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ASSIGNMENT
GENDER SOCIALIZATION

REENA MERIN CHERIAN

M.A. (PREVIOUS)

DATE : 23RD JANUARY, 2009

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“Girls wear dresses and heart or flower covered outfits, boys wear three-piece suits, overalls, and super hero pajamas. Catalogs feature girls playing with dolls and kitchen sets, and boys with Legos and trucks. Toys for boys tend to encourage exploration, manipulation, invention, construction, competition, and aggression. Girls? Toys typically rate high on creativity, nurturance, and attractiveness.” In books, men are almost always the heroes. These excerpts are taken from various literary pieces which are included in the curriculum of young students and written by world renowned authors.

The term sex and gender are used interchangeably but the literary meaning is different from its usual usage sex is defined in biological terms, the exact definition calls for, “maleness or femaleness as determined by genetic factors present at conception that result in anatomical and physiological factors.” This indicates the influence of factors like genes (i.e. whether the chromosome combination is XX or XY), the effect of hormones largely referring to gonadotropin and the presence of characteristic physiological factors. However gender refers to everything associated with an individual’s sex that is societal roles, expectations, behaviors, preferences and attributes that define a male or after male in a particular culture. It is defined as “the attributes, behavior, personality characteristics and expectancies associated with a person’s biological sex in a given culture. Gender differences can be erased on biology learning and the combination of the two.”

SOCIALIZATION Socialization is the process by which children and adults learn from others. We begin learning from others during the early days of life; and most people continue their social learning all through life (unless some mental or physical disability slows or stops the learning process). Sometimes the learning is fun, as when we learn a new sport, art or

3 musical technique from a friend we like. Socialization is of several types. Natural socialization occurs when infants and youngsters explore, play and discover the social world around them. Planned socialization occurs when other people take actions designed to teach or train others from infancy on. Natural socialization is easily seen when looking at the young of almost any mammalian species, for instance e when children realize or learn that that their younger siblings are made to wear particular coloured clothes soon after they are born i.e. pink if a girl and blue if a boy, acquires these schemes and gets stored in their memory. Planned socialization is mostly a human phenomenon; and all through history, people have been making plans for teaching or training others, school can act as an agency for primary socialization, when students of different gender are made to wear different uniforms which indicates a segregation, for instance in certain schools in Delhi, having co-education emphasize on girls wearing salwar-kameez from a very young age itself. Certain literary material in their text books reinforce their already acquired gender schemas by clearly indicating the roles young students are to follow when they grow, for instance. Both natural and planned socialization can have good and bad features: It is wise to learn the best features of both natural and planned socialization and weave them into our lives. Positive socialization is the type of social learning that is based on pleasurable and exciting experiences. We tend to like the people who fill our social learning processes with positive motivation, loving care, and rewarding opportunities, for instance a young girl child being rewarded for winning a sports event, say cricket in her school being appreciated by her parents. Negative socialization occurs when others use punishment, harsh criticisms or anger to try to "teach us a lesson;" and often we come to dislike both negative socialization and the people who impose it on us. An example of this can be young boy being ridiculed by his elder siblings for playing with dolls or an elderly person being criticized for expressing or possessing feminist view point. There are all types of mixes of positive and negative socialization; and the more positive social learning experiences we have, the happier we tend to be, especially if we learn useful information that helps us cope well with the challenges of life. The process by which future members learn to become members of the society is called socialization. Certain statutes and roles are allotted to the members of a particular culture based on the shared practices and norms. The socialization of the individual takes place through various agencies that influence ant through imitation and role taking socialization and the process of role

4 taking and playing their roles are closely knitted. Socializations occur in all aspects and stages of human development.

AGENCIES PROMOTING GENDER SOCIALIZATION

1. The family being the integral part of every individual upbringing is one of the most important agencies of socialization. The family has the power to influence individual self-concept, emotions, attitude and behavior. As mentioned earlier family is a primary agency for socialization, hence, there is a strong influence of the family members in terms of gender socialization, right from the colours chosen by the students to the programs children are allowed to watch to the games they are encouraged to play, all reflect the socialization process knowingly or unknowingly initiated by the family. for instance, young girls are encouraged to play with Barbie dolls and watch serials like Bidaai and Baalika vadhu, meanwhile her brother would be encouraged to watch cartoons like tom and jerry and RAW and SMACKDOWN which incorporates aggression (which again is presumably a masculine desirable aspect)

