Kelly Johnson
The Effects of Gender Stereotypes on Children



The Effects Of Gender Stereotypes on Children

     Due to gender conventions that are present in our society today, stereotypes relating to sex have a large influence in the development of children. I would like to research these different stereotypes and conventions and discuss how they affect the lives of children in our society. Stereotypes, in the ways that parents raise their children, based on sex, are apparent as early as birth. Parents often assume characteristics based on the sex of a child without giving him or her the opportunity to develop their own personal interests. It is not uncommon for baby girls to be described as pretty, gentle, sweet, and fragile, while baby boys are often described as strong, handsome, and assertive, despite the fact that all babies, regardless of sex, look very much alike. Young girls don pink and yellow dresses and nightgowns and play with Barbie's, other dolls, and toy kitchens. Boys, on the other hand, wear blue and green clothes and play with trucks, super heroes, and baseball balls and mitts.
        I would like to research the implications of these differences and discover how they play a role in shaping a child's identity and life path. Would sex roles be altered if parents let children discover their own interests rather than constantly forcing exposure to just "girl things" or "boy things?" How do parents, usually unknowingly, teach their children about and enforce the traditional sex roles that are present in our society? How much pressure is placed on children to have certain interests and how does this affect their self-esteem? What can be done in our schools to discourage these stereotypes? I would like to research and answer all of these questions concerning gender stereotypes and the affect that they have on children.

Print Sources:

Beal, Carol R. Boys and Girls: The Development of Gender Roles. New York: McGraw Hill, 1994. Call Number - BF723.542B4351994.

Kamler, Barbara. Constructing Gender and Difference: Critical Research Perspectives On Early Childhood. Cressskill, N.J.: Hampton Press, 1999. Call Number -BF723.542C661999.

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. The Developmental Social Psychology of Gender Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000. Call Number -

Non-Print Sources:

Social Work Library Men, Women, and the Sex Difference. Chapel Hill, NC: Social Work Library, 1996. Call Number - QP81.5M461996.

Academic Universe Lexis-Nexis Sources

Goldberg, Jonah. Among the Gender Benders. National Review Online; Goldberg file. National Review, 2001. Accessed May 25, 2001. Available from /; Internet.

Kuttner, Robert. America's Children. Section: Children and Families, pg.2. The American Prospect, Inc. 2000. Accessed May 25, 2001. Available from /; Internet.

Leo, John. Will boys be boys? U.S. News and World Report, 2000. Accessed May 25, 2001. Available from auth?A=PIF=YIURLl=; Internet

Phillips, Helen. The Gender Police. New Scientist. Reed Business Information, 2001. Accessed May 25, 2001. Available from;

Weinman, Janice. Do public schools shortchange girls on educational opportunities? News World Communications, Inc., 1998. Accessed May 25, 2001. Availablefrom
=; Internet.

Young, Taiia Smart. Girl Power. Lifestyle Parenting Special; pg 130. Essence
Communications, Inc. 1999. Accessed May, 25, 2001. Available from
=; Internet.

Web Sources

Title of Web Page: Gender Roles of Children
Web Address:
Description: This web page offers a variety of information explaining how children are socialized in a gender-stereotyped culture. It provides links to information on topics such as video games, computers, clothing, and toys, all of which are typically stereotypical. These links provide excellent examples of items that cause children to have stereotypical attitudes involving gender. This page also discusses how gender roles affect the typical American family and gives suggestions for avoiding this apparent problem.
Source: Miami University Social Psychology Department

Title of Web Page: Dolls, Trucks, and Identity: Educators Help Young Children Grow Beyond Gender
Web Address:
Description: Written by Sehba Zhumkhawba, this article appeared in the November-December 1997 issue of Children's Advocate Newsmagazine. This article explains how children are exposed to gender stereotypes and provides specific examples of how these occur. Using examples from an elementary school classroom, this article discusses how parents and teachers contribute to this sexism and how they can avoid raising their children with gender stereotypes.
Source: Action Alliance for Children

Title of Web Page: Assessing Children's Gender-Stereotyped Attitudes
Web Address:
Description: This article outlines the reasons for distinguishing attitudes about gender stereotypes in children. It explains and describes a research project involving young children and their reactions to masculine, feminine, and neutral activities. Their research found that children often gave stereotyped responses to the different masculine, feminine, and neutral activities. The article also explains where these stereotypes originate and the implications and effects that they have on children.
Source: Penn State University Psychology Department. Margaret L. Signorella

Title of Web Page: Toys, Colors, and the Invisible Sexism
Web Address:
Description: This article focuses on elements used in the everyday lives of children that cause sexism to persist. It discusses how parents and teachers often fail to realize the sexist implications in toys, clothing, and classrooms. This page provides links to examples of specific toys and colors that are sexist. It also explains how children are easily influenced at an early age.
Source: Oregon State University

Title of Web Page: Avoiding Gender Stereotypes
Web Address:,1349,1172-1,00.html
Description: This website in intended for parents and provides specific instructions on how to avoid raising a child with gender stereotypes. It gives instructions for both boys and girls and provides examples of stereotypical parental actions. This website also provides links to many other child raising issues.
Source: American Baby

This website was updated on December 8, 2002
JOMC 191.1-The Global Impact of New Communication Technologies

Email Me!