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To What Extent Is Gender Socialisation Socially Constructed?

Essay by   •  October 13, 2011  •  Essay  •  551 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,262 Views

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"To what extent is gender socialisation socially constructed?"

Gender socialisation is when Children from an early age are taught to act a certain way, a way that is "appropriate" for their sex. Social construction is when something is made to look natural when it's really determined by society, e.g. Gender role. Sociologists believe that gender role is built up from the process of primary and secondary socialisation. Primary socialisation is the early childhood learning of norms and values from the parents, for e.g. table manners. Secondary socialisation, however, takes place throughout our lives, for e.g., education, media, work, e.t.c.

There are 4 types of gender socialisation through primary socialisation. They are Manipulation, Canalisation, Verbal Appellations and Different activities. Manipulation is when the parents encourage their children to behave in a way a child within their sex would behave. Canalisation is when children are encouraged to play with certain toys because of their gender. For example a girl might be encouraged to play with Barbie dolls while a boy would be encouraged to play with Building toys or a football. Verbal appellations is when we let children know that their gender is vital when we talk to them by using phrases such as "My little princess" and "aren't you a little soldier". Different activities gender role socialisation is when Children are told to take up different activities according to their gender, For example, when boys are told to take up sport while the girls are encouraged to help out at home with the cooking and cleaning.

Gender socialisation is to some extent socially constructed. It teaches children from an early age to act the way that society expects them to act, and because of this the children are not told that they can choose the way that they act. They are told the way they act is supposed to be according to their gender. This means that the boys will for example be interested in more physical stuff as that is how primary socialisation has shaped them. To show that this is true however, there could be a test carried out to investigate if the children that don't go through the process of primary socialisation still have the same gender roles or whether their role are mixed. For example, the girls might play more football than the boys and the boys might like to go shopping more and do the cooking.

However, to some extent there is also a natural difference between boys and girls. For example the fact that men are usually built to be stronger than women suggests that they are built better for physical work. The way that their muscles are built as well suggests to us that they are better for running, and this shows us why women are taken less significantly than men in the world of Athletics or any sport for that matter.

I think that Gender role socialisation is mainly taught

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