5 This cartoon shows as to hoe doing certain tasks are specific to only a particular gender.

2. Education also acts as key agency in developing gender identity. For instance the difference in educational treatment given to girls, in many parts of rural India, girl children are deprived of education and those receiving are lagging behind in performance as compared to the tog boys. Teachers socialize girls towards a feminine ideal. Girls are praised for being neat, quiet, and calm, whereas boys are encouraged to think independently, be active and speak up. Girls are socialized in schools to recognize popularity as being important, and learn that educational performance and ability are not as important. "Girls in grades six and seven rate being popular and well-liked as more important than being perceived as competent or independent. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to rank independence and competence as more important." (Bailey, 1992) This socialization of femininity begins much earlier than the middle grades. At very early ages, girls begin defining their femininities in relation to boys. One study of a third grade classroom examined four self-sorted groups of girls within the classroom: the nice girls, the girlies, the spice girls and the tomboys. Through interviews researcher Diane Reay found that 'nice girls' was considered a derogatory term indicating, "...an absence of toughness and attitude." (Reay, 2001) Furthermore, the girlies were a group of girls who focused their time on flirting with and writing love letters to boys, the tomboys were girls who played sports with the boys, and the spice girls espoused girlpower and played 'rate-the-boy' on the playground. Reay's research shows that each of the groups of girls defined their own femininities in relation to boys. (2001) Teachers socialize girls towards a feminine ideal. Girls are praised for being neat, quiet, and calm, whereas boys are encouraged to think independently, be active and speak up. Girls are socialized in schools to recognize popularity as being important, and learn that educational performance and ability are not as important. "Girls in grades six and seven rate being popular and well-liked as more important than being perceived as competent or independent. Boys, on the other hand, are more

6 likely to rank independence and competence as more important." (Bailey, 1992) Clearly the socialization of gender is reinforced at school, "Because classrooms are microcosms of society, mirroring its strengths and ills alike, it follows that the normal socialization patterns of young children that often lead to distorted perceptions of gender roles are reflected in the classrooms." (Marshall, 1997) Yet gender bias in education reaches beyond socialization patterns, bias is embedded in textbooks, lessons, and teacher interactions with students. This type of gender bias is part of the hidden curriculum of lessons taught implicitly to students through the every day functioning of their classroom.

3. The peer groups, they are made of up people with similar age group and status in society. The group also set norms and values by which the individual must abide. Here, the child enters the second stage of gender socialization where elder children are encouraged to be with the children of their own gender and feel disgusted on being getting associated with the children of other gender, from this stage onward they tend to develop a strong sense of gender identity which later culminates into rigid roles.

4. Under the secondary socialization, are the work environment, mass media and religion. There are certain occupational and job categories and courses meant for women and men, for instance, teaching, home science, nursing profession and psychological practices are now considered female domain as society considers them more sensitive. Meanwhile roles such jobs such as that of drivers, high bureaucratic posts, postman, bus conductors all rigidly defined foe men, the roles are so unbending, that any deviation from them is not encouraged and even punished for. The famous book of 17th century, the ‘Malfic Malfecarum’ tells stories of women who were identifies as witches for not adhering to the traditional roles, various atrocities were showered upon them. Jane of Arch was burnt alive as French society could not accept a woman leading an army to victory in a battle front. Men who are found to be sensitive and emotional have been assigned the label of ‘jellyfish’ in United States, in the French open held in 20002

7 when Andre Aggassi broke down after loosing in the men’s singles, the western media criticized his spontaneous outburst as too ‘girly’ n unfit for a sportsman.

5. The mass media which serve as a medium of communication is one of the agencies of socialization. Through the mass media, individual are able to learn and adopted new of lifestyle and behavior which at the end becomes a convention in the society. Fashion is a platform were inventions and innovations are tried, metro sexuality for men is fine example, but them most men have not accepted it and those who experiment with it are termed ‘transvestites’. Power dressing is another aspect of gender identity which indicates that women who dress as men with formal coats in pastels and shoes are found to be more successful than those who dress in a feminine manner.

