Cultural Practices Essay

765 words - 4 pages

The two practices chosen are toys meant for girls and boys, and activities meant for girls and boys. Toys in this context are defined as objects that the children handle for their enjoyment, such as dolls or trains. Activities in this context are defined as pursuits that the children enjoy, such as dancing or sports. The common theme between these two practices is sex-typing in gender socialisation. Sex-typing is defined as expecting people, their behaviour or appearance to conform to stereotypical or typical conventional views of their biological sex (Mischel, 1970). Gender socialisation refers to the process that children undergo to learn the appropriate behaviours, attitudes and values dictated by society to form their gender identity (Best, Griffiths & Hope, 2000). There are four theories of gender socialisation; social learning theory, cognitive-development theory, gender schema theory and psychoanalytic theory.
Social learning theory focuses on behaviour resulting from operant conditioning and modelling, whereby the gender-appropriate behaviours are learned through the environment and social agents such as parents, teachers or peers through reinforcement or imitation. When children participate in sex-typed behaviour or activities appropriate for their assigned sex, and are rewarded for it, they will continue participating in that certain activity and the behaviour is reinforced (Ryle, 2011). For example, when a young boy decides that he wants to play with fire engines, he will be encouraged by his parents, and thus he will continue playing with them. However, if the young boy decides that he wants to play with dolls, he will be criticised by his peers and thus he will stop playing with them (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2010). For imitation or modelling, children imitate same-sex peers or parents in their behaviour or activities and it is a form of latent learning. For example, a young girl copies how her mother dresses up without any form of reward as she identifies with her mother (Ryle, 2011). Through these kinds of interactions between the children and their agents of socialisation, mainly peers and parents, it will influence their behaviour and shape how are they socialised. From this theory, people will come to anticipate how a person of a particular gender should behave due to traditional expectations in their culture....

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