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Gender Schema Theory

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Gender Schema theory Introduction Gender Schema theory is a development from the social learning theory and cognitive development theory. Therefore, the theory seeks to outline some of the flaws in these two theories and correct them, and this is to give a clear understanding of how both active and passive roles of children contribute to gender differentiation. Sandra Bem asserts that is the schemas that allow for the organization of information as well as shaping the way in which children get to see the world. Therefore, it is from these ways that the children get to identify with masculine or feminine characteristics and mature into males and females associating with the characteristics. It is noteworthy that children learn from the culture in which they live, and this starts at an early age when they are meant to believe that pink is a feminine color and blue is a masculine color. It is from this that they grow and associate with to be capable of identifying with a set of behaviors. However, it is noteworthy that these behaviors are subject to change, and this may occur either at a family level or a larger level with time. The paper explores the gender schema theory by assessing the contexts friendship and love relationship, and this is to determine whether they are parallel to each other or not in terms of applicability. It is noteworthy that friendship is one of the attributes of socialization and an essential part of man’s life. However, in the historical times it was only men who were believed to be ideal models of friendships, but women were seen as incapable of such friendships. In as much as sexual possibilities obscures friendship across genders, it should be also be noted that the cross gender friendships are different too. This can be directed to the gender roles where men and women friendship tend to be different, and this is because of the socialization part of it and gender social networks. Therefore, even though, cross gender relationships may be hindered by sexual possibilities, they are further driven apart by these differences much as ego boundaries and dominant ideas about what a man or woman is required of in the society, and this is among many other differences. Therefore, as Bem puts it, gender differentiation at an early age through the use of toys, and certain colors have a role to play in the difficulty that exists between cross gender friendship, and this is because of the society’s norms. This is taken as the grounds for women friendships, as well as romantic friendships as having thrived because the society permitted them. This is in agreement with the assertion that the culture in which one lives shapes the person he becomes, and because toys boys and girls were given gender roles, colors and even toys at an early age this brought out the difficulty in cross gender friendships. When it comes to love relationships, it is noteworthy, that it is the same social values making it difficult to form cross gender friendships that apply here too. This is because gender schema, which associates some roles with the two genders that determine how they relate with each other, is a force to consider when it comes to love relationships. This can be seen in how both males and females think about their roles in a romantic relationship, and this is, in addition to, romantic scripts that set the characteristics and roles of a make and a female in a romantic relationship. This indicates that all these are gender, for it turns out that a person can only fall in love with an individual portraying certain characteristics. It is noteworthy that these characteristics the male or female preference of the opposite sex are those they have learnt to associate with from childhood years, and it is what is called gendered schemata, and it emphasizes the applicability of gender schema theory. Therefore, the fact that people chose who to fall in love with which is determined by the acceptable norms of the society on romantic relationships and the roles of the genders, romantic love turns out as a gender relationship. It is noteworthy that it is this that determines the characteristics, conditions and preferences of love relationships, and hence the choices the genders make as to whom can make the right partner. The discussions above ascertain that the gender schemas in the two contexts run parallel to each other. This is because, in both the contexts, gendered roles seem to be the determinant factor in the choices the genders make. This turns out to be the product of the culture of the society in which the genders live where as children grow, they associate themselves with the acceptable gender characteristics and roles, just to conform to the society mandates. Therefore, in so doing, they get to build their gender, which is different from the opposite gender but acceptable by the society. This parallelism is a sure indication that the two contexts reinforce each other to give meaning to the existent differences in people that lead to a gender society. This is because at friendships start at an early age, and it has been seen that in as much as cross gender relationships are hampered by some difficulties, they are still regulated by these difficulties so that the gender roles become distinct from an early age as children grow. Therefore, love relationships are just a continuation of the cross gender relationships but with some emotion attached to it. However, it is noteworthy that it is the gender characteristics that form the basis of this relationship, an indication that the earlier cross gender friendships are a precursor to this later relationship. Conclusion Therefore, this theory helps in reinforcing the characteristics of people by defining their genders and sexual life, and it is friendship models, love, and relationships that are some of the things that a child is brought up knowing. This undoubtedly results into a gender society where associations with masculine and feminine characteristics help children to grow up with the desired characteristics of males and females to complete the society.