6. Religion is a major agency of socialization because it embodies the moral principle in society. In this respect, religion has its own set of norms, values and objectives that regulate the conduct of its members. The roles and expectations defined for men and women are highly inflexible, The Bible contains various references where women who don’t cover their heads , while praying are labeled as ‘seductresses’ and holy texts of various religions concentrate on men as warriors and fighters and those who indulged in it enjoyed social sanctions and deviants were met with divine reprisal. In conclusion, it is from the agencies of socialization that we learn how to act in the way that others expect of us in society. END PRODUCTS OF GENDER SOCIALIZATION There are several end products socialization they are as explained:or consequences of gender

Gender Identity: Perception of Difference in Gender 1. Identification Developing a gender identity is a result of primary socialization acquired through family and education. It is defined as those parts of

8 self concept involving a person’s self concept as male or a female. Consciousness of gender identity usually develops about an age of two. This occurs by noticing the difference in genital make-up and learning to use words such as ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ . 2. Internalization Gender consistency once an identity begins to take form children stars to comprehend the importance of gender consistency, they accept the principle that gender is the basic attribute of a person. 3. Sex typing, gender role behavior and reactions to the gender role behavior 4. Gender role identification: the degree to which an individual identifies with the gender stereotype of his or her own culture. These generally indicate the general traditional roles and not any other. What is Early Gender Socialization and how early does it start? “What are little boys made of? Frogs and snails and puppy Dog’s tails That’s what boy’s are made of. What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice, That’s what girls are made of.” At the process starts at birth and involves learning cultural roles according to one’s sex. From the start, boys and girls are treated differently by people in their own environment (for example, parents, siblings and caregivers), and thus learn the difference between boys and girls, women and men. Differing parental and societal expectations of boys and girls. There is general agreement on what is meant by gender socialization:

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AGES 2 TO 4 CONCEPTION Genes on the sex chromosome determine whether a biological male or a biological female has been conceived Child learns social categories of male and female and labels self and others as boy or girl, though with somewhat precise understanding of what they refer to.

LATER CHILDHOOD Sex identity becomes clear and gender identity develops as self concept, also learns culturally appropriate and inappropriate characteristics associated with gender. By age 5 gender stereotypes begin to occur.

ADULTHOOD AND ADOLECENCE Gender identity is well established and gender stereotypes are well understood. the individual may or may not identify with the gender stereotypes.

learns culturally approprair

THE PROCESS OF SOCIALIZATION It is also clear from the comments received that gender socialization is culturally bound. As boys are favored over girls in most cultures, this is reflected in their self-image: boys are often more assertive and demanding, while girls are frequently more submissive and modest.

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Theories on Gender Socialization
Early Childhood Gender Socialization (Three types of theories explain gender socialization: psychoanalytic, social learning and cognitive developmental. • Freud’s psychoanalytic theory focuses on children’s observations about their genitals (e.g., castration anxiety, penis envy). It has not marshaled much empirical support. Social learning theories are behaviorist theories that rely on reinforcement and modeling explanations of behavior—the environment makes people do things. Cognitive developmental theories posit that “children learn gender (and gender stereotypes) through their mental efforts to organize their social world.”

One problem with some variants of this perspective is the assumption that children learn gender because it is a natural facet of the world, rather than that it is an important facet of the social world. Research shows that the importance children place on gender varies by class, race, family structure, sexuality of parents, etc. A social constructionist perspective, such as is proposed by Bem and Coltrane, is a version of the cognitive development perspective. Bem has identified three key “gender lenses” (hidden assumptions): gender polarization (men and women are different and these differences constitute a central organizing principle of social life), androcentrism (males are superior to females; male experience is the normative standard); and biological essentialism (the first two lenses are due to biological differences between the sexes). She recommends substituting an “individual differences” lens that emphasizes “the remarkable variability of individuals within groups.” A social constructionist approach (advocated by Bem & Coltrane) views gender acquisition as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The most important insight from research on gender socialization is that because boys and girls are treated differently and put into different learning environments, they develop different needs, wants, desires, skills, and temperaments; in short they become different types of people—men and women—who hardly question why they are different or how they ended up that way. The basic underlying model is that of the self-

11 fulfilling prophecy. Because people think boys and girls are supposed to be different, they treat them differently and give them different opportunities for development. This differential treatment promotes certain behaviors and self-images that recreate the preconceived cultural stereotypes about gender. The process repeats itself over and over in an unending spiral across the generations, so that although gender stereotypes are being constantly re-created and modified, they seem natural and impervious to change. (Coltrane, p. 114) Children learn about gender and how to “do gender” because it is central to the way we organize society. Children “learn culturally appropriate ways of thinking and being as they follow routine rituals and respond to the everyday demands of the world in which they live… [T]o be considered competent members of society, they must learn how to fit in as appropriately gendered individuals.” (Coltrane, p. 114) Gender socialization turns children into “cultural natives,” who know their culture’s reality without realizing that other realities are possible. Both R&C and Coltrane review research showing that boys and girls are treated differently.

