Forcing Kids To Stick To Gender Roles Can Actually Be Harmful To Their Health
Raising children in societies that adhere to rigid gender roles, with fixed ideas about what should be considered “masculine” and “feminine,” can actually be detrimental to their physical and mental health, according to a study that observed 14-year-olds’ interactions over a three month period. “Usually we think of gender as natural and biological, but it’s not… We actually construct it in ways that have problematic and largely unacknowledged health risks,” lead researcher Maria do Mar Pereira, the deputy director for the University of Warwick’s Centre for the Study of Women and Gender, explained in an interview with ThinkProgress. Pereira drew her conclusions after being embedded in a class of teenagers in Lisbon, Portugal. Pereira observed both boys and girls regulating their behavior in potentially harmful ways in order to adhere to gender norms. “All of the girls were within very healthy weights, but they were all restricting their intake of food in some way.
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