Chapter 12 Summary: Concepts of Sex and Gender in Treatment of Infants and Children

This article covers summary of the Concepts of Sex and Gender in Treatment of Infants and Children.

Chapter 12 Summary: Concepts of Sex and Gender

The concepts of sex and gender can be differentiated based on individual roles and orientation: male or female. People exhibit subtle differences in their physical characteristics and abilities, psychological characteristics, and societal roles.

Therefore, differentiating between biological sex and gender can be done; biological sex denotes physical characteristics that define male and female while gender defines attributes that society considers appropriate for men and women. It means that men and women should adopt particular patterns of behavior referred to as gender roles.

As much as society is inclined to adhere to particular norms, they generate gender stereotypes that depict inaccurate and overgeneralized beliefs regarding men and women’s roles. The social-role theory illustrates that disparities in gender roles contribute significantly to the creation and maintenance of stereotypes. 

Gender stereotypes influence the treatment of infants and children. Infants are born as male or female. However, after the infant is labeled as male or female, gender stereotypes become a major concern given that treatment and perceptions accorded to them become selective.

Male infants receive masculine treatment while females are treated tenderly and will a lot of care. At around two years, infants acquire gender identities and can categorize people as males and females. These identities result in children behaving differently. 

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Concepts of sex and gender
Concepts of Sex and Gender

During gender-role development, children acquire a solid understanding of their biological sexual underpinnings and those around them. This trend means that children also acquire stereotypes that define how people should carry themselves, behavioral patterns that favor gender-appropriate activities.

Depending on their age, children learn and adapt gender roles and stereotypes at varying capacities, with some gaining rigidity about society’s beliefs and expectations regarding men and women. As a result, children become consistent in understanding biological sex despite societal pressures to stick to gender role expectations.

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