Research Paper – Stereotyping
You are to write a 5+ page research paper about stereotyping. Below I have given you some requirements as well as some questions to answer in your paper. You should answer all of the questions provided, but you do not have to limit yourself to these questions. Feel free to go beyond the questions provided and let the research guide your writing.
REQUIREMENTS: ï¡ a minimum of 5 full pages in length (typed, double spaced) ï¡ standard margins and font sizes ï¡ must contain an introduction, body (multiple paragraphs), and conclusion ï¡ a minimum of 5 sources required ï¡ MLA or APA style in formatting your title, in-text parenthetical citations, and bibliography/works cited list
SOURCES: ï¡ requires academic sources (no Wikipedia, no internet sources that lack credibility) ï¡ at least one journal article from a database (if you donât know how to find a journal article, you must learn) ï¡ at least one hard copy library resource (SCC or other library) â highlight this source on your bibliography/works cited list ï¡ if you use our textbook, it will not count as one of your five sources
QUESTIONS/PROMPTS: ï¡ Chapter 2 introduces us to the word âstereotypeâ. Provide three other definitions of stereotyping. One should be your own and two should come from outside sources (not from your textbook). Which of the three definitions do you like the most and why? ï¡ What are three groups of people you stereotype (or have stereotyped sometime in your life)? Explain each of the three stereotypes and give examples. ï¡ Where do you think stereotypes come from? Have you ever had a time when you saw evidence that your stereotype was incorrect? Did it make you change your mind about the stereotype? ï¡ Pick one of the three groups that you stereotyped and do some research about that group. Report your findings. After doing this research, do you feel differently about the group?
Read Chapter 2 of our text regarding gender roles. Educational psychology provides teachers with an understanding of how boys and girls are wired differently, although it is cautioned not to make any generalizations because these differences are not always exhibited. It is also important for us to examine our own preconceived judgments about particular gender roles because we could unknowingly influence our students into stereotypical gender roles.
Explain a time when you might have either felt or observed gender stereotyping. Use the text to support your response.
- How did it make you feel?
- How have gender schemas influenced your role in society?
- How will you as a teacher ensure that you are not adhering to gender roles and stereotyping in your own classroom?
My parents knew that they could make stunningly accurate predictions based on my gender. Theyknew that if I were a boy, which I was, I would be fast and strong and tough and just a little aggressive(it’s not a bad thing in this dog-eat-dog world, you know). And if I were a girl, well, I’d be gentler andmore emotional and not nearly so aggressive, and I’d want to help out in the house, but no way wouldI be interested in chopping wood or becoming a great scientist or a computer programmer.
My parents were heir to a vast body of beliefs dealing with the most likely characteristics associatedwith gender. These characteristics define gender roles (also called sex roles). There are masculine rolesand feminine roles, and all societies seem to have relatively clear ideas of what these should be. Theyare manifested in culture-specific stereotypes that describe the behaviors, personality characteristics,and attitudes that a culture finds appropriate for each sex. Learning the behaviors that correspond toone’s gender is called gender typing (or sex typing).
Gender stereotypes are not always wrong, based as they are on actual experiences with males andfemales. That there should be a smidgen of truth in our preconceived notions of male–femaledifferences should hardly be surprising. At the same time, however, we need to keep in mind thatstereotypes are typically vast oversimplifications and that, especially when they are wrong, they can begrossly unfair. Teachers need to be especially vigilant about stereotypes; they need to be carefullyexamined.
Development of Gender Roles
As for all aspects of human development, there are two main influences on the development of gender roles: the environment, evident in thesocial pressures and models that lead children to adopt male or female roles; and genetics, whose influence is related to our different biologicalmakeup. (See Table 2.1 for definitions of important terms in the study of development.)
|Table 2.1: Human Development: Definitions|
|Psychology||The science that studies human behavior and thought.|
|DevelopmentalPsychology||Division of psychology concerned with changes that occur over time and with the processes and influences thataccount for these changes.|
|Growth||Physical changes such as increases in height and weight.|
|Maturation||Naturally unfolding changes, relatively independent of experience (for example, pubescence—the changes ofadolescence that lead to sexual maturity).|
|Learning||Relatively permanent changes in behavior or in potential for behavior that result from experience.|
Social Pressures and Models
In most societies, the roles of men and women are different. In many, though not all, women are more responsible for looking after childrenand men are more responsible for producing income. These different social roles, explain Eagly, Wood, and Johannessen-Schmidt (2005),inevitably lead to sex differences in expectations and behavior and, consequently, in gender stereotypes. That’s because these roles constrainthe individual, in a sense, forcing the adoption of nurturing behaviors by women and the adoption of more assertive behaviors by men who areforced to compete in the sometimes more vicious work world. In societies where these social roles are clear, it’s hardly surprising that caringand nurturing should be seen as feminine traits and that assertiveness and competitiveness should be considered masculine traits.
