Gendersocialization is the ways in which society sets children onto different coursesin life because they are male or female. Children are born with a biologicaldifference i.e. given by nature, but gender differences are inculcated throughnurturance. It is the socialization process that lays the foundation ofcontrasting orientations to life that carries over from childhood intoadulthood.

Childrengradually internalize the social norms and expectations corresponding to theirbeing a male or a female. As children become conscious of their self-identity,they also become gender conscious, which usually takes place when they arearound 3 years in age.

Internalizationof norms and expectations are highly effective, for most men and women act,think, and feel according to the guidelines laid down by their culture asappropriate 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 tosocialization where individuals learn how to play various roles in accordanceto their cultural prescriptions.

Genderordering generates a variety of masculinities and femininities. Also the same gender order acts as a framework within which genderdifferences emerge and are reproduced or challenged.

Masculinities referto various socially constructed collections of assumptions, expectations andways of behaving that serve as standards for forms of male behavior. Femininities include various sociallyconstructed collections of assumptions, expectations and ways of behaving thatserve as standards for female behavior.

Masculinityand femininity are subject to change not only across cultures, but also overtime.

Feminine traits VS Masculine traits












Sexobject/Sexually aggressive

Role of family:

Thefirst question people usually ask about a newborn – Is it a boy or girl? Infact, gender is at work even before the birth of child, since most parents inthe world hope to have a boy than a girl. Soon after birth, family membersusher infants into the “pink world” of girls or the “blue world” of boys.Parents even convey gender messages unconsciously in the way they handledaughters and sons, and thereby inculcate relevant traits by sex.

Role of peer groups:

Peergroups further socialize their members in accordance with the normativeconceptions of gender.

Gamesdiffer by gender. Male games are usually competitive. Male peer activitiesreinforce masculine traits of aggression and control. Competitiveness for boysand cooperativeness for girls is the usual motto.

Role of schooling:

Schoolcurricula encourage children to embrace appropriate gender patterns. Girls:Secretarial skills, home centered know-how. Boys: Woodworking, auto-mechanics.Colleges continue with the same pattern.

Humanitiesfor girls and hard subjects for boys. Gender images in textbooks.

Role of Mass Media:

Thenumber of male characters is much higher than female characters. Also women arenot featured in prominent roles.

Men generallyplay the brilliant detectives, fearless explorers, and skilled surgeons. Womenby contrast, play the less capable characters, and are often importantprimarily, by their sexual attractiveness. Historically, ads have presentedwomen in home, happily using cleaning products, serving food, trying outappliances, and modeling clothes. Magazine and newspapers: Pictures,activities, gestures.

Advertisingperpetuates “beauty myth”. Cosmetics and diet industry target women. Theconcept of

“Beauty”is a social construct.

Societyteaches women to measure themselves in terms of physical appearance: to bebeautiful for whom and to attract whom, and how? Men want to possess thebeauties as objects.

Gender Stratification

Genderstratification refers to society’s unequaldistribution of wealth, power, and privilege between men and women.

Formany years research on stratification was ‘gender blind’ – it was written asthough women did not exist, or as though, for purposes of analyzing division ofpower, wealth and prestige women were unimportant and uninteresting. Yet genderitself is one of the profound examples of stratification. There are nosocieties in which men do not, in some aspect of social life, have more wealth,status, and influence than women.

Howfar we can understand gender inequalities in modern times mainly in terms ofclass divisions?

Inequalitiesof gender are more deep rooted historically than class systems; men havesuperior standing to women even in hunting and gathering societies, where thereare no classes. Class divisions in modern societies are so marked that there isno doubt that they ‘overlap’ substantially with gender inequalities. The materialposition 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 inclass terms.

Determining women’s class position

Theview that class inequalities largely govern gender stratification was often anunstated assumption until quite recently. The ‘conventional position’ in classanalysis was that the paid work of women is relatively insignificant comparedto that of men, and that therefore women can be regarded as being in the sameclass as their husbands. Since majority of women have traditionally been in a positionof economic dependence on their husbands, it follows that their class positionis most often governed by the husband’s class situation.

Thisposition has been criticized in many ways. First, in many households the incomeof women is essential to maintaining the family’s economic position and mode oflife. In these circumstances women’s paid employment in some part determinesthe class position of the family as a whole. Second, a wife’s occupation maysometimes set the standard of the family as a whole. Even if the woman earnsless than her husband, her working situation may still be the ‘lead’ factor ininfluencing the class of her husband.

Third,where ‘cross-class’ households exist – in which the work of the husband is in adifferent class category from that of the wife – there may be some purposes forwhich it is more realistic to treat men and women, even within the samehouseholds, as being in different class positions. Fourth, the proportion of householdsin which women are sole breadwinners is increasing. The growing number of lonemothers and childless workingwomen are testament to this fact. Such women areby definition the determining influence on the class position of their ownhouseholds.

Onesuggestion is that the class position of person be determined without referenceto the position of one’s household. Social class of a person may be assessed onthe basis of one’s occupation. This approach ignores those women who work ashousewives and many who are retired people and unemployed.

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