People often tend to think that boys and girls are born differently, with boys having ‘natural’ instincts for cars and violence while girls have ‘natural’ instincts for homecare and dolls. Research has shown that such an essentialist tendency to group people into gender-based labels fades with age where young children tend to have stronger sexist beliefs. However, through their research paper published in Journal of Cognition and Development, John Coley and R. Cole Edison of Northeastern University have a different set of findings.
The duo interviewed a set of students on how they think the following children will be brought up: a girl raised by only women, a girl raised by only men, a boy raised by only women and a boy raised by only men. The respondents were divided into two sets – one that had to answer immediately without much thought and the second who could take 10 seconds to think their answers. Coley and Edison found that the former group gave sexist answers like the ones they may have given when they were younger while the latter group gave more politically correct answers.
Through this, they were able to come to the conclusion how the gender specific cultural conditioning of our childhood is still prevalent during our adult life, even if it has been pushed behind with out education and understandings. The duo also found out that men tended to be less ready to give away the typical male gender roles than women to have their female gender roles violated.
N Malavika Mohan