ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Changes in Gender Behavior with Age


A common notion of expectation drives the thought processes of individuals and society as a whole. It seems as though all people have certain expectations placed on them either by parents, peers or surrounding observers. Expecting something of someone is one very successful way of creating growth and finding achievement. When standards are set high enough for those looking to achieve them, new levels of intelligence, passions as well as productivity can be reached. However, society as a whole often has trouble with differentiation. Just because common beliefs are often held by individuals that are seen as “similar,” this is certainly not always the case.

Expectations that are set for some individuals may not fit others, and so on. This may be most evident when discussing genders. Playing with dolls, playing dress-up, trying out new makeup, the color pink or playing nurse or teacher are all things that are typically associated with girls. Although many girls find interest in playing with dolls and trying on dresses, it doesn’t mean that being a girl has to be that way. It may be seen as typical for these same girls to enjoy their English and art classes when they’re older. It may also be typical for these girls to share interests with other adult girls when they are grown-ups. Playing in the sandbox, lining up toy soldiers, trying out a new football, dark colors are all things that are typically associated with boys. Although many boys find interest in running around and playing football, it doesn’t mean those are what they have to enjoy. It may be expected that these same boys will one day enjoy math and science. It may also be expected that these boys grow up to be like other adult males in the population and share similar interests.

Despite the stereotypes, the reality is that the United States is known as the ‘Land of Opportunity’ as well as the “Melting Pot.” This is a nation in which outcome is not guaranteed, but rather an opportunity. This is a nation in which persons from all ethnic backgrounds and religions have come together, despite all differences, to be one. Expecting the same things of all people is simply illogical; the differences of each individual create a personal flare that is not comparable to others. Time is frequently wasted judging others based on what makes them different, instead of appreciating the fact that all people have different approaches and motives. Senior Will Witbrod feels as though many people in his community often show judgement for no valid reason, even regarding how students choose to dress.

“I think that if someone dresses different than the norm, they will usually be judged,” Witbrod said. “Let people wear what they want, it really doesn’t effect me so why should I care how others choose to dress?”

Having a certain gender may assume specific characteristics are to be held, but a lot of expectations have changed over time. For instance, women have have gained the right to vote in the last 100 years and many prejudices exist in the present day simply because they existed in the past. Witbrod credits many gender expectations to how the genders were once viewed.

“I personally don’t believe either [gender] needs to meet the expectations of others,” Witbrod said. “However, I feel that some [people] expect men to be the better of the two genders because that’s how it was in past societies.”

Implying that stereotypes or expectations are rooted in the past allows good reason to believe that the stereotypical ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ thing to do as a boy or girl is changing. Many little boys will want to play catch for fun as they grow up. Many little girls will want to play with dolls to enjoy themselves in their adolescence. The expectations, however, do not define the members of any community or those surrounding. The most important thing is to accept, even if others tend to expect.