The problem of identifying and securing the gender identity of a child in modern society is becoming more urgent. The fact that the formation of gender, family, citizenship, patriotic feelings and value system are necessary conditions for the process of socialization of the individual, there is no doubt. However, there are big doubts about how to form this belonging in the child and whether it is worthwhile to focus his attention on this aspect in early childhood.
Sex and gender
In modern society, it is common to distinguish between gender and gender. Sex is a biological characteristic of an individual that determines the distinctive features of a man and a woman on chromosomal, anatomical, hormonal and reproductive levels. Under the term "gender" is meant the social sex of the individual, the differences between men and women, depending on social conditions. As such conditions, social functions, the system of social division of labor, cultural stereotypes etc. can act. Thus, gender acts as a socio-cultural phenomenon, meaning what it means to be a man / woman in a particular society. For example, if a man does not work, and is engaged in the upbringing of his children, then in traditional society his behavior will be considered atypical (non-male) in terms of gender roles. However, despite this, according to biological characteristics, this individual does not become "less a man". As for the acceptability of certain norms that determine the gender of the individual, they are initially asked by the society and its culture. In the American sociological theory, the concept of gender evolved gradually. At the same time, different aspects were at the center of attention at different stages of the development of this concept:
- gender in terms of the social roles of men and women,
- gender as an expression of power relations,
- gender as a control over the behavior of men and women,
- Gender as a special social institution.
The social roles of men and women are usually seen in two directions - vertical and horizontal. So, in the first case, gender identity is considered in the context of such concepts as income and wealth, power, prestige, etc. From the horizontal perspective, the institutional aspect of differentiation (politics, economy, education, family) and functional (separation of responsibilities in the process of implementation labor).
According to the concept of Sandra Böhm (1944), three types of gender identity should be distinguished: masculine, feminine and androgynous.
Masculine gender identity
The definition of gender refers to the attribution of an individual to a particular gender. Masculine type is characterized by characteristics that are traditionally attributed to men in society:
It is often viewed as the opposite of the masculine type. Feminine gender identity implies that the individual has such traits as:
At the same time, it was traditionally believed that feminine, as well as masculinity, has biological conditioning. Accordingly, the dominant was the view that these are purely feminine qualities, and every woman, in one way or another, must comply with them. The presence of this kind of qualities in the male part of the population was considered, at best, strange, and at worst unacceptable. However, the conduct of feminist research led to the discovery of a new view on the nature of femininity: it is not so biologically conditioned as it is constructed from childhood. If the girl is not feminine enough, she is condemned by others. According to the concept of the French feminist theorists E. Six and J. Kristeva, femininity is an arbitrary category, which the patriarchy assigned to women.
Androgynous gender identity implies the combination of masculine and feminine traits. It is believed that in terms of adaptability, this position is the most optimal - the personality as it absorbs all the best from two types. Numerous studies have shown that masculinity and femininity are not strictly antipodes of each other - their rigid opposition is erroneous. It has been established that persons strictly adhering to the characteristics traditionally attributed to their sex are often poorly adapted to living conditions. The following regularities were revealed:
- women with a low level of masculinity and men, with a high level of femininity are often anxious, helpless, passive and more prone to depression;
- women and men with a high level of masculinity have difficulties in establishing and maintaining interpersonal contacts;
- Young couples who rigidly adhere to traditional models of male / female behavior, often have sexually-psychological disharmony in the family, as well as sexual disorders;
- Androgyny, as a psychological characteristic, has a positive connection with the level of self-esteem, motivation to achieve, a sense of inner well-being, etc.
Androgynous personality has a rich set of sex-role behavior, flexibly using it depending on the dynamics of changing social situations.
The formation of the gender identity of children can take place in accordance with the gender or gender position of the immediate environment. And here it is necessary to distinguish two basic approaches: gender and gender.
