Differences in Childhood Lead to Gender Differences

Toys play a major role in shaping males and females into specific gender roles. Children are given gender related toys before they are even born and are taught what colors are acceptable for their gender at an early age. Children’s nurseries are painted gender specific colors and filled with gender specific toys prior to children being born. Once the children are brought home they are showered in gifts specific to their gender.

Boys’ rooms are painted blue and covered in sports decor. Their pacifiers are blue or shaped like footballs. Boys are dressed in pants, t-shirts, and baseball caps. As they become older they are given G.I. Joe “action figures”, Legos, Nerf guns, and toy cars. They are placed in competitive contact sports early on. When the male children do not display dominance in a sport or the correct form they are told they “play like a girl”. On the other hand, growing up, if i fought with another boy people simply stated “boys will be boys.” Parents, family members, and other alloparents discourage crying and displaying pain. Another difference come in the form of compliments people give to males. People compliment boys with words like handsome and strong.

Girls’ nurseries are often plastered with pink and feature soft whimsical decorations. Female babies are handled delicately and with extreme care. They are dressed in dresses and frilly socks with shoes with straps and bonnets with embroidered flowers. Girls are expected to play well with each other and share while displaying nurturing attributes. Girls are given EZ Bake Ovens, Barbies, kitchen play sets, and baby dolls. The place in the store where these toys are found even have pink back splashes on the shelves. Female children are encouraged to try activities like tap dancing, ballet, gymnastics, beauty pageants and cheerleading. Girls are consoled if they appear sad or discouraged. Females are frequently told that they are pretty and helpful.

These differences make males feel like their role in life is to be the soldier, protector, and aggressor. The toys, color schemes, and people’s attitudes towards males instills a rigid toughness in men. Vice versa the toys, color schemes, and people’s attitudes towards females instills a soft, caring, and nurturing quality in women. Developmental patterns of gender typing lead to males and females embracing their gender role. These examples of contrasts during the early years of childhood affect child development and lead to gender differences.


About jcole053

Trying to graduate from Old Dominion University this Spring!
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5 Responses to Differences in Childhood Lead to Gender Differences

  1. Pingback: Is Blue Only A Boys Color - Dad Blunders | Life As I Know It | Dad Blunders | Life As I Know It

  2. wow i took a class “juvenile deliquency” and we briefly touched on the subject of the way children are treated in childhood and the effects it has on them as they grow up. It basically shapes their gender and personality because of what they are told to wear or what to play with. Girls are baby talked and talked to in general more than boys increasing their language ability. thats why some grls talk fatser than boys. but i liked this post i completely agree

    • jcole053 says:

      I felt like this topic really related to the class in the sense of how we’ve been looking at how gender is perceived in cultures around the world. This post was directed at the affects of general American gender differences in childhood. I believe you can apply gender differences in childhood and it will directly correlate and influence gender differences in adults.

  3. Nice job! Your post got me to thinking, there are such pronounced gender differences in the kinds of toys that parents provide for their children. I know my kids’ favorite pastime is reading, I wonder how gendered juvenile books are? I’m guessing it can be just as dramatic a difference, but it’s not as obvious if you don’t pick up the books and read them. If somebody hasn’t studied gendered reading habits they should!

    • jcole053 says:

      Thinking about children’s literature makes me think about who children identify with in these books in terms of what roles their genders play in these stories. Females are often portrayed as the “sleeping beauty” or the helpless princess. The male was alway portrayed as fearless and heroic in the books I read as a child. Even in the literature children are having their gender roles reinforced. Gendered reading habits would be an interesting study. I hypothesize that the children’s’ books would fall in line with the same gender specific/differences as toys.

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