• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Are Gender Roles Socially Constructed?

Extracts from this document...


Amber Lee Psych I, Crane February 28, 2003 Are Gender Roles Socially Constructed? The society in which we live plays an enormous role in shaping the different attitudes and behavior of all those who are a part of it. These differences are reflected most strongly perhaps in the development of certain gender-related social roles and behavior traits. Within every society gender is a socially constructed term, and the development of gender roles often begins as early as infancy. Gender is socially constructed to make clear distinctions between the two sexes, and to define their characteristics through gender roles. Culture shapes much of what people consider masculine or feminine (Williams, 1983). In most societies, the "feminine" is usually characterized by delicacy, sensitivity, innocence, compassion, and care for others. The "masculine," however, is characterized by strength, aggressiveness, independence, intelligence, and hard work. A clear representation of this is demonstrated in an experiment conducted by Condry and Condry, in which couples were asked to describe a newborn infant. ...read more.


She has found that young children are segregationists in the way that they seek out same-sex playmates in spite of adult encouragement for group play. Because of gender-role socialization in group play, girls and boys develop in different psychological environments, which shape their perception of the world and contribute to their gender identity. Social learning theorists propose that individuals learn what gender is for themselves through modeling and re-enforcement. With his famous "Bashing Bobo" experiment, Bandura demonstrated that children acquire gender identity and sex-role behavior by direct tuition and observational learning. It can therefore be assumed that television and mass media play a significant role in a child's growing beliefs and attitudes about what it means to be male or female in the world. Researchers find that gender identity is evident in children from as young as 10 months old. However, as evidenced in an experiment done by XX, it does not seem they understand that gender is fixed until the age of 4. ...read more.


Since women are the carriers of babies and have the ability to breastfeed, it is not strange that women should be assigned the role of the caretaker of the home, while men, who are physically stronger, are the protectors and providers (Rossi, 1984). Maccoby (1980) argues that biological factors create behavioral dispositions with different sex hormones. Observations of young male and female rats and monkeys injected with sex hormones reveal that hormones do indeed affect social play. It is a universal characteristic that boys are more physically active and aggressive than girls, while girls engage in activities that require precise motor skills. In conclusion, biological factors do, to some extent, contribute to the development of gender roles and behavior. Psychologist Sandra Bem believes that a healthy society must strive to achieve androgyny. This is important because, in a male-centered society, it is easy to turn biological differences into female disadvantage. Although there seems to be some biological roots for gender development, gender-role stereotypes are still socially constructed and influence development since birth. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Gendered Behavior- Biologically Determined?

    The most basic and direct form of evidence available for this argument is that the brain structures differ between the two 'species'. The three main areas of the brain (the Temporal lobe, the Corpus callosum, and the Anterior commissure) illustrate these dissimilarities.

  2. To what extent would you explain gender differences in terms of gender socialization?

    For instance, boys are dressed in blue and girls in pink; girls wear dresses with hearts or flowers while boys wear super hero pajamas. 1.1.1 Toys and Games The parents' choice on toys for their children also reveals socialization. As children get older, parents reinforce gender roles by encouraging activities and choosing toys that are gender-specific.

  1. To try and find out why girls are outperforming boys in GCSEexaminations?

    been very difficult for me to carry out these observations as I would have had lessons my-self!! Analysis of primary data: After getting the questionnaires back and after having looked at them, I have selected a few questions that I am going to analyse.

  2. Assess the part played by socialisation in the development of gender roles and identities

    images they bring. This closure of activity choice leads to a path of exposure to activity, one that is pre-defined according to stereotypes with a cautious ward glance according to gender identify.

  1. Are exam results gender related?

    I would have liked to analyse all the subjects at both GCSE and A Level, to find if any relationships change, but nearly all of the selected GCSE subjects, there are not enough students to analyse to results using the method that is to be used for the other subjects.

  2. The differences and relationships between gender roles

    The sex of a child is literally created. In the case of intersexuality, doctors remove body parts and use plastic surgery to create "appropriate" genitalia. Societal beliefs are reinforced by medical tradition of rendering intersexual births invisible, to make the child more socially "suitable."

  1. Using Psychological Theory and Research Critically Consider the Views That Gender Roles Are Socially ...

    show higher levels of dominance from pre-school on ==> Males from adolescence onwards are superior in visualising spatial relationships ==> Males from adolescence generally demonstrate superior mathematical reasoning ==> Boys show more confidence about undertaking new tasks ==> Girls show faster language development in the first two years ==> Girls

  2. Sex and Gender.

    Walby��s explanation sees the household and household production as being a key site of women��s subordination but acknowledges that the domestic area is not the only one that women participate in. She shows how the concept of patriarchy is useful in explaining the relationship between women��s subordination in the private

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work