Together Yet Separate Essay Research Paper You — страница 2

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other kind?, they establish the meaning of ?doing gender?. This allows them to hold different gender identities and establish their own discovery of self. Clearly, shared interests, psychoanalytic processes, gender labeling, and gender identity all play a key role in the establishment of the chasm we know as gender. Just as it is important to understand how children do gender, it is also vital to understand why some children deviate from this norm. Thorne explains this deviation by introducing the neutralization of gender, or the decrease in importance of gender divisions. ?When the level of analysis shifts from the individual to groups and situations, gender becomes more fluid?(85). Thus, a girl may always be a girl, and that will be a key factor through most of her daily life,

but in some interactions she may be much more aware of this factor than in others. This case of gender neutralization is prevalent in interactions dealing with a child?s ability. For example, when the classroom was divided into groups by reading levels, boys and girls interacted with each other. Here, gender was not a factor solely due to the division of ability. However, a second aspect joins the neutralization of gender ? the aspect of ?different cultures?. Thorne defines ?different cultures? by stating that ?[groups of boys and groups of girls] act upon different values and pursue divergent goals; in many ways they live in separate worlds,? or different cultures (89). Thus, when the neutralization of gender occurs, the crossing over from one ?culture? to another simultaneously

occurs as well. Evidence of these cultures can be seen in such simple actions such as different types of rhetoric. When referring to same-gender relationships, ?boys talk about ?buddies,? ?teams,? and ?being tough,? whereas girls more often use a language of ?best friends? and ?being nice?? (90). More in-depth inquiries depict the complex nature of these different worlds. For instance, boys tend to play more outdoors, taking up more space, while girls organize themselves into more intimate groups, or friendships. On the same level, boys tend to revolve around themes of physical strength and force, while girls have a tendency to structure themselves around physical appearance. This defined division between the boys? world and the girls? world depicts the complexity of gender

neutralization. Thus, in the neutralization of gender, or gender?s momentary loss of significance, one not only crosses the gender chasm, but also enters into an entirely different world. Just as the neutralization of gender proved to be of key significance, so the effects of larger social forces greatly impact the construction of gender differences. The large social force of education, primarily classroom education, greatly influences the separation of gender. Thorne states that there are several basic features of schools that distinguish them from neighborhoods, or environments where boy/girl interaction is more common. The first is that of formal age grading, or the division of children, not only by gender, but also by age. Schools use age grading in a myriad of ways, but

principally in terms of a class structure. Thorne explains ?genders are more likely to separate from one another in same-age than in mixed-age contexts? (52). Thus, by dividing students into classes, schools are in turn creating these same-age contexts ? producing gender separation. The second impact that schools have on gender separation is due, in large, to their crowded and public nature. Since schools are densely populated, they provide more potential companions of the same gender and age, unlike that of a neighborhood. Neighborhoods, therefore, contain fewer companions; without as much choice, children are more likely to interact with someone of another age or a different gender. Thus, the mere population of schools provides gender differences. Finally, the overall power

involved in the school setting offers much explanation for the gender chasm. Thorne states that, ?students have little choice about being present, and members of a smaller, more powerful group [the staff] regulate their use of time, space, and resources?(20-21). This presence of authority contributes to many of the gender differences within individual classrooms. As Thorne points out, in Ashton school, Mrs. Johnson often walked around the room saying, ?There?s three girls need to get busy?You two boys ought to be busy? (34). This depiction of gender, by someone of authority, aids in the separation of gender solely due to the concept of hierarchy. Most importantly, ?by frequently using gender labels when they interact with kids, adults make being a girl or boy central to