Question: To what extent do gender stereotypes influence the development of personality?
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Gender impacts personality development early in life. From about age 2 to age 6 children begin to become aware of their gender and the behaviors and play styles that are commonly associated with their gender identities. The social context of family, school, peer groups and the media send messages that are somewhat stereotypical. According to social learning theory, developed by theorist Bandura boys generally observe and imitate behaviors that are considered masculine, especially from their fathers, and girls generally observe and imitate females, especially their mothers. When same sex behaviors are imitated by children it is acceptable but sometimes imitating the other sex may not necessarily be acceptable if the parents of boys and girls express this to their children. As a result boys and girls may develop a narrow view of what is acceptable for each gender and their personalities may develop largely according to the "norms" of society.
During middle childhood most boys and girls tend to separate into gender segregated cliques that seem to follow their own rules developed within their groups. When there is no adult watching them boys and girls are more likely to separate into groups based on gender with the other sex becoming forbidden. Generally a boy's group is large, competitive, hierarchal and organized around large group activities such as sports. There is a lot of roughhousing and displays of strength and toughness occurring in these groups. Generally girl's groups tend to be smaller and dependent on close conversations to make sure they are able to belong to a group. Boy's groups generally try to avoid anything that is deemed "feminine". Girls generally are more likely to imitate behaviors deemed acceptable for both sexes. These interactions styles to some extent continue throughout adolescence and adulthood.
During adolescence children begin to question their identity. During this stage members of each gender may conform into gender appropriate gender roles. During early adolescence boys generally imitate macho behaviors and become homophobic while girls generally obsess over wearing fashionable clothes and not show their intelligence. They may be more likely to experience problems such as low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders By the end of adolescence, both genders generally accept themselves and others in terms of realizing their gender related behaviors. An individual's personality develops and changes throughout adulthood, as each person goes through major life changes such as marriage, parenthood, middle age and old age.
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Stereotypes influence the development of personality but giving a framework of what and how
each gender should act and look like. We are told early ...
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