Gender Socialization Essay Questions

Society expects different attitudes and behaviors from boys and girls. Gender socialization is the tendency for boys and girls to be socialized differently. Boys are raised to conform to the male gender role, and girls are raised to conform to the female gender or role. A gender role is a set of behaviors, attitudes, and personality characteristics expected and encouraged of a person based on his or her sex.

Influence of Biology

Experts disagree on whether differences between males and females result from innate, biological differences or from differences in the ways that boys and girls are socialized. In other words, experts disagree on whether differences between men and women are due to nature, nurture, or some combination of both.

Example: There are some significant differences between female and male brains. The language center in the male brain is usually in the dominant (usually left) hemisphere, whereas females use both hemispheres of the brain to process language. This may explain why females seem to have stronger communication skills and relish interpersonal communication more than males and why, on average, girls learn to speak and read earlier than boys.

Influence of Family

Every culture has different guidelines about what is appropriate for males and females, and family members may socialize babies in gendered ways without consciously following that path. For example, in American society, the color pink is associated with girls and the color blue with boys. Even as tiny babies, boys and girls are dressed differently, according to what is considered “appropriate” for their respective sexes. Even parents who strive to achieve a less “gendered” parenting style unconsciously reinforce gender roles.

Example: The toys and games parents select for children are often unconsciously intended to socialize them into the appropriate gender roles. Girls receive dolls in an attempt to socialize them into future roles as mothers. Since women are expected to be more nurturing than men, giving a girl a doll teaches her to care for it and fosters the value of caring for others. When boys receive dolls, they are likely to be action figures designed to bring out the alleged aggressive tendencies in boys.

Influence in Education

As children enter the educational system, traditional expectations for boys and girls continue. In the past, much research focused on how teachers were shortchanging girls in the classroom. Teachers would focus on boys, calling on them more and challenging them. Because boys were believed to be more analytical, teachers assumed they would excel in math and science. Teachers encouraged them to go into careers that require a lot of math and science, such as computer science or engineering.

Research from the late 1990s, however, indicates that the current educational climate is failing boys. Boys are falling behind girls in school. The dropout rate for boys is rising. More boys are being diagnosed as learning disabled. The number of boys applying to college has declined. Some sociologists argue that current teaching methods favor girls’ learning styles. Girls mature more quickly than boys and are able to focus and concentrate in class more easily.

Example: Studies show that boys are more physically active than girls. This difference is greater when children are in elementary school. Boys may be less able to sit still during a lesson. They are often sent out of class as disruptive, which puts them behind in the schoolwork and can reinforce their problems in the classroom.

Influence on Career Choice

If cultural expectations dictate that girls are more compassionate and nurturing than boys, then parents, teachers, and counselors will steer them toward fields that require patience and concern for other people, such as nursing, social work, or elementary school teaching. Though a girl who expresses a desire to become a nuclear engineer would probably no longer be explicitly discouraged, a boy with a similar goal would probably encounter more encouragement.

Example: Women working in traditionally male occupations often hit a glass ceiling, an invisible barrier that keeps women from reaching executive positions. Men who work in traditionally female occupations, such as nursing, social work, or elementary school teaching, are often viewed as more qualified than women. These men often benefit from a glass escalator; they are paid more and promoted more quickly than their female counterparts.

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In the society we live in today there is a strong difference between what is considered “boy” and what is considered “girl”. This is because from the time we are born; to the time we die we are expected to conform to a gender role. A gender role is a set of behaviors, attitudes, and personality characteristics expected of a person based on their sex. This process of getting people to conform to their gender roles is called socialization, and it affects children very drastically. There are many different places that gender socialization comes from. It comes mainly from family, peers, and the media. Girls are made to believe that they are supposed to be gentle and nurturing, whereas boys are taught to be tough and even aggressive.…show more content…

There was very little pink in the boys section, and the only green in the girl section was covered in sparkles and sequins. The clothing designed for girls, such as skirts and pretty little tops, didn’t allow for play as much as the clothing found in the boys sections like pants and shoes that looked like they were made for playing around. The idea trying to be reached through these clothing choices are that boys are meant to be roughing it up, getting dirty, and otherwise being “boys”, while girls are meant to not get dirty, sit relatively still, and be pretty and presentable at all times.

Advertisements are another thing encouraging gender roles. Advertisements, TV, magazines, and other things like this are often the biggest source of fuel to the fire that is gender stereotypes. Typically in these types of media you will see a blonde, thin and smiling girl and an extremely muscular, powerful and handsome man. Companies use gender to sell their products by using sex-appeal quite often. Sex sells, and unfortunately in this day and age, so does sexism. A good place to find a commercial that shows heavy gender stereotypes would be during the Super Bowl. You would think that because advertisement during the Super Bowl goes for so much money, those companies would want to put out their best, but instead what happens is a lot of reinforcing of gender stereotypes. A specific example would be the hyper-sexualized Carl’s Jr. commercial featuring Kate Upton,

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