Gender Socialization

Gender Socialization

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Children acquire knowledge and information from their environment as they grow up. This information comes from their experiences and the behaviours of the people around them in the community. This enables them to develop their cognitive abilities and continue learning more information which is assimilated into what they already know. All societies have cultures that define behaviours and practices considered acceptable. These behaviors are often determined by gender and thus people are expected to have feminine or masculine behaviours. For example, girls are encouraged to play with dolls and like pink colour while boys are encouraged to play sports such as basketball and football. These concepts are culturally created and ingrained in all members of the cultural group at an early age. differences in behaviour are culturally created.

Gender Socialization

Gender socialization is a lifelong process of teaching people in a certain community how to behave based on their gender. This process starts before a person is born and continues for the rest of one’s life. Parents are often asked if they are expecting a boy or a girl and their preparations perpetuate this concept, for example, the infant’s room is often painted pink or blue. As the child grows, they interact with different community members such as teachers and peers who influence their perspective on gender socialization. This includes learning materials that contain gender stereotypes and promote gender stereotypic behaviours. The children are exposed to these materials for a long and eventually internalize these teaching and form their own gender preferences and behaviours.

The role of the society

As mentioned above, gender socialization is a cultural construct that classifies people based on their biological genders. The concept of gender and associated roles and behaviours is reinforced further by other parties as the child grows up. Parents, peers, books and television regularly define the expected feminine and masculine behaviours for people from both genders. The children interact with a large number of their peers who model the acceptable gender behavior at school and this influences the gender socialization concept. This frequent bias and stereotype are thus incorporated into the child’s thinking and this influences their future worldview. Gender socialization is discriminatory and causes the gender inequality pay gap that exists in American societies. Women are encouraged to work in the service industry and their work is often devalued (SALERNO, 2021).

Gender fluidity

Some people do not abide by traditional gender socialization and do not classify themselves as either male or female. They have fluid gender and their gender identity is not fixed nor determined by their biological gender. This allows them to be free and express themselves openly to the world. However, this should not be confused with sexual orientation, gender fluidity defines how a person feels internally and is a form of expressing one’s preferred gender identity. Gender fluidity does not limit one to the binary restrictive pronouns such as him and her but allows one to use neutral terms such as they or them. This is a form of expression which should not be undermined.


Males and females are taught by family members, peers, schools and media to behave in certain ways. This concept is harmful as it hinders the authenticity of a person and limits them to a few societal expectations. Thus, parents should be open and allow their children the freedom to express themselves as they feel as long as they do not hurt others. Forcing societal beliefs and outdated cultural constructs on modern children can cause rifts between the parents and children. Parents should encourage their children to be themselves instead of forcing them to adopt stereotypical societal standards.



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