expectations and Attitudes: Implications for Personal Adjustment and Ethical Behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 137(4), 761-776. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2555-2
  7. Wood, W., & Eagly, A. H. (2002). A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Behavior of Women and Men: Implications for the Origins of Sex Differences. Psychological Bulletin, 128(5), 699-727. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.128.5.699
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Gender Expectations to Children Nowadays. (2020, September 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-expectations-to-children-nowadays/
“Gender Expectations to Children Nowadays.” GradesFixer, 01 Sept. 2020, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-expectations-to-children-nowadays/
Gender Expectations to Children Nowadays. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-expectations-to-children-nowadays/> [Accessed 21 Feb. 2024].
Gender Expectations to Children Nowadays [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Sept 01 [cited 2024 Feb 21]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-expectations-to-children-nowadays/
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