Chapter 7
Becoming Gendered:
The Early Years
Today We Will Discuss:
I. Entering a gendered society
II. Gendering communication
in the family
III. The personal side of the
gender drama
I. Entering a gendered society
 A. Self-as-object = ability to think, reflect, and respond to
 1st it’s external
 Next, we internalize
Their views become key to how see ourselves
 Cooley (1902)Looking Glass Self- the process of developing a
self-image on the basis of the messages we get from others, as
we understand them.
1.We imagine how we appear to others;
2. We imagine what their judgment of that appearance must be;
3. We develop our self through the judgments of others ,some selffeeling, such as pride or mortification, as a result of our imagining
others' judgment.
 Gender is one of first senses of self we develop
B. Monitoring
 We are able to monitor ourselves
 We observe and regulate our attitudes and behaviors
 We are reminded of what others have told us we are
supposed to think, do, look like, feel
 Personal identity is social
 Influenced by family and society
Even when we don’t identify with prevailing social perspectives
II. Gendering Communication in the Family
 Families are a primary influence on gender identity
 A. Unconscious Process: Identification and
 1. Freud’s Psychoanalitic Theory
“Anatomy is destiny”
Freud’s Birthplace and Childhood home
Pribor, present day Czech Republic
Sigmund Freud
Pictured here in 1884
The Structure of Personality
The Structure of Personality
The Id
 Most
primitive part of the mind; what we
are born with
 Source of all drives and urges
 Operates according to the pleasure
principle and primary process thinking
The Structure of Personality
The Ego
 The
part of the mind that constrains the
id to reality
 Develops around 2-3 years of age
 Mediates between the id and superego
The Structure of Personality
The Superego
 The
part of the mind that internalizes
the values, morals, and ideals of society
 Develops around age 5
Sigmund and
Anna Freud
(1895 – 1982)
A. Unconscious Processes: Identification & Internalization
 Summarize Freud:
 Unconscious dynamics comes from psychoanalytic theories
Person’s core identity shaped in early years of life
 Biology determines which parent the child will identify with
Will determine how child’s psyche develops
 No empirical support for Freud’s theory
 More recent scholars say…
Females do not envy penis
May envy power it symbolizes
A. Unconscious Processes: Identification & Internalization
 2. Earliest stages of life
 Primary caregiver
 Children of both sexes form first identification with adult
 Around 3, male and female development diverge
 Cognitive theory
 Girls continue to identify with mother
 Value relationships
 Boys lessen identification with mother
 Value independence
A. Unconscious Processes: Identification & Internalization
 Current Family Trends
 Fathers in our era
 Children of single-parents - difficulty finding models of
both genders
 Single-father-child discussions tend to be more elaborate
B. Ego Boundaries
 Ego boundaries = the point of which the individual stops
and rest of world begins
 Linked to gender identity
Feminine gender identity
Masculine gender identity
What traits would this perception facilitate???
How does this perspective impact
our relationships?
C. Parental Communication about Gender
 This ties in with the social and cognitive theory
 Parents’ communication towards sons and daughters
reflect the parents’ gender stereotypes
 _?_are rewarded for being helpful, nurturing, deferential
At times for being assertive, athletic, smart
 Middle-class Caucasian parents
 Chicano families
 Asian families
 _?_ are rewarded for being competitive, independent,
C. Parental Communication about Gender
 Within 24 hours of birth, parents respond to
babies in terms of gender
 Boys = strong, hardy, big, active, alert
 Girls = small, dainty, delicate
C. Parental Communication about Gender
 Mothers’ communication focuses on providing comfort,
security, emotional development
 More emotional talk with their daughters
 Daughters disclose more information to parents
 Fathers encourage gender-appropriate behaviors
 Talk more with daughters
 Engage in more activities with sons
C. Parental Communication about Gender
 Mothers play with children at children’s level
 Today’s fathers are more involved
 Encourage initiative, achievement
 Fathers’ communication has strong impact on selfesteem
C. Parental Communication about Gender
 Parents also communicate gender expectations
through toys, clothes, and chores
 Gender socialization more rigid for boys than for girls
 Parents who limit toys limit children’s development of
various ways of thinking and interacting
D. Parental Modeling
 1. Parents most visible models of masculinity and
 a. Families in our era much more diverse
Single parents provide more multifaceted models
More women live without a spouse than with one
 1950:35%
 2000: 49%
 2007: 51%
 Black women: 70%
 Hispanic women: 49%
 Non-Hispanic: 55%
b. The Role of the Breadwinner
1970: 40% of married women worked outside of the
2000: the percentage reversed!
2007: 53% of mothers with infants…75% of mothers
with school-aged children…
1/2 of white men and 1/3 of black men bring in at
least 70% of family income
30% of women in dual-worker family make more
money than their male partner
c. Same-Sex Couples
 Gay and lesbian parents becoming more visible
 2000: 1%
33% women
22% men
 d. Blended families common
 Children can observe more diverse ideas of how families
can work and gender can be embodied
e. Parents model attitudes about gender & appearance
 Fathers who workout encourage sons to play sports
 Mothers remark about their weight and eating habits
 How do their comments indirectly effect their sons and
 Children are also listening to parents compliments and
How does this influence a child’s idea of gender?
 Personal gender identity changes over time as they develop
and interact with diverse people
III. The personal side of the gender drama
 A. Growing up Masculine (6 themes of masculinity)
 1. Don’t be female
 2. Be successful
 3. Be sexual
 4. Be self-reliant
 5. Aggression
 6. Embrace traditional masculine traits but also be sensitive
and egalitarian
a. The Downside to Growing Up Masculine
 Men who do not measure up may experience depression
 More than 6 million
 Unwilling to seek help due to views of masculinity
 Men 4 times more likely to commit suicide
B. Growing Up Feminine
 1. Two versions of femininity exist today
 Women now have it all
 It is not possible to have it all
2. 5 Themes of Femininity
 Appearance still counts
 Be sensitive and caring
 Negative treatment by others
 The age 10 -14
 Be superwoman
 There is NO single meaning of feminine anymore
C. Growing Up Outside Conventional
Gender Roles
 For people who do not identify with and perform
normative gender, sex, sexuality – growing up can be
 Gay men may be ostracized and Lesbians can be scorned
 Transgendered socially isolated
 Up to 3 million
 Hard to find role models
 Hard to find acceptance
Growing Up Outside
Conventional Gender Roles

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