Category Archives: Socialization

Race

Knowledge Is Power

clip_image001Race may always be an issue within society. In The United States, it has always seemed to be a prevalent part of the cultural make-up, as well as media focus. From the early days of slavery to today’s racial stereotypes and profiling, race seems to play a large role in political and social issues.

I, being of mixed-race, have seen the world in black and white for the most part (no pun intended). I always saw those who judged my parents for being together as being stupid and bad. However, recently I came to realize that there is more to racial profiling than just bad people assuming bad things about others based on their ethnic background. Yes, arrogance and naiveté are for the most part what causes negative stigmas for races, but there is more at play than good versus evil here.

clip_image004The key to why arrogance causes many people to judge race resides in one’s education. From what I personally have witnessed, the main reason why people judge is not found naturally in them. They didn’t wake up one afternoon and say, “You know what? Black people are ruining this great country!” I have noticed that it is, most of the time, integrated in their upbringing. Some people may have grown up believing that other races derive from lower social classes or inferior societies.

For example, my uncle is a fairly conservative man. He drives an eighteen-wheeler for a living and in his experience he has met many people. I have heard a multitude of humorous tales from him and his trucking adventures (most I believe are fiction). But from time to time I hear some quite edgy opinions of his. While at dinner with my family one weekend, he told a story of how a newer truck driver was unsure about how to do a certain job related task. I cannot recall the exact details or even the premise of my uncle’s story, but I do remember that it was humorous. Yet, I was a little disturbed by my uncle’s comment in the middle of the tale, “No offense Mac,” he prefaced, “but mind you, this was a colored boy…” And then the story continued to the point.

clip_image005I suppose I wasn’t offended much, but I was confused. First of all, in what way was this comment relevant to the focus of the story? And secondly, colored is still an adjective for black people? I suppose I wasn’t there for that memo. But back on track, I know he truly meant it when he said no offense, I don’t believe my uncle to be a racist, he may be a tad judgmental though. I do realize that my uncle was hinting that somehow the trucker’s race had a role in his inability to perform this particular task.

Now to the point, what was the underlying factor to this stereotype? I wouldn’t put my finger on racism, mainly because my uncle respects me and my black dad, but I would guess a bit of ignorance was peaking it’s head in on this situation (of course no offense to my uncle). It is really nobody’s fault in most cases that they are unaware of the power behind their unintentional profiling.

This is where the solution comes into the picture. Rather than me, or anyone caught in this awkward situation for that matter, jumping down a person’s throat or using an “I am higher than thou” prerogative to put down a person caught in ignorance’s grasp, I can simply inquire about how what they said was a bit touchy for many people today. This is what can change the way many people view their actions. Education is the key to understanding, and understanding is the key to equality and additionally the key to ending the progression of minor and major racism. With this we can keep racial profiling and stereotypes a piece of our nation’s, and hopefully the world’s, history, rather than a piece of days to come.

clip_image007— Mac

 

Feminism

When somebody says, “You fight like a girl” it is supposed to be an insult, but I and many other women find no reason for that to be degrading. Women may be known for the stereotypes of being small, weak, and fragile, but these labels are hopefully soon to be forgotten. Everyday women are fighting their boundaries and growing stronger in their mental and physical ability. The distinction between men and women is prominent, but altogether for the wrong reasons. Women need to be known for what they really do rather than what is expected of them. Females are strong, compassionate, motivated, beautiful human beings that are just as qualified for any position as a male.

The feminine hygiene product brand Always ran a recent campaign to ask what it means to run, fight, and act like a girl. The real test was to prove that our image of what girls are is weak and slow when that is not in fact true. We tell girls when they are growing up that it is important to be smart and tough and to be who they want to be, but as they mature they are pressured to act against their upbringing and pretend to be less athletic than a male to attract them. Seems silly right? Maybe socialization is to blame, but people fail to promote girls as equal to men in in all abilities. Women can run, fight, and speak generally as equivalent to a man without losing her femininity.

