Understanding Gender Socialization Definition


gender socialization definition

What is a gender socialization definition? According to the American Psychological Association: “A gender socialization definition, also called a gender role, is an institutionalized social role encompassing an entire range of attitudes and behaviors that are commonly considered socially acceptable, desirable, or acceptable for a given individual depending on his/her biological or perceived gender.” The American Psychological Association further states that such a definition is “typically” applied in childhood or adolescence and is then maintained over the life span of the individual. More specifically, it is “a learned and reinforced pattern of gender-role behavior that continues into adulthood.” In essence, it is the “general outlook” that a person has regarding gender that he/she must maintain throughout his/her lifetime in order to move through society as comfortably as possible.

Gender socialization Meaning

A man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera

Let’s take this definition of gender socialization further. When a young person is subjected to this socialization process for 6 hours every day, which can take place during the boy/girl years of childhood, the effects on a person’s psychological development can be profound. During these years of early socialization, the effects of being gender defined become etched in the very fabric of that individual. This definition then becomes embedded in his/her mind.

For example, if a boy is subjected to the socialization process of being a boy all throughout his childhood and adolescence, this will have a profound effect on his understanding of the world around him. During this period, the boy will learn how to appropriately respond to his environment, and this will manifest itself in his ability to appropriately deal with others and to handle conflict. During this period of socialization, the boy will learn how to appropriately respond to his environment, and this will manifest itself in his ability to handle conflict. But this process also will impact his view of himself as well as his self-image.

Now consider this same thought process when you try to understand sentences with “he was a girl yesterday.” What is being said here is that he was exposed to a wide variety of socialization experiences that shaped his gender identity as well as his view of his own self. He was exposed to the sentence: “He was a girl yesterday.” Now when you add the word “girl” to this sentence the meaning changes drastically.

The simple explanation is that the speaker has used words to describe something that didn’t exist at that time. He has chosen to focus on the socialization process instead of on the concrete description of an object or event. And since words are never thought out completely before being used, most of the time they’re chosen based on the sound they make. So “he was a girl yesterday” has a completely different connotation than “she was a girl yesterday.” The speaker has chosen to focus on socialization as opposed to on the object or situation. This is the core of all language, the basis for all language learning and understanding.

This is why there are so many problems when it comes to sentences with “he was a girl yesterday.” The sentence literally says “he was a girl in the past seven hours ago.” Now, if we were to add the word “in” the sentence would read something like “in the past seven hours, he was a girl.”

This example shows how important it is to pay attention to the connotation of a sentence as it is being spoken or written. Just consider this. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “She was a boy in the second grade?” When they say this, what they are really saying is “he was a boy in the second grade, and she was a girl in the second grade.”

End Note

A woman wearing a hat talking on a cell phone

The sentence above uses the word “in” to modify the previous sentence, but it fails to take into consideration the fact that it has already been modified by adding the word “a” to modify the feminine gender. Therefore, it should not be read as “he was a girl in the second grade, and she was a boy in the second grade.” Instead, we should modify the sentence to read as “he was a girl in the second grade, and she was a boy in the second grade.” By doing this, the reader will be able to realize that the speaker is making a distinction between the two genders, and not modifying the gender statement in the second sentence. It is in this way that we can improve the language that we speak in our homes every day, and in all schools and colleges across the country.

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