Gender norms and stereotypes are so ingrained in our society that adults are often surprised to realize how early children internalize these ideas. When young children get caught up in stereotypical notions of gender, though, it can harm their self images and the way they interact with peers. Children need opportunities to consider these internalized stereotypes and think about the problems they cause.
In this lesson, students will think about characteristics they ascribe to either boys or girls. They will learn about the idea of “stereotypes” and will consider whether gender stereotypes are fair or unfair. They will also discuss how it feels to not conform to socially defined gender norms.
Activities will help students:
- acquire relevant vocabulary to talk about gender identity and stereotypes
- identify gender stereotypes
- participate in a classroom community where it is safe to talk about identity
- understand how stereotypes can result in unfair or even harmful situations
- What is gender? What are some of our ideas about how people of different genders “should” be or act?
- What is a stereotype?
- How do stereotypes affect boys and girls as they grow and live their lives?
- What does someone who does not conform to gender expectations feel?