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Becoming a Gendered Body


Submitted By sanwood68
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Becoming a Gendered Body
Annual Review of Sociology
Santina Wood
Argosy University



Is there such thing as a hidden curriculum in school that creates bodily differences between genders? In the article “Becoming a Gendered body: Practices of Preschools”, Karin Martin uses a method of research known as field observation in order to study how this ‘hidden curriculum’ controls children’s bodily practices and turns them into girls and boys. “Gendering of the body in childhood is the foundation on which further gendering of the body occurs throughout the life course. The gendering of children’s bodies makes gender differences feel and appear natural, which allows for such bodily differences to emerge throughout the life course.” (Martin, K. 1998)


The information in this study came from the widespread and in depth study conducted in five preschool classrooms. In these classrooms there were boys and girls ranging from three to five years old. Four of these classrooms were located close to the campus of a large university (Preschool A), and the fifth classroom (Preschool B) was a preschool run by a catholic church in the same city. The both shared similar curriculums and routines with one exception; Preschool B contained some religious instruction requiring children to pray before their snack. In preschool B, the children’s activities focused more on the religious aspect of certain things, but most especially on holidays, where those in preschool A did not. On the walls of each preschool there were these set of rules: 1. No wrestling. 2. No violent play, killing games, kicking, karate, etc. 3. Bikes belong on the outside of the gym. 4. No crashing bikes. 5. Houses are for playing in not climbing on. 6. Older children are off bikes when toddlers arrive. 7. Balls should be used for catching, rolling,

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