Essay about Socialization and the Learning of Gender Roles

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The term socialization refers to the “lifelong social experience by which individuals develop their human potential and learn culture.” [Macionis et al. p 55] The concept of socialization is that our actions are driven/learned by culture. Socialization is also the foundation of personality, which we build by internalizing our surroundings. Through the lifelong process of socialization, society transmits culture from one generation to the next.
A good example of socialization is the learning of gender roles. Anthropologist Margaret Mead reasoned that if gender reflects biological facts of sex, that people everywhere in the world would define the same traits as masculine or feminine. However, she argued, that if gender is cultural, such
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In a global perspective, including all cultures, only certain tasks were defined as strictly masculine or feminine by all societies. From such research, we can see that “…gender is simply too variable across cultures to be considered a simple expression of biology. Instead … what it means to be male and female is mostly a creation of society.” [Macionis et al. p233]
Socialization is a lifelong process beginning at birth, as is the learning of gender roles. “Just as gender affects how we think of ourselves, so it teaches us to act in normative ways.” [Macionis et al. p236] The learning of gender roles begins in the family and is carried out in peer groups and educational institutions as well as in the media.
Sociologist Jessie Bernard stated that very soon after birth, family members push infants into what she labels as the “pink world” of the girls, and the “blue world” of the boys. Parents, she stated, do this unconsciously by the way in which they act themselves, and by the way in which they handle their child.
A study was done with many women who were given a baby dressed as either a boy or as a girl. It was noted that the women handled the child dresses as a girl in an affectionate manner, holding them tenderly and giving them ample amounts of hugs and kisses. However, the women handled the child
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