chapter  3
16 Pages

Learning the Difference that Gender Makes

This chapter seeks to critically review empirical research on childhood interpersonal violence. It reviews research on bullying, sexual harassment in schools and sibling violence. The chapter critiques research which theorizes childhood violence as the product of biology or socialization and suggest how people might employ the notions of power, investment and their knowledge of social interactions to re-interpret the dynamics of childhood interpersonal violence. Children, from a very young age, negotiate the gender hierarchy of their society, reflected most clearly in the use of sexist behavior. Sexual harassment often goes unrecognized because a great deal of sexist and sexually harassing behavior is simply identified as 'normal'. Although under-researched, it appears that sibling violence constitutes one of the major forms of 'family violence'. Beyond prevalence and incidence estimations, most research on childhood violence tends to focus on the supposed difference that gender makes in determining levels of violence.