Gender Constancy Theory

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Gender Constancy Theory



Piaget's influence - 

> Kohlberg's theory is drawn on Piaget's idea that the way we think changes as we get older because of physical changes in the brain.

> The brain becomes capable of complicated & abstracts thoughts - means changes in gender thinking are solely the outcome of age-related changes in a child's cognitive capabilities.

> Development occurs in stages (it's called stage theory).

> Children naturally progress from one stage to the next as their way of thinking matures (this progression through the stages is a gradual process, not a sudden one).


Stage 1: gender labelling -

> Stage 1 = gender labelling & occurs between the ages of 2 and 3.

> Gender labelling = children label themselves and others as a boy/girl, man/woman (this label is based on outward appearance like hair & clothes) - label will change as appearance changes.

> By the end of stage 1 children can label others & themselves as either boy or girl - a child's way of thinking at this stage has been described by Piaget as pre-operational (lacks internal logic - superficial logic but isn't internally consistent).

Stage 2: gender stability - 

> Stage 2 = gender stability & occurs around the age of 4.

> Gender stability = children recognise gender is something that's consistent over time, boys become men & girls become women - thus their gender concept is stable but not yet consistent (still think m's might become f's if they engage in f activities).

> Children under the age of 7 are still swayed by outward appearances - an example of Piaget's concept of conservation.

> In terms of gender, children around 7  believe that a person must be a girl if they wear a dress (if they appear to be female then they must be) - they lack the ability to conserve.

> MCCONAGHY found that when young children were shown a line drawing of a doll where male genitals were…


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