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Gender Socialization And Its Affects On Society

            Society channels our behaviors through gender socialization. By expecting different attitudes and behaviors from us because we are male or female, we humans nudge boys and girls in separate directions in life. This foundation is so deeply instilled that, as adults, most of us act, think, and even feel according to our culture's guidelines of what is appropriate for our sex. Evidence of this can be seen in interaction between human beings, and is expressed through such agents as the mass media and literature.
             The family is the initial agent that begins the socialization process. Parents relay messages of gender norms and roles to their children, sometimes without even realizing it, because these concepts are so thoroughly instilled.
             The mass media is a very strong agent of gender socialization. The sorting process that begins with the family is reinforced when the child is exposed to other aspects of society. Television, for example, portrays twice as many men as women; and the men statistically have higher status positions that women. The more television a person watches, the more they will feed into the belief systems that fuel the show.
             Literature is a very engaging topic in the issue of gender socialization. Starting as early as children books, like Treasure Island and the Secret Garden, books convey many messages that are commonplace in modern society. "Like a Winding Sheet", by Ann Petry, is an example of how gender differences and the roles they play in our lives can affect our interactions with one another, as well as our "appropriate" reactions to different situations. The question that I pose is whether literature is the cause of the effect of gender socialization.

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