Gender Socialization is an eventual process through which children learn about social behaviors associated with one’s own gender. The article presents the importance of gender socialization in a child’s developmental period. Gender Socialization refers to the techniques and measures through which individuals develop and learn about attitudes, behaviors, and expectations with respect to boys and girls which need to be fulfilled. It’s simply a process to eliminate and educate the opposite genders to behave in a socially acceptable manner.
Gender Socialization – Learning Gender Roles
According to Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual stage model, children learn to discover their gender in the Phallic stage which is between 3 to 6 years. They try to imitate same-sex parents to learn and act like them. For example- Girls begin to act like their mothers whereas boys try to imitate their fathers.
Categories Of Gender Socialization
Gender Socialization can be categorized into two parts. Each society has its gender roles pre-decided for femininity and masculinity.
Deliberate or Conscious Socialization- It refers to a condition where the adults, parents, family members explicitly teach the children about norms, values, and behaviors that are expected to be shown by them.
Nondeliberate or Unplanned – In this case, the child observes and imitates the attitudes and behaviors.
Sources Of Socialization
Parents – Closest assets for the children who can provide information and lessons about gender roles are the parents or local guardians. The children are influenced by them and can be taught the gender roles by reinforcement. Parents begin this gender socialization by buying different sets of toys and playing equipment for a boy and a girl. Parents encourage their sons to play with trucks, cars, other athletic equipment and prefer blue colors for the majority of the items as a symbol of strength and muscle power. On the other hand, to promote soft and subtle behavior, girls are often gifted with pink color accessories and soft toys such as Barbie dolls.
School – The teachers are one explicit source who make the children understand the roles and expectations required by society. They try to accomplish this task by organizing and involving children in group activities wherein both the genders are required to work together.
Peers- Kids prefer to spend time with individuals having similar interests. While spending time with children of the opposite sex, they learn to behave and respect others. Co-education schools provide a good method to make gender socialization informative.
Mass media – Televisions, Print media, and Linguistic sexism play a huge role in separating the interests and attitudes of girls and boys. These sources try to portray men as competitive, strong, and aggressive whereas women are cooperative, soft, and fragile.
Gender Socialization Is an important matter of social interest that will help in a child’s developmental process. Adolescence is a period where gender roles and behaviors are likely to intensify and sometimes may become negative. In order to manage the negative outbreaks such as self-harm or violent conflicts, it is of immense importance that gender socialization is taught to individuals from a tender age.