The Effects of Socialization on Gender

The Effects of Socialization on Gender

The current state and theories of gender socialization argue that the conscious sense of self is developed through social interaction. Ideally, gender socialization leads to an expression of an individual’s sexuality in their daily interactions with others. For instance, men and women are expected to demonstrate varying gender characteristics influenced by gender socialization. This paper has contextualized arguments about gender socialization and how it negatively impacts gender identity, roles, and ability to give full potential.

Socialization is the means through which individuals absorb the beliefs, norms, values, and behaviors of a social group. Relatively, gender socialization is the means of acquiring the values, norms, and behaviors that are linked to femininity and masculinity in society (Giddens and Sutton, 2017). The agents of socialization include institutions, parents, family, school peers, as well as cultural traditions. Therefore, the agents of socialization tend to communicate the norms and expectations around gender linking to the beliefs, values, and norms that are expected amid the two gender groups. Gender socialization has led to female children being raised to adopt feminine gender roles while male children have been raised to adapt masculine gender roles (Fulton and Schwarz, 2017). Social interactions have reinforced and taught gender roles and norms leading to identity development. Thus, people tend to learn what is desired for their gender through various agents of socialization.

Gender socialization has influenced individual feelings of being female or male (self-identification). Considerably, through socialization, infants have developed to adults through learning the values and norms of society. This has led to either adopting or questioning their placement into a certain gender category. Gender socialization tries to bring the logic behind the idea that gender is socially constructed and that individuals tend to develop their identity and learn their gender roles through human interaction (Schmitt et al., 2017). Therefore, through social interactions, social expectations about what behaviors are appropriate to be feminine or masculine are communicated to the members of the society. For instance, children tend to internalize messages about their gender identity and adapt to socially classified feminine and masculine roles.

The idea that gender identity is not biologically examined but socially learned and created through the process of socialization has been central to social issues and gender ideologies. Ideally, gender socialization has impacted the differentiation of gender roles in society (Saewyc, 2017). This is because, according to gender socialization, gender is considered as the attitudes and behaviors linked to being a woman or a man rather than biological sex. Therefore, in this case, gender has been considered a set of expectations linked to a specific status. Young society members of society tend to learn their gender expectations and norms to identify their gender category that relates to their biological sex. In may, societies, boys are encouraged to exhibit aggressiveness and independence and are socially reward by being physically strong or active. On the other hand, girls are encouraged to display characteristics such as submissiveness and cooperation and are socially rewarded for having empathy and care. Despite the fact that some children have been encouraged to have behaviors and characteristics associated with the opposite gender, they still receive and observe social messages of what is expected of them. This forceful and rigid gender role expectations have led to social problems and issues with gender ideologies.

A crucial role is held by socialization in shaping gender identities and relations. Socialization has acted as a mechanism of controlling the sanctions attitudes and behaviors about gender (McLean et al., 2019). The individual gender types, gender roles ad stereotypes change over time through development from childhood to adulthood. Gender norms have guided and restricted the actions and understanding of what it means to be female or male. This is because gender identity is nearly in all instances, self-identified due to the combination of extrinsic and intrinsic environmental factors such as actions and appearance. For instance, when a person considers himself a female and is comfortable referring to her personal gender in feminine terms, then they are identified as female. However, their gender roles have to illustrate typically female behaviors and mannerisms.

Social expectations have been associated with gender influence on how men and women behave; attitudes, feelings, and sexual behavior. Considerably, the expectations of the society members are based on two groups of persons; women and men and that ought to behave in a different way on the grounds of their biological sexual characteristics (Gaillard et al., 2017). Due to a huge gap between gender expectations and norms relating to sexuality, there has been pressure among different genders to adapt to the values and customs of a particular society. For instance, boys that display femininity behaviors have been subjected to sanctions in order to reinforce the values and norms of heterosexual masculinity. Therefore, the social construction of gender has had negative consequences for both men and women. In other cases, women have been obligated to go into marriages in contrast to their desires in order to be perceived as women.

Gender socialization has led to confusion in gender identity due to variations between gender identity and biological gender. Most people, at a certain point, fail to have concerns about their sexuality based on scientific facts or the sensitivity grounded on societal beliefs. This is because the social construction of gender has influenced the expectations of people in terms of gender. Most of the times, social expectations have created confusion that has led to apprehensive testing of their identity in relation to sexuality, power as well as the maternal body.  For instance, it is assumed naturally that men that talk like ladies are gay, while girls that talk like men are lesbians. This brings about issues surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation. Considerably, socialization has typically socialized individuals into viewing gender as feminine-masculine binary, thus influencing critical thinking of gender and sexuality. Gender issues relating to lesbians and gays have resulted from social constructions of gender.

Socialization has led to men and women conforming to the socially accepted behaviors that have impacted their lives. For instance, men are generally accepted to be strong, while women are seen to have some weaknesses. Thus, gender socialization affects the physical health of men and women, where men have lowered the reporting of illnesses and injuries. Men have also been taught to avoid emotions, which has increased the level of stress. Women, on the other hand, have had caretaker syndrome due to increased stress and depression while taking care of the family since they have been socialized to be responsible.

In conclusion, most of the ideas about gender have been passed through interactions by members of society. Therefore, individual self-identities have been shaped by what a person sees or hears. With time gender and sexuality becomes regulatory fiction that is reinforced by the daily performativity of an identity where individuals either adopt or question their gender identity. Agents of socialization have remained the major sites in the active social learning of gender identity and sexuality. People have exercised, constructed, examined, and explored their sexuality and understanding towards gender roles from what that they are learned and taught.  Gender socialization has resulted in negative impacts on gender identity, roles, and ability to give full potential due to socialized perceptions. Individuals have been typically socialized into understanding gender as the feminine and masculine binary, which has led to social problems, gender ideologies as well as raises questions regarding placement into a certain gender category.


Fulton, C. L., & Schwarz, J. (2017). Gender socialization. Counseling women across the lifespan: Empowerment, advocacy, and intervention, 21-38.

Gaillard, J. C., Sanz, K., Balgos, B. C., Dalisay, S. N. M., Gorman‐Murray, A., Smith, F., & Toelupe, V. A. (2017). Beyond men and women: a critical perspective on gender and disaster. Disasters41(3), 429-447.

Giddens, A., & Sutton, P. W. (2017). Essential concepts in sociology. John Wiley & Sons.

McLean, K. C., Fordham, C., Boggs, S., Byers, S., Haraldsson, K. G., Lowe, A., & Syed, M. (2019). Master Narratives, Gender Identity, Socialization Processes.

Saewyc, E. (2017). A global perspective on gender roles and identity. Journal of Adolescent Health61(4), S1-S2.

Schmitt, D. P., Long, A. E., McPhearson, A., O’Brien, K., Remmert, B., & Shah, S. H. (2017). Personality and gender differences from a global perspective. International Journal of Psychology52, 45-56.

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