Voices of Diversity

Chapter 9: Gender Roles

By: Jessica Morris

Gender Identity: Man Vs. Woman

Gender identity affects:

  • the way students see their peers
  • their own talents and abilities
  • their role in school

Identities are reinforced with:

  • curriculum
  • school rules
  • school activities
  • teacher-student interactions

Narrative 16: The Most Important Haircut

Q. 1: The author describes her clothing as androgynous. What clothes do we associate with boys only? With girls only? What happens in your school when a student tries to wear clothing that is not traditionally worn by her or his gender?

A: I typically classify boy clothing as loose-fitting blue jeans and gym shorts paired with a loose-fitting tee shirt. I usually associate girl clothing as tighter-fitting. Girls wear spaghetti strap tank tops, tube tops, dresses, and skirts. Not only am I conditioned to think like this because of my past and present in my interactions with students and people in general, but clothing stores are sectioned off in this manner as well with "boys," "girls," men", and "women" signs. Ya know, just in case anyone is confused...I guess.

This topic reminds me of a situation with my step-daughter. We have always had a hard time with finding the right fit in blue jeans for her. We've always had to buy a size too big so they aren't too tight on her belly, BUT then there's the butt crack problem. So, when she was three we decided to solve the problem with a belt; she refused to wear it. She insisted that belts were only for boys and girls are not allowed to wear them! She's five now (almost six) and it's probably needless to say, but she now wears belts...pink sparkly belts, but they're belts. She was also under the impression at an early age that sports are for boys. I'm so glad that she's developed into a well rounded girl... a ballerina, pianist, soccer player, basketball player, and t-ball player! Guitar, lacross, and volleyball are coming soon! More recently, she told her Dad and me that super heroes are for boys...hmmm.

Citation: Langer de Ramirez, Lori. (2006). Voices of Diversity. Uppersaddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.