Children’s Gender Identity Development: The Dynamic Negotiation Process Between Conformity and Authenticity

Author: Brinkman, B.G.; Rabenstein, K.L.; Rosen, L.A.; Zimmerman, T.S.

Description: In the current study, 45 girls and 41 boys participated in focus groups following a program designed to teach them about social justice. The children articulated the discrepancy between their own gender identity and gender role stereotypes and discussed potential problems with conforming to gender role expectations as well as consequences of nonconformity. They articulated the ways in which gender identity is complex and they described the importance of choice and authenticity. Based on these findings, we present a model of how children’s gender identity develops in relationship to experiences of gender prejudice. In particular, we highlight how children act and react to gender role socialization as part of a dynamic negotiation process. Throughout the current article we strive to highlight the need for an alternative in the gender conformity process for children, with children in the position of power regarding their own gender identity development.

Subject headings: Gender identity; Children; Focus groups

Publication year: 2014

Journal or book title: Youth & Society

Volume: 46

Issue: 6

Pages: 835-852

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 1057