Childhood Gender Identity Development (2006 Translating Identities Conference)

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Childhood Gender Identity Development (2006 Translating Identities Conference)

  1. 1. Childhood Gender Identity Development Morgan(ne) Ray Translating Identities Conference 1:30-3:00pm Saturday February 24th Gender Socialization in Young Kids
  2. 2. Who am I and why does this matter?  Childcare provider for infant, preschool and school age children  Primary research focus for 3 years  Understand ways in which gender is learned and enacted  Provide learning tools to utilize in explaining gendered understandings
  3. 3. Ways in Which Children Learn Gender  Positive and Negative reinforcement – direct and indirect messages from family, teachers and peers  Role Models – children are more likely to imitate those of the same assigned gender
  4. 4. Gender Discussion with a Four Year Old “Are you a boy or a girl?” “That’s a complicated question” “Do you have a penis” “No” “So you’re a girl, you have a vulva” “It’s true, I have a girl body. But know how you feel like a boy inside?” “Yeah” “Well, I feel like both. I’m trans.” “So you feel like a girl and a boy?” “Yup” “I’m hungry…”
  5. 5. Toddler Age  Able to match feminine voice with feminine face and masculine voice with masculine face  Understand their own assigned gender identity  Prefer toys aimed at assigned gender  Can articulate some stereotypes for male and female  Large amounts of cross gender play
  6. 6. Introductions  What is your name?  What is your preferred pronoun?  What is your gender identity?  What else is interesting about you?
  7. 7. Preschool  Identify the gender binary  Use hair styles and clothes as gender indicators – androgyny very confusing  Can define genders based on stereotypical personality traits, occupation, appearance and household activities  Personally engage in lots of cross gender play until peer pressure kicks in  Gender rigidity accompanied by exaggerated gender characteristics
  8. 8. Gendered Candies  Did you separate your candy the same way as your neighbor?  What was difficult about separating the candy into two groups?
  9. 9. Kindergarten  Aware that physical sex does not change – especially due to behaviors  Concern that child was born the wrong sex emerges  Gender norms enforced within peers  Cross gender play declines significantly
  10. 10. Find Your Friends  How did you feel about dots different than yours?  How did you decide who could be in your group and who couldn’t?
  11. 11. Elementary School  Gender normative children adamant about not playing with gender variant children  Gender expression relatively stable
  12. 12. Describing Others  How difficult was it to avoid using pronouns?  How does this reflect your dependence on the gender binary?
  13. 13. Middle School  Period of severe gender rigidity  Teasing of gender variant children most severe  Internal gender identity and sexual orientation discovered  Understand the difference between sex and gender
  14. 14. Deconstructing Identities  How many stereotypes could you think of?  Was it easy to think of gendered stereotypes?  How did it feel to rip someone else’s sense of self?  How did it feel to watch yourself ripped apart?
  15. 15. Possible Explanations of Cross Gender Behavior  Exploratory play  Sexual Orientation – same sex attraction confusing  Reclamation of Power from abuse  Transgender identity

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