Children, whose ethnic/racial backgrounds (primarily caucasian) and household compositions (primarily two-parent homes) reflected local population statistics, were videotaped playing with toy dishes and tools. The amount of time spent with each toy was calculated to determine whether this varied as a function of children's perceptions of social expectations of gender, awareness of gender stereotypes, and situational constraints (no information, gender-typed information unrelated to the toys, gender-typed toy labels). In study 1, the toy choices of girls and boys with perceptions of having one or more familiar people who thought cross-gender-typed play was “bad,” were influenced by gender-typed toy labels. However, only boys with perceptions of having one or more people who thought cross-gender-typed play was “bad,” were somewhat influenced by gender-typed information unrelated to the toys. Furthermore, in study 2, boys' (but not girls') perceptions of having one or more people who thought cross-gender-typed play was “bad,” independent of an awareness of gender stereotypes predicted the amount of time boys spent with cross-gender toys. The discussion highlights the utility of measures of children's perceptions of others' social expectations of gender in gender research. Additionally, the discussion highlights the complex relationships between such perceptions, situational constraints, and different socialization that girls and boys experience in the domain of toy play.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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