Monday, December 24, 2018

How kindergartens serve as 'gendergartens'

I suspect we would have fewer people who feel they are the wrong gender than they were born into if we were more accepting of people who don't feel like the stereotypes we encourage.

Public Release: 21-Dec-2018
National Research University Higher School of Economics

Sociologists at the Higher school of economics showed that preschool education has its own hidden curriculum: kindergarten teachers transmit social norms to children, including conservative ideas of femininity and masculinity. Girls are expected to have "proper" character and behavior, to be obedient and pretty, take an interest in music and dance, and to like the color pink.

"Doing gender" - that is, forming an understanding of masculinity and femininity - begins as early as kindergarten. School of Sociology Associate Professor Olga Savinskaya and Anastasia Cheredeeva found that this hidden but clearly gender-oriented curriculum permeates every aspect of a preschool child's life: from games to showing an interest in certain professions. Femininity and masculinity form 'narrowly, according to conventional stereotypes,' researchers found. Girls 'in the process of socialization are supposed to strive to be generally acceptable and to conform to the ideal.' This implies attractiveness, courteousness, industriousness, and artistry. They should lean towards professions in which they care for people or animals and perform the princess, snowflake, or other glamorous roles in school plays. Parents generally favor such uniformity, even though it can interfere with girls' development as individuals.


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