chapter  14
12 Pages

Changing definitions of self for young women: The implications for rates of violence

WithDiane Mitsch Bush

Social change and gender differences in the experience of adolescence There is ample evidence that adults’ attitudes toward female gender roles have changed over the past two decades (Thornton et al., 1983; Cherlin and Walters, 1981). On the basis of these findings, the assumption appears to follow that adults are now communicating less sex-typed expectations to children. Therefore it is often assumed that children are now experiencing adolescence in less gender-specific ways. There are two problems with this simple convergence model: (1) it overstates the amount and kind of change that has taken place in the sex-gender system (Rubin, 1981; see also Chodorow, 1978); and (2) it assumes that adults’ ‘non-traditional’ beliefs about ‘appropriate’ gender roles get translated into gender convergence of children’s beliefs about the self and social world and into behavioural convergence as well.