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Kayly Miranda

FHS 2450

GENDER STEREOTYPES
Objective:
With parental permission, interview a preschool or early elementary-age boy and girl. Ask them
what being a "boy" or "girl" means. Ask them whether particular occupations are boy or girl jobs
(i.e. Are doctors girls or boys? Are teachers girls or boys? Can a girl be a firefighter? Can a Dad
stay home and take care of children?). Report on your findings. Did you see evidence of gender
stereotypes? What can parents and teachers do to lessen the impact of gender stereotyping?

Answer:
I interviewed 3 children: CC and AG- ages 3 and 4 year-old boy, and a 5 year-old boy,
NL. For their privacy, initials will be given in place of their names. In order to demonstrate the
young age that children are subjected to gender stereotyping a generalized notion of what a
person is like based only on that persons sex (Crooks & Baur, 2014, pg. 134).

Questions:
Who would be a better _____? Boys, girls, or both? (I also switched with which people
do you think should be_____? and are ____ boys, girls, or both?):
Firefighter
Teacher
Superhero
Construction worker (builds houses)
Dancer
Babysitter/stays home

Kayly Miranda
FHS 2450
Doctor
*If the child answered with only boys/girls, I asked why they think that.
Who is stronger: boys, girls, neither?

AG:
Background info: AG is almost 5 years old, is in daycare, and comes from a Spanish
speaking family with three older brothers and an older sister.
Response to questions:
Firefighter- boys
Teacher- girls, because her teacher is a girl and they care.
Construction worker (builds houses) - boys, because they are strong.
Dancer- both
babysitter/stays home- Girls, like her mom.

CC:
Background info: CC will be 4 this month; she is in half-day daycare; her mother stays
with her the rest of the time and has a part time job teaching ice skating lessons. She is also a
little shy which is why she didn't answer many questions.
Note: Her mom also said that just today, they were watching a movie where the boys
would not let girls be Musketeers, and they had a discussion about how girls can be
musketeers, too, if they want. Her mother says she tries to teach CC often about treating people
equally and how boys and girls can do the same things.

Answer to questions:
Teacher- Girls, like her mom.

Kayly Miranda
FHS 2450
Superhero- Both, like Batman and Catgirl (her favorite superheroes)
Who is stronger: boys, girls, or neither are stronger?
I asked CC while she was lifting up a chair if she was stronger than the boys in
her class. When she mumbled no, I asked if all the boys in her class were stronger than her
(teasingly), and she didn't say anything. When her mother said something along the lines of,
"But you're lifting that heavy chair! I think you're just as strong as the boys in your class, too,"
with which CC yelled, "NO!" repeatedly . Although this could be seen as just a shy child not
really wanting to talk about being strong, I wondered if it was because she didn't like the fact
that we were saying "as boys" or "like boys", and she didn't want to be compared to a boy.

NL:
Background information: NL is 5 years-old and is in Kindergarten. I know NL through
our mutual figure skating coach. NL is a very different boy than most people would expect
because he is always wearing girls clothes, and is quite androgynous. NL still refers to himself
as a boy, and doesn't seem to mind wearing girls clothes. I have always found him very
interesting and, of course, adorable. However, he also has a younger brother who has now
started to inherit NL's clothes or even matches with him sometimes, which brings up a question
of whether or not NL wears girl's clothes from his own choice or someone else's. There is some
speculation that NLs parents push him to dress this way because there was a family tragedy
regarding homosexuality. That is not to say that I agree or disagree personally no matter what
the circumstance is; I just find it interesting.
Answer to Questions:
Firefighter- boys
Teacher- girls, because his teacher is a girl.
Construction worker (builds houses)- boys, just because.

Kayly Miranda
FHS 2450
Dancer- both, because both boys and girls like to dance
babysitter/stays home- girls, because his babysitter is a girl.
Doctor- boys, because his doctors are always boys
note* NL has hearing problems which why he has a few different doctors.

My Response:
I found this short study to be very interesting, but also a bit challenging. Since the
children are still pretty young, it was hard to keep their focus for long to get strong responses,
which is why I asked some certain questions rather than others. They didn't give me too much to
go on, but even still I was able to tell that even at such young ages, children start determining
what things separates genders, and what types of things "boys" and "girls" do differently
according to their gender stereotypes. I was very hopeful while interviewing CC and NL as both
of their parents are doing their best to resist gender stereotyping. I was especially interested in
interview NL because I think his parents are able to identify that masculine and feminine roles
could actually limit their children's self-expression. Perhaps their parents aren't "changing" their
sons as some people might think, or not even doing it because NL identifies as a girl. There is a
good chance NL's parents recognize that -like the text discusses- being an androgynous
individual allows for expression of both masculinity and femininity through choice rather than the
limits that society puts on the individual by needing one or the other (Crooks & Baur, 2014, pg.
143). However, since it is probably a sensitive topic, I chose not to ask NL's parents about why
they allow this, and I will accept NL as they are.
Because I know both CC and NL personally, I have been able to interact and play with
them quite a few times. One thing that I have noticed is that both of their parents do not limit the
types of toys that their children play with based on their gender identity or the "gender" of the
toys. CC is known for her fascination with superheroes and villains of both genders. She is

Kayly Miranda
FHS 2450
obsessed with playing Batman (the character she usually plays) and finding her girlfriend Green
Ivy. NL on the other hand, has brought his Rainbow Dash Pony to play with also. The text
discusses how parents should avoid using toys that enforce the idea of gender stereotype to
children, so it was a relief to see that 2/3 of the children I interviewed were being taught this way
also (Crooks & Baur, 2014, pg. 133). I truly believe that if other parents follow CCs and NLs
parents in allowing children to grow up without imposed gender stereotypes, children will grow
up feeling more confident in themselves, express themselves openly, and learn to accept people
who are different from them.

Kayly Miranda
FHS 2450
Works Cited
Crooks, Robert, and Karla Baur. Our Sexuality. 12th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2014. Print.
Gonzalez, Amy, Cadence Bell, and Noam Lingstuyl. Personal interview. 19 Jan. 2014.