It would appear that the real power of gender typing resides less in the child than in the environments in which the child finds itself. The social environment is filled with gendered messages and gendered activities. Even if the child possesses no fixed and permanent gender role, social arrangements will continually reinforce gender differences. in a gender-neutral experiment, social requirements are removed, and so the child does not behave in accord with a gender stereotype. Perhaps it is not internalized beliefs that keep us in place as men or women, but rather our interpersonal and social environments. Because there is considerable variation in what men and women actually do, it may require the weight of social organization and constant reinforcement to maintain gender-role differences.
Michael Kimmel, The Gendered Society
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