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Exploring Children's Stereotypes Through Drawings: The Case of Musical Performance

Authors


Ann Colley, School of Psychology, University of Leicester, Henry Wellcome Building, Lancaster Rd, Leicester LE1 9HN. Email: aoc@le.ac.uk

Abstract

Drawings of ‘a person’ and of ‘a person playing music’ were collected from children aged seven to eight years and 10–11 years to discover whether children's musical representations would reflect gender differences evident in musical learning and performance, and the increased gender rigidity with age found in instrument preferences. As in previous drawing studies, same sex figures were overwhelmingly portrayed, although older girls drew more opposite sex figures than the other children. All except the older girls overwhelmingly drew same sex musicians irrespective of the gender stereotype of the instrument portrayed. The older girls drew similar numbers of male and female figures playing masculine instruments. Fewer feminine instruments were drawn by older than by younger boys. The increased gender rigidity with age accords with the results of the preference studies, but gender stereotyping was much weaker. This is discussed in relation to what the different methodologies measure.

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