Gender Schema Theory Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Gender Schema Theory?
Gender schema theory is a cognitive-developmental explanation of how individuals learn and internalize gender roles in their society. The theory suggests that children develop their understanding of gender roles as they mature, based on the information they receive from their environment. This includes social interactions with adults, peers, media representations, and other sources such as books or television shows. As children grow older, they use this information to form an organized mental framework known as a gender schema which influences how they think about themselves and others based on gender.The main idea behind the Gender Schema Theory is that knowledge about what it means to be male or female is acquired over time through observation and experience. This explains why some people may have different beliefs about gender roles than those around them because everyone has had different experiences growing up that have informed their views on gender identity. Additionally, changes in cultural norms can lead to changes in what we consider a â€˜normal’ view of genders within society over time. Therefore, our understanding of gender is constantly changing and evolving depending upon the culture we are part of at any given moment in history. Gender schema theory helps explain why certain behaviors are seen as more acceptable for one sex than another (e.g., girls playing with dolls versus boys playing with toy cars). It also explains why individuals often feel pressures to conform to traditional expectations based on their assigned sex (e.g., dress codes or job opportunities). Finally, it gives insight into how stereotypes can shape our perceptions of people by reinforcing pre-existing ideas about what defines masculinity or femininity in any given culture or historical period.