Agents of Socialization Essay

Agents of Socialization Essay

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Agents of socialization in short are the people, groups, and social institutions, as well as the interactions within these groups that influence a person’s social and self-development. Agents of socialization are believed to provide the critical information needed for children to function successfully as a member of society. Some examples of such agents are family, neighborhood, schools, peers, religion, sports, the workplace, and especially the mass media. Each agent of socialization is linked to another. For example, in the media, symbolic images affect both the individual and the society, making the mass media the most controversial socialization agent. One of the most obvious places agents of socialization lay is in the malls of America. Malls are filled with advertisements and consumed by the mass media touching on all levels of society.
     No one is immune from the affect of the agents of socialization that exist in malls. Anyone and everyone who is part of a society is a product of socialization. Within every advertisement, clothing store, toy store, arcade, music store, etc, there is a gender preferred subliminal message being sent. The way toys are divided into male sections and female sections and the way advertisements portray all men and women in a certain way contribute to societies “norm” of gender roles. The mass media is one of the most influential agents of socialization and malls are surrounded by it. The messages given through the media act as the teachers of gender roles, values, ideologies, and beliefs, and individuals who pick up on these messages eventually take on, whats thought to be, the normative roles of society. Both boys and girls rely on society’s expectations in regard to both masculinity and femininity in order to interpret interaction and to develop expectations for themselves and those around them. It is because of these agents of socialization, that gender roles are created. Advertisements portray both men and women in characteristically stereotypical fashions that support the various institutions and socialization agents. The women depicted in these advertisements fit the stereotypical roles related to sexuality by focusing on beauty, body image, and physical attractiveness. They are skinny and tan, with teeth as white as paper and hair looking healthy and fresh. Girls in society look up to th...


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...re much more scarce. For the more adult cards, those for women all had jokes pertaining to looks, weight and/or sex life, while the men’s cards had jokes pertaining to hair loss, blindness, beer belly’s etc. One card I noticed entailed for women had a picture of a gorgeous, tan, and muscular male with the “washboard stomach”, and on the inside was a joke saying something along the lines of how one would love this as her present. This send the message to guys that to be a desirable man, they need to be the typical “tall, dark, and handsome” prince of their dreams, and vise versa for the men’s cards. One card for a male had a picture of a “Bay Watch Babe” assuming that any typical guy would want a woman like that. This tells women that in order to be desirable to men they need to be skinny, gorgeous, and have a high sexual appeal. Wrapping paper is available to “fit” both sexes. In one bin there’s a collection of wrapping paper with trucks, tractors, bulldozers etc, and in the other there is a collection of wrapping paper with Barbie and friends, dolls, butterflies etc for girls. Anyone would get the message that one bin is entailed for males, and the other is entailed for females.

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