Psychoanalytic/Identification theory- the importance of the unconscious motivations in personality development. Evolutionary theory- argues that human nature (including human sex differences) has evolved in certain ways because of pressures to adapt and survive as a species.Social Learning theory- suggests that the child develops both gender identity and gender roles through a learning process that involves modeling, imitation, and reinforcement. Cognitive-Developmental theory- proposes that gender, like other concepts, cannot be learned until a child reaches a particular stage of intellectual development Gender Schema theory- network of cognitive associations (schema) for gender used by individuals to organize incoming information about themselves and others.Gender-Based Identity theory/Social Identity theory- suggests that each individuals personal sense of identity is tied to his/hers reference groups.
I think that the theory of identification doesn’t fit into this context very well. Kelly’s parents didn’t really try to use her unconscious motivations to push her towards a certain perspective on her personality development. Kelly is exposed to both genders as a child and is encouraged to develop to which ever personality fits her. The limitation to the psychoanalytic theory is that, it is unclear to us whether Kelly’s unconscious motives are pushing her towards one personality development than the other. The evolutionary theory also doesn’t work very well in this context. Kelly isn’t under pressure to adapt and survive as a species.
This is a limitation to this theory. Since Kelly does not need to adapt to survive, she is given opportunities to choose who she wants to survive as. She is simply just given choices on what she gravitates to more, “boy” or “girl” things. The social learning theory would work well if her parents reinforced the stereotypical “girl” things with Kelly as she was growing up. If her parents had not given her multiple opportunities to experience “boy” things as well as “girl” things and they solely focused on giving her opportunities to “girl” things, then this theory would work well.
In this case, the limitation of this theory is that she doesn’t already have an influence over her to which gender she should gravitate to. Because she doesn’t already have the influence of liking “girl” things over “boy” things, we can’t say that this theory is correct for this circumstance. I do think that cognitive-development theory does work well into this context. I think that Kelly can’t start to process the information she’s given about genders and the differences between them to decide as a newborn. Up until she is in school and around other kids will she be able to process the differences between “boy” and “girl” things. The gender-based identity theory also ties in well in this context because if Kelly chooses to hang out with girls in school she is most likely to gravitate towards the things these girls like. It is most likely that the girls and boys her age will make a large influence on which gender she chooses to associate herself with. The only limitation to this theory is that it possible for Kelly to have started to gravitate towards “girl” things before she was exposed to more girls her age.
It is quite possible that in her early childhood she found “girl” things more interesting, but also enjoyed playing with “boy” things. In this situation the best theory that explains Kelly’s situation would be gender schema theory. I believe that this is the best theory for this example because as Kelly gets older she can process information regarding gender. She is in school and gravitates towards girls her age. With these friends that she is exposed to them are most likely wearing pink clothes and asking for Barbie’s for their birthday, so to her with all the information she has processed this far, being a girl is shown as wearing pink clothes and playing with Barbies. As she gets older and is exposed to “girl” things in school, the reinforcements of gender stereotypes are stronger than what she grew up with. Her parents were able to give her opportunities to choose whichever gender she felt comfortable with.
At school, she is more likely to feel pressure from her peers, teachers, and family to act a certain way. The limitation I see in this theory would be that it is very closely related to the gender-based theory. They almost shadow each other to explain why Kelly would gravitate towards “girl” things over the “boy” things.