How does society create binary sex?
Gender construction and socialization agents
All socialization agents help to construct gender. Look for a lawsuit and evidence to support each of these agents. How does each agent contribute to gender socialization? What evidence does sociology provide that socialization factors influence individuals ’self-perceptions about gender?
This Newsweek article explains a study by neurologist Lise Eliot that shows that parents start treating babies differently from birth. Parents speak differently to babies based on sex. Experiments show that this is also true for strangers. It can even be argued that parents treat babies differently against they are born! For example, pink and blue, decorating the nursery, “sex” disclosure parties, and name selection.
This study, published by Fausto-Sterling et al., In Developmental Psychology. al. shows, “gender differences in how mothers behave and affect their babies from 3 months to 12 months of age are measured.
Different treatment of six-month-old babies:
- boys are given independence and encouraged to be active
- girls are caressed and encouraged to be addicted and passive
- up to thirteen months, each sex behaves differently.
Also differences in toys; boys = action figures, weapons; girls = jewelry, dolls.
Click here to see the post from the society pages which examines how the Barbie above helps to reinforce teachers ’lessons. The toy isn’t just for the little girl in the toy box. The toys come from a family that the child tries to do right, based on messages in the media.
Girls and boys learn from friends what it means to be a man or a woman.
See Patricia and Peter Adler’s book on pre-adolescent pressure.
This study Patricia and Peter Adler, published in Sociology of Education, show popularity values are forming for the fourth time degree;
- boys: athletics, coolness and toughness, grades = inferior popularity (think about how this is reflected in the evaluations of the next lesson by my professor).
- for girls: family background, physical appearance (especially clothing and makeup), and abilities attract popular boys, grades = higher popularity.
1. What does Pascoe’s research show about masculinity?
2. Do you think Pascoe research is suitable for SHS?
From the public pages, this post shows hidden lessons (hidden curriculum) taught by schools. In this case, it starts at the age of 8. (See image below)
The public pages explain how intercultural research proves that gender expectations in STEM are the result of social construction.
This 2007 The Sociological Perspective study explains the link between major sports and homophobia, with boys almost 3 times more likely to express a homophobic attitude in major sports (football, basketball, baseball, football). Conversely, women who participated in non-sport extracurricular activities were half as likely to express such attitudes as individuals who did not participate in those activities.
3a. Following the evidence above, can you explain how socialization agents shape boys ’and girls’ experiences of STEM?
3b. If attitudes and outcomes about STEM can be shaped in this way, hypothesize what else could be similarly shaped.
In summary, socialization agents play a key role in helping everyone develop a sense of self (remember the isolated children Genie and Danielle from the social structure unit?). One of the ways groups influence us when we think about gender. And the influence is especially strong because it happens from the time we are young (even before we are born) and then continues through the structure grid that perpetuates the construction of sex. The web is a connection between parents, schools, peers, toys / marketers and the media that reinforces the binary.
4. Do you understand that gender is constructed through socialization agents that reinforce gender ideas?
Sociologist Jill Yavorsky found that gender polarization also manifests itself in recruitment practices, especially when it coincides with the social class published in the Journal of Social Forces here.
5. Do you have questions about how gender is constructed, especially binary?
(See Ferris and Stein for more information. 247-251)
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