Category Archives: Gender Socialization

Gender and Sex

Many people think of Gender and Sex as one in the same, but in reality Gender and Sex are two completely different things. Every country has their own idea of what Gender and Sex is within their culture. Our culture in the United States has put very strong gender roles based on a person’s sex, which is why many people assume Sex and Gender are the same thing.  Sex refers to the physical and biological characteristics that define men and women. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, and activities that a society considers appropriate for men and women.

When we were born we were already given a gender identity the common blue or pink blanket that gets wrapped around us — boys get the blue and the pink for girls. The idea is that a certain color should be tied to a certain gender based on the sex. As we grow up from baby to toddler we start to get different things, such as toy trucks or baby dolls. Behaviors become programmed in us, as well.  Boys are taught to not cry when they get hurt and to hide any emotion or they will seem weak, while girls are taught to be weak, pampered and want help.

 

There is also a double standard in our gender roles.   When girls play with boy toys they are considered a “tomboy,’ but if a boy wants to play with a doll it is completely vulgar and unnecessary.  In the childhood years it only gets worse because by now they understand the idea of gender and have already been sanctioned enough to start to conform to the roles that society has formed for them. They will soon come to the conclusion that what parts they were born with is the gender they are, even if they are uncomfortable with being that gender.

Even in adulthood we can’t escape these gender roles no matter how much we try. The society we live in will sanction us back into our roles. Our sex also confines us in the work place, along with our gender. If a female in a business stated an opinion, she would seem bossy, but if the same opinion was stated by a male, he would seem as a leader.

While some people accept that we are all different regarding gender, the majority of the society doesn’t accept gender diversity, which is why this is such hard topic to talk about. The reason why I think many people don’t want to accept gender diversity, is because it can seem confusing. We as humans like simple and easily explainable answers and if something is hard to understand, we don’t want any part of it. Hopefully one day gender will no longer be a restrictive role played by boy or girl and people can freely express who they want to be without being sanctioned.

— Grace

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SOCIALIZATION

Socialization is the process through which we learn from people how to behave, our attitudes and our values based on the culture that we are a part of. Gender Socialization refers to how different genders are to act based on a culture. Females are taught that we are weak while men are taught that they are supposed to be strong. An example that I have of this is when I was little, I did not do much lifting because I grew up with all brothers and they were the ones that were supposed to do the lifting. As I got older they started wanting me to do a little bit more but I was used to the idea from society that I was supposed to be inferior to the males.

When I was growing up I was given all of these hand me downs and it got to the point that I didn’t think that I was pretty or anything and wasn’t sure how I was supposed to dress. So I was eventually put in a school that had a uniform and that is where I started to try and show a feminine side because I would only hang out with females, which up until then wanted nothing to do with me.  When I left that school I went to wearing only pink for about two years and tried forming a nickname because I thought that was the only way to be cool. When I was younger I didn’t think well of myself because of the male clothing I wore and now I rarely wear boy clothes.  I prefer to wear light pinks or light blues or feminine tops. This refers to Looking-Glass Self.  People start to believe what they think others think of them. Our culture tells us that what we wear matters if we want to be popular or be an outcast. When I was younger all I wanted to do was fit in but as I got older I stopped caring about it as much, I just preferred to try and get the grades.

Gender Roles are played depending on the gender you are and the culture that you live in. Though females have been for the most part inferior in most cultures, there are some though where they are seem to be the more superior. The Amazon culture was a female society where they were the more powerful ones and the males were the ones that were non-dominant, unlike here where for the majority, females are told to be the ones to look after the children and the men are supposed to be the breadwinners. If males do not feel like they are making the money, they feel emasculated.  So the females are the ones that are supposed to take care of the children and keep the house clean.

Different societies through our socialization have different Rites of Passages depending on the culture that you’re a part of. In the American culture for the most part, the first rite of passage seems to be prom for females. Everyone wants that chance to get that pretty dress and be waited on and have that perfect date. This isn’t though of the most important rites of passages like graduation. One of the rites of passages that is actually extremely important is graduation. That ceremony is what your entire family looks forward to. They are crushed if they feel that you may not graduate. This happened to one of my siblings about a month before graduation.  He was told the only way he would be able to graduate is if he stayed after the rest of the year and came back for the last two weeks and was in his class the entire time.

Of course my parents made sure that he did it so that he would be able to graduate, but he was so close to not having that experience. Other cultures though have Quinceanera for the females or a bar mitzvah for the males at different ages that say they have reached adulthood, like graduation is for us.

So depending on your culture there are different ways that we are perceived as males or females or what we find should have a celebration. One of the few things that seem to be important all across the world is the marriage celebration. All nations have some sort of celebration but it just depends where you live that helps you decide what is important. Another thing that culture influences is what we consider beautiful. In our society females are told to be skinny and guys are told no make-up. The question is, why do we have these cultural things that seem to mark who we are?  So why do these things control who we are? They should not be able to decide what we find acceptable. In the video the song is called crazy and I feel that it makes sense with some things that are part of our culture that just goes a little crazy but this is how our society is. We all want that beauty but how far is too far?