September 28, 2022


Education for Me & My Child

   My name is Keily Mendez, a short ,dark- haired, light-skinned Latina. I was born in Dominican Republic in 2002. I lived in the DR for 5 years with my grandparents. When I turned 6 I came to the U.S and basically lived most of my life here. Three important things about me: I want to study medicine in college , I have a 6-month-old baby and I have a passion for makeup. An important moment in my life was leaving my country for a better future. This was a turning point because I had to adapt to another culture and education.

        My favorite thing to do in school is definitely getting all my work done, passing all my classes and doing fun activities. In school I’m good at getting work done on time and sports. Out of school I just enjoy being home and sleeping , or being on my phone, or listening to music. Lastly I’m very good at writing poems , I’ve been writing poems since I was 7 and since then I have been practicing. 

Education is really important to me because not only do I have to educate myself and go to college and get a good career but I also have a responsibility for my life and I want to be able to educate my child too. I’m not scared of being a failure because I would not allow that. It’s really important for me to set an example for my son and also for young teens that also go through this situation.          

The Root of Gender Stereotyping

Gender related stereotypes are still a huge problem in today’s society. Movements like the Women’s March have successfully tried to combat these social norms, yet women are still being held back. Women only make up 6.4% of the Fortune 500 CEO roles. Since 1959, 411 women compared to the 1930 men, have been nominated for a Grammy. Yet we put so much emphasis on breaking these stereotypes, and paving a path towards successful for women, so why hasn’t it been successful? These stereotypes, the stigma we hold, has been engraved in us since the day we were born.

Scientists are beginning to study how parent’s behavior and treatment towards their sons and daughters affects their development. While many parents think that their children naturally exhibited behavior associated with their gender, Lawrence Cohen, author of “Playful Parenting,” explains that while inborn differences do exist, they are quite small. “Girly girl” or “boyish” behavior is nurtured by the behaviors of parents and older family members.  Studies show that despite popular beliefs, from 6 to 12 months olds both boys and girls prefer to play with dolls rather than trucks. Sex-based play preferences occur around age 1. This is because toddlers begin to grasp their gender identity and conform to how they see older boys or girls behaving.

Kids quickly learn what they can and can’t do based off of these gender-related messages. Messages like girls are more nurturing and boys are more math and science oriented can also impact their academic paths and interests as well as future career choices. It can even impact the way they view the opposite sex. If young girls see fathers not approving of his son showing his emotions, it may lead them to think that it’s bad when men show that they are sad or upset. This could be directly linked to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. Men are less likely than women to seek help for depression, and while women suffering from depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide. Because we teach young boys to not show their emotions, it ultimately grows into a greater problem as they get older. Young girls, on the other hand, tend to carry parental disapproval into adulthood. Women are also more self-critical than men, which can be connected to the large percent of women and adolescent girls who have body-dissatisfaction leading to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and purging.

Through a google search analysis, Michael Gonchar found that American parents do have different expectations for their kids based on gender. Overall, they were more worried about their daughter’s waistlines than their son’s, and focused more on the intelligence of their son’s than their daughters. Of all Google searches starting “Is my 2-year-old,” the most common next word is “gifted.” And parents are two and a half times more likely to ask “Is my son gifted?” than “Is my daughter gifted?” This is very ironic though considering girls in American schools are 11 percent more likely than boys to be in gifted programs.

While society strives to break the social stigmas surrounding gender, we must begin to realize that these stereotypes are being engraved into us as soon as we are born. From the color of the walls in a nursery to the toys we play with, they all factor into how we perceive ourselves and the opposite sex. While completely eliminating gender stereotypes is almost impossible, we can at least continue to try and break the negative ones in our cultures today.

Hypothesis link:

Do Parents Have Different Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?

In recent years people have really started to fight for the rights of women. Eliminating the wage gap, speaking up about sexual harassment, encouraging body positivity, and countless other things are being fought for on a daily basis. However, one thing that gets overlooked is how parents treat their children. Researchers have begun to study different ways mothers and fathers interact with their sons and daughters.

Many of these studies conducted usually focus on how mothers treat their children rather than focusing on the behavior of both parents. Jennifer Mascaro, who currently is a researcher in Biological Anthropology at Emory University, explained that for many studies subjects are usually male, “but this is one of the rare situations in which there’s a lot more research on women than men.” This isn’t surprising considering females are usually associated with motherhood and parenting.

The study done by Mascaro, published in the American Psychological Association’s journal Behavioral Neuroscience, focused specifically on fathers’ interactions with their toddlers. This study found that when fathers interacted with their daughters they used comparative and complex words such as “much” and usually talked about emotions such as sadness. With their sons they used words with competitive connotations such as “win” and were more likely to engage in rough physical play and activity.

Negative emotions usually focused on and validated when it comes to girls, being constantly described as “moody” or “dramatic.” Boys, on the other hand,  are usually taught to hold in their emotions, they have to be strong, tough, and unbreakable. These qualities were subtly taught and encouraged to the toddlers by their parents. Both mothers and fathers tended to focus more on emotions and feelings with their daughters. Parents were also more likely to tell detailed stories to their daughters that focused on complex emotions. When it came to their sons parents would be more likely to engage in physical activities.

Interestingly, fathers commonly referenced different body parents of their daughters and not their sons. They would point out and say things such as “tummy” or “face” often times trying to get their young daughters to notice the way she looked. This is something researchers think could be related to the high amount of pre-adolescent girls having body dissatisfaction.

Fathers brains also process time and interactions with their daughters differently then with their sons. Mascaro also found that when dads saw pictures of their children, the brains of fathers with daughters reacted the strongest to their daughters’ happy expressions. The brains of fathers with sons reacted most to their sons’ neutral expressions. They are unsure why this happens, but they are striving to discover whether this is the result of some biological difference in the fathers reactions about different genders, or whether they are the product of social and cultural norms about how girls and boys should behave.

It should be noted that there are limitations to this study. This includes its small sample size and the fact that they only studied people from one area of the United States. This means that conclusions about fathers from other countries and other cultures with different societal norms can not be made. Other factors such as parental age, the number of children one father has, ethnicity, income, and hours the fathers worked per week, were very similar for all dads in the study regardless of their child’s gender, researchers did not take into consideration other important factors such as the education level of the fathers.

While this study may not have drawn many solid conclusions it opened up a world of questions that are currently being tested and studied around the world. If we begin to understand where gender stereotypes are being taught we can start to eliminate them.

Hypothesis link:

Oakland High students talk about a forgotten hero, Irena Sendler

We’re Oakland high students and we talked about a Polish nurse, Irena Sendler who saved many lives during the Holocaust.