Women should not be portrayed as weak just because they are supposed to be pretty and lady-like. It should be grounds to show that women can do all things equal and be lovely all at the same time. It is time that we begin to teach girls that “like a girl” just means “not like a man,” and nothing more and nothing less. Equality between genders is the goal and a fair fight to this conclusion is needed.

There are many different actions to support feminism, some being much more extreme than others. A new movement called “Free Bleeding” is on the rise among women who are fighting the “man” made world. It is an act of defiance towards feminine hygiene products that shame a woman from her natural monthly cycle. The women will avoid all sanitary products to hold in the bleeding and release their menstrual blood in between her thighs and onto her clothes naturally. They are making a clear statement to fight against the idea that women’s monthly cycle is something that is gross or disgraceful and making it something that should be acknowledged as a gift. It is a gift that reminds humans where children come from and just how important a woman is to the miracle of life.

Sexism plays such an unfair role in our society and women are seen as weak because of their cycle. It is completely discriminatory to claim that women are less qualified for a position because she could be unstable during their menstrual cycle. The idea that a woman cannot emotionally stabilize herself is narrow-minded for any person to think.

It is also now time that we begin to give women fair opportunity for employment and rid of the unequal pay gap that we allow today. Any person working up to the standards of the position should not be paid less for it because of their gender. Women should not face glass ceilings. Women should not face second shifts. Women should not be divided out from men, but sadly, we are.

If women learned to really fight like a girl can and not like their stereotypes say and if all men showed more respect for the women who are the breadwinners, then maybe society could reach equality between genders. Just maybe we all could work a little harder to show that fighting like a girl means fighting like a human being.

— Amy

 

Sacred and Profane

Religion has had a major impact on our global society. We would not be where we are without it. In this world, some people cling to religion like a life vest in the middle of the ocean, while others pay little or no attention at all. We cannot deny, however, that it has affected our lives. Religion causes people to do things they might not normally do. Some kill and destroy in the name of religion and others give everything they have to the needy in the name of religion. Either way, we are changed by the things people do in the name of religion. One thing many people seem to argue about, regarding religion, is what is defined as sacred and what is defined as profane.

Sociologically, things that are sacred are “elements beyond everyday life that inspire respect, awe, and even fear” (Witt 192). Simply put, things that are sacred need to be taken seriously because they are holy. Sacred things, however, all depend on what religion you adhere to. Praying 5 times a day is sacred to Muslims, but not necessarily to Christians. Bread becomes sacred to Christians when taking communion, but to most people, bread is just bread. Most times, people interact with the sacred through rituals. Rituals are “practices required or expected of members of a faith” (Witt 195). Every religion has numerous rituals for many different things. Christians have the ritual of communion, water baptism, confession, prayer, and many others. Muslims have the ritual of prayer, different holidays, a hajj, and many more, I’m sure. Each group has sacred rituals that, essentially, make up their religion.

Each person defines what is sacred to them based on their religious beliefs. Religious beliefs are, “statements to which members of a particular religion adhere” (Witt 194). There are hundreds of religions around the world and each one has its own set of widely varying beliefs. Some believe in a God, some believe in no God, some believe in many Gods, and some even believe aliens will come and take us to our next lives. For many people, what religion you are depends on how you grew up as a child. Some religions are very strict about their beliefs. This refers to the term fundamentalism. It’s when people “rigidly adhere to core religious doctrines” (Witt 194). When I think of fundamentalists, I think of the people who never cut their hair and only eat certain things because they take what’s in the Bible literally. In the Bible, women weren’t supposed to cut their hair, so they adhere to that standard because they view it as sacred. It seems like a very legalistic approach to religion, but they only do these things because they believe it is sacred.

