Gender Socialization

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Gender Socialization

A baby is born and the doctor looks at the proud parents and says three simple

words: Its a boy, or Its a girl! Before a newborn child even takes his or her first breath of

life outside the mothers womb, he or she is distinguished and characterized by gender. The

baby is brought home and dressed in clothes that help others identify the sex of the child.

Baby boys are dressed in blue and baby girls are dressed in pink. The baby boy may be

dressed in a blue shirt with a football or a baseball glove on it. The baby girl may wear a

bow in her hair and have flowered pajamas. As the boy begins to grow, he is given a

miniature basketball and a hoop to play with. The girl is given dolls an doll clothes to

dress them up in. When they get a little older, the boy may play with legos and the girl

plays with a plastic tea set with which to play house with. Sounds pretty normal right?

Why?

As illustrated in the not-so-fictional scenario above, gender socialization begins

very early in life. Society has accepted such stereotypical things as baby boy blue and baby

girl pink to help identify the sex of a child. Heaven forbid the little Joey looks like a girl or

b aby Michelle is mistaken for a boy. Mothers and fathers make it easy for everyone to

distinguish their child by utilizing the socially established gender stereotypes. But where

and how did these stereotypes come from? Unfortunately, I donÕ t think there is a definite

answer to that question. We seem to accept that blue is for boys and pink is for girls. Boys

generally play with balls, toy trucks and building blocks whereas girls spend their time

with dolls, tea sets and stuffed animals. But these are the stereotypes that are influenced ...

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...is too can lead to what society

views as being socially acceptable. In a perfect world, there would be no gender

differentiation, no racial tension and no Òpolitical incorrectness Ó. But we live in an

imperfect world that is currently making a turn towards becoming more ÒPCÓ (politically

correct). Fading away are such terms as fireman, stewardess, boyfriend and girlfriend,

policeman and secretary. Now we are starting to use a mo re socially acceptable language

and replacing such terms with fire fighter, flight attendant, domestic partner or significant

other, police officer and administrative assistant. We are slowly, and I do mean slowly,

moving towards a non gender separated s ociety. Eventually we may be able to control

what we see and how we see it, but until then we must rely on ourselves to determine

what is reality and what is part of a DreamWorld.

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