What characteristics of male and female gender roles can lead to ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender equity’ globally? There is a universal pattern of gender role expectations that can be elaborated, adopted and accepted by every society. This can help girls and women participate as equal citizens, and can reduce violence against girls and women as well as boys and men. But the challenge is to define positive male and female gender roles that will replace those that are now ‘not working’ in our society. Among the contributors to the discussion, Malaak Zalouk eloquently described the challenge: “It is not only that we affix specific gender roles from birth and that we expect each of the gender roles to present discrete and pure models; we also create a hierarchy of masculine and feminine traits regardless of who they are attributed to. In other words, being tough (a masculine trait) is usually ranked as a more elevated trait than being considerate in the global value system of today … whereas being loving, sensitive or considerate is viewed as weak, and of course more so for men. The same is true of the dichotomy between being rational and intuitive. The assumption seems always to be that these are mutually exclusive traits.” Zalouk concluded that research indicates that the most creative human beings are able to combine femininity and masculinity in equal measure.

12 Jennifer Strauss commented: “We need to emphasize the common (across gender) activities and interests of children as well as honoring their differences – if we do so we may be able to reduce levels of gender hostility later in life.” How can we improve our understanding and promote positive early gender socialization? Gary Barker reminded us that ’positive’ is a relative term and is culturally specific. Hajara Ndayidde reminded us that religious values and upbringing are intertwined with cultural values, which are important factors in gender socialization. Christy Swatley, referring to her middle-class United States upbringing, pointed out the many similarities in gender-conditioning around the world. What would make girls and boys feel more ’positive’ about the gender roles attributed to their sex? The answer can provide a valuable pathway towards ’positive’ gender socialization. A summary of recommendations made by several contributors (based primarily on the list from Gary Barker) is as follows. • Starting with what parents, children and local leaders say about gender roles and expectations, identify specific points of entry and opportunity for promoting change. • Map gender roles in specific settings, understanding where change is already happening and how this change can be tapped or accelerated. • Assess the environment for young children at home, examining how a literate home environment may benefit a child's learning at school and how material deprivation may hinder it. • Foster greater engagement of men in the care of children. • Focus on parenting and child-rearing patterns in the family (including the extended family) and community. • Focus on group learning opportunities (including daycare centres, pre-schools and the early years of primary school) • Focus on adult parents of both sexes, as well as on community religious leaders. Encourage parents to participate in adult education classes that integrate religion and a formal western curriculum so that they can see the need for and benefits of literacy for their daughters and wives. This list of recommendations for positive gender socialization is a good starting point. But it is also a reminder that there is a vast knowledge gap.

13 This draws attention to an important socialization process that starts at birth, continues throughout the life cycle and contributes immensely to the gender disparities and inequalities faced by girls and women in school and in later life. However, it also highlights the need for further analysis and research to elaborate on gender socialization that is embedded in our cultural child-rearing patterns. SOCIAL WORK INTERVENTIONS As social workers gender socialization should be regarded as a tool to delimit the advancement of individuals and groups, thus through case works, group works with children and adolescents and through community outreach programs effort must be made to undo the negative influences of gender socialization. References
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Chinoy, Ely (1961) Society: An Introduction to Sociology, New York: Random House. Clausen, John A. (ed.) (1968) Socialization and Society, Boston: Little Brown and Company. Johnson, Harry M. (1961) Sociology: A Systematic Introduction, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. McQuail, Dennis (2005) McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory: Fifth Edition, London: Sage. Parsons, Talcott and Bales, Robert (1956) Family, Socialization and Interaction Process, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. White, Graham (1977) Socialisation, London: Longman. Michael Paul Rhode, Smithsonian Dep. of Anthropology Bogard, Kimber. "Citizenship attitudes and allegiances in diverse youth." Cultural Diversity and Ethnic minority Psychology14(4) (2008): 286-296. Mehan, Hugh. "Sociological Foundations Supporting the Study of Cultural Diversity." 1991. National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning. Robert Feldman, Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Child Development Third Edition