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The Differences Between Men and Women--Part II: Stereotyping and Its Effects on Product Perception

Guy Lewis, PhD February 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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Young children are very impressionable to the world around them, and they absorb information from their environment more profoundly and deeply than imagined. They pick up incoming information that either is sent directly to them or which they vicariously sense.

The development of sex role stereotyping begins early in young children. They also learn from environmental indicators how they are expected to act and react in light of incoming information. Although the multidimensionality of gender roles has been well-established, few researchers have investigated male and female roles individually.There is a significant difference in the way male and female roles are portrayed in our culture, and therefore boys and girls may think and learn about these roles differently.

The male role is defined more clearly, more highly valued, and more salient than the female role; thus, children’s cognitions about these two roles may be expected to differ. A study showed that at 36 months, boys were less able to label gender and less knowledgeable about gender roles than were girls. Boys knew more about male stereotypes than female stereotypes, whereas girls knew considerably more than boys about the female role and as much as boys about the male role. Boys and girls were found to be similar in gender schematicity.

Gender roles

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