Gender identity is based primarily on a gender binary, with people expected to recognize solely as male or female. Gender identity is concerned with how one perceives one’s gender and how one presents one’s sexual identity to others. Gender socialization takes place through key factors of socialization that include family, schools, peer groups, and mass media. Every factor reinforces gender identities by forming and sustaining norms and anticipations for gender relations. Exposure to these aspects repeatedly over time gives males and females the false illusion that they are acting innately instead of following a socially constructed role.
Shaping of Gender Identity
In most cases, parents socialize sons and daughters in a different way. Overall, girls are given more freedom to act outside of their designated gender role. On the other hand, sons typically benefit from increased privileges as a result of differential socialization. Another significant factor of gender socialization is the media. Women in television and film play supporting roles and are frequently portrayed as spouses or mothers. When women receive leading roles, they regularly fall under two categories: holistic, saint-like figures or malicious, sexually promiscuous figures (Brody & Hall, 2010). Gender inequality is also pervasive in children’s movies. Demeaning representations of women, especially in music videos, are of great concern. Nevertheless, themes incorporating violence and sexuality are quite prevalent in mainstream advertising.
Based on the factor of a school environment, schools subtly communicate to girls that they are less smart or important than boys. Lastly, teachers have normally treated boys and girls differently in academic and social circumstances, strengthening a competitive spirit rather than cooperation. Boys are also given more liberty to contravene laws or commit minor acts of deviant behavior, whereas girls are assumed to abide by rules and play an upstanding role.
Gender socialization can result in gender stereotypes. Girls and boys are presumed to behave in a certain way, and many parents from conception and society socialize these behavior patterns. Gender stereotypes become much more visible in child’s dress styles and recreational activities as they get older. Without a doubt, socialization, or the process of conveying norms, values, beliefs, and behavior patterns to members of the group, plays a key part in how people learn and integrate gender roles, affecting their gender identity.
Brody, L. R., & Hall, J. A. (2010). Gender, emotion, and socialization. In Handbook of gender research in psychology (pp. 429-454). Springer, New York, NY.