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Theories of Gender Identity and Sex-role Stereotyping

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What are two different perspectives on gender identity and sex-role stereotyping? What is its impact on social development in early childhood? How can these two perspectives assist professionals in reducing negative gender stereotypes in early childhood? Discuss the two perspectives and explain how they explain gender identity. Also, discuss how professionals apply these perspectives to assist them in reducing negative gender stereotypes in early childhood. Provide examples.

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Solution Summary

This solution describes two perspectives on gender identity and sex-role stereotyping and details how each perspective explains gender identity. It also looks at how professionals move from theory to application in reducing negative gender stereotypes in early childhood.

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For early childhood, there are two prominent perspectives regarding gender identity and sex-role stereotyping.

Perspective #1

The first perspective is that children acquire sex-typed behaviors because of modeling and reinforcement in the environment. Indeed, the world is filled with models of stereotyped behavior. Parents may subconsciously act in stereotypical ways, and television regularly depicts men and women in sex-typed roles and interactions. As more and more children are in childcare programs in America, peers become important models. Even very young preschoolers have been found to learn gender-typical social skills and play styles from playmates in the classroom.

In this view, stereotyped behavior is rewarded in the environment. Parents may reinforce girls to be timid and compliant and boys to be bold and independent. They may do so subconsciously. In one study, for example, parents were found to verbally encourage their children to play with both male and female toys, but their body language gave them away. They moved closer to and become more involved in their ...

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