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A baby is born and the doctor looks at the proud parents or parent and says three simple words: Its a boy, or Its a girl! Before a newborn child even takes his or her first breath of life outside the mothers womb, he or she is distinguishable and characterized by gender. The baby is brought home and dressed in clothes that help friends, family and even strangers identify the sex of the child. Baby boys are dressed in blue and baby girls are dressed in pink. The baby boy may be dressed in a blue jumpsuit with a football or a baseball glove on it. The baby girl may wear a bow in their hair and flowered pajamas. As the boy begins to grow, he is given a miniature basketball and a hoop to play with. The girl is given dolls an d doll clothes to dress them up in. Even going further, eventually the boy may play with Legos and Lincoln Logs and the girl gets a PlaySchool oven and a plastic tea set with which to play house. Sounds pretty normal right? Why? As illustrated in the not-so-fi!
ctional scenario above, gender socialization begins very early in life. Society has accepted such stereotypical things as baby boy blue and baby girl pink to help identify the sex of a child. Heaven forbid the little Joey looks like a girl or b aby Michelle is mistaken for a boy. Mothers and fathers make it easy for everyone to distinguish their bundle of joy by utilizing the socially established gender stereotypes. But where and how did these stereotypes come from? Unfortunately, I don't think there is a definite answer to that question. We seem to accept that blue is for boys and pink is for girls. Boys generally play with balls, toy trucks and building blocks whereas girls spend their time with dolls, tea sets and stuffed animals. But these are the stereotypes that are influenced by the parents. A baby child isn't concerned with his or her gender identity. As the child gets older though, he or she will begin to develop an identity for his or herself and establish a personal!
ity th at reflects their masculinity or femininity. In Nancy Chodorow's essay "Family Structure and Feminine Personality" she examines the development of gender identity and personality. Except for the stereotypical examples I have given above which again are e stablished by the parents, Chodorow states that the development of a child is basically the same for boys and girls until the age of three. During those first three years the mother is the dominant figure in the child's life. The father plays a limited role until the child reaches the so called Oedipal period (beyond age 3). It is at this stage that children begin to try to separate themselves from the clutches of their mother and establish their own identity. Chodorow examines how different this is for boys and girls. KFRC radio disk jockey Ron Parker recently reported that out of a survey of one hundred fourth grade boys and one hundred fourth grade girls, the boys receive an average weekly allowance that is approxima!
tely 50% higher than the girls receive. On the average, the boys receive $4.18 as compared to the $2.67 paid to the girls. To look even fur
Terminology mentioned in this term paper
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basketball, baseball, football,
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Toby, Nancy Chodorow, balls, Joey, Sally Jesse Raphael, Michelle, Ron Parker,
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Toby, gender, baby girl, gender identity, Chodorow, household chores, young boys, sex organs, sex objects, girl, images, male and female, Nancy Chodorow, music video, Sally Jesse Raphael, androgynous, stereotypes, society, is born, magazines, everyday life, politically correct, clothes, culturally biased, normal life, baseball glove, significant other, disk jockey, Lincoln Logs, Ron Parker, stereotypical, public restroom, drivers license, masculinity, flight attendant, moral values, talk show, domestic partner, no place, administrative assistant, beauty products, popular music, police officer, a perfect world, advertisers, mothers, documentary, Oedipal, a woman, testes,