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Introduction to Sociology

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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Lesson 31
GENDER SOCIALIZATION
Gender socialization is the ways in which society sets children onto different courses in life because they are
male or female. Children are born with a biological difference i.e. given by nature, but gender differences are
inculcated through nurturance. It is the socialization process that lays the foundation of contrasting
orientations to life that carries over from childhood into adulthood.
Children gradually internalize the social norms and expectations corresponding to their being a male or a
female. As children become conscious of their self-identity, they also become gender conscious, which
usually takes place when they are around 3 years in age.
Internalization of norms and expectations are highly effective, for most men and women act, think, and feel
according to the guidelines laid down by their culture as appropriate for their sex. How do people learn that
certain activities are "masculine" and others "feminine", and on that basis proper for them or not? Origins
of such gender differences in behavior can be traced back to socialization where individuals learn how to
play various roles in accordance to their cultural prescriptions.
Gender ordering generates a variety of masculinities and femininities. Also the same gender order acts as
a framework within which gender differences emerge and are reproduced or challenged.
Masculinities refer to various socially constructed collections of assumptions, expectations and ways of
behaving that serve as standards for forms of male behavior. Femininities include various socially
constructed collections of assumptions, expectations and ways of behaving that serve as standards for
female behavior.
Masculinity and femininity are subject to change not only across cultures, but also over time.
Masculine traits
Feminine traits
Submissive
Dominant
Dependent
Independent
Unintelligent/incapable
Intelligent/competent
Emotional
Rational
Receptive
Assertive
Weak
Strong
Timid
Brave
Content
Ambitious
Passive
Active
Cooperative
Competitive
Sensitive
Insensitive
Sex object
Sexually aggressive
Role of family:
The first question people usually ask about a newborn ­ Is it a boy or girl? In fact, gender is at work even
before the birth of child, since most parents in the world hope to have a boy than a girl. Soon after birth,
family members usher infants into the "pink world" of girls or the "blue world" of boys. Parents even
convey gender messages unconsciously in the way they handle daughters and sons, and thereby inculcate
relevant traits by sex.
Role of peer groups:
Peer groups further socialize their members in accordance with the normative conceptions of gender.
Games differ by gender. Male games are usually competitive. Male peer activities reinforce masculine traits
of aggression and control. Competitiveness for boys and cooperativeness for girls is the usual motto.
Role of schooling:
School curricula encourage children to embrace appropriate gender patterns. Girls: Secretarial skills, home-
centered know-how. Boys: Woodworking, auto-mechanics. Colleges continue with the same pattern.
Humanities for girls and hard subjects for boys. Gender images in textbooks.
Role of Mass Media:
The number of male characters is much higher than female characters. Also women are not featured in
prominent roles.
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Men generally play the brilliant detectives, fearless explorers, and skilled surgeons. Women by contrast, play
the less capable characters, and are often important primarily, by their sexual attractiveness. Historically, ads
have presented women in home, happily using cleaning products, serving food, trying out appliances, and
modeling clothes. Magazine and newspapers: Pictures, activities, gestures.
Advertising perpetuates "beauty myth". Cosmetics and diet industry target women. The concept of
"Beauty" is a social construct.
Society teaches women to measure themselves in terms of physical appearance: to be beautiful for whom
and to attract whom, and how? Men want to possess the beauties as objects.
Gender Stratification
Gender stratification refers to society's unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege between men and women.
For many years research on stratification was `gender blind' ­ it was written as though women did not exist,
or as though, for purposes of analyzing division of power, wealth and prestige women were unimportant
and uninteresting. Yet gender itself is one of the profound examples of stratification. There are no societies
in which men do not, in some aspect of social life, have more wealth, status, and influence than women.
How far we can understand gender inequalities in modern times mainly in terms of class divisions?
Inequalities of gender are more deep rooted historically than class systems; men have superior standing to
women even in hunting and gathering societies, where there are no classes. Class divisions in modern
societies are so marked that there is no doubt that they `overlap' substantially with gender inequalities. The
material position of most women tends to reflect that of their fathers or husbands; hence it can be argued
that we have to explain gender inequalities mainly in class terms.
Determining women's class position
The view that class inequalities largely govern gender stratification was often an unstated assumption until
quite recently. The `conventional position' in class analysis was that the paid work of women is relatively
insignificant compared to that of men, and that therefore women can be regarded as being in the same class
as their husbands. Since majority of women have traditionally been in a position of economic dependence
on their husbands, it follows that their class position is most often governed by the husband's class
situation.
