Mothers prone to gender stereotyping

Psychology Prof. Kristel Thomassin has found that gender stereotypes connected to the expression of emotion are perpetuated more by mothers than fathers. Boys may learn to hold back tears from mom, not dad.

Thomassin’s study, published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, found mothers favoured daughters expressing sadness and anger more than they favoured sons expressing the same emotions. Mothers likely aren’t even aware they have these gender biases, say the researchers.

“We found that on an implicit level, moms tend to show a bias, and this bias considers girls expressing these emotions to be more favourable than boys expressing the same emotions,” Thomassin says.

Fathers showed no such preference, which suggests that fathers lacked the implicit bias related to the expression of the two emotions.

The study involved nearly 600 parents of children ages eight to 12.