It follows from this social role theory of gender typing that a change in the roles of men and women would eventually result in a change ingender roles and in gender stereotypes. Thus, dramatic changes in college enrollment patterns in North America, as well as in occupationalpatterns, coupled with the fact that far fewer women now carry out the role of traditional homemaker, may lead to very different conceptionsof gender and gender roles in the future. Consider, for example, that in 1960, for every 10 males who graduated from college, only 6 femalesdid likewise (Figure 2.1) Now, around 60 percent of college graduates are women (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2009).
Still, however, there are a large number of occupations that are traditionally male rather than female, where fewer than 25 percent of jobs areheld by women. In Lippa’s (2005b) survey of occupational preferences of 4,749 men and women, he found that the men typically preferredthree categories of occupations: “blue-collar realistic” (carpenter; plumber), “educated realistic” (electrical engineer), and “flashy, risk-taking” (jetpilot). Women preferred occupations such as “fashion related” (fashion model), “artistic” (author), “helping” (social worker), and “childrenrelated” (child-care center) (See Table 2.2.) Female occupations, even for college-educated women, also tend to be lower-paying than theoccupations of comparably educated men (Figure 2.2).
|Table 2.2: Sample of Nontraditional Occupations for Women|
|A few of the more than 100 occupations that are nontraditional for women according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Fewer than 25 percent ofindividuals involved in these occupations are female.|
|United States Department of Labor. Quick Facts on Nontraditional Occupations for Women. Retreived June 27, 2010.|
Exactly how the different social roles of boys and girls translate into the characteristics that make up masculinity and femininity is not entirelyclear. One explanation is gender schema theory. According to this theory, the child begins with no understanding of the nature of gender—nonotion of what is called basic gender identity. But notions of gender identity appear even within the first year of life when infants begin todevelop what researchers label gender schemas—notions about what male and female mean and what the characteristics of each are. Childrencan correctly label people as “man” or “woman,” “boy” or “girl,” almost as soon as they can talk, and they can also predict the sorts of activitiesin which each is most likely to engage.
Parents tend to exert an enormously important influence on the development of gender role in their children (Roest, Dubas, & Gerris, 2010).Not only do they typically provide them with what are considered sex-appropriate toys and encourage gender-appropriate behaviors, but theyalso communicate their own gender biases and stereotypes. For example, research indicates that, among other things, North American parentstypically think that boys find math more interesting and easier than do girls (Jacobs et al., 2005). Children may well internalize this and many ofthe subtle messages parents send out regarding gender and regarding what is expected and appropriate for boys and girls.
Once children have begun to develop gender schemas, these act as powerful constraints on their behavior. Because boys aren’t supposed to cry,Robert bites his lip and tries hard to hold back his tears; because girls aren’t supposed to like playing with boys’ things, Elizabeth tries to ignoreher brother’s gleaming red fire truck.
As we noted, biology also contributes to the development of gender roles. Biology, after all, determines whether we are male or female. Andthere are strong indications that some male–female personality differences may have physiological roots. For example, there are anatomicaldifferences between male and female brains, both in terms of size and function. Men’s brains are, on average, larger than those of women;structures that are linked with sex and aggression are more developed among men; women tend to have relatively more gray matter; and men,more white matter (Luders et al., 2009; Perrin et al., 2009). Also, the part of the lobe associated with spatial relations and mathematics is moredeveloped in males, whereas the areas of the frontal and temporal lobes linked with language are more developed in women (Sabbatini, 2010).
Hormones are another physiological factor thought to be closely involved in the development of gender. When children are exposed prenatallyto male or female hormones, their behaviors may subsequently appear to be more masculine or feminine than might otherwise have beenexpected (Ehrhardt et al., 2007). Thus, females exposed to male sex hormones tend to be somewhat more aggressive.
Parents, children, and society in general assume that there are important differences between males and females in their different gender roles.But just how real and important are these differences?
Following an early review of research on gender differences, Maccoby and Jacklin (1974) suggested four areas in which gender differences aresignificant: (1) verbal ability, particularly in the early grades, favoring females; (2) mathematical ability, favoring males; (3) spatial-visual ability(evident in geographic orientation, for example), favoring males; and (4) aggression (lower among females).
But many of these differences no longer seem as clear now as they did in 1974. There is mounting evidence that when early experiences aresimilar, there are few significant male–female differences (Strand, 2010). Furthermore, even when differences are found, they tend to be modestand far from universal. Still, to the extent that there might be predictable differences in school-related areas, such as verbal ability and scienceand mathematical achievement, these differences can be important for teachers.