On the flip side of this coin are things defined as profane. The profane are simply things that are “ordinary and commonplace” (Witt 193). As with things that are sacred, things that are profane vary between religions as well. A menorah might be sacred to Jews, but to others it’s just a fancy candle holder. As we grow up we learn, through our parents, what things are sacred and what things are profane. I think we can apply these words, not only in religion, but in other situations as well. If parents believe than drinking is wrong and show that to their kids, their kids will pick up on that and believe it as well. The parents have, in a way, placed not drinking in the sacred category and told their kids they need to uphold these standards. This is just one example, but there are many different applications for things that are sacred or profane, even if you’re not religious.

I grew up in the Pentecostal church, so I understand Christianity better than other religions. In my experience, I’ve found that some things can transform from profane to sacred. For example, I think the order of service has become sacred to the church. No one told us this is the way a service is held; it’s just always been that way. If that, somehow, changes, people will get upset because we are messing with what they believe to be sacred. When you mess with things that are perceived as sacred, you better watch out. People guard what is sacred to them with everything they’ve got and don’t want to give it up. I think the church needs to evaluate what is truly sacred and what is, in actuality, profane. People in the church always seem to be arguing about the carpet color or how to run the nurseries, or something of the sort. Are these really things worth arguing about? Are these things truly sacred to the church, or are they just profane? These are the questions, I believe, the church needs to ask themselves.

Not only does the church need to ask these questions, but I think each person, individually, needs to ask these questions. People need to find out what things are truly worth fighting for and what things are inconsequential. Everyone seems to be fighting for every little detail of life, when they should be compromising on the little things and choosing their battles wisely. Don’t waver on what is truly sacred to you, but if something is profane, normal and not holy, allow the possibility that it could be changed. For example, I firmly believe that there is a God and that he loves me. I’m not going to let anyone tell me otherwise. I also believe that Captain Crunch is delicious. Captain Crunch is profane, while my belief in God is sacred to me. Just because I think that cereal is good doesn’t mean I’m going to put it on a pedestal and fight for it. This is a dramatic example, but the concept still applies. Don’t let all the profane things in life become more than they really are. Find for yourself what you truly believe to be sacred and fight for it.

Works Cited

Witt, Jon. Soc. Ed. Gina Boedeker. 2011th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2011. N. pag. Print.

 

SOCIALIZATION

Every day we live in a world ticking on its own rhythm taking account of things that we consider normal functions of life in performing daily tasks. We are expected to behave in a certain way according to the perspectives of ourselves and others. From childhood through adulthood, we pass stages of life expecting that significant transitions are yet to come to be experienced in the course of our lives. The language we speak, the values we believe in, and the rules we follow shape us to become a unique individual within the society.

 

Such uniqueness of individual is defined as self. The self is the distinct sense of who we are that is developed from social interactions with other individuals which can be changed depending on our life experiences. According to American sociologist Charles Horton Cooley’s Looking-Glass Self theory, a person’s self is shaped by the interaction with the important people around him/her. For example, I believe in Buddhism because my parents have been influential regarding religious aspects and beliefs from the earliest years of my childhood. Going to the temple, chanting Dhamma, listening to Dhamma talk from the Buddhist monks were our family’s outing on the weekends or occasionally other social meetings with people from the mutual society. Now, I think myself as an adult with my own perspective and beliefs, but I still believe in Buddhism and still perform those rituals. I follow Buddhism, not because I did not have an option to choose which religion to believe in, but because those experiences I had in the early years of my life shaped me and planted my belief in Buddhism first, prior to that of other religions. Also, it is because of the powerful influence of my parents, the schools I have gone to where there were occasional religious events held within the school facility and because the majority of friends and relatives have the same religious beliefs. Thus, my parents were significant in developing my beliefs.  School, friends and relatives were the agents of socialization that played an important role in shaping the self that I am today. Other common agents of socialization that exist within the society are family, cross-culture variation, the influence of race and gender, peer groups, mass media and technology, religion and the state, the work place and school.  This demonstrates the socialization process.

