Gender, Sex, and Gender Socialization


The traditional gender expectations that have passed through many generations greatly facilitate personal development of the individual. For example, it is well-acknowledged among researchers that girls are less-often geared toward the mathematics and engineering fields by teachers, parents, and others known to impact the life of the young individual in college and career choices. For instance, when viewing the following two figures labeled Figure 1-a and Figure 1-B, the general reaction of most Americans to the first picture is that something is out of place because here is the man in the kitchen however, the second picture appears more normal. This is due to gender socialization of the sexes.

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Again, in the following two pictures the first picture is one that has traditionally not been viewed as normal while the second picture is viewed as normal in relation to gender socialization expectations.

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Ideally in American society the common characterization of family in the western world in the twentieth century has been one in which the conflict within the family unit and in between genders in terms of the socialization of marriage and family has greatly desired to hold this realm separate in a self-contained manner with no intervention from the state. Feminists however, support the idea of public intervention in family policy because interventionary policies are known to bring about change and redefinition to proper standards that are socially acceptable in this area. One example of this can be called forth in terms of the history of childcare in the twentieth century and the gains that have been made through public intervention in terms of policy formulation and development that are effective in the proper provision of childcare in centers and daycares.

Historically, childcare policy in the United States was characterized by Federal inaction and entangled in New Deal and wartime political processes however in 1941 the Conference on Day Care of Children of Working Mothers began a period of great policy reform in childcare provisionary standards in the United States.


Global Women Writers – Key Terms and Definitions. Online available at

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Michel, Sonya (1999) Child Interests/Mothers Rights: The Shaping of Americas Child Care Policy. Yale University Press. New Haven, CT.

Kryzanowski and Stewin (1985) Development implications in Youth Counseling: Gender Socialization” International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling 1985.

Hsieh, Diana Mertz (1996) Putting the Sex Back into Gender: A Tentative Theory of Femininity and Sexuality. 6 May 1996 Washing University in St. Louis, Topics in Feminist Philosophy Class. Online available at

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