Gender Socialization Essay

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Gender Socialization What does it mean to be a man or to be a woman? In most cultures, particularly ours, people outside of their gender norms may struggle with the answer to this question. Such difficulty may be cause by what is, or is not, culturally acceptable, gender socialization. The message that society conveys is that men should be masculine and women should be feminine. In early childhood, we learn that boys are different from girls. As young children, we conform to our own category of genders, male, female, or other. Generally, boys are interested in rough play and toys that are ideal for boys, while girls play dress up and play with toys that are ideal for girls.(Wade, and Tavris 91-3) However, not all children follow this pattern. Some girls may enjoy playing with boys’ toys and some boys might engage in playing house or playing dress up; at the same time both enjoy playing with their gender appropriate toys. Our families and our communities have great influence on gender socialization. Cultural acceptance plays a big role in what is socially appropriate in our society today. The phrase, “Coming out of the closet,” meaning, socially open about being transgender, is put into practice more now, than 25 years ago, when I was in my adolescence. Reflecting on my childhood, the green big wheel tricycle was my number one choice. My parents, however, felt that the pink Strawberry Shortcake bicycle was more appropriate for me. Growing up, I did not have a particular preference in the type of toys I played with. From Tonka trucks to Barbies, I played with them all. My parents did not make too much fuss when I played with boys’ toys…they just refuse to buy them for me. I believe that gender socialization has changed within our culture. With social media and support groups, people who are transgender seem to be comfortable and confident

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