SOCIALISATION OF GENDER ROLES Here we look at particular examples of two ideas that you have been studying, socialisation and roles. How are boys and girls socialised into the different roles that society gives them? GENDER The first thing we normally ask about about a new baby is “Is it a boy or a girl?” This shows how important gender is to us and society. It is possible to predict the future about certain things according to gender. Example – Girls live several years longer than boys. The social role of someone’s sex is referred to as their gender. GENDER ROLES Gender is very important for a person’s identity Gender is shaped by the biological differences between men and women but there are important differences that come from particular societies. Gender roles are different between place and time. 100 years ago people accepted that women should look after the home and not work. This has dramatically changed. Women can now have important careers and high qualifications. We now see this to be a good thing. THE FAMILY AND PRIMARY SOCIALISATION People treat boys and girls differently. Feminist Anne Oakley suggests that there are 4 ways in which gender socialisation takes place in the first years of a child. Manipulation Canalisation Verbal Appellations Different activities. MANIPULATON Parents encourage behaviour that is normal for a child’s sex. (Praise) Parents discourage different behaviour. (disapproval/punishment) Which of these typically belongs to which gender? Climbing trees Wanting to look like a prince/princess Playing with bugs Playing with make up CANALISATION Children are ‘channelled’ to certain toys and activities by their parents. Which of these are boy’s toys? Which are girl’s toys? Why? VERBAL APPELLATIONS The way we talk to children can show how important gender is. We use gender in our praise Good girl Naughty boy DIFFERENT ACTIVITIES Children are encouraged to do different things. Girls are expected to help their mother. Boys are given more freedom outdoors. Parents may be aware of these differences and try to raise children in non sexist ways. This is very difficult Children get information about their gender from other agencies of socialisation. What are the agencies of secondary socialisation? Education Mass Media Religion Peer groups EDUCATION Although boys and girls study the same thing, they learn to behave differently. Teachers treat boys and girls differently Text books help to re enforce the difference. Example Older science text books show pictures of boys doing experiments. Children think that science is a ‘boy’ subject, therefore there are less girls studying science at A level. Do you agree with this? MASS MEDIA TV, films, magazines, books and music all influence gender roles. Even though many try to avoid stereotypes, there are often strong differences. Boys are often active and heroes of adventure Girls are often shown to be less active and needing boys to help them/save them. RELIGION Religion can lay out very different roles for men and women. Particularly Islam and Christianity. The Prophets and Holy people are nearly always men. God is nearly always a man This gives the idea that men are more important. PEER GROUPS Friends are important with how we act and see ourselves. Friends can tell you what is appropriate for your gender. Those who do not fit into their gender role may get called names and bullied. This is more true for boys than girls. Girls are allowed to be ‘tomboys’ but boys who are feminine face scorn. QUESTIONS What are stereotypes? Explain by referring to gender roles. What does Oakley mean by canalisation? Explain using an example. Identify and explain two other ways in which gender socialisation takes place in the early years. Choose one agency of secondary socialisation and explain how it creates or re-enforces gender differences. Which agency of secondary socialisation is the most important for gender differences? Give reasons for your answer.