Just Sociology

The Reinforcement of Traditional Gender Identities in Schools: Impact on Performance and Behavior

Gender identity is a fundamental aspect of self-perception that begins to form in early childhood and continues to develop throughout adolescence. This development is influenced by various social factors, including family, peers, media, and school.

Schools play a crucial role in shaping the gender identities of students, with both positive and negative implications. However, research shows that traditional gender identities are often reinforced in schools, creating an unequal and discriminatory environment for students who do not conform to these norms.

This article explores the reinforcement of traditional gender identities in schools, specifically looking at male and female peer groups, teachers, tutors, subject advisors, and how gender identities vary across different ethnic groups. Furthermore, this article also delves into the importance of gender identity for children in school, discussing the development of gender identity and the significance of conforming to gender norms.

Male Peer Groups

Working-class masculinity, middle-class masculinity, and traditional masculinity are some of the traditional gender identities reinforced in schools through male peer groups. Working-class masculinity is characterized by an emphasis on physical labor and toughness, while middle-class masculinity emphasizes intellectual pursuits, individualism, and the pursuit of success.

Traditional masculinity, on the other hand, emphasizes stoicism, aggression, and dominance over women. These gender identities are often reinforced through informal socialization processes that occur within male peer groups.

Boys learn to conform to these gender norms to fit in with their peers, and those who do not conform are often ostracized or bullied.

Female Peer Groups

Traditional femininity, laddishness, and verbal abuse are some of the traditional gender identities reinforced in schools through female peer groups. Traditional femininity emphasizes passivity, emotional expression, and subordination to males, while laddishness involves adopting male behaviors and rejecting traditional feminine traits.

Verbal abuse is also prevalent in female peer groups, where girls use insults and derogatory language to establish social dominance. These gender identities are reinforced through informal socialization processes that occur within female peer groups.

Girls learn to conform to these gender norms to fit in with their peers, and those who do not conform are often ostracized or excluded.

Teachers

Male dominance, typical boy/girl, and negative feedback are some of the ways traditional gender identities are reinforced in schools through teachers. Male dominance is reinforced through gendered stereotypes and biases that prioritize male students over female students.

Teachers often perceive boys as more active and aggressive, while girls are perceived as more passive and compliant. These stereotypes influence the classroom environment, where male students are more likely to take up space and contribute to the conversation, while female students are often overlooked.

Negative feedback is also more commonly given to female students, contributing to a self-fulfilling prophecy of underachievement.

Tutors and Subject Advisors

Questioning decisions and traditional gender domains are some of the ways traditional gender identities are reinforced in schools through tutors and subject advisors. Tutors and subject advisors often perpetuate gender stereotypes by encouraging students to choose subjects and career paths that align with traditional gender norms.

For example, girls are often encouraged to pursue careers in caregiving or social work, while boys are encouraged to pursue careers in STEM fields. This reinforces the gendered division of labor and perpetuates gender inequalities.

Gender Identities in Different Ethnic Groups

Anti-school subcultures, cultural pressure, and gender gap in education are some of the factors that influence gender identities in different ethnic groups. Ethnically diverse schools are more likely to have anti-school subcultures, where students reject traditional academic pursuits and prioritize alternative values such as masculinity, toughness, and group affiliation.

Cultural pressure also plays a significant role, where students from some ethnic backgrounds are expected to conform to traditional gender norms. For example, Muslim girls are often discouraged from participating in physical activities or wearing revealing clothing.

This reinforces patriarchal values and limits their opportunities for social mobility. Additionally, the gender gap in education is more pronounced in certain ethnic groups, where boys are more likely to underachieve, while girls are encouraged to prioritize academic pursuits.

Development of Gender Identity

Gender identity begins to develop in early childhood and is typically well-established by age 6. Children become increasingly aware of gender stereotypes and expectations as they age, with gender roles becoming more rigid during adolescence.

Children learn about gender through a socialization process, where parents, peers, media, and school influence their perceptions and behaviors. They may also actively seek out information about gender, often through peers or media.

A well-developed gender identity is crucial for a child’s sense of self-esteem, well-being, and socialization.

Acting Out Gender Identity in School

Acting out gender identity in school is an important aspect of affirming gender identity and feeling a sense of belonging. Children who do not conform to traditional gender norms may face discrimination, harassment, and social isolation, leading to negative psychological outcomes.

However, conforming to gender norms may also limit children’s opportunities for self-expression and social development. Schools should strive to create an inclusive environment that allows children to freely express their gender identity without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Conclusion:

The reinforcement of traditional gender identities in schools is a complex issue that affects students in various ways. Schools should aim to create a safe and inclusive environment that allows students to freely express their gender identity without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Teachers, tutors, subject advisors, and peers should be aware of their biases and stereotypes and strive to treat all students equally. Additionally, schools should prioritize the development of a well-established gender identity that affirms the individual’s sense of self while promoting inclusivity and diversity.Gender identity is a critical aspect of self-perception that can shape the performance and behavior of students in schools.

Traditional gender identities and stereotypes often reinforce inequality and discrimination towards those who do not conform to societal standards. Hence, this article explores the impact of gender identities on school performance and behavior, focusing on male and female peer groups, verbal abuse, teachers, and ethnic groups.

The article aims to highlight how traditional gender identities impose constraints on students, impacting their performance, and behavior.

Male Peer Groups and School Work

Male peer groups, particularly lads peer groups, have a significant impact on male students’ schoolwork. Lads characterize masculinity by rebellious behavior, disinterest in intellectual pursuits in school, and an emphasis on sports, and male-bonding.

This reinforces a culture of not taking academics seriously and a lack of effort in school work. Such behavior is viewed as acceptable within the male peer group as their collective identity is tied to rejecting notions of female-connotations like the passion for academia.

However, it ultimately leads to students not meeting their academic potential and negatively impacting their future prospects.

Female Peer Groups and Appearance

Female peer groups are an important source of socialization, influencing the construction of feminine identity, particularly regarding appearance. Constructing a feminine image is generally perceived as desirable and a source of power in social and academic settings.

Appearance is often policed by the female peer group, with those who fail to meet the prescribed feminine standards being excluded from the group or ridiculed. The constant pressure to conform to feminine norms and standards can be emotionally taxing for students and may lead to low self-esteem and poor academic performance.

Verbal Abuse and Dominance

Verbal abuse is prevalent in schools, particularly in male and female peer groups. Verbal abuse is a way of reinforcing gender identity and asserting dominance over others.

It involves using derogatory terms and labels to identify those who do not conform to traditional gender identities or stereotypes. Verbal abuse is often gender-specific as boys are targeted for femininity and girls for masculinity.

Such verbal abuse can have severe psychological implications in the long-term. Additionally, studies show that males are more likely to engage in verbal abuse towards females, indicating the influence of male dominance.

Teachers and Feedback

Teachers’ feedback and perceptions play a crucial role in shaping students’ performance and behavior in schools. In reinforcing gender identity, teachers may give negative feedback to male students who do not conform to traditional masculine norms.

This reinforces a sense of male dominance, where men must be physically strong, competitive, and confident. In contrast, female students may receive protection from female teachers or preferential treatment, perpetuating the notion that females must be emotional, passive, and nurturing.

The impact of gender on teacher-student interactions highlights the need for awareness and equity in teaching practices.

Ethnicity and Gender Performance

The relationship between ethnicity and gender performance is complex, with differences observed across ethnic groups. In some ethnically diverse schools, anti-school subcultures exist, where students reject traditional academic pursuits and prioritize alternative values, including gender identity.

Male students, in particular, are more likely to underachieve or drop out in some ethnic groups, with a greater emphasis on traditional notions of masculinity. Cultural pressure also plays a significant role, with some ethnic groups discouraging female students’ access to education or restricting their opportunities, reinforcing traditional gender roles and contributing to the gender gap in education.

Conclusion:

Traditional gender identities and stereotypes can have a significant impact on students’ performance and behavior in school. Students feel compelled to conform to these identities and stereotypes, leading to negative consequences.

Male and female peer groups play a significant role in reinforcing traditional gender identities, leading to anti-academic behavior, verbal abuse, and policing appearance.

Teachers also reinforce gender stereotypes, leading to negative feedback and preferential treatment.

Moreover, ethnicity plays a role in gender performance disparities, emphasizing the need for awareness and equity in teaching practices. By promoting inclusive, equitable, and non-discriminatory policies and practices, schools can create a safe and supportive environment for all students to realize their potential, free of predetermined gender identities.

This article has explored the reinforcement of traditional gender identities in schools, the importance of gender identity for children in school, and the impact of gender identities on school performance and behavior. The article has highlighted how traditional gender identities and stereotypes can lead to discrimination and inequality, impacting students’ school performance, and behavior.

By understanding and addressing these issues, schools can create a safe and supportive environment for all students to realize their potential, free of predetermined gender identities. FAQs:

1.

Why is gender identity important in schools? Gender identity is essential in schools as it impacts a child’s sense of self-esteem, well-being, and socialization.

2. How do peer groups reinforce traditional gender identities?

Peer groups reinforce traditional gender identities through informal socialization processes that occur within these groups. By conforming to these gender norms, students fit in with their peers and are accepted into these groups.

3. How can teachers prevent the reinforcement of traditional gender identities?

Teachers can prevent the reinforcement of traditional gender identities by treating all students equally, challenging gender stereotypes, and creating an inclusive environment that values diversity and inclusivity. 4.

What is the impact of traditional gender identities on academic performance? Traditional gender identities can negatively impact academic performance by enforcing anti-academic behavior, leading to students not meeting their academic potential or failing to achieve their full potential.

5. How can schools create a supportive environment for students?

Schools can create a supportive environment by promoting an inclusive and equitable environment, challenging gender stereotypes, and addressing behavior that reinforces traditional gender identities.

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