Socialization is a lifelong process that enables us to learn the attitudes, values, and behaviors appropriate for our culture. Noticing the word “lifelong” from the definition, we learn significant amounts from human interaction with others even before we can speak a word. American sociologist George Herbert Mead described the early childhood self-development in three stages:

Preparatory stage (birth – 3 years old)

In this stage, the children are engaged in social interaction with others by imitation. When I was working as a community interpreter for the InghamIntermediateSchool District for Early Childhood Development Program, I had to go for home visits with a parent educator for non-English speaking families from Myanmar. The parent educator would analyze and determine the level of development according to the behavior of children. The use of gestures, objects and eventually words to communicate or the use of symbols to interact with other is the goal of a three year old development. It was amazing to have seen that many children achieved this stage tremendously well even though they were raised in a different culture.

Play stage ( 3 years old – 5 years old)

Children are believed to learn self-development and interaction through pretend play in this stage. It is critical because the children learn to behave in a certain way only when they have experienced the similar experiences such as going to school, going to the doctor for medical checkup or to the dentist or to learn more about how the world works. These types of internalized role taking activities help the children to understand why we do things and how we do things and to have an expectancy of what kind of perspective they should have.

Game stage (6 years old – 9 years old)

This is the final stage where children begin to consider their role and their own position to represent their ‘self’. This is the stage where the child realizes how his/her attitudes and viewpoints are taken into account by the expectations of society as a whole.

As we grow older, constructing and maintaining our self has been far more influenced by others. A Canadian sociologist, Erving Goffman explained a viewpoint called dramaturgical approach where people are seen as theatrical performers. Each individual plays their own role in encountering social interactions. For example, a mom is expected to be responsible of taking care of her children and household, a teacher is expected to teach the students and also to use appropriate manner and behavior to strictly stick to the rules, a student is expected to put learning as his/her priority to have a good career. Mr. Goffman also referred to the methods called impression management and face-work. An example of impression management would be choosing or altering the right kind of clothing to wear to different places such as a dress for party, casual clothes for hanging out with friends. Face-work is initiating behavior that would maintain the image of self to avoid public embarrassment. For example, a college math teacher would not want his/her colleagues to know that he is practicing Hip hop dancing because he thinks this would put an inappropriate sense for his job being a college faculty.

SOCIOBIOLOGY

Sociobiology aims to explain how biology affects human social behavior. The concept of sociobiology was first introduced in E.O Wilson’s book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975). E.O Wilson’s book defined sociobiology as an evolutionary theory of social behavior. Many sociobiologists believe that natural selection for reproductive success and reconstruction of evolutionary histories of behavior and behavioral strategies shape human social behaviors.

Evolutionary socialization begins to introduce the Darwinian evolutionary theory and natural selection. Darwin’s theory of evolution by the process of natural selection explains adaption by linking differential adaption to differential reproductive success. Organisms living in particular conditions of life with weaker traits will not last long in a population due to low rates of survival and reproductive success. Sociobiologists use the same method when modeling the evolution of human behaviors by using various ‘behavioral strategies’ as relevant traits. Sociobiologists believe that humans and other organisms have behavioral control systems that serve particular functions and whose evolutionary history is traceable.

Gene-culture coevolution shapes genes and cultures through human development. An example of this is the sweetness case, which touches on the fact that there is a strong disposition among people whose preference are sweet foods. Humans taste receptors for sweetness tell them that sugar is sweet. Since humans seek foods that trigger their taste receptors (due to human ancestors eating sweet fruits to give them energy for daily functions) they are gravitated towards fast food chains, which offer foods with large amounts of fat, salt and sugar. Human ancestors had a short supply of foods that contained sugar and salt in their environment, which resulted in humans to inherit their ancestor’s predispositions to eat sugary foods when they had the opportunity. Another example of gene-culture coevolution is sex-role stereotypes. Sociobiologists asked the question, why do humans have the sex-role stereotypes they do? Social science claims that humans are not born with mental contents. However, sex differences in children’s behavior can be explained by the differential treatment of parents who possessed sex-role stereotypes.

