Critical Analysis: “How do differences between men and women, which have developed over many years, contribute o expectations about how male and female infants differ in temperament? In other words, in your view, do adults engage in what might be backward generalisation from adults to infants with regards to their opinions about the existence of gender differences early in life?”
After reading Boyd, D.G. and Bee, H.L. (2014, p.318) I could see that even during infancy parents start having an influence on how the infants view gender by the way they behave. It can also influence parent-infant relationships. In the text Boyd, D.G and Bee, H.L (2014, p.318) discuss that parents can respond positively to an infant girl who is calm. This is because their experiences and have led them to have this perception that this is ‘girly’ and therefore desired in an infant girl. If an infant girl behaves in a much more active way, this is seen as stereo typically masculine. Without sometimes realising parents can act disapprovingly because of their perceptions. This as a result leads to gender- bias expectations at it is inborn in the children inborn character.
After watching the video No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? 21:00 16/08/2017, BBC2 England, I can see that, parents treating boys and girls differently even as early as infancy can affect how they perceive boys and girls. The video shows that boys and girls associate the word ‘strength’ with boys, that they have stronger muscles and cry much less. This is also discussed in the text McClure (2000) cited in Boyd, D.G and Bee, H.L (2014, p.318), who says that girls are often perceived as being much more emotional.
So, to answer the question; “do adults engage in what might be backward generalisation from adults to infants with regards to their opinions about the existence of gender differences early in life?”. From what I have read and watched I think that yes, parents do treat infants differently because of their perceptions, but these perceptions have probably come from the gender- difference perception their parents have and are influenced from how their parents treated them differently if they were a boy or a girl as infants.
I believe that as a teacher it is important to challenge these perceptions in a way that will help the children understand but also not to upset them. This is because, the video showed one of the boys getting very upset and angry when it turned out he wasn’t the strongest. One girl had greater belief in herself at the end of the strength test, this was fantastic to see. But, I think having a positive impact on one child shouldn’t result in having a negative impact on another. Therefore, changing these perceptions can be quite a difficult task to do effectively, but I believe it can be achieved. Involving the parents in this is a great idea as they influence their children’s thoughts and perceptions greatly.
‘Gender Differences in Temperament: Real or Imagined?’ Chapter 10 (p318) of Boyd, D.G. and Bee, H.L. (2014). The Developing Child. 13th edn.
No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? 21:00 16/08/2017, BBC2 England, 60 mins. https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/prog/0F7AFD86 (Accessed 01 Oct 2018)