High-Stakes Testing Research Paper

Historically, stereotypes, gender roles, and social attitudes played an extremely important role. In fact, their impact on the life of society at large and each individual in particular should be profoundly researched and tested since the steaks are really high. It is not a secret that stereotypes, gender roles and social attitudes to a significant extent define the identity of the individual. This is particularly important in the modern world when the human community tends to be globalized under the impact of growing economic, political and cultural integration. This is why it is necessary to clearly define the impact of stereotypes and social attitudes on individual and their perspectives in the context of globalization.
First of all, it is necessary to underline that stereotypes, gender roles and social attitudes have constituted an essential part of human society throughout its history and, as O.V. Mitina and V.F. Petrenko underline , they produced an extremely profound impact on an individual to the extent that they are regulated on the deep mental level of societal consciousness, and they in turn influence it. In such a way, stereotypes, gender role and social attitudes associated with them are produced by individuals and, at the same time, set certain regulations on their consciousness as members of the community. In such a situation it is possible to speak about mutual impact of the individual and the society which eventually live in accordance to the existing rules developed throughout the historical development of the society and realized by each individual in his/her lifetime. It is also worthy of mention, that this historically formed mental level has many different aspects – historical, social, economic, cultural, religious, etc .
Obviously, stereotypes define human behavior and they basically define the significant differences that exist between people. For instance, it is not a secret that the gender roles are defined under the impact of stereotypes, social models of behavior, cultural norms, and other external factors. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the research of Linda L. Carli who analyzed the problem of gender roles and difference between genders . She revealed the evidences of significant differences between male and female which are the result of the existing standards, norms, and stereotypes. For instance, she argues that gender differences in influence depend on a variety of factors such as gender of recipient of influence attempts, proportion of males and females in the interaction, communication styles used by influence agent, including competence, dominance, warmth and communality and other factors. Eventually, she concludes that the ability to influencing may be different for male and female depending on the variety of factors.
In such a way, it is obvious that the behavior and even mentality of male and female is formed by stereotypes, existing gender roles and social attitudes associated with them. Naturally, the formation of gender roles starts at the very early age, to put it more precisely from the moment of the birth of a child, social norms and stereotypes influence him/her and it is practically impossible to avoid them. Moreover, the impact of stereotypes is particularly strong in the childhood and, to a significant extent, defines the future life and behavior of individuals. Notably, Jan M. Ochman underlines that since children continually gather and integrate information, gender related and otherwise, the information they receive is crucial to consider because the children’s resultant perceptions about themselves and their abilities are critical to their success in life . Consequently, the stereotypes, norms and models of behavior children learn in their childhood practically define their further adult life.
In this respect, it is noteworthy to refer to the research of Helga Dittmar and Emma Halliwell who analyzed the impact of the image of dolls, such as Barbie, on girls and found out that the impact is very substantial and its effects may be observed even in the adult life of females since dolls like Barbie are cultural icons of female beauty which are able to define the standards of female ideal girls strive for even in the adulthood.
However, in the modern globalized world the standards and stereotypes accepted in one culture can potentially spread on others. For instance, returning to dolls, such as Barbie, it should be said that they are spread worldwide. It is possible to presume that, being standard, they may produce the same effect on representatives of different culture. Nonetheless, J. Paige MacDougal in the research dedicated to this problem, arrives to a bit paradoxical conclusion that each culture can perceive the dolls, as well as any other product of another culture, in a different way. Notably, the researcher states that when products are displaced from their culture of production, they have the potential to take on the characteristics associated with the new atmosphere in which they are situated through processes of consumption . In such a way, seemingly standard products, which are actually the products of a different culture, tend to be adapted to the local conditions, norms and stereotypes.
Consequently, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that there are certain stereotypes, standards, gender roles and social attitudes associated with them that shape individual’s identity and, to a significant extent define his/her behavior since they exist on a historically developed mental level of individual consciousness which create social consciousness of the community. As a result, individuals act in accordance with the existing social norms, standards and stereotypes for they are an essential part of their own identity shaped under the impact of the community where certain set of rules and values is established. At the same time, the products of one culture cannot be perceived in the same way and be totally accepted by another. Practically it means that there are different cultures having different stereotypes and social norms and they tend to adapt the products of other cultures to their own standards and perceive them in the unique way typical for the particular community. This is why it is possible to estimate that stereotypes and social norms are of a paramount importance and, being unique for each community, they are probably the highest stake for each individual since they affect dramatically the individual’s identity.

1. Carli, Linda L. “Gender and Social Influence.” Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 57, No. 4, 2001, pp.725-741.
2. Mitina, O. V. and V. F. Petrenko. “A cross-cultural study of stereotypes of female behavior.” Russian Social Science Review. Armonk: Nov/Dec 2001.Vol.42, Iss. 6; pg. 60, 33 pgs.
3. MacDougall Paige, J. “Transnational commodities as local cultural icons: Barbie dolls in Mexico.” Journal of Popular Culture. Bowling Green: Nov 2003.Vol.37, Iss. 2; pg. 257.
4. Ochman, Jan M. “The effects of nongender-role stereotyped, same-sex role models in storybooks on the self-esteem of children in grade three.” Sex Roles. New York: Dec 1996.Vol.35, Iss. 11/12; pg. 711, 25.
5. Dittmar, Helga and Emma Halliwell. “Does Barbie Make Girls Want to Be Thin? The Effect of Experimental Exposure to Images of Dolls on the Body Image of 5- to 8-Year-Old Girls.” Developmental Psychology, 2006, Vol. 42, No. 2, pp. 283–292.

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