This position has been criticized in many ways. First, in many households the income of women is essential
to maintaining the family's economic position and mode of life. In these circumstances women's paid
employment in some part determines the class position of the family as a whole. Second, a wife's
occupation may sometimes set the standard of the family as a whole. Even if the woman earns less than her
husband, her working situation may still be the `lead' factor in influencing the class of her husband.
Third, where `cross-class' households exist ­ in which the work of the husband is in a different class
category from that of the wife ­ there may be some purposes for which it is more realistic to treat men and
women, even within the same households, as being in different class positions. Fourth, the proportion of
households in which women are sole breadwinners is increasing. The growing number of lone mothers and
childless workingwomen are testament to this fact. Such women are by definition the determining influence
on the class position of their own households.
One suggestion is that the class position of person be determined without reference to the position of one's
household. Social class of a person may be assessed on the basis of one's occupation. This approach ignores
those women who work as housewives and many who are retired people and unemployed.
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Table of Contents:
  1. THE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY:Auguste Comte, The Fields of Sociology
  2. THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE:Society affects what we do
  3. THEORETICAL PARADIGMS:Salient Paradigms, Critical Evaluation
  4. SOCIOLOGY AS SCIENCE:Empirical, Verifiable, Cumulative, Self-Correcting
  5. STEPS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION:Exploration/Consultation
  6. SOCIAL INTERACTION:Social Status, ROLE, The Social Construction of Reality
  7. SOCIAL GROUPS:Primary and Secondary Groups, Reference Group, Networks
  8. ORGANIZATIONS:Utilitarian Organizations, Coercive Organizations
  9. CULTURE:Universality, Components of Culture, Symbols, Language
  10. CULTURE (continued):Beliefs, Norms, Cultural Diversity
  11. CULTURE (continued):Culture by social class, Multiculturalism, Cultural Lag
  12. SOCIALIZATION: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NATURE, Social Isolation
  13. UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIALIZATION PROCESS
  14. AGENTS OF SOCIALIZATION:The Family, The School, Peer Groups, The Mass Media
  15. SOCIALIZATION AND THE LIFE COURSE:CHILDHOOD, ADOLESCENCE
  16. SOCIAL CONTROL AND DEVIANCE:Crime, Deviants, Stigma, Labeling
  17. THE SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS OF DEVIANCE:Cultural relativity of deviance
  18. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME:Sociological explanations
  19. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME -- CONTINUED:White-Collar Crime, Conflict Theory
  20. SOCIAL DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME: EXPLANATIONS, Gender and Crime
  21. SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE
  22. THEORIES OF CLASS AND STRATIFICATION I:Critical evaluation
  23. THEORIES OF SOCIAL CLASS AND STRATIFICATION II
  24. THEORIES OF CLASS AND SOCIAL STRATIFICATION III
  25. SOCIAL CLASS AS SUBCULTURE
  26. SOCIAL MOBILITY:Structural factors, Individual factors, Costs
  27. THE FAMILY: GLOBAL VARIETY, Marriage Patterns, Patterns of Descent
  28. FUNCTIONS OF FAMILY:Reproduction, Social placement
  29. FAMILY AND MARRIAGE IN TRANSITION:Family is losing functions
  30. GENDER: A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, Gender socialization
  31. GENDER SOCIALIZATION:Role of family, Gender Stratification
  32. EXPLANATIONS OF GENDER INEQUALITY:Conflict Explanations, Feminism
  33. FUNCTIONS OF SCHOOLING:Cultural Innovation, School Tracking
  34. ISSUES IN EDUCATION:Low Enrollment, High Dropout, Gender Disparity
  35. POPULATION STUDY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE:Crude Birth Rate
  36. THEORY OF POPULATION GROWTH:Theory of Demographic Transition
  37. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN:World Population Growth
  38. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN (Continued):Age Distribution, Sex Composition
  39. IMPLICAIONS OF POPULATION GOWTH:Additional GDP needed per year
  40. POPULATION POLICY:Goals of Population Policy, Objectives, Strategies
  41. ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY:Global Dimension, Historical Dimension
  42. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES:Preserving Clean Water, Clearing the Air
  43. SOCIAL CHANGE:Social change is controversial.
  44. CAUSES OF SOCIAL CHANGE:Culture and Change, Conflict and Change, Modernization
  45. MODERNITY AND POST MODERNITY:Cultural Patterns, Post-modernity