Updated: Jul 16, 2019
By Alvin Codner:
As per my perspective of on the process by which gender is "constructed" in social and educational contexts, I believe that it is definitely constructed from the parents/caregivers of children, educators of elementary/middle school/ high school, and coaches of athletic teams. I will try to break down my beliefs in the three sections below:
Coaches of Athletic Teams
Coaches (especially male coaches of male teams) tend to talk down female athletes and female sports. A coach that coaches sports that deal with tough, intensive, physical contact (such as football or hockey), usually tend to tell their players "don't play like a soft sissy girl" or things along lines of that comment. This comments about because I believe back in the day the males not only dominated sports but were the only ones to do them. It wasn't lady like to play sports or do any physical hard labor. Women were supposed to be house wives. Of course times definitely has changed and women now can play sports but they are separated in every sports by gender and that standards are lowered for them as well. Reason being is because scientifically on average a man is stronger and faster than women but in my belief is NOT ALL MEN ARE STRONGER THAN ALL WOMEN and can perform better then the WHOLE other gender. The people who created these sports though started the constructing of this social context simply from the beginning by stating "this is a man sport women can't play".
Female dominant sports such as volleyball, cheer leading and gymnastics as well has it's issues. If a man does any of those these sports, majority of the people looking from the outside in would assume they are a part of the LGBT community because it's not a per se "MANLY SPORT". Or, if a man himself feels like he needs to be more "GIRLY" to perform better at cheer leading or ballet dancing, then he most likely will try to identify himself to be female.
Parents and Caregivers of Children:
"If you expose a single baby to a group of crying babies then that single baby will cry as well and join the group." That was quoted from a psychology study, but my reasoning for stating that was to say the person(s) who the children live with growing up have major influences on their perspective of who a male and female is as well as what they do. For instance, if I child sees his or her parents get ready every morning. The parents do the following commonly every morning:
Mom: Cook Breakfast, Clean Kitchen, Put on Dress and Make-up
Dad: Put on Suit, Eat Breakfast, Leave For Work.
Of course this is just an example, but on average, if the child sees that every day, if he is a girl she will identify as what her mother does and if it's a boy then he will identify what his father does. Of course, this isn't a fact in ALL families or circumstances but the roles in the household of what the mother and father does and does not do has a major influence on what the child perceives on his or her gender identity.
Educators of K-12th Grade
During the K-12th grade years of the youth's life, majority of their day is spent at school with their teachers.
The average American student goes to school for about 6 and half hours a day for 180 days a year, or about 1,170 hours. If the student is in an after school program, those usual last 2 to 4 hours. The average hours slept by a child is 9 hours and 15 minutes a night. The average hours slept by teens is 6 and half hours a night.
I stated all of those facts to say that K-12 students are usually spend majority of their time in the day in a school environment and in bed sleep, more then they are at home awake and the person(s) they look up to besides their parents or caregiver is the teachers and after school program counselors. More commonly as well, teachers are most like to be women and the principals were males. 76 percent of educators are women so kids also may grow up believing on women become teachers and the higher percentage of male principals in America may influence the students that all principals are males or should be males.
I hope all of my examples made some kind of sense. Once again, I am not making a generalization of what I believe every man and women identifies themselves as based off of these scenarios, they were simply just common examples that I personally know of.
My perspective on "the next steps" in dismantling of gender-identity bias is the following:
The first lesson in the educational curriculum of schools in America should be based on what a boy and girl can do and cannot do. Create a universal chart. Draw a chart of 3 Circle Venn Diagram. One circle represents all the things a boy can do; one represents a girl, and the middle circle represent what can be done by both. Tell the boys and girls to list all the things they can and want to do and show them that anybody can do anything no matter what gender they are. If there is any doubt in any of the students then show them videos and images of adult women doing men jobs and men doing women jobs. I believe exposing this to students at a early age would decrease gender-identity bias tremendous.