Differences in verbal ability are not always apparent and are usually quite small, but almost invariably favor girls. In most comparisons that havelooked at specific skills, such as those involved in spelling, verbal fluency, and verbal composition, girls tend to perform better than boys.Differences are most significant when the tests include writing samples (Halpern et al., 2007).
Mathematics, Science, and Visuospatial Abilities
On average, boys tend to do better than girls on measures of mathematical skills (CollegeBoard SAT, 2010). They also typically do better insciences such as physics and chemistry, which are heavily dependent on mathematical and visuospatial abilities (evident in tasks involvingmentally rotating objects, map orientation, way-finding, and geographical knowledge) (Halpern & Collaer, 2005). Males are also more variablethan females on most tests (Halpern, 2007). That is, more males are at the highest and at the lowest levels.
Some of the physical differences between boys and girls are clear and not especially controversial. Onaverage, males are taller and heavier than females throughout life except for a short period duringpubescence when girls’ earlier maturation gives them a short-lived advantage in height and weight.
That these differences in height and weight should be reflected in different physical abilities is notespecially surprising. Males tend to perform better than females in activities requiring strength andstamina. As a result, males can throw objects further, lift heavier weights, run faster, throw farther, jumphigher, do more sit-ups, and more effectively fend off cantankerous bears. On the other hand, womenhave better eye-hand coordination than men, are more flexible, and do better at rhythmic tasks such ashopscotch and dancing (Lippa, 2005a).
The Implications of Gender Roles for Teaching
Stereotypes about the different abilities and interests of boys and girls may well lead teachers to treat them differently and to expect them toperform differently. Hence, it is extremely important for teachers to keep in mind that many apparent gender differences are trivial or evennonexistent. Teachers need to be aware of—and work to eliminate—the many subtle instances of sex bias that still permeate our attitudes, ourbooks, our schools, and our society. See the case “And for Noon Detention, Here Is the List…” for examples of still common gender inequities inthree areas.
Cases from the Classroom: And for Noon Detention, Here Is the List…
The Time: Early morning at Wes Horman School
The Place: Ms. Fenna’s fifth-grade class
Morning messages are just ending on the intercom. “And,” says Mr. Sawchuk, school principal, “for noon detention in Mr. Klein’s office, thelist is Ronald West, Juan González, Eddie Mio, and Eddie Nyberg . . . and I hope there won’t be any more by noon.”*
Ms. Fenna: You heard that, Ronald?
“Also,” continues Mr. Sawchuk, “grade sixers who aren’t going on the field trip: the boys will spend the day in Mr. Klein’s phys ed classes, andthe girls will go to the art room. . . . That’s all.”
Ms. Fenna: Now, class, I want you to open your math workbooks to page 34, which we started yesterday, and finish the assignment on thatpage before we go on.
Tom Larsen: I finished mine. What can I do now?
Ms. Fenna: I’ll come check it in a minute.
Rosa Donner: Me too.
Ms. Fenna: In this class, we raise our hand, Rosa.
Teddy Langevin: Can we read our Tom Sawyers if we’re finished?
Ms. Fenna: How many are finished with page 34?
*Note that the principal’s reading the names of detention students over an intercom system is not a highly recommended school management behavior. (See Chapter 9.)
- At Wes Horman School, as in many other schools, there is evidence of gender inequity in the administration. The principal and vice principal areboth male; the majority of teachers are female. As Figure 2.3 shows, the proportion of female to male teachers has been increasing so thatabout 3 of every 4 teachers are now female. Yet almost half of all principals are male. But that proportion, too, is declining.
- There is inequity, as well, in the treatment of students. When Tom and Teddy called out, Ms. Fenna responded to them directly. But when Rosaechoed Tom, Ms. Fenna reprimanded her: “In this class, we raise our hand,” she said.
Is this unusual? No. At virtually all educational levels, teachers interact more with male students than with female students: Boys receive moreinstructional time, more attention, even more praise and encouragement (Sadker & Sadker, 1986). And, like the detainees at Wes HormanSchool, they are also more often reprimanded and punished.
- Gender inequities are also apparent in the sexual stereotypes still found in books, in the curriculum, in classroom examples, and elsewhere. AtWes Horman School, boys who need looking after because they did not go on a field trip are sent to gym classes; girls are sent to the art room.And for those who have finished their arithmetic, the reading assignment is Tom Sawyer. Although “male hero” books are no longer aspervasive in schools as they once were, boys are often portrayed as more dominant and girls as more helpless.
It isn’t sufficient simply to know that schools reflect much of the racism, sexism, and other prejudices of our society. Teachers (and principals)need to be on guard constantly lest they unconsciously propagate the same stereotypes and inequities. In the United States, gender equity ismandated by laws that prohibit discrimination by sex in any federally funded educational program. But this doesn’t mean that all inequities havebeen wiped out. There is still much to be done.