Regardless of whether couples want to find out during the pregnancy or keep it a secret until the birth, the gender reveal of babies is one of the most anticipated moments for expecting parents. The important title of ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ predestines much of the unborn child’s future; from the colour of their room, to the clothes they will wear With John Lewis recently announcing the removal of gender labels ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ from their children’s clothing, making them all ‘gender-neutral’, will society recognise and alter its practices of subconscious stereotyping?
The BBC recently released a programme entitled ‘No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?’, in which children were dressed in clothes opposite to their given gender and adults were asked to select appropriate toys and play with them. After the actual gender of the child was revealed to the adult, they were surprised as to how gender specific their choice of toys were and, more interestingly, how their behaviour with the child was affected. Psychologists have often used case studies like this to explore and explain why certain professions are so male-dominated and highlight certain prejudices of society.
Anyone wishing to study a Humanities subject might want to consider the way gender stereotyping and conditioned prejudices are depicted. Whether it is a female character depicted by a male author, or a man painted by a female artist, you may wish to think about the concept of the gendered ‘gaze’ through different medium and its significance. This is applicable to History, HSPS, English, Classics, Human Sciences, and Arch and Anth. The BBC documentary mentioned above is available currently on iPlayer.