Gender Identity and Stereotyping in Early and Middle Childhood

  • May Ling Halim
  • Diane Ruble

Without much effort, one can easily imagine a young girl, at age 3 or 4, happily wearing a pink, frilly dress. She twirls, she dances, she skips in her dress, reveling in its femininity and flounce. In the same vein, with great ease one can imagine a small boy, a towel draped around his neck, his bony arms outstretched in fists. He imagines his muscles bulging and his strength abounding, running here and there in an attempt to fly off to combat unseen evil forces.

What can explain these gender differences in behavior? There are many different possible explanations. Some might say girls and boys come into the world this way, that DNA causes a preference for pink or an adoration of superheroes. Others may say these children simply learn from examples around them, seeking to imitate their mothers or fathers, for example. Many forces may interact, but in this chapter, we consider these behaviors through the lens of cognitive-developmental theory. Cognitive-developmental theory emphasizes a...


Gender Identity Gender Stereotype Social Identity Theory Gender Category Gender Identity Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • May Ling Halim
    • 1
  • Diane Ruble
    • 1
  1. 1.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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