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Gender Roles Inherent Or Socialized?

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The belief that gender roles are inherently biological is a cultural fallacy, which can lead to an inability to effectively communicate when we do not assess each individual's personality. Research of this topic is necessary in order to learn how to completely understand how to communicate. When trying to communicate with an individual there are more variables than simply gender that need to be assessed. However, there are many ways that society implies that this is not necessary.

Our society has been taught that gender roles are inherent, biological and behavioral characteristics. This belief is perpetuated through mass media, toys, clothing trends, advertisements, architecture, food and virtually everything else around us. This process begins at birth and continues through adulthood. These gender roles that society has set before us before us can be demeaning and create obstacles as well.

At this point, it is necessary to define the terms sex and gender as they will be used. The book 'Sex and Gender Differences in Personal Relationships' defines sex as "the biological distinctions between men and women," and gender as "the social, psychological and cultural differentiations between men and women (Canary and Emmers- Sommer p.6)."

This is one of the important factors to address because it proves the point that while there are obviously differences between men and women, everyone of the same sex cannot be specifically categorized. The definition of gender as used above, shows that there is a great possibility that not all women or all men are alike because they do not all share the same social, psychological and cultural experiences and therefore may communicate those feelings differently.

How we are Socialized

These social, psychological and cultural experiences can be defined as socialization, which encompasses all the effects that influence our perspectives and behavior.

If conforming to specific roles creates such problems, then why do these specifications persist? This question references the timeless 'nature versus nurture' paradigm. To describe the 'nature versus nurture' question it is necessary to take into account the study of semiotics. Semiotics is a science that is devoted to the study of all the things that influence our behavior and exposing hidden cultural interests. Semiotics also helps us understand why children receive the toys that that they do. Toys play a large part into the socialization of gender roles. When giving a child a gift, we simply give them the type of toy that our culture deems it natural for that gender to be interested in. There is an episode of the sitcom 'Friends,' where the character Ross has a son who has a doll that he really likes to play with. The episode revolves around this child's father obsessing over what must be wrong with his son that makes him want to play with a doll and not the G.I. Joes he tries to give to him.

When you hear a phrase like "a woman's place is in the home," it is our culture trying to conceal a patriarchal interest behind the veil of "nature" and "commonsense." This concept is not strictly



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