Custom «Gender Stereotyping With Children» Essay Paper Sample
What is stereotype? A fixed commonly held notion or image of a person or group, based on an over simplification of some observed or imagined trait of behavior or appearance. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary defines stereotyping as an over-generalized and preconceived idea or impression of what characterizes someone or something, especially one that does not allow for any individuality or variation.
In our world today, stereotyping has become something that is consciously or unconsciously acceptable. Stereotyping can be positive or negative depending on the generalization of the situation. It has been enhanced by media, hence making it more of a "cultural thing." If we can look at a good example of gender stereo typing with children, we can see how it starts to be instilled in them at a very early age, by use of toys (Schneider 163). Once you visit a toy store, the arrangement of the toys itself is stereotypic, in that, boys' toys are displayed on certain section while girls' toys are displayed on a different section. As if that is not enough, the toys found in the boys section are toys like action figures, trucks, superhero figures, robots insinuating that boys are strong, adventurous and very active. At the girls section, toys like dolls, makeup kits, kitchen wares which shows that girls are meant to be concern with household chores, take care of babies and make themselves pretty (Golombok and Fivush 142). This is can be negative since girls and boys are only biologically different but when it comes to ability, any child can do what the other can do regardless of the sex.
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Children become stereotypes by the kind of upbringing they get and also from the society. If you teach your children that girls are not good in science related subjects, then they grow up not realizing their full potential. We find parents who advise their girl child to take up art related subject and careers example in medical field, girls are advised to take up nursing instead of doctor. This has been a trend that is affecting the world. Boys on the other hand are pushed to take up science related subjects and careers (Schneider 163). A parent will tell their boy child to pursue engineering, piloting, doctor, regardless of their abilities in the field. This has negative impact since if a girl can has potential to do science related subjects and excel greatly, then she should be allowed to do so and so should the boy child, if he is good at art related subjects. This stereotyping has seen girls and boys who take up fields that are not "normally" of their gender acquire names from their peers like 'nerds, geeks' and are not socially popular with the rest of the students.
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Stereotyping persists since the media also encourages it and also it has been taken as a way of life. If you look at the television program meant for the children, like cartoons, most action and superheroes are boys and where a girl is a superhero, there is always a boy offering help. Most of the programs show that men are there to save and protect women, financially, emotionally while the women are there to take care of their men in the house. Again we can see stereotyping persisting with appearance. The media has shown what is acceptable and what is not, example is being thin, tall with particular body structure is what one should have in order to achieve in life (Lippa 203). This has negatively affected the girl child who have are seen starving themselves to a point of death just to fit in, while those who are big, feel inferior to the world. They get mocked and to make it even worse, they find that some stores do not sell clothing of their sizes. As for the men, they also get a share of the stereotyping when only good looking with big muscles and 'six pack', become the big shots and have the finest women. These makes some men to feel inferior and can not approach ladies of the said standards since they are considered out of their league.
To change stereotyping, children have to be taught what stereotyping is from their day to day engagements. Parents should educate their children from the programs they watch, books they read and their relationship with other children. For example if a child is reading a book with superheroes, he/she should be taught that a hero can be anyone regardless of the sex and a hero is anyone who does a great deed to someone in need. Parents can also encourage their children to take up courses that they are good at and to be proud of it (Golombok and Fivush 142).They should also allow their children to choose the toys they want to play with. Teachers can also help the children by identifying their potentiality and help them to develop in it. The stores also should try and not marginalize boys and girls toys.
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Stereotyping can only be curbed by educating the people of the negative and positive impact. Children are the future leaders and should be mould to be a different generation which accepts that all human beings are equal and that there are no limits to what one can do. We are only different biologically but not in ability.