Posted: March 24th, 2023
From birth, children are taught of their gender identities through gender socialization. It is an important process because society prepares a child on how to practice acceptable norms, thus ensuring to develop their thinking, actions, and feelings. In essence, it is an inevitable development that each child should undergo to determine their identity (Golshirazian et al., 2015). In fact, a child’s sense of self is influenced by attitudes, opinions, beliefs, and behavior. However, despite the outlined aspects, socialization agents are considered as the reinforcements, molders, and developers of a child’s gender. Particularly, the three most influential agents are the family, peer groups, and the social media. Consequently, with the active participation and reinforcement of socialization agents, children develop their identities. Concisely, the moment a male child acquires feminine characteristics from the socialization agents listed above the end results is the development and exhibition of female related features and roles. Therefore, this study will agree to the fact that it is possible to grow male born children to act like girls due to the gender socialization they acquire from their families, peer groups, and the media.
More importantly, the socialization that male children learn from their immediate family members significantly influences their gender identity. In essence, the gender socialization within the family is primarily inspired by the parents through the messages they send to their children. Notably, communications are delivered through spoken words, participation in sex-typed activities, reinforcement through punishments, and observation. When the parent of a male child actively participates in activities related to the female gender more often, they instill in their child the feminine aspects. For instance, a boy who plays more with dolls than trucks has higher chances of developing as a girl instead of his biologically acquired gender (Leaper, 2013). Besides, constant disapproval on a male child for acting masculine further nurtures him into developing into a girl. While some parents will disapprove by word of mouth, others punish their boys for being involved in vigorous activities but praise and reward them for acting like girls. Therefore, to avoid disapproval and punishments such kids tend to socialize more like girls where they grow and develop with the same identity. Another way that parents as socialization agents reinforce femininity in a boy child is through consistent encouragement that it is okay and proper to behave like a girl. For instance, such parents often tell their children that showing and expressing their emotions is healthy and acceptable.
However, sometimes parents do not socialize their children into becoming girls intentionally instead the child observes and imitates the actions of their parents (Leaper, 2013). Consequently, whenever male children interact more with their mothers, they tend to pick up female characteristics while the male features diminish eventually. For example, it is possible for a boy who spends more time with his mother to acquire feminism characteristics in future. In such an occurrence, the female traits he acquired from his interaction with his mother will continue showing in his workplace and his choice of friends due to family socialization. Therefore, such a boy is expected to take up feminine responsibilities like laundry work and house cleaning instead of participating in maintenance jobs as expected from the male gender.
Gender socialization with female peers can also make a biologically born male into acting like a girl. According to sociology, peers consist of the same age or social status friends and associates (Golshirazian et al., 2015). Accordingly, when a boy starts schooling, and his close contact are girls there is the possibility that he will develop and act like a female. Nonetheless, peers are said to be secondary agents of reinforcing already taught female characteristics in a male child. In essence, that is to say that due to female socialization, a boy child is often seen in modeling classes, ballerinas, dressing rehearsals, and other girlish activities. Consequently, as a female socialized boy develops into a youth, he tends to affiliate more with feminine based movies, music, sexual activities, and sports (Golshirazian et al., 2015). Further, femininity is reinforced by their girlfriends because a female socialized boy is always striving to behave like his girlfriend’s where they want to feel accepted in a group they identify. Therefore, feminine acquired male children restrain from bullying the girls or acting aggressively. In such an instance, their fear is that they may face peer punishments or sanctions for not adhering to the acceptable traits of their female affiliated peers. In addition, their female identity is further nurtured when they receive attention, prestige, and praises from their girl peer groups (Golshirazian et al., 2015). Nevertheless, it is important to note that female socialization comes from the boy’s immediate family where the feminine character traits are nurtured and developed. Therefore, due to this socialization, such kids choose female peers within their schools and neighborhoods.
The media as a gender socialization agent also determines and influences a male born child to act like a girl. By and large, the social media serves as a platform where young people gain knowledge of the societal expectations of the gender they affiliate (Prot et al., 2015). On this platform, there is the internet, magazines, movies, television, books, and radios. In fact, the information is attained without any personal contact between the sender and the receiver. Mainly, televisions play a vital role in reinforcing the already acquired female characters and performances in boys. Therefore, to understand and find out more about the societal expectations, a female socialized boy would appreciate watching and associating with female related movies, characters, and advertisements. For example, it is easy to find feminine reinforced boys watching Cinderella movies, including the “Snow White,” “Mulan,” and “The Little Mermaid” because the leading characters appeal to their girlish acquired gender (Prot et al., 2015).
However, it is crucial to understand that the family as an agent takes a leading role in reinforcing femininity in boys even before the capable media elaborates on societal expectations of their acquired gender. Moreover, the programs and concepts available for young people to watch have ceased to be educational and instead the children are accessing more of sex and other extreme programs. On the other hand, due to the readily available media, teenagers no longer experiment, interact, or speak with others to understand their identities or roles (Prot et al., 2015). Therefore, a young man who socially acquired female characteristics and is entertained by the same concepts further nurtures them through obtaining information on the social media.
As it is palpable from the above discussion, the gender socialization on the media, peer groups, and the family significantly attributes to the development of a female identity on a male child. However, the family is considered as a primary reinforcement of femininity in a boy from the beginning. In fact, the immediate families strengthen female traits in a boy through participating in different activities, such as speaking and observing while the male character is diminished through punishment. Consequently, the peer groups they are involved in further reinforce the acceptable behavior in the female gender where they participate in the girl related activities and getting sanctioned for not acting as required. On the other hand, the media also act as another reinforcing agent for an already developed female gender in a male child. For that reason, female socialized boys take to exploring more of girl affiliated concepts and resources on the media than they look up for male related issues. As a result, the already learned femininity in feminine reinforced boys is nurtured and developed by the wider society.
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