How Family Structure Influences Gender Socialization

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Gender socialisation is explained as the process in which society influences its members to internalise attitudes and expectations based on gender, which refers to being either masculine or feminine. Even before the birth of a baby names for girls and boys are looked up. They are given titles, are called things like ‘pretty girl’ or ‘strong boy’ in order to give off the stereotypical way in which society has conditioned us to think (Lamanna, 2015).
In the following essay we will look at gender socialisation in depth and its function in society, the micro level of the family and the bigger picture of our diverse county South Africa, we will look at ways in which it has changed and how gender identity is slowly changing in society at large.
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An explanation on how family structure influences gender socialization
Society expects different attitudes and behaviours from boys and girls. Gender socialization is the tendency for boys to be socialized differently. Boys and girls are raised to conform to the male gender roles and girls are raised to conform to female gender roles.
A family structure influences gender socialization by using certain mechanisms that people adopt without recognizing the patterns they create within social context. Every culture has different guidelines about what is suitable for males and females and family members may socialize babies in gendered ways without consciously following that path. For example, in a modern society, the colour pink is associated with girls and the colour blue with boys. Even as tiny babies, boys and girls are dressed differently according to what is considered ‘appropriate’ to the respective sexes. Even parents who strive to achieve a less ‘gendered’ parenting style unconsciously reinforce gender roles. A family structure acts as the most important agent of gender socialization for children and adolescents as it serves as the centre of a child’s life. Socialization theory tells us that primary socialization- the process that occurs when a child learns the attitudes, values and actions expected of individuals within a particular culture which the most important phrase of social development and lays the groundwork for all future socialization. Therefore, family structure plays a pivotal role in the child’s development influencing both the attitudes the child will hold. Socialization can intentional and unintentional the family may not be conscious of the messages nonetheless contribute to the child’s socialization, for example, if parents buy dolls for their daughters and toys trucks for their sons, the children will learn to value different

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