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Discuss the influence of social factors on childrens awareness of gender roles

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Discuss the influence of social factors on children?s awareness of gender roles (24 marks) Parents, peers and the media are all social factors that affect children?s awareness of gender roles. The influence of parents and peers can be explained in terms of social learning theory. Parents and peers are role models for children, they observe the behaviour of the model and then imitate it later on, and this behaviour is learnt. Same-sex models are usually sought out by children therefore females copy females, males copy males, and therefore they learn gender stereotyped behaviour for their gender. This becomes internalized into their idea of their gender role. Parents are the first social role model for children. This means that a male would usually copy their dad?s behaviours, since they seek out same-sex models. Operant conditioning is used by parents to reinforce their gender role, by gender appropriate behaviour getting rewarded with attention or praise, this action will then be repeated to get further rewards. Peers are also social role models for children. ...read more.


They found fathers were openly disapproving of their children, particularly boys, playing with inappropriate toys. Peers also reacted in this way through disapproval and also violence. This supports the idea that peers and parents encourage gender appropriate behaviour by reacting negatively to children that display inappropriate behaviour, making them less likely to repeat inappropriate gender behaviour. However, this study is era dependent. It was conducted in the 1900?s, and the views on gender and raising children may have changed since then. Therefore children may not be raised or punished this way in society today. This makes this research not generalizable to the present day. Another study that supports these influences on gender role awareness is a study that looked at a town with and without TV, codenamed Multitel and Unitel Respectively. It was found, via questionnaire and other methods, that children?s stereo typed views within Multitel were strong, whereas in Notel they were weak. After TV was introduced to Notel, it was found that Notel adopted similar attitudes to Multitel in terms of gender stereotyped views. ...read more.


This study was conducted within a laboratory. This means that it has low ecological validity. The conditions of the experiment are not realistic to real life situations, thus the results are hard to generalize to real life situations as the children may have just did what they thought they were meant to do, given the artificial situation. An issue with this explanation is that it is deterministic. It proposes that parents, peers and the media will determine an individual?s gender awareness. Therefore it does not consider the free will of the individual to choose to not accept these influences on their gender beliefs. Another issue is that it?s a purely nurture explanation. It ignores any biological influences on gendered thinking; it could be that some gendered beliefs/behaviours are innate to a certain gender. This means that it cannot be seen as a complete explanation of gender awareness. A final issue is that it?s reductionist. It simplifies in explaining human behaviour down to a fundamental factor such as socialisation, it doesn?t consider other factors that make up human complexity. This means the explanation lacks consideration of all factors and may not be entirely accurate. ...read more.

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