   Social behavior is closely related to gene-culture coevolution and natural selection. Richard Dawkins used his infamous metaphor ‘the selfish gene’ (1976) to introduce sociobiology. Critics took Dawkins metaphor and argued that, if human behavior were to be related to natural selection, we would all be selfish. Mary Midgley (1978) also believed Dawkins ‘the selfish gene’ metaphor to involve vicious circular reasoning. On the other hand, Darwin’s arguments for natural selection did not characterize the evolution process itself as being selfish or altruistic. Instead, Darwin postulated traits that serve a function to an individual, such as adaptive traits that help organisms solve problems from limited resources in their environment. The adaptive traits that give organisms advantages in competition can occur through altruistic or selfish traits. Altruistic traits help others but can cause self-destruction; selfish traits help ones self while hindering others from performing tasks. Sociopaths are defined as being selfish people; Linda Mealey identified two explanations for sociopathic behavior (1995), the ultimate and proximate explanation. Hypothetical ancestral conditions that may have rendered sociopathy adaptive, particularly the conditions in which social reciprocity evolved in human populations describes the ultimate explanation of sociopathic behavior. While, mechanisms that have a possibility to produce sociopathic behaviors in current environments, especially the mechanisms that involve life-history strategies that span biological, psychological and sociocultural variables describes the proximate explanation of sociopathic behavior.

Sociobiologists look at cultural universals as a product of human biological evolution. They argue that explanations of human thoughts and actions as a species ultimately takes into account human genetic makeup. On the other hand, while most sociologists agree that biology influences human social behavior. Degree’s of variation within and between societies suggests that sociobiological theories are limited to explain complex human behavior. An example of this is that one society may not allow marriage between close relatives while another society encourages it. The expression of cultural universals varies from one society to another and can dramatically change over time. It was once thought that women’s brains were too small, making them incapable of success in college. Women now make up about sixty percent of college graduates. Claims similar to that example have been used in the past to justify inequality, which had many sociologists questioning biological explanations for human behavior. Sociobiology’s main problem is that sociobiological theories are limited in explaining complex human behavior. It is difficult to find a possible solution to this problem because complex human behaviors are brought on by many factors and are ever changing within societies.

 

Citation:

Holcomb, H., & Byron, J. (2005, November 21). Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sociobiology/

Witt, J. (2012). Soc 2012. New York: McGraw-Hill

CULTURAL RELATIVISM

“He who Marches out of step hears another drum”

–Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

The easiest way to address the idea of cultural relativism is to consider the norms of the society that we are accustomed to. A norm is the behavior that we deem normal or acceptable. There are different types of norms including Folkways (everyday behavior), Mores (thought necessary in a society), Formal Norms (laws), and Informal Norms (things society sees as normal that are not written laws). Examples of these everyday norms are: dressing appropriately for work (Folkways), the act of adultery (Mores), paying taxes (Formal Norms), or how to react when entering a classroom (Informal norm). But norms change. Cultural relativism is the practice of looking at differences in society through that society’s eyes. This is an idea of objectively considering the acts, traditions, or behaviors of a culture different from your own. It is an unbiased process of analyzing a world that we are not accustom to, because it was not the culture we were socialized into. This act of socialization that occurs when we are young and continually occurs as we grow is the process that teaches us what to view as a norm and what to view as deviant.  The extreme opposite of Culture Relativism is Ethnocentrism. This is where a culture is analyzed for its differences in a negative manner. In other words, ethnocentrism is seeing traditions and beliefs that are different from your own, comparing the two, and favoring your own.

