Social Construction of Gender

The social construction of meaning applies to various values, norms and beliefs that are created by the dominant economic and most powerful groups in American society. These values, norms and beliefs are perpetuated and reinforced by social institutions like the workplace, the media, education, religion and others. These values, norms and beliefs primarily dictate access to upward mobility as well as shaping identity, personality, and gender roles. Gender roles and norms often result as the outcome of a socialization process based on the dominant values, norms and beliefs of society. From birth on, infants of both sexes are conditioned by parental and other adult responses to behave, think, act, and interact in gender-specific role manifestations. This analysis will explore the social construction of gender to show how men and women are often "assigned" certain traits and attributes that may or may not be limiting to their development.

There are many examples of the different traits and attributes that males and females are socialized to accept as their own in society. Female children, for the most part are encouraged to be cooperative, compassionate, caring, and nurturing; largely in preparation for roles as wife and mother. Male children, in contrast, are socialized toward independence, assertiveness, competition, and achievement; they are often expected to suppress their emotions and feelings, especially ones that are tender or relate to vulne



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