Agents of Socialization
Socialization relates to learning rather than inheriting, and it involves the interaction between society and individuals. The socialization process aids people in acquiring knowledge of the values and norms and accepting the community’s beliefs. Talcott Parsons, Sigmund Freud, and George Herbert introduced the socialization concept; However, Talcott Parsons’s theories were the earliest and most remarkable. Therefore, socialization is important because it prepares people to interact successfully in their social lives; socialization agents aid in providing the first experiences during interaction; the agents include family, peer groups, and education.
Family is the main agent of socialization as all family members teach the children about society’s expectations. Children learn how to socialize mainly through observing and imitating what their parents do. Nauert (2018) claims that parents are responsible for the growth and development of their children, as children learn from observing them. The family teaches children about gender roles through the gender-stereotype games they play or the different chores each gender participates in. Solbes-Canales et al. (2020) state that differentiation of tasks or providing certain colors and toys to kids influences their gender stereotypes at a young age; they can differentiate between male and female while still young. Hence, a family has the greatest influence on gender socialization through stereotypes and the division of tasks.
Peer groups greatly influence how a child views gender roles in society.
Peer groups greatly influence how a child views gender roles in society. As the children develop and understand their gender, they associate their behaviors with their peers(Solbes-Canales, 2020). Peers strengthen the perpetuation of stereotypes as they grow through grouping and putting social skills into practice. Education is also a contributing agent of socialization as it plays an important role in development. In agreement with Terziev and Vasileva (2022), education boosts society’s development by helping individuals to overcome differences and adapt to their environment. Solbes-Canales et al. (2020) continue to illustrate how education influences gender biases by using gender labels while organizing structures and school activities. Hence, while family greatly influences gender roles, peer groups and education strengthen the biases and stereotypes as children develop.
Societal expectations reinforce gender expectations.
Societal expectations reinforce gender expectations in numerous ways; personal traits, chores, occupations, and physical appearance. Firstly, society expects women to be accommodating and nurturing, while men should display aggressiveness and strength. Mothee (2020) claims that most communities offer men better rights and dignity while women should stay home and do the chores. Secondly, most societies think that occupations like teaching and nursing are for women, while men become engineers and doctors, among other careers. Additionally, physical appearance matters in some societies; both genders should wear according to their gender stereotype. Even though women are acquiring managerial positions, sexism in workplaces lowers women’s motivation (Tabassum & Nayak, 2021). Hence, societal expectations strengthen gender expectations by creating and setting rules on specific behavior for every gender.
Family, peer groups, and education are among the main agents that aid in the socialization process of individuals in society. Family is the primary socialization agent. Children learn what society expects of them at a young age by observing what their parents and other family members do. As they develop, children learn about society’s expectations through peer groups and education. Societal expectations have fortified gender expectations, which has caused unequal treatment between men and women. Creating awareness and pointing out stereotypes can help minimize gender biases and promote equality.
Mothee, T. (2020, April 11). The real victims of gender stereotypes. Voices of Youth, https://www.voicesofyouth.org/blog/real-victims-gender-stereotypes
Nauert, R. (2018, May 27). Modeling behavior for children has long-lasting effects. Psych Central, https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/05/27/modeling-behavior-for-children-has-long-lasting-effects#1
Solbes-Canales, I., Valverde-Montesino, S., & Herranz-Hernandez,2020). Socialization of gender stereotypes related to attributes and professions among young Spanish school-aged children. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00609.
Tabassum, N. & Nayak, B. S. (2021). Gender stereotypes and their impacts on women’s career progressions from a managerial perspective. IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review, 10(2), https://doi.org/10.1177/2277975220975513
Terziev, V. & Vasilava, S. (2022) The role of education in socialization of an individual. 9th International Conference on Education & Education of Social Sciences Abstracts & Proceedings, Istanbul:Turkey. file:///C:/Users/HP/Downloads/518.pdf