An example of these processes can be applied to the pictures above. On the left there is a girl who has scars on her face. These scars are purposeful and deemed as normal and positive in the society she was raised. The scars are a way to identify her with the village that she came from. The girl on the right has a tattoo on her shoulder. This is also a purposeful and positive symbol that she has decided to place upon her body. Both of these acts are similar, they have both scared their skin for life in order to identify with their culture or a value that they hold. Seeing this as it was previously stated, would be looking at these processes through a culturally relativistic view. Seeing only the girl with a primitive way of identifying with her village, or a girl who paid to mar her body with an insignificant picture would be an ethnocentric view of their cultural values and normative practices.

 

Works Cited

“One Few Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Quotes.” Goodreads. Goodreads Inc., n.d. Web. 25 Feb 2013. http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2100252-one-flew-over-the-cuckoo-s-nest

“Cultural Relativism, Basic Concepts.” Sociology Gide. SEO Expert Chennai, n.d. Web. 25 Feb 2013. http://www.sociologyguide.com/basic-concepts/Cultural-Relativism.php

 

SYMBOLS

It’s been said and understood that the socialization of a child starts as early as infancy. As the child grows up, they begin to act as their parents do when certain situations come up. Their parents and their society are their standard of normal. Within this society there are symbols. According to our textbook “SOC,” Symbols can be anything from a gesture, an object, or even a word that forms a basis of human communication (Witt).  Children can pick up on these symbols at a very early age. Children pick up on social norms and symbols by observing how their parents act, and through these observations they link meanings to actions. For example, my parents would always fold their hands when they were praying. As I grew up in a Christian church, I would do the same.

The whole idea behind Children reacting to symbols is very similar to other sociological concepts. The first major concept that a child reacting to symbols is like is socialization. Socialization, according to SOC, is the lifelong process through which people learn the attitudes, values, and behaviors appropriate for members of a particular culture. Children learning about symbols are basically part of socialization because the child has to learn about the culture, the symbol, and how the two go together. It’s all about the child learning things and applying it to how they act. It’s common when a child is so used to the symbols for the child to have culture shock when they visit other cultures. For example, a book published by the West Side Toast Masters says that holding two fingers up in America can either mean “peace” or it can signal the letter two. If you were to make the same kind gesture to someone in Greece, that person would take offense because in Greece the gesture means “up yours.” Similarly, I once hurt my middle finger and my doctor suggested that I keep it elevated. It was quite humorous to see how many people were offended because of the doctor’s orders. All of these things happen because we are trained to react a certain way to gestures, it differs from culture to culture so mixing is problematic at times.

Another issue I’d like to touch on that comes with symbols is the interpretation of religious symbols. I grew up in a very religious home so I was taught to have reverence for the cross. The cross to my family and me was a symbol of redemption and purpose. To others, it could be a symbol of family unity. And who knows what else it could mean to others. My point is that the meaning of the cross is up to the interpretation of the culture or subculture and that is passed onto children.

In conclusion, we have our own interpretation to what symbols mean even though they may be different than other cultures. Children’s interaction skills start by interacting with basic symbols that are all around them and whether they realize it or not, their perception of these symbols will stick with them for a very long time. Our perception of simple hand gestures, religious and political symbols, and even simple shapes and colors all spawned from our socialization in our preparatory stage. Our understanding of symbols will be passed onto our children and our grandchildren; it’s just how our society works.

 

Work Cited

Witt, Jon. SOC 2011. 2ndnd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011. 326. Print.

“Cultural Differences.” West Side Toast Masters. N.p.. Web. 25 Feb 2013. <http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/book_of_body_language/chap5.html&gt;.

 

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

Non-verbal communication is used in our daily lives. Non-verbal communication is the use of gestures, facial expressions, and other visual images to communicate. This way of communication is learned mainly through socialization. As we grow we learn most of our non-verbal communication from our society or culture that surrounds us. The things that influence this learning (such as family, media, and schools) are known as agents of socialization.  They influence how we view some non-verbal communication such as crying, holding hands, and kissing.

