The Social Construction Of Gender And Gender Role Socialization

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As children, even infants, we are socialized to acknowledge the differences between males and females in our society. The social construction of gender is essentially how “gender divides work in the home and in economic production, legitimates those in authority, and organizes sexuality and emotional life” (Lorber, 1991, p. 103). In other words, it is how the members of American society perceive the inequalities of the sexes and thus, how we react accordingly in a socialized setting. Gender roles and gender role socialization influence the social construction of gender. Gender roles, according to Schaefer (2013), are “expectations regarding the proper behavior, attitudes, and activities of males and females” (p. 261). These expectations of …show more content…
The interactionist perspective best explains the role gender plays in society. Interactionists view humans as living in a world of meaningful objects that are derived from social interaction. Language is a collection of symbols that are used to communicate on a daily basis. We combine all of these symbols and attach meanings to them to create a language, just like we attach meaning to gender. Language, without the meanings we attach to it, would be a useless assortment of lines and circles. Gender is socially constructed, meaning it comes from the perception of symbols. If roles were to change, then would a female still be feminine? For example, if a male is the caretaker of children, and a female is the provider for a family would the male be considered less masculine and the female would be considered a less competent mother and worker? Gender roles are defined by the meanings we attach to them. If we were to take away those meanings, I believe that there would be less, or no, stigma attached to a working mother and a care-taking father. Thus the interactionist perspective places an emphasis on the meanings we place on gender roles, which are perceived through everyday

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