This study examined college students' knowledge and attitudes regarding children's gender, and social and moral norms, and compared their evaluations of violation of each norm type. Participating were 140 female and 67 male college students ranging in age from 17 to 46 years, 33 of whom were parents. Subjects were asked questions related to toys, games, play styles, adult occupations, adult parental roles, hairstyles, and clothing. They were also asked about social norms (eating ice cream with fingers versus a spoon and coughing on someone versus covering one's mouth) and moral norms (pinching someone and stealing money). For each item, participants were asked who usually played with or did the item or what was usually done; whether it was possible for a child of the other gender to do the item or if it could be done; and how they would feel about a child who violated the norm. Findings indicated that participants thought it possible to violate all norms except for becoming a parent of the other gender. Boys' gender norm violations were rated more negatively than girls', while both were rated less negatively than social or moral violations. Women rated gender norm violations more positively than men, but there were no sex differences in ratings of social or moral violations. Boys' appearance-related norm transgressions were rated more negatively than girls', but girls' loud rough play was rated more negatively than boys' quiet play. Other gender norm violations were seen as positive or neutral, except for Barbie play by boys. (KB)
Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Albuquerque, NM, April 15-18, 1999).