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The Definition of Gender Socialization and Why Cheerleading is a Sport

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I believe that the definition of gender socialization, is the process of an individual learning about their social role expectations, and what is gender appropriate within their assigned gender. Meaning that at birth this defines the individuals personality characteristics, traits, interest, ideas, norms, their role amongst society and how they should behavior different from males and females. Gender socialization is the framework of the stereotypes that society has created for the roles of both male and female. In which males are believed to be superior than the females because, they are stereotyped to have a better education, employment, income and were stronger. Meanwhile, the stereotypes of females were the complete opposite that of a males, females were once seen as the property of a male figure, and were useful for a man’s personal needs by being the mother of their children, the cleaner and cooker of the home, and the responsible for the children.

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Eric Anderson’s article, Varieties of Masculinity in Male Cheerleading, is great example of going against the norms of gender socialization. It is a great example of this concept because, Anderson conducts a research on heterosexual males competing and working in what is known as a feminized sport or terrain (cheerleading).So cheerleading is a sport persuasive,  Despite, this concept Mr. Anderson also emphasizes the stereotypes of male gender socialization. Now that the males are in a feminized terrain they are faced with having to retain their orthodox masculinity roles. On page 285, Anderson quotes a senior college student named Randy emphasizes to the younger men in cheerleading that they are better than women because of their masculinity, ‘we pick on things faster than women do, so don’t rub that in them by telling them, “ We are better than you.” Be respectful of the fact that guys are better. Just as important, when you are out in the field you have to portray a masculine image.’ Eric Anderson is illustrating to the reader the amount of pressure these men go through to retain their image by being either sexist or homophobic. In Melissa A. Milkie’s article, The Impact of Persuasive Beauty Images on Black and White Girls’ Self-Concepts, she illustrates how the difference between white and black females also play a role in gender socialization because of how they portray beauty differently between ethnicity. On page 126 of the article, Milkie states that the black females “Did not emulate these images nor compare themselves as negatively with the models.” The author does this by informing the reader that both girls were influenced by the images they viewed in magazines like Seventeen or teen. However, it turned out majority of white females were more negatively impacted by the images that they viewed in magazines than black females because, black females did not have a female figure that looked like them commonly present in magazines.

The new idea that I came across in this reading and in the films, is that no matter how much we try not to be influenced by gender socialization in our everyday lives it is inevitable. The reason for that is because we grow accustom to these stereotypes and have been able to surpass some but not all. I honestly didn’t know there was gender socialization present in toys because in my household the boys and girls would share toys. 

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