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Gender socialization is the process of exposing children to different aspects of elements of their gender and raising them to internalize and adopt these elements. Gender socialization is incredibly similar to simply enforcing gender roles, because it includes teaching children what behaviors, activities, attitudes, and more are socially acceptable and expected from their gender (likely their gender at birth). Examples of how parents, peers, schools, and more influence gender identity are countless and can be seen through multiple different lenses. In my opinion, parent’s are the biggest influence on gender socialization and gender identity through the early exposure of what they promote to their child as the “norm” for their gender. An example of parent’s socializing their child would be a mother buying clothes for and dressing her toddler daughter, and doing so in pink hearts and bows in her hair. Further than just clothing, a mother can socialize her daughter and influence her gender identity by teaching her what is expected of women in a marriage, which can be reinforced by the mother’s behavior in her marriage and if she presents her role to be one of just domesticity. A mother can teach her daughter that doing the dishes, folding laundry, making dinner and more are all expected of women and the norm for how they are to act in society and in relationships. Schools are also a huge influence on gender identity for young children, and can impact it by the different standards boys and girls are taught through their treatment by teachers. As mentioned in the class powerpoint, boys are given greater leeway and are treated less harshly than girls when breaking rules in school, and girls are interrupted more by teachers than boys. Both of these factors are treatments that young girls internalize during gender socialization that will later influence their gender identity and what they think it means to be a “socially acceptable” woman. Another example of how schools can influence gender identity are by reinforcing societal stereotypes of what subjects boys are better at and which are better suited for girls. Schools can be largely impactful in socializing young girls to stray away from STEM subjects and careers and steer them more towards English and the arts. As I previously stated, I think parents have the most influence on gender socialization and gender identity for multiple different reasons, but mainly because of how often a parent is with their child during their childhood, and the level of respect a child has for their parent. Assuming the circumstances permit a biological parent raising their own child with both of them having a healthy relationship with each other, the parent’s exert a very large amount of influence on their children. Raising a child religiously, with strong cultural influences, with exposure to different toys and more will likely be the first and largest influence in their personal gender identity.




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