Mother–Child Conversations about Gender. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development

  • ID: 2249745
  • Book
  • 145 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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This monograph provides the first in–depth look at how

mothers and young children talk about gender, to discover

the potential role of language in fostering gender stereotypes.

Mothers and their sons/daughters, who were 2–½,

4–½, or 6–½ years of age, were videotaped discussing a

picture book that focused on gender. A consistent contrast

was found between mothers explicit endorsement

of gender stereotypes and implicit emphasis on gender.

Although mothers rarely expressed gender stereotypes

directly, they emphasized gender concepts indirectly, by

referring to gender categories, providing gender labels,

contrasting males and females, and giving approval to

their children s stereotyped statements. With increasing

age, children were more focused on gender categories

and stereotypes, but also more gender–egalitarian.

Gender–egalitarian items (e.g., a female firefighter) were

associated with less overt stereotyping, but also with more

implicit talk about gender. Altogether, mothers language

input conveys a wealth of subtle messages about gender

from which children may construct their own beliefs.
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Susan Gelman
Marianne Taylor
Simone Nguyen
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