AP Language and Composition
30 January, 2013
Sexuality and Gender:
What Is the Effect of Parental Relationships on a Child’s Sociological Perceptions?
“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: It's a girl” (Chisholm). Shirley Chisholm could not have been more accurate when she made this observational statement. This statement spills truth onto the plate of the naïve and serves as a rude awakening to the slumbering ignorant. The proclamation’s only fault is its failure to acknowledge the identical occurrence taking place when the doctor instead says, “It’s a boy.” This quote initiates a domino effect of questions. What are these mentioned stereotypes, where do they originate, and what factors influences them throughout a person’s life? When this topic is explored deeper an interesting question arises. What is the effect of parental relationships on a child’s sociological perceptions? After evaluating the various factors influencing different the aspects of gender and sexuality, a conclusion is reached. Parental Relationships do not substantially affect a child’s sociological perceptions, but have been found to facilitate the ideas of equality.
When discussing sociological perceptions, frequently used terms include gender and sex. These terms are then used further when talking of additional terms such as gender identity, and sexual orientation. Gender can be defined as the socially learned behaviors and expectations associated with being male or female. Sex is one’s biological identity of being male or female. The self-identification of oneself as a man or woman entails one’s gender identity. Gender identity serves as the core of a person’s self-image and the inward experience of gender roles. Gender roles signify traits, behaviors, and attitudes socially prescribed for men and women in a given culture; also considered the outward expression of gender identity. Gender roles are derived from gender schemas, or gender stereotypes, which are generalizations children develop about what toys, activities, and jobs are meant for men versus women. through the process of gender socialization or gender typing, men and woman learn the expectations associated with their sex. Sexual orientation is a person’s choice of sexual partners resulting from the complex interplay of both genetic and non-genetic mechanisms, i.e. homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual. With a basic understanding of these terms further investigation is possible. Gender roles are unique to each individual culture. It is because of this that the United States has its own unique gender schemas. In the United States a person’s sex labels them as either male or female. From the moment a child is born they are exposed to gender stereotyping. Traditional gender role stereotypes include a list of traits and titles society has assigned. Boys are most commonly associated with the color blue and traits and described with adjectives similar to aggressive, active, competitive, strong, courageous, rough, dominant, emotionally distant, breadwinner, short hair, construction worker. The list for girls is much the opposite, describing girls using the color pink and descriptions such as passive, non-competitive, compliant, submissive, emotional, nurturing, caretaker, housewife, sensitive, skirts/dresses, long hair, nursing, loving, weak, and delicate. These are just a few of the common traits and descriptions associated with a person’s sex.
Society takes responsibility for formulating such lists, and in turn is accountable for editing them as called upon. Research shows that while many of the differences between a male and female are determined by society, biological differences exist as well. Men have been found to excel at spatial thinking and mathematics, and process information in the frontal cortex of the brain (Vandergriff). Women however, favor the verbal spectrum and process