Essay on Stigmatization: Gender and Females

Submitted By ingchet
Words: 1919
Pages: 8

Females more Stigmatized than Males: To what degree?

Soc. 120 – 2247

Deviance, as described by Howard Saul Becker’s in his book Outsiders, is “an infraction of some agreed-upon rule” (20). This may sound simple, but these rules are ambiguous - subjective to certain societies, social standards, perspectives, and are open to interpretation in most cases. Different groups have different social norms; they differ in many aspects. Whereas one rule might be accepted in one group, it may be rejected in another. The consequences for breaking these established rules vary depending on the interpretation of how harmful the act is, and whether the act is committed voluntarily or not; this determines the severity of the deviance, but one has to wonder if these interpretations are immune to bias. Data from postcards will be used in this paper to help reinforce the statement that women are subjected to more stigmatization in comparison to men when acting deviant because of preconceived notions about gender roles, and although there are many circumstantial factors that are involved in each case, the culture for both genders are the fundamental avenues that must be highlighted to understand this reasoning. Gender socialization is simply a part of life, and it exists all around us whether or not we are aware of it. From the moment humans are born, society assigns us a sex of either male or female, and these assignments come with established gender roles associated with them. From this we can see that gender socialization happens first in the home, and depending on whether we are born male or female, we are set on a separate course in life, attempting to fulfill our assigned gender role. Drawing from established cultural guidelines, parents teach children their part in this symbolic separation of the sexes. Because this socialization happens at a very early age, there is a strong impact on the identity of the individual. According to Marjorie E. Starrels and Kristen E. Holm in their article “Adolescents Plans for Family Formation: Is Parental Socialization Important?” they emphasize social learning for children as “imitation of available role models” and that “same-gender modeling is more common than cross-gender modeling” (417). This indicates that boys will be more influenced by their father's masculinity and girls their mother's femininity. For example, girls will be dressed in pink clothes, symbolizing femininity, and boys will be dressed in blue clothes, symbolizing masculinity. Girls are given brightly colored Barbie dolls, faux jewelry, and play make-up to experiment with, while boys are given solid colored dinosaurs, airplanes, and cars. By way of the parents controlling the flow of stimuli within their child's early development, they essentially pave the way for their children to better fit within the gender roles deemed normal in their society, which locks their children's gender identity as either female or male.
The stereotypical female gender role consists of a generalization of female attributes and behaviors, which is seen to the world as predominantly submissive. Traditionally, the female roles is geared towards marriage and have children - be a loving mother to her children, husband, and be in charge of household chores. In contrast, the stereotypical male gender role has to do with dominance; the stereotype is that males are seen as the breadwinner for the family. Males are seen as the head of household and the financial provider, bringing stability to the family unit. The female identity has been branded with many expectations that have been socially constructed to keep the image of females constrained to the images of traditional women. Such ideas undermine women's perception to behave properly and act properly; this is because the socialization of the female gender image is constrained to what is deemed appropriate by society as feminine behaviors and attitudes. Francine M. Deutsch, in her publication “Undoing…