Gender Typing

Is it right?

What is gender typing?

According to Berk (2010), gender typing refers to any association of objects, activities, roles, or traits with one sex or the other in ways that conform to cultural stereotypes. Children are pushed into what people think they should be doing before they even get the opportunity to choose for themselves. But should we be choosing for them or let them choose for themselves? The Social Learning Theory says that children follow by imitation. So if we show them that it is okay to play with what they want and dress how they want, they will be more comfortable with themselves. Even if a boy wanted to play with a doll, he's probably not going to play with it the same way that a girl will. And majority of the time, children will choose things that typically go with their gender anyways.

How Gender Typing Affects Adjustment Later In Life

In one study done by DiDonato and Berenbaum (2011), they found that adjustment (the behavioral process by which humans and animals maintain an equilibrium among their various needs or between their needs and the obstacles of their environments) in both sexes is positively associated with sex/gender congruency (if biological sex is the same as identified gender), masculine traits (instrumentality), and flexible gender attitudes. This means that how you adjust to things later in life is better when your sex and gender are the same, if you show more masculine traits whether you are a male or female, and good attitudes towards other's genders.
Another study by Aube and Koestner (1992) did a longitudinal study on gender typing and adjustment and they found that men who at age 12 endorsed interests and undesirable traits more typically associated with women, had poorer social-personal adjustment at ages 31 and 41. So showing feminine traits in males is negative, and feminine traits in females is neutral. Showing masculine traits in males and females is positive.
'You Can't Be a Princess'

Is it right?

Maybe, maybe not. Right now, in these times, there is such a negative connotation on doing things that aren't set for your gender. If you don't follow the norms, you're most likely going to be bullied. If you do follow the norms but it's not what you want to do, you're never going to be comfortable with yourself. Let your kids be who they are and teach them how to handle criticism that may get thrown at them. They just might surprise you. Hopefully in the future it will be okay for people to be who they want to be.

References

Aube, J. & Koestner, R. (1992). Gender characteristics and adjustment: A longitudinal study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 485-493.


Berk, L. E. (2010). Gender Typing. Development Through the Lifespan. 273-274.


Didonato, M. D., & Berenbaum, S. A. (2011). The benefits and drawbacks of gender typing:

How different dimensions are related to psychological adjustment. Archives of Sexual

Behavior, 40(2), 457-63. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-010-9620-5