Since most non-verbal communication is learned from our society one problem that surfaces is the different meanings gestures have in different cultures. A certain gesture can be accepted in one culture but not another or that gesture can even have a completely different meaning. The video below shows some examples of different forms of non-verbal communication across the world.

As we grow older we learn what forms of non-verbal communications are, and are not, accepted in the society we are in. To avoid attention or embarrassment, people conform to the expectations in  certain situations. For example, in America we have an unspoken rule that men cannot cry in public because crying is a sign of weakness. Crying, a form of non-verbal communication demotes the man’s “manly status” and makes him appear weak. Non-verbal communication is also used in greetings, specific communications, and involuntary communications. An example of non-verbal communication in greetings is saying hello, or goodbye, to someone. Specific communications are certain gestures used by people on purpose; for example, gestures in a factory or sign language. Involuntary communications are gestures of facial expressions we cannot control; for example, tapping your finger when you are inpatient.

faceAs I stated earlier most non-verbal communications are taught to us by our surroundings, but some are instinctal and involuntary. The basic facial expressions surprisingly look the same no matter your race, culture, age, or sex. These involuntary facial expressions are known as micro-expressions and can convey sadness, anger, contempt, etc.

We use non-verbal communication to convey many messages, some on purpose and some by accident. Many forms of our non-verbal communication are taught and influenced by our surroundings, but some are involuntary. No matter what form of this communication is used we have a message that we want to convey, which is why non-verbal communication is so important and used daily.

LOOKING-GLASS SELF

“Self and others do not exist as mutually exclusive facts.” –Jon Witt

Developing our sense of who we are starts as soon as we make social interactions, between family friends, co-workers, teachers, even acquaintances we meet on a daily basis.  It’s through social interactions that we are shaped and can even define who we are or what we might think of ourselves.   It could be something as simple as a guy telling you you’re beautiful or a woman telling you you’re strong, which you then begin to believe that’s how others view you, defining yourself as a result of these assumptions.  This reflects Charles Horton Cooley’s looking-glass self theory.   In this theory, Cooley argued that our identity is based on how we think others see us, even though no one really knows what others are thinking.

When you’re a teenager in high school you try to conform to the norms of being popular; you by the fancy clothes from stores in the mall like Hollister,  Aeropostle and Abercrombie so that you “fit” in.  You’ve never particularly liked the clothes before or even had the ability to afford them, but you eventually buy them anyway or save up to buy them.  In my case, I had to wait till Christmas to buy the popular fashions.

Because I wasn’t always wearing name brand clothing, I felt that my peers were always critiquing me and giving me dirty looks.  By assuming that they were always thinking negative things about me I then became shy and acted negatively.

 

 

Cooley’s Theory of the Looking-Glass Self includes three main components:

1.) Self reflection study – We imagine how we must appear to others

2.) Self-awareness manipulation – We imagine the judgment of that appearance

3.) Individuation manipulation – We develop our self through the judgments of others.

We rely on feedback from others to see what their thoughts on us are or how we’re viewed by them and then proceed to act like such to help guide us with further interactions.  The most important interactions are with our significant others.

The Looking-Glass Self involves a series of steps that we all do subconsciously which affects us every day.  With socialization comes up and downs. Through our social interaction we learn from our conversations and experiences with others, whether they are positive or negative.  Deciding our own attitudes and feelings by watching how we react to situations is called the self- perception theory.  

Our self is shaped from our interactions with others and forms a unique combination distinct from everyone else.  The self comprises who we are as individuals and our concepts of what’s considered good, desirable and proper, or our values that we hold onto.

We try, we fail and we try again.  This is our guess and check strategy at life and with people.   It’s through our interaction that we learn and grow, which provides us with greater self confidence for future interactions with others.  We are who we are for various reasons: how others view us, how we view ourselves and where we came from.   It’s because of these reasons that we are unique.

http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/self-perception.htm

http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/baldwin/classes/soc142/scznDEF.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Looking_glass_self#Three_main_components

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?