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Gender Messages From Social Institutions: Family, School, and Mass Media

The phenomenon of gender socialization is closely connected to the everyday lives of numerous populations throughout the world. Developing an understanding of gender norms and expected behaviors is crucial for the growth of maturing individuals, which might prompt both positive and negative outcomes. As the primary agents of gender socialization, family, school, and mass media significantly impact adolescents, contributing to the emergence of specific behavioral patterns and social attitudes. This paper focuses on gender socialization, discussing how social institutions influence this process and highlighting contemporary issues related to this topic.

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One of the major elements of societal structure is the family unit, which provides children with necessary information about the world. As the primary source of interaction, family members considerably affect gender socialization, initiating the development of particular perspectives on gender (Endendijk et al., 2018). As such, parents or other guardians might express their ideas behind appropriate social actions for females and males, prompting adolescents to adopt similar opinions. Another possibility includes more subtle examples of behavior and compliance with certain norms that impress the young generation and provoke the emergence of corresponding patterns (Endendijk et al., 2018). However, as female and male relatives often act as role models for children, the latter adopt the ideals that might be biased, instilling the notions of gender inequality. Therefore, the parents’ influence on the gender socialization of their children remains a pertinent issue.

The school institution is another essential agent of gender socialization in various populations. Considering that the majority of children interact with individuals of their age at schools, this environment plays a vital role in the reinforcement of gender behaviors. By communicating with their peers, maturing individuals gather additional knowledge about behavior regulation, beginning to adopt particular attitudes towards gender expression (Coman, 2016). Although this process can positively enhance the children’s understanding of the role of gender, significant issues are the emergence of gender stereotypes and marginalization, which highlight the benefits of one gender while denouncing the other (Coman, 2016). Given that the teachers’ behavior is of substantial importance for young learners, such practices as preferential treatment of boys and biased expectations can produce negative outcomes for the gender socialization process.

The effect of mass media on growing individuals is often demonstrated in the gender socialization results. Informational services are firmly woven into the daily lives of the current generations, but they most notably impact the adolescents who are beginning to examine and understand gender norms (Genner & Süss, 2017). In this regard, television, news reports, movies, social networks, and other sources of data distribution establish action models and social expectations for males and females. Nevertheless, unequal representation of masculine and feminine features, as well as the portrayal of men in women in distinct social positions, are prominent complications in the current age (Benokraitis, 2018). Being exposed to such knowledge may negatively promote gender socialization, instilling stereotypes and forcing the individuals to behave according to them.

To conclude, the primary effects of three social institutions, namely family, school, and mass media, have been discussed in detail in this essay in relation to gender socialization. The described process is essential for the development of children and adolescents’ understanding of themselves and their surrounding environment, as it offers particular models of behavior to follow. Although gender socialization is a necessary event, it may also be negatively influenced by the three socialization agents, which frequently contribute to the establishment of gender stereotypes, inequality, and sexist attitudes.

References

Benokraitis, N. V. (2018). Introduction to sociology (6th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Coman, A. (2016). A broader perspective of gender socialization across four social institutions. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braşov, 9(2), 65–72.

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Endendijk, J. J., Groeneveld, M. G., & Mesman, J. (2018). The Gendered Family Process model: An integrative framework of gender in the family. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47(4), 877–904.

Genner, S., & Süss, D. (2017). Socialization as media effect. In P. Rössler, C.A. Hoffner & L. Zoonen (Eds.), The international encyclopedia of media effects (pp. 1–15). Wiley-Blackwell.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, August 22). Gender Messages From Social Institutions: Family, School, and Mass Media. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/gender-messages-from-social-institutions-family-school-and-mass-media/

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StudyCorgi. "Gender Messages From Social Institutions: Family, School, and Mass Media." August 22, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/gender-messages-from-social-institutions-family-school-and-mass-media/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Gender Messages From Social Institutions: Family, School, and Mass Media." August 22, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/gender-messages-from-social-institutions-family-school-and-mass-media/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Gender Messages From Social Institutions: Family, School, and Mass Media'. 22 August.

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