Your task is to undertake a social science inquiry to investigate how
humans acquire their gender identities. In other words, you will seek to
discover when and how we learn what it means to “act like a man” or “be
You will follow the social science inquiry model to explore this issue.
The first two steps are already done for you. Just pick one of the two
hypotheses. You will begin the inquiry at the third step, Gathering Data
and work towards answering the research question. You will then Analyze
Data and Draw Conclusions. Finally, you will discuss your findings in a well
written essay.
FORMULATING QUESTION-The question you will be attempting to answer is:
When and how do boys and girls learn gender roles?
GENERATING HYPOTHESIS-The hypothesis you will be using is:
The gender roles that typically define males and females are the
result of nurture, not nature.
First, you will attempt to determine how early in a person’s life the
teaching/learning of gender roles begins. In order to help answer this
question, you will visit a store which sells baby/infant clothes and toys.
Ask yourself these questions:
What are the main trends for clothes/toys intended for boys? What are those for girls?
Are these trends visible in items for newborns? If not, when do the differences begin to
become apparent? (what age)
Next, you will investigate how parents/guardians/family teach gender
roles to their offspring. You will conduct an interview with someone who
has had experience raising a child/children and ask them the following
 Are there any differences in the way that you raise male and female children?
 (ex. Rough play, types of toys, discipline, types of sports, showing emotion, physical
affection, curfew…).
 How do you think boys should act? How do you think girls should act?
 What are some important things to teach boys? Girls?
 Do you have the same expectations for boys and girls?
Next, you will look at the effect that the media has on teaching people
gender roles. Specifically, you will investigate how gender roles are
expressed in advertisements, television, and music.
Check as many different kinds of advertisements as possible and ask yourself the
following questions:
Is the major character in the ad male, female, or are they both included?
What product(s) is the ad selling?
Who is the target audience?
What activity is illustrated in the ad?
What is the individual in the ad wearing?
Is the individual portrayed in the ad given an active or passive role?
What is the message of the ad?
What gender roles are being represented? Are these stereotypical gender roles?
Try to watch as many different TV shows as possible in the next few days. As you watch,
ask yourself the following questions:
Is the leading character male or female?
The number of male____ female____ support characters.
What are the occupations of the lead characters?
Who solves the problems?
Who shows caring emotion?
Who runs the errands?
Are there any role models? Why are they considered role models?
What gender roles are being represented? Are these stereotypical gender roles?
Sample several different genres of music over the next few days. Watch music videos
and listen to the lyrics.
 List some of the terms/characteristics used to describe/portray men and women.
 Who are some famous female/male vocalists? What qualities do they display? How are
they similar/different?
Next, you will critically evaluate a school textbook. Textbooks help to
teach about particular topics but they also serve to provide lessons about
gender appropriate values, attitudes, and behaviours.
Critically evaluate one of your textbooks. Ask yourself the following questions:
What percentage of the content deals with the achievements/contributions of men? Of
How are men/women portrayed?
List the different occupations for males and females.
Look at the number of males and females in the illustrations. From these images, how
many men/women are:
Taking an active role
Taking a passive role
What gender roles are being represented? Are these stereotypical gender roles?
Once you have collected enough raw data you will carefully analyze it then draw your
 When does the process of socialization begin to take place?
 Is one source more influential than others in this process?
 Are there any trends that appear?
The final step in this assignment is to present your findings.
Your essay will consist of:
An Introduction
A summary of your research (how you gathered data)
Conclusions-Answer the research question:
When and how do boys and girls learn gender roles?
Guiding Questions:
How early do children learn gender roles?
Who is responsible for teaching gender roles?
How does this happen?
A Conclusion
Minimum 3 pages in length
Must be word processed
12-size font in Times New Roman or Arial
Do not shrink margins