The Effects Of Gender Socialization Essay

1348 words - 5 pages

Gender Socialization is an aspect that enormously affects all individuals. I feel I have been influenced by social and cultural processes and not by genetics. When we are brought into this world, we have no knowledge of how a male or female should act. Rather, it is our surroundings, that construct our thoughts and actions. Genetic identity is lost because of the powerful manipulation of family, friends, school, sports and the media, which are known as agents of socialization. Such agents "are the persons, groups, or institutions that teach us what we need to know in order to participate in society."(Kendall, 2000:117) We easily adopt certain behaviors which lead to character development and outline who we become as individuals. With gender socialization embedded into our cultures it is difficult for a male to display female traits without being ridiculed or out-casted, thereby increasing the degree to which a male is stereotyped.As a little boy, my parents molded me into the typical boy figure. Gender expectations were quickly encouraged through clothing and activities. For example, my clothing was more masculine and casual rather then dainty and frilly. While growing up, my parents continued to instill masculine traits in me, through my duties around the house. I was taught at an early age how to mow the lawn and also how to be constructive in everyday activities. Being raised in a predominantly gender biased household with four males and one female I have learned gender roles which are appropriate for a European male. A male is traditionally expected to demonstrate aggressive behavior and solely provide for his family. I will never be expected to cook, clean or be submissive towards others, and I accept a lot of these traits because of gender socialization."Peers help children learn prevailing gender role stereotypes, as well as gender appropriate and - inappropriate behavior."(Kendall, 2000:349) I feel that when exposed to peers of your own age your parents' influence is not predominate as it once was and your peers may be more influential regarding your actions. I recall when I was in elementary school I was encouraged to play only with boys and to show no interest in girls. Also I had the peer-pressure to be better then the girls in all activities. As an adolescence, there is a constant pressure to be the tough kid, and to bully the other kids around; the tougher you are the more socially accepted you become within your gender. In general, once boys begin their high school years they begin to develop attraction towards the opposite sex. These feelings are influenced by social bias placed on females, such as finding the ideal female accepted in society. As a young adult, I notice that physical appearance is important, however; it is more acceptable for a male to be less concerned with having a perfect physique. In contrast, a female is judged on her appearance throughout her whole life.School is another agent of socialization that has gender...

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