The Polar approach
In accordance with the gender-based approach, the formation of gender identity in the process of socialization of the child should occur through the assimilation of the typical characteristics of its sex. So, boys are oriented towards the creation (instrumental role) and creation, and the girls - for care and maintenance. It is believed that this is provided by nature itself. With reference to the American society, under the instrumental role, financial support of the family was primarily implied. In turn, a woman, while a man works, cares about children and the house, supporting the atmosphere of mutual love and support. In this case, the propensities and interests of the individual, as well as determining the education of gender identity regardless of gender, were not taken into account. More precisely, they could simply coincide if the man or woman had inclinations and interests corresponding to their gender roles. If this did not happen (a man or woman showed an interest in activities that are not typical for their sex), then you just had to reconcile yourself with the established patterns of behavior. Thus, the task of society is to educate a man and a woman in accordance with traditional gender roles, conditioned by their biological affiliation.
The gender approach is based on the theory of social construction of reality by Peter Berger (1929) and Thomas Lukman (1927). The "revolutionary" position of this approach is the idea that gender roles do not have an innate character, but are created in the process of interaction of individuals in society. Accordingly, the formation of gender, family, citizenship of the individual must take into account primarily its individual psychological characteristics (character, temperament, interests, abilities, etc.), and not sex. Both a woman and a man can perform those activities to which they are more interested. In modern society, for example, for a long time, fashion designers, women leaders, etc. have become accustomed to. Still, the stereotyped thinking about gender roles in society continues to exist.
Thus, supporters of the gender approach pursue the idea that the formation of gender in preschool children should be conditioned, first of all, by his personal characteristics. The boy will not be inspired by the thought that crying is not like a man, but tears are a sign of weakness. In turn, the girl will not believe that she should be neat "because she is a girl" - because neatness is not a purely feminine trait. Choosing toys for your child, parents (if they are supporters of a gender approach) will not be guided by the beaten scheme, which, as a rule, forms the gender identity of preschool children in the traditional system of education: boys - cars, girls - dolls. The baby can also become interested in cars, and the guy with a doll, and this one will not be forbidden. In this case, the girl will not become a "less girl", and the boy - "less a boy".
Gender patterns in child development. The process of polotipization
The formation of femininity / masculinity in children occurs at an early age. So, approximately to 4-5 years the gender accessory (in the second younger group of a kindergarten) is fixed. Children begin to give preferences to typical games that match their gender. This compliance, as already mentioned, is set by the cultural norms of society. Also, the formation of gender in preschool children is manifested in the fact that children prefer to play more with children - members of their own sex. Sexification by sex (English sex-typing) received in the psychological science the name of polotipization. It is accompanied by the acquisition of individual preferences, personal attitudes, habits, "I" -conceptions, etc. The importance of genderization, determining the formation of gender, family, citizenship in preschool children is treated differently in different psychological theories of development.
Polotyping in the psychoanalytic concept
At the heart of polotipization, as its primary mechanism, psychoanalysis identifies the process of identification of the child with the parent of his gender. The identification process is carried out as part of the child's research of his own genitals as sex differences. The appearance of envy of the penis and the fear of castration, arising in boys and girls, lead to the successful resolution of the Oedipus complex. However, this concept was also criticized by feminist schools, as it focused on the biological conditioning of gender differences.
Polotyping and the theory of social learning
In contrast to psychoanalysis, the theory of social learning emphasizes the significant role of the incentive-punishment system in the education of the child's gender identity. If the child is punished for behavior that parents consider unacceptable for his sex (or, conversely, encouraged, for acceptable), then there is a process of fixing certain patterns of behavior in the child's mind. The second important aspect in the theory of social learning is the processes of observation and modeling.
Accordingly, the theory of social learning considers the source of genderization in the sphere of socialization, differentiated by sex. One of the advantages of this theory is the application to the development of female and male psychology of the general principle of learning, well known for the development of a multitude of other behaviors.
Polotyping in the framework of the theory of cognitive development
This theory primarily focuses on the primary agents of gender-based socialization of the individual. The process of sexual typification is carried out invariably, in a natural way, proceeding from the general principles of cognitive development. In other words, from the point of view of the theory of cognitive development, since children need the cognitive stability of self-determination as women or men, it motivates them to appreciate what seems to them more similar to themselves, in terms of gender. A gender-based assessment system, in turn, encourages the child's motivation to act actively, according to his gender, by making appropriate efforts to develop gender attitudes, and also preferring peers that are identical with him in terms of gender.