“Straitjacket of gender roles” can make people ill

In most cases, children on the threshold of puberty already have a very pronounced gender role model – regardless of whether they grow up in poor or rich, liberal or conservative societies.

This is the result of a rough study in the "journal of adolescent health". "We have found that children at a very young age very quickly internalize the myth that girls are vulnerable and boys are strong and independent," said robert blum, the head of the study. "This myth is constantly reinforced from all sides, by siblings, schoolmates, teachers, parents, educators, relatives, clergy and sports coaches."

If children try to free themselves from these roles, young people in particular are threatened with negative consequences. They were bullied, smoked into, and even physically assaulted.

Researchers warn that the "straitjacket of gender roles" poses health risks for both genders, but especially for girls. The researchers surveyed 450 children between the ages of 10 and 14 and their parents in 15 countries around the world, including belgium, china, ecuador, egypt, india and the USA.

No interviews took place in germany. "However, the trend in germany is no different than in other western countries," says tim rohrmann, professor for education and development in childhood at the evangelische hochschule fur soziale arbeit dresden (protestant university for social work).

He emphasized, however, that girls in germany are not disadvantaged at school. They even overtake the young ones with better grades, higher graduation rates and in the number of students. However, this does not yet have an effect on the holder or professional success. The choice of career often remains gender-typical, and family and career are still difficult for women to reconcile.

The study clearly shows that the idea of traditional gender roles is more similar than different across cultures, writes rohrmann. "Currently, there is a tendency in germany to generally describe gender relations among "the" migrants as "traditional", etc.". To be devalued and contrasted with the gender relations in our society."It is time to get rid of this "self-centered idea.

In the current study, young adolescents from urban areas in scotland, the USA, belgium, kenya and ecuador, among others, were asked how they perceive the roles of boys and girls in romantic relationships. Regardless of their origin, they felt that boys should take the first step. A 12-year-old from gent in belgium: "if he’s not brave enough, i think that’s very cowardly. (…) furthermore, he is not a boy then."

Despite these fairly conservative ideas, young people were very open to homosexual relationships. "I don’t think it’s good or bad. Everyone chooses their own destiny," a 12-year-old boy from ecuador told the researchers.

With the onset of puberty, parents educate their daughters about how to behave as young women, the researchers write. Talking to boys about the changing body is seen as either a taboo subject or unnecessary.

For girls, there are many rules regarding their bodies that are meant to protect them. However, as the scientists emphasize, this also requires submissive behavior. Violence is an accepted means of preventing rules from being broken, he says. This makes it more likely that girls will become victims of physical and sexual violence, contract sexually transmitted diseases, become pregnant early or leave school early.

Boys, unlike girls, were more likely to be encouraged to explore the world outside the home. In china and india, the young told us that they are expected to be "strong and like a hero. In general, they spend more time on hobbies of their own choosing and engage in dominant behaviors with each other, according to the study. However, this makes boys much more prone to dangerous, risky behavior. They are more likely to become addicted to drugs and die in an accident.

According to the researchers, the study confirms previous findings that with the onset of puberty, "the world expands for boys